The Rematch That Never Happened: Marvin Hagler – Roberto Duran II

On this day back in 1983, two all-time greats collided in a genuine super-fight. Each a distinguished member of “The Four Kings,” Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran faced each other in a fascinating clash of styles and personalities. Both men were of course looked at as genuine tough guys, hardened ring warriors, yet Hagler and Duran were also highly skilled ring technicians.

Together, the defending world middleweight champion and the former world lightweight and welterweight king (who had recently rejuvenated his career with a win over Davey Moore, the savage beating “Hands of Stone” laid on Moore seeing him win a belt at 154 pounds) gave us a chess-match type affair, not a thrilling action bout. And the 15 round battle of wits that went all the way was mighty close.

In fact, Duran – who was ahead by a point on two cards after the 13th round and was all level with Hagler on the third card – lost by razor-thin scores of 146-145, 144-143, and 144-142. In theory, had the fight been set for 12 rounds, Duran would have won.

Imagine, the great Duran as undisputed middleweight ruler! If you want proof of how truly great, how magnificently special Duran was, you need look no further than the fight that took place in Las Vegas 38 years ago today. Duran pushed the man many fans and experts say is the greatest middleweight of them all, and he pushed him hard enough and close enough to have perhaps deserved the win.

Would it have been a robbery if Duran had been awarded the decision over Hagler? The fight was certainly close enough for a return meeting to have taken place, and Duran said Hagler promised him one. Duran, speaking to this writer a couple of years back, spoke about the Hagler fight and he explained how he had “figured him out” and was certain he would have beaten him in a rematch.

“I would really have liked a second fight with Hagler,” Duran said. “In fact, he promised me one but he never gave me it. I watched his fights after our fight, when he fought (Juan Domingo) Roldan and (Mustafa) Hamsho. I knew I could beat him. I had figured him 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.”

How would a rematch between these two have gone had it happened? Would Duran have improved on his performance in the first fight, or might Hagler have “figured out” Duran and in so doing would have topped his showing? The 15 rounds these two legends gave us serve as a real textbook for all students of the sport. Neither man mastered the other and the fight is close enough for debate.

Hagler often said he didn’t trust the judges in Vegas, that they never gave him the credit he deserved in a close fight. But when it comes to this fight, Duran is the fighter who left town feeling hard done by. Many Hagler fans argue, to this day, how their hero was robbed in the Sugar Ray Leonard fight. Do Duran fans have a similar right to complain on behalf of their hero when it comes to the 1983 fight? Maybe.

Ask yourself, which fight was closer – Hagler Vs. Duran or Hagler Vs. Leonard??

19 thoughts on “The Rematch That Never Happened: Marvin Hagler – Roberto Duran II”

  1. Hagler won the Duran fight going away. In the latter rounds Hagler displayed his prisoner of the gym mentality to just plain outwork Duran.

    I also think Hagler won the Sugar Ray fight but the press and the judges worshipped Leonard.

  2. I get it that Leonard is not the most likable guy with a lot of people but I saw that fight 3 times including last year and Sugar Ray won. Marvin was a step slow and not aggressive enough. I haven’t seen the Duran fight but need to. I was a young man and had better things to do;)

  3. Without Leonard , Hagler would not have that big payday. Ray was the money man he was the one that wanted the 12 round fight. If he didn’t get what he wanted there wouldn’t have been a fight, that’s why Hagler gave him what he wanted.

  4. I agree that Hagler edged the decision against an old Duran out of his prime and weight class. Just think of a Duran at his prime and a full fledged middle weight. Then he would have ruled the 4 kings!

  5. Duran did not belong middleweight , I don’t know really though. It is like these guys win the title and then find a really good restaurant and can’t stop going up in weights ,

  6. Hagler pulled out a close decision over Duran by finishing stronger over the final three rounds. And, though I felt Hagler deserved the nod over Leonard, he screwed himself by giving away the first 3-4 rounds.

  7. I wanted Duran to win, and had him slightly ahead after 12 rounds, but Hagler pulled it out the last three rounds. I also think Hagler deserved the nod over Leonard, but he gave away the first 3 or 4 rounds, making the fight too close to call. Plus, Hagler’s people made big mistakes by agreeing to 12 rounds (vs 15) and a larger ring.

    • I watch this at a cinema via satellite and it was really close.
      My opinion after the fight was
      Duran was in front, but the last 2 rounds Marvelous finished the stronger and got the decision.
      But it wasn’t the all out battle everyone expected. This fight between 2 of the all time Greats
      was tactical, with each boxer trying to out think the other. There was so much ring craft from these 2 Greats and I saw it live and can still look back to remember 2 Superstars of the hardest game.

  8. Still the MARVELOUS ONE doesn’t get the respect he earned and deserves! Marvin MARVELOUS Hagler the GREATEST Middle Weight ! Rest in peace GREAT ONE!

  9. It was a great fight, and Hagler did win. The older Duran got tired in the last two rounds and Hagler came on strong to get the win, but it was very, very close. Overall it was the best display of boxing skill I’ve ever seen, with each fighter measuring, rolling, ducking and slipping the awesome punching power of the other. Each fighter was in the mind of the other. Hagler later said it was his favorite match.

  10. No body wanted to fight Hagler till Duran showed that he was beatable. Golden age of boxing. Miss those great fights in all divisions

    • Still! The Marvelous one doesn’t get the respect he earned and deserves! Rest in Peace Marvelous one! You will ALWAYS be the GREATEST MIDDLE WEIGHT in my book!

    • I scored the Leonard hagler fight three times, and even the rounds that I called even I gave to hagler and I still had Leonard coming out of the fight winning

  11. A great time for boxing…in my opinion Hagler wins v.s. Leanord.
    Or perhaps a draw
    It was close..and vs Duran the call was correct..A great time for the sport
    And I was lucky to witness it when it happened….

  12. Hagler was the belt holder for the middleweight crown when he battled Duran and Leanord both fights were worthy of praise and certainly close . My opinion Hagler wins out…But what a time for boxing..
    And in reality we all won..

  13. Hagler would have beaten Sugar Ray Robinson too. Hagler was the greatest Middleweight of all time. The tougher the fight got, the tougher Hagler got. Nobody wanted to fight John “the best” Mugabi in his prime, yet Hagler went in deep, and was more man in the end in coming out on top. Nobody wanted to fight Tommy Hearns in his prime, and they gave us all out the greatest 3 rounds in Boxing history. Lay it on the line, and see who’s best.

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