Monday, April 06, 2015

THIS DATE IN HISTORY: Marvelous Marvin Hagler X Sugar Ray Leonard (Apr 6, 1987)

Photo Credit:
Click for larger resolution picture.

28 years ago on this date of Apr 6, 1987 ... 

Sugar Ray Leonard, after a 3 year layoff, stunned the world and won a controversial split decision to take the WBC and The Ring's Middleweight Championship Belts from Marvelous Marvin Hagler.


  • Marvelous Marvin Hagler 62-2-2 (52 KOs) vs Sugar Ray Leonard (33-1, 24 KOs)
  • Leonard vs Hagler is one of the most publicized and controversial bouts ever
  • Hagler was a 3 to 1 favorite.
  • Talk about Ring Rust - Sugar Ray retired in 1982, came back for one bout in 1984 before retiring again. This was Leonard's first bout in 3 years and only his second in 5 years.
  • 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."
  • 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, instead of 15), and the size of the ring (20-feet) .
  • 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 had never boxed as a middleweight, having previously campaigned in and won titles at jr middleweight and welterweight
  • Hagler at ~32 years old was slightly past his prime while Leonard, at 29, had ring rust from retirement
  • Marvin Hagler Landed 291 punches and threw 792 (37%); Sugar Ray Leonard Landed 306 punches and threw 629 (49%)
  • 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."
  • Hagler announced his retirement on June 13, 1988 and, unlike Leonard, stayed retired.
  • Hagler vs. Leonard was The RING Magazine's Fight of the Year and Upset of the Year for 1987. It was later named "Upset of the Decade."

Are you ready? Enjoy!

Copied from


28 years ago today….I came out of retirement to defeat The Marvelous Marvin Hagler. It would be my first fight in 35 months and one of my proudest achievements in the ring. Many had doubts that I can come out of retirement and fight such an amazing fighter, yet I never stopped believing in myself. People thought I was crazy, and believed that I would take a beating from him. 

I never stopped believing in myself. I never stopped working my training my hardest. I never wanted something so bad. You can never underestimate the heart of a fighter. Here’s a video of that fight to help motivate you this Monday!

For more information:

For other posts on Sugar Ray Leonard:

NOTE:  My sincerest thanks to my friend Mentoir K. for the reminder!



back to top
Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps