Thursday, January 22, 2009

Score it!... Leonard-Hagler (Part 2)

It's been more than twenty years since Ray Leonard's controversial twelve round split decision over Marvin Hagler, and fans are still arguing about who really won. Some say Leonard stole the title that night. Others maintain he was the worthy winner.

Today, our panel of Boxing Bulletin writers picks up where we left off yesterday, and offers up out scorecards for the final six rounds of that memorable fight.


"Leonard’s legs just can’t carry him the way they did earlier in the fight, and he’s forced to stand and fight at close range and just can’t do much to keep Hagler off him. Some nice body work from Hagler. He also mixed in some nice little hooks and uppercuts on the inside. Definitely the most effective round of the fight so far by either fighter. " - AF

"Hagler touched Leonard up; his right jab is landing repeatedly as Leonard tires. Ray has become increasingly more flat-footed, making the bout far more intriguing than it was in the early going." - MN

"Hagler finally starts getting his jab going and it leads to his best round of the night. Gets in several hooks and left hands along with solid body work." - ML


"Marvelous landed some brutal body punches." - MN

"Hagler fights his fight the majority of the round. Ray seems to need
to a breather at this point." - JV

"Easy round to score for Hagler." - LP


"Hagler has a full head of steam now and he hurt Leonard with a short left hand. Most of the round has Hagler drilling Ray with hard body and head shots on the ropes and Ray firing back with flashy flurries. Very exciting round. But I wouldn't call it a close one." - ML

"Marvin is really smacking Ray around now. 3 minutes of steady punishment interrupted by a few seconds of trickery." - LP

"Ray has a few shoeshines but nearly enough to overcome the beating he took." - JV


"Hagler's round due to rough inside work. Inside work that I'm not sure the judges took note of." - MN

"Marvin closed strong to take it." - ML

"I thought Hagler took it with some short shots at the end when Ray did nothing but hold on." - LP


"Leonard showed some true grit and gutted out this round, letting his hands go more than any other in the fight. Ray's round based on activity." - MN

"One of Leonard’s best rounds." - JV

"Leonard landed the harder punches. Amidst all the showboating that I didn't care for, he planted his feet and scored with hard shots, while Hagler pitter patted away." - ML

"If you give extra points for showboating, Ray takes it. But in terms of actual fighting, I thought they were dead even." - AF


"Not a whole lot happened in the final stanza. Hagler stalked and Leonard ran. Despite the courage SRL showed in the few rounds prior to this, boxing fans may have had a far more endearing image of how he performed in the fight if he finished strong. Then again, if he engaged he might have gotten dropped. Nevertheless, he decided to skip along the ropes showboating and gave Hagler the round." - MN

"All the effective stuff was done by Hagler. You can't win a round without fighting, and Leonard didn't do much of it." - AF

"Hagler's the only one who landed anything this round." - LP

"Ugh. Leonard just embarrasses Hagler. And Hagler embarrasses himself trying to out showboat Ray. Ray punctuates the whole night with the famous highlight reel shoeshine that wouldn’t have budged a 1st grader. But hey, Hagler let it happen." - JV

"Leonard didn't land everything in those flurries, but he landed more than Hagler. Marvin just followed him around the ring and let him out punch him off the ropes." - ML

To wrap it up...

Lee Payton and Andrew Fruman both scored the bout, 116-113 Hagler. Michael Nelson also had it for Hagler by a 115-113 tally, while Mark Lyons and Jon Vaci had Leonard as the winner by scores of 115-113 and 115-114.

Here are some of the ringside press scores:

As for the official cards, Leonard won by a 2-1 split verdict. Judge Dave Moretti called it 115-113 Leonard, while Lou Fillipo scored it for Hagler 115-113. Then of course there's Jose Guerra and his 118-110 card for Leonard.

Guerra scored rounds 7, 8 and 9 for Leonard. Both Moretti and Fillipo scored those for Hagler, as did the entire Boxing Bulletin panel. Our panel was in at least 80% agreement on 9 of the 12 rounds, 5 of which we had for Hagler.

How did you have it?

Did you agree with Moretti or Fillipo... or Guerra?

Part 1


Michael Nelson said...

This came together nicely. Good stuff.

I'm surprised so many in press row had it for Leonard. I guess the 'Hagler got robbed' crowd just grew louder over the years.

Anonymous said...

I thought the majority of people at the time thought that Leonard won. As much as i don't care for his flash flurries. He sat down on quite a few punches.

Just because Hagler has an unreal chin doesn't mean the full power shots don't count. The biggest misconception to me is that Marvin was landing hard shots throughout. He was throwing a lot of soft shots of his own for the majority of the night.

Marvin shouldn't have waited so long to get going. He shouldn't have given in on the twelve round limit or the circus tent ring. But he did and that isn't Leonard's problem.

Over those 12 rounds. the right man won.

Mark Lyons

Lee Payton said...

I can't see how that fight could be scored for Leonard.

It's pretty easy for me... one guy threw more, landed more, landed harder, did more damage and pressed the fight throughout.

That's good enough for me.

I can't see any argument for giving Ray 7 rounds. This is professional boxing.

Truly one of the strangest nights in boxing history.

Anonymous said...

I can't see anyway to give Hagler 7 rounds. I watched it several times years ago. My card is always 7-5 Leonard. This led me to watch again and not a thing has changed. I don't find it controversial or difficult to score. Leonard won that fight. 8-4 Leonard was within reason. A draw wouldn't have been outrageous. But a Hagler victory would have been wrong.

Mark Lyons

Andy said...

Of the rounds I felt a little unsure over, I would have had to give them all to Leonard just to give him a draw.

Plus, of the rounds I felt either fighter conclusively won, Hagler's were more definitive.

Hagler won. At least he deserved to.

Anonymous said...

Good work guys. I have always had this fight 7-5 Leonard and it is just one of those fights I watch once or twice a year these days with the internet and saw when it came on live. I think the biggest mistake people make is thinking Leonard isn't doing anything but shoe shining and his shot are not hard which is a fallacy. The 6th and 9th rounds are my faves of this fight. Leonard really manned up in those rounds and basically took Hagler to school to eek out a close decision. Maybe you guys could do DLH/Mosely 2 or something like that next. Very enjoyable read.


DD said...

I just had trouble shaking the perception that Ray was fighting his fight more often than Hagler was fighting his fight.

Sex Machine said...

Leonard won this bout. He outsmarted Hagler. Got in his head well before the fight started. Brain over brawn.