April 6, 1987, “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy in the Anals of Boxing History"

By “Dinosaur” Doug Hattier: The twenty-five year anniversary of this date will remind me of that slap in the face to every real boxing fan. Every fan knows what was Hagler and the long hard road he had to take to get there. Unlike the alphabet soup champions of these last few eras, who get a shot at a title after going undefeated fighting 20 tomato cans, Hagler etched his stellar career in granite. Early in his career he faced the likes of Philly’s finest in “Bad Bennie” Briscoe, “Willie the Worm” Monroe, Eugene “Cyclone” Hart and Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts in their back yards to be defeated twice questionably, but avenged later by KO’s. After being ducked for years, on his 47th fight reminiscent of golden era fighters, he faces New York City’s super tough 45-3-1 Vito Antuofermo in Vegas and butchers the champ for 15 rounds to the tune of 50 facial stitches.

No disrespect to Vito because he hardly took a back step but did get an early Christmas gift with a draw and retains title. Vito later loses it to polished Brit boxer Alan Minter whom faces Hagler at Wembley Arena on Sept 27, 1980. Marvin taking no chances of a draw mercilessly batters Minter into submission in a third round TKO. The English fans feeling rather dejected watching their champion obliterated before their eyes start pelting Hagler with beer bottles until the cops enter the ring and shield Marvin with their bodies. After this the quality of his thirteen defenses equals the caliber of Ali’s title defenses.

His first title defense is an 8th round TKO of 30-0 Venezuelan Fulgencio Obelmejias and the seventh of the eight fighters handed their first L by Hagler. Next up 4th round rematch stoppage of Vito Antuofermo when his corner throws in the towel. On October 3, 1981 he TKO’s for the first of two times tough NYC southpaw 32-1-2 Mustafa Hamsho. Then he takes on 22-2 Motor City Caveman Lee and TKO’s in the first. Rematch 5th round TKO of Obelmejias, 6th round TKO over Tough 47-3-1 Tony Sibson and a 4th round KO over 26-3 Wilford Scypion. November 10, 1983 he faces the Legendary “Hands of Stone” Roberto Duran at Caesars Palace and I suppose at this point starts making closer to the money he has earned in Spades. The Legend Duran puts out a gritty performance to lose by a narrow one point decision. Next up 52-2-2 Argentenian Juan Domingo Roldan and TKO’s him in the 7th. After his 3rd round TKO rematch of Hamsho he faces The Legendary “Motor City Cobra” Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and has the arguably greatest first round in the history of the sport and ends it with a vicious 3rd round TKO. March 10, 1986 another highly anticipated fight with undefeated knockout artist 25-0 John “the Beast” Mugabe whom fights a gifted performance only to be KO’d by the Master in the eleventh.

Now that I have built up the intrigue of this historical so-called super fight let me first confess my slant against the Great Sugar Ray Leonard. After a gifted display of boxing in the 1976 Olympics along with the “Dream Team” which amassed a total of 5 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze, Leonard began a pro career with $40,000 for a 4 round fight which was more than most veteran fighters at that time made in any one fight. I never really liked the back pedaling, cutesy boxers except Ali because he was the first and only heavyweight ever to move like a middleweight. Though I have to admit I was very impressed when Sugar Ray sucked it up and stopped Hearns after being given a boxing lesson for ten rounds. Also, I gained a lot of respect for Leonard watching the cherry pickers that came after him like Roy Jones, Junior and even “Pretty Boy” Floyd considering the level of talent that he faced. On April 6, 1987 Hagler for most of 12 rounds had to put on his track shoes in order to chase the challenger Leonard whom was born with track shoes. Leonard after a 3 year hiatus from the sport did box an inspiring match, but when you consider that the champ didn’t even look like he was in a pillow fight, how could this track meet lift the title of an entrenched champion of legendary status. Especially when you consider the bloodied mask he put on Antefuermo and only walked away with a draw. This travesty of a decision cut Hagler so deep and the fact that he could not corner Leonard in the ring again for a rematch that he never again fought professionally. He even left the States and relocated to Milan, Italy to begin a movie acting career. Which brings me to the exciting climax of this little piece; show me a boxing fan who believes that Sugar Ray Leonard did enough to lift Hagler’s Title and I show you the Pinball Wizard because he was deaf, dumb and blind! HaHaHa LOL! Honk if you agree!

Article posted on 04.04.2012

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