30 years on... Hagler vs Leonard

Boxing Monthly
06/04/2017 7:04pm

Thirty years ago today, Marvin Hagler faced Sugar Ray Leonard in the 13th defence of his middleweight world championship at Caesars Palace Outdoor Arena, Las Vegas. Sugar Ray's split decision victory by scores of 118-110, 115-113 and 113-115 divided the boxing world - and still does. Here the Boxing Monthly online team give their take on the ever controversial contest...

"I was thinking about the fight yesterday so I looked up my old scorecards and the last time I kept a score I actually gave it to Marvin 115-114, even though I felt as though Ray won it! It was mightily close which ever way you have it and I've scored more for Ray in the past with some really close and hard to score rounds. I might dig out my copy of the fight later and score it again!" - Danny Winterbottom

"I was just a twinkle in my parents' eyes at the time but I always felt Hagler won on the 'eye test' when I watched it after the fact." - James Oddy

1987 0330 SI cover Marvin Hagler Sugar Ray Leonard 006273687"This is one of the fights I remember watching with my old man as a kid. I suppose it must have been shown on delay in the UK but I didn't know any better. Like Danny, the last time I scored it I gave it to Hagler by a round. It's one of those fights which in retrospect is perfect: those of us in Hagler's camp can bitch and moan about the scores or the fight only being scheduled for twelve rounds. It also gave Hagler the perfect platform to walk off into the sunset before a young contender like Michael Nunn punched him there and provided yet another unlikely, iconic moment for Sugar Ray Leonard. I think I'll re-watch the fight again tonight too!" - Chris Williamson

"I think there's a Ward vs Kovalev comparison to be made here. A big stakes fight where the result was debated fiercely at the time and probably will be forever. For me both results were correct, Hagler vs Leonard, in particular; Hagler started too slow and Leonard dominated the first half of the fight, leaving Hagler with it all to do. I never quite got the outrage over the result - having watched it twice, it's Ray all day." - Callum Rudge

"Boy oh boy this was a close fight! I think I've scored it five or six times at various intervals over the years and had Hagler winning marginally more often than Sugar Ray! Hugh McIlvanney called Leonard's performance "an epic illusion" and most of the time I'm minded to agree with him! Although it was incredibly close I think Hagler just deserved the nod or, as McIlvanney also suggested I believe, perhaps it should have been a draw." - Luke G. Williams

"I'm a self-confessed Hagler fan, so the last time I scored this fight was about 20 years ago, but I remember trying to be honest with myself and score close rounds for Leonard. I still scored it 6-5-1 for Hagler. I'm 100 per cent on board with Hugh McIlvanney's logic: Hagler did the better work, but Ray did better than he was supposed to and got everything close, except by Jose Juan Guerra's judgement, where SRL got just about everything. [Guerra's scorecard was 118-110 in Leonard's favour]." - Martin Chesnutt