Sugar Ray Leonard was awarded a controversial split-decision when he fought Marvin Hagler for the Middleweight Championship of the World…..when Judge Dave Moretti scored it 115–113 for Leonard…. while judge Lou Filippo had it 115–113 for Hagler….and Judge José Guerra scored the fight 118–110 for Leonard. Many felt that Hagler deserved the decision because he was the aggressor and landed the harder punches…..as Scottish boxing journalist Hugh McIlvanney wrote that Leonard’s plan was to “steal rounds with a few flashy and carefully timed flurries…he was happy to exaggerate hand speed at the expense of power, and neither he nor two of the scorers seemed bothered by the fact that many of the punches landed on the champion’s gloves and arms.”
Official ringside judge Jose Guerra, whose 118–110 scorecard was derided in many quarters….said that “Leonard outpunched Hagler, outsmarted him, outboxed him. He looked just great. Sugar Ray Leonard was making him miss a lot, and then counterpunching him. Sugar Ray Leonard was beating him to the punch. They should call him Marvelous Sugar Ray Leonard. Boxing is the art of self defense, and Sugar Ray was in command at all times. He was very fast and he was very clever. He made Marving hagler come to him. He dictated the fight.”
To our way of thinking here at ImaSportsphile….jugde Jose Guerra did indeed see a fight that nobody else saw….as we believe HBO’s Larry Merchant hit the nail on the head…..and anyway, in boxing, we are from the school of thought that a challenger for a world title….has to TAKE the crown from the champ….by KO, TKO or serious facial disfigurement…..and Sugar Ray did not do that.