Roberto Duran Says He Still Feels He Won The Marvin Hagler Fight

By James Slater - 07/18/2023 - Comments

As fight fans know all too well, the great, the beloved Marvelous Marvin Hagler passed away in 2021, at the far too young age of just 66. With Hagler’s passing, the boxing world was left with three remaining “Kings,” – Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. Celebrated like no other foursome in the long history of boxing, the “Four Kings” lit up the sport over the course of a decade, their epic fights to live in the memory for as long as there is a sport called boxing.

Duran, who just might have been the most naturally gifted boxer/fighter/warrior of the four, is still shocked and saddened over the way Hagler died, this when he seemed to be in fine health, with many years ahead of him. But although he both misses and respects Hagler, Duran – who lost a razor-thin decision to Hagler in November of 1983; the scores after 15 rounds being 146-145, 144-143 and 142-141, all for Hagler – still feels he beat him.

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Speaking with ProBoxTV, all-time great Duran said he feels “in his heart,” that he won the Hagler fight.

“I still feel in my heart that I won the fight against Marvin Hagler,” Duran told Kieran Mulvaney. “Nobody wanted to fight Marvin because he was knocking off everyone. And this journalist said to me, ‘Roberto, why would you want to fight Marvin? He’s going to knock you out.’ I said, ‘Why? I’m young, I’m strong, he’s not going to knock me out. That bald head won’t beat me.’ And I feel like I won.”

The fight, more a chess-match than a slugfest, with both Hagler and Duran showing their skills more so than their toughness, ruthlessness and their punching power, was in truth no real classic – certainly not in comparison to the other unforgettable wars that were served up by the “Four Kings,” the Hagler-Hearns shoot-out, the Leonard-Hearns classic from 1981 and the forever debated Leonard-Hagler battle being among the greatest fights in history. But no fight involving the “Four Kings” was to be missed.

And again, Hagler-Duran was thisclose. It really was. Indeed, on paper, had the fight been a 12 rounder, Hagler would have lost his title, Marvelous having come on strong in the late rounds to just scrape the win.

A while back, this writer was fortunate enough to be able to ask Duran about the Hagler fight, and “Hands of Stone” said he always wanted a return go at Marv.

“I would really have liked a second fight with Hagler,” Duran told me. “In fact, he promised me one but he never gave it. I watched his fights [that he had] after our fight, when he fought [Juan] Roldan and [Mustafa] Hamsho. I knew I could beat him. I had him figured out….the way he would switch from orthodox to southpaw. He preferred fighting as a southpaw and in a rematch I would have been ready for him.”

We will never know if Duran could have improved on his showing from 1983, or if Hagler could have done so. There was no real clamour for a return fight between the two but it is true the decision could very easily have gone either way. It’s nowhere near as controversial or as hotly debated as the decision Leonard was awarded in his fight with Hagler, but Hagler WU15 Duran perhaps runs it a close second.