Fashionable Classics: Hagler-Leonard |


Posted on 04/06/2021

By: Sean Crose

Boxing has at all times gone hand in hand with controversy. Whether or not it’s the game’s brutality, the unfair therapy of fighters, fastened fights, poor matchups, or media bias, there’s at all times one thing to not like in regards to the candy science. Fortuitously, there’s a lot extra to like about what could be the purest sport on earth. Nonetheless, it’s arduous to shrink back from the game’s controversial nature – and few occasions have been as controversial because the 1987 Marvelous Marvin Hagler – Ray Leonard middleweight battle. Though there was no lengthy depend, or fan man, no loaded gloves, or officers on the take, the judges’ choice on April sixth of that 12 months continues to be the supply of scorching debate all these many years later.

First, the information: defending middleweight champion Hagler stepped into the ring at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas that night time to face the world’s hottest fighter, Leonard. The person referred to as “Sugar Ray” not solely got here out of retirement, however moved up in weight for the match. Hagler was understandably favored, however it’s mentioned that Leonard waited till he noticed Hagler begin to present some put on and tear within the ring earlier than he took the battle. Maybe much more apparently, it’s mentioned Leonard had deliberate to battle aggressively with a purpose to cease Hagler inside the distance, however a lower in coaching pressured him to change the plan.

It doesn’t matter what the reality could also be, Leonard and longtime coach Angelo Dundee had an excellent technique main into the bout – outbox and keep away from the dreaded Hagler, enter the ring within the form of situation that may preserve a slick efficiency and and switch the can be battle right into a chess match. The one drawback was that Hagler, well-known for his enormous stoppages towards the likes of Thomas Hearns and John Mugabi, was as a lot a boxer as he was a brawler. And so the match billed as The Superfight ended up being a really excessive finish contest, with Hagler perpetually pursuing the slick Leonard, who retreated and fired away at his man in spectacular flashes.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Middleweight Champion of the 1980s, Dies at 66 -  The New York Times

The query ended being easy on the floor of issues: Was Hagler higher at pursuing his man, or was Leonard higher at flustering his pursuer? That query continues to be being argued as we speak…as a result of the battle actually was that shut. Finally, nonetheless, the judges noticed it for Leonard. It was a shining second for the brand new middleweight champion, marred solely by one decide, who dominated in Leonard’s favor by a watch raisingly vast rating of 118-110.

Maybe essentially the most unstated of side of Hagler-Leonard is the very fact it could in all probability nonetheless be controversial if the judges had dominated in favor of Hagler. Once more, it was that shut. And so the talk rages on…

*cowl picture by Getty Pictures


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