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 .
Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) world champions ÓSCAR VALDEZ, GILBERTO “Zurdo” RAMIREZ and JESSIE MAGDALENO, as well as 2016 Olympic silver medalist SHAKUR STEVENSON, are headlining an exciting world championship tripleheader, and Stevenson’s pro debut, which will take place on Saturday, April 22, under the stars at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. It will be produced and distributed live on pay-per-view. Each fighter and his respective trainer took a break from training to watch a clean tape of the fight, minus audio and graphics, and score it. Here is who they thought won.
“Hagler was the aggressor and he wanted to fight. Leonard was moving a lot early but he would try to steal rounds with flurries at the end of every round. It was a good, tactical fight and both guys had their moments, but I felt that Hagler did enough to win the fight by a slight margin.”
Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramírez
“It was a very close fight, but I saw Leonard winning it. He boxed for twelve rounds, but he also stood his ground and exchanged with Hagler. His speed beat Hagler to the punch. Hagler was very strong and had better punching power, but Leonard had more resources. It Is one of the best fights I have seen.”
“I felt that Leonard controlled the pace of the fight and stayed with his boxing plan for the full 12 rounds. He never let Hagler get into the fight the way he wanted to and even though Hagler was aggressive, he was never able to display his trademark power and ferocity. It was a boxing match and it favored Leonard. A good close fight but I saw it for Leonard.” Leonard 116-112
The rounds Leonard won were clear cut and without question. The rounds I scored for Hagler were more of a pick ’em type — very close. Leonard was boxing beautifully and it was a classic case of the boxer vs. the brawler. Leonard’s boxing ability was the difference in the fight.”
Manny Robles, trainer for Valdez and Magdaleno
“The first four rounds were all Leonard. He dictated everything in those rounds while Hagler fought out of orthodox stance which I still don’t understand. I gave Hagler the fifth round and Leonard the sixth. Then Hagler started coming on sweeping the seventh and eighth rounds. The ninth round was even. Leonard won the tenth round. And Hagler won the last two rounds. Hagler just dug himself too deep a hole in the first four rounds.”
Héctor Zapari, trainer for Ramírez
“It was a great fight of great physical strain where both fighters showed great physical condition. It was a very even fight, but I saw Leonard winning by a small margin. He took Hagler’s power well and had better combinations when they were exchanging. His speed and boxing skills gave him the win in one of the best fights in boxing history.”
Kay Koroma, trainer for Stevenson
“It was a very close fight. I think if it was this era, Hagler would have won because he was the aggressor. There were times in the fight that Ray was boxing beautifully and then times that Hagler was teeing off on him. It was a great fight. I’ve watched it many, many times. Hagler was switching from southpaw to orthodox and the southpaw stance was working for him. It made it a little difficult for Ray because once Ray stopped using his legs, the southpaw stance started working better for Hagler. When Hagler started going to the body first, he was finding Ray a lot easier. I believe if Hagler had gone to the body earlier, he would have won because it would have taken Ray’s legs away.”
“I had the same score as Lou Fillippo. I thought Marvin won the fight.”