Marvin Hagler vs. Sugar Ray Leonard
1987-04-06 : Sugar Ray Leonard 158 lbs beat Marvin Hagler 158½ lbs by SD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Caesars Palace, Outdoor Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
- Referee: Richard Steele
- Judge: Jose Juan Guerra 118-110
- Judge: Lou Filippo 113-115
- Judge: Dave Moretti 115-113
- Leonard decided to challenge Hagler after watching his fight with John Mugabi on March 10, 1986. "I was at ringside," Leonard said, "sitting with Michael J. Fox. We were sitting there having a few beers, and I'm watching John "The Beast" Mugabi outbox Hagler. Of all people, John "The Beast" Mugabi. Now, I had had a few beers, and I said, 'Michael, Michael, I can beat Hagler.' And he said, 'Ray, do you want another beer?' I said, 'Yes I do, but I can beat Hagler.'"
- On May 1, 1986, Leonard was interviewed on WDVM-TV in Washington D.C. and made his desire to come back and fight Hagler public. "I know exactly what it takes to beat the man," Leonard said. At the time, Hagler was vacationing on a private yacht in the Caribbean. Hagler did not comment on Leonard's challenge until July 2, when he held a press conference and said he was considering retirement and didn't know if he would fight Leonard or anyone else.
- On August 18, Hagler announced that he would fight Leonard, and the fight was officially announced at a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan on November 3, 1986.
- Hagler was guaranteed $12 million. He was also working on a percentage deal, and promoter Bob Arum said, "Hagler is assured of at least $15 million" and could earn much more. Leonard was guaranteed $11 million and had 50% of the closed circuit television rights in the Baltimore-Washington area. After Leonard agreed to let Hagler have the larger purse, Hagler agreed to let Leonard choose the gloves (ten-ounce Reyes), the number of rounds (12), and the size of the ring (20-foot) .
- Hagler had made twelve defenses of the Undisputed World Middleweight Championship, which he won on September 27, 1980, and he had not lost a fight in eleven years.
- Leonard. who had never boxed as a middleweight, had not fought in three years and had just one fight in the previous five years.
- Leonard had retired in 1982 after suffering a detached retina. Many feared for his safety and did not believe that he should be allowed to fight. Dr, Ferdie Pacheco stated, "This match endangers the eyesight of Leonard, as well as his life, and makes a mockery of the credibility of any boxing commission that sanctions it."
- Hagler and Leonard fought for the WBC title only. The WBA stripped Hagler for not fighting Herol Graham, their top-ranked contender. The IBF did not strip Hagler but refused to sanction the fight and said the title would be declared vacant if Hagler should lose to Leonard.
- Hagler was a 3 to 1 favorite.
- The fight was shown live on pay-per-view and on closed circuit television at between 1,500 and 1,600 locations, with about three million seats, in the United States and Canada. The fight was also televised in over 75 other countries.
- A crowd of 15,336 produced a gate of $7.9 million at Caesars Palace.
- The split decision in favor of Leonard was very controversial. Judge Jose Guerra's score of 118-110 in favor of Leonard was heavily criticized. "JoJo Guerra should be put in jail," Pat Petronelli, Hagler's co-trainer, said. Harry Gibbs of England was originally scheduled to be a judge, but the Hagler camp objected. They said they believed English judges favor boxers and requested a Mexican judge, so the commission replaced Gibbs with Guerra. Watching the fight at home two weeks later, Gibbs scored the fight for Hagler.
- After the decision was announced, Leonard told the crowd that he would see them "six months and fifteen pounds later," implying that he would next fight WBC light heavyweight champion Thomas Hearns. Later, Leonard said he "was only joking."
- Bob Arum and rival promoter Don King, who was just a spectator at the bout, got into a shoving match when Arum prevented King from entering the ring after the fight. They were separated by security. "That man had nothing to do with this fight," Arum said. "There was no way he belonged in the ring."
- There was talk of a rematch, but it never happened. Seth Abraham, who was president of HBO Sports, said, "Marvin made it very clear — he thought he was jobbed and he was never going to fight again. And he never did. There were conversations, but they were never at the level of negotiations."
- Leonard announced his retirement on May 27, 1987, but he left open the possibility of another comeback. "You guys know me," he said. Leonard returned to the ring nineteen months later.
- Hagler announced his retirement on June 13, 1988, after watching his half-brother, Robbie Sims, lose to WBA middleweight champion Sumbu Kalambay. Unlike Leonard, Hagler stayed retired.
- Hagler vs. Leonard was named The Ring magazine Fight of the Year and Upset of the Year for 1987. It was later named "Upset of the Decade."
- Associated Press: 117-112 Hagler
- Baltimore Sun: 7-5 in rounds Leonard
- Boston Globe: 117-111 Leonard
- Boston Herald 116-113 Leonard
- Chicago Sun-Times: 115-114 Hagler
- Chicago Tribune: 7-5 in rounds Hagler
- HBO, Harold Lederman: 115-113 Leonard
- Houston Chronicle: 115-114 Leonard
- KO Magazine: 118-111 Leonard
- New York Daily News: 117-111 Leonard
- New York Post: 114-114
- New York Times: 114-114
- Newsday: 115-114 Hagler
- Oakland Tribune: 117-112 Leonard
- The Ring magazine: 115-113 Leonard
- San Jose Mercury-News: 116-115 Hagler
- Washington Post: 114-114
- The Palm Beach Post - July 3, 1986
- Star-News - April 5, 1987
- The Vindicator - April 8, 1987
- Sports Illustrated - April 13, 1987
- Grantland - September 22, 2011
Hagler vs. Mugabi
| WBC Middleweight Title Fight
Hearns vs. Roldan