It took place on Monday, April 6, 1987 at Caesars Palace and it was promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank®. The SuperFight: Hagler vs. Leonard, with Marvin Hagler defending his middleweight title against Sugar Ray Leonard, making a return after a three-year absence from the ring and a big question mark about his surgically-repaired eye. It was one the biggest and most successful sporting events of that era. Caesars Palace was sold out with 15,000 spectators and an estimated 400 million more watching worldwide via closed-circuit or on pay-tv. The media credentialed for fight week was close to 1,1000. It was the quintessential promotion of that time and the foundation on which mega fights are now promoted. And the result? It is as hotly debated today as it was 30 years ago when the judges’ scores were read that night. Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Leonard. Lou Fillippo scored it 115-113 for Hagler. Jo Jo Guerra scored it 118-110 for Leonard, making him the new middleweight champion, and completing one of the greatest career comebacks in boxing .
Even after ascending to the position of #1 contender in 1977, Marvin Hagler’s title shot was not forthcoming. His wait as the division’s top challenger – lasting over 2 years – became the longest in middleweight history.
Early on in Hagler’s career, heavyweight royalty, Joe Frazier, warned the young middleweight why promoters and their showpiece fighters would want nothing to do with him:
“You have three strikes against you: you’re black, you’re a southpaw and you’re good.”
Once again, Marvellous Marvin Hagler and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns would box under the bright lights of Las Vegas, this time together, on the same night, against dangerous opposition. It was almost a full year after these two warriors had gone to hell and back against one other, and the grand plan for promoter Bob Arum was to set up a Hagler-Hearns II. Fans got two thrilling fights for their money this night in 1986 – one ending via violently quick KO, the other being an absolute war of attrition – as a rematch of the greatest fight in history was in the works.
Former undisputed and long-reigning middleweight king Marvelous Marvin Hagler was lucky, in that he fought during a golden era that was literally cluttered with stars and big marquee names. There was The Marvelous one himself of course, and Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. Hagler fought them all, along with other attractive names like John Mugabi, and this served him well – money-wise and fame-wise.
It’s just over three decades old (31 years ago today to be exact) but no fight has surpassed the epic three-round war between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns since it took place in Las Vegas in 1985 – certainly no middleweight fight has topped “The War.” With seemingly reckless abandon, the two greats, who were at their peak at the time of the showdown, launched into one another. Fans, experts and even the commentators could barely do anything but watch in awe as the magnificent warfare unfolded.
There have always been debatable decisions in boxing and there will continue to be so. Yet when it comes to picking one fight that is sure to cause a very passionate debate on the subject of who should have been awarded the judges’ decision, there is one fight that is the big daddy of them all: Sugar Ray Leonard’s 12-round split decision victory over reigning and defending middleweight king Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
CANASTOTA, NY – FEBRUARY 22, 2016 – The International Boxing Hall of Fame announced today middleweight champion and 1993 Hall of Fame Inductee Marvelous Marvin Hagler will attend festivities planned for the 2016 Hall of Fame Induction Weekend June 9-12th in Canastota.
LAS VEGAS, NEV. (July 6, 2015) — Marvelous Marvin Hagler, whose spine-tingling 1985 victory over Thomas Hearns defined an era, announced Monday that he will return to Las Vegas to attend the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame’s third annual induction weekend.
There must be something boxing related about the town of Doncaster in south Yorkshire, UK. A few years back, Thomas Hearns and the equally legendary Roberto Duran visited the town on a hugely enjoyable after dinner speaking tour, and last night, Marvelous Marvin Hagler was in town on a speaking engagement of his own. That’s three of The Four Kings in the past four years to have rode into Doncaster.
Last night’s event was, well, marvellous. Hagler, still a formidable looking presence, posed for photos (hundreds of them), signed autographs and took to the microphone to speak about his legendary career – one that saw him become arguably the finest middleweight ruler in boxing history.