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Boxing – 1987 – HBOs Larry Merchant Reviews Rounds 9 Thru 12 Of Leonard Vs Hagler Title Fight


Round nine of the Sugar Ray Leonard Vs Marvin Hagler undisputed middleweight championship fight  was the most exciting round of the fight….as Hagler hurt Leonard with a left cross and pinned him in a corner….where Leonard looked to be in trouble….but he furiously fought his way out of the corner. The action see-sawed back and forth for the rest of the round….with each man having his moments. However, Hagler’s moments were more spectacular and one of Hagler’s cornermen….Roger Perron later stated that: “the ninth round was probably Marvin (Hagler)’s, best round”.  

Round ten was tame by comparison….as the pace slowed after the furious action of the previous round…. but with Hagler having more spectacular moments….but, despite Leonard’s obvious fatigue….he boxed well in the eleventh….for every time Hagler scored…. Leonard came back with something flashier and more eye-catching….if not as effective….but at that point in the fight….Hagler appeared to be slightly more ring-general and clearly more aggressive.

Between rounds eleven and twelve….Leonard’s trainer Angelo Dundee, implored Sugar Ray to get up off his stool yelling “We got three minutes…new champ…new champ!” ….as Leonard yelled “Yeah!” and played to the screaming crowd.  Hagler’s corner was much more reserved prompting Clancy to comment: “They’re talking to him like it’s an IBM meeting or something…no emotion.”  In the final round, Hagler continued to chase Leonard….when he hit Leonard with a big left hand and backed him into a corner. Leonard responded with a furious flurry….landing few punches but whipping the upset-hoping crowd into a frenzy. Hagler backed off, and Leonard danced away with Hagler in pursuit. The fight ended with Hagler and Leonard exchanging along the ropes. At the final bell, even uniformed ringside security rushed into the ring applauding and lauding Leonard’s effort.  Leonard threw 629 punches and landed 306, while Hagler threw 792 and landed 291. 

As we have said on numerous occasions here at ImaSportsphile….a challenger NEVER should win a decision over a champion for his title….if he doesn’t KO, TKO or seriously beat the champ into submission…..which Sugar Ray Leonard definitely did not do….so, in our opinion….Hagler should have retained his title.

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