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Tevin Farmer, Katie Taylor Win and Entertain in Showcase Bouts in Philadelphia

Bernard Fernandez

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Tevin Farmer vs. Jono Carroll

PHILADELPHIA – Once upon a time, a major manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel orchestrated a national television advertising campaign with the message that “Chicks dig the long ball,” a reference to baseball that holds that home runs are sexier than mere singles.

That still is so in baseball, and is even more the case in boxing, where fighters with the ability to turn out the lights on an opponent with a single shot – Mike Tyson being a prime example – almost always command a higher level of public interest than tacticians with lesser voltage in their punches. But there are some boxing maestros who seldom go deep, in baseball vernacular, but nonetheless have demonstrated an ability to entertain with a wide array of ring skills.

Cases in point: Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather Jr., who bewitched, bothered and bewildered opponents through the use of superior footwork, hand speed, defense and precision punching. They became rich and famous despite relatively low KO percentages, presenting the counter argument that chicks – guys, too – can appreciate pugilistic artistry as well as annihilation.

It remains to be seen whether IBF super featherweight champion Tevin Farmer (29-4-1, 6 KOs) can ever match “Sweetpea” or “Money” in terms of accomplishment or crowd appeal, but the 28-year-old southpaw from North Philadelphia strengthened the case for himself as a headliner with an entertaining unanimous decision over gritty Irish challenger Jono Carroll (16-1-1, 3 KOs) in the DAZN-streamed main event here Friday night at the Liacouras Center on the Temple University campus.

“Tevin has worked himself into a position where he’s a valuable commodity in the American fight game,” said Matchroom Sports’ Eddie Hearn, who, along with Lou DiBella, co-promote the prolific singles hitter who extended his winning streak to 22 bouts, albeit with a hotly disputed points loss to Japan’s Kenichi Ogawa that was changed to a no-contest when Ogawa failed a post-fight drug test. Only five of Farmer’s victories have come inside the distance during his six-year ascent from a nondescript 7-4-1 start to his pro career.

An enthusiastic, international turnout of approximately 4,600 spectators – exact attendance figures were not announced – voiced its approval not only of Farmer-Carroll, but of the two other fights streamed by DAZN, in which Ireland’s Katie Taylor (13-0, 6 KOs), arguably the world’s finest female fighter, retained her WBA and IBF lightweight championships while adding the WBO title held by Brazil’s Rose Volante on a ninth-round stoppage, and Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs) survived a late-round assault from Philadelphia veteran Gabe Rosado (24-12-1, 14 KOs) to capture the vacant WBO Intercontinental middleweight belt on a unanimous decision.

It was an overall good night for boxing, with several non-televised bouts on the nine-fight card – which featured participants from eight countries – also engaging in scraps that stirred the passions of the in-house audience.

“I want to thank Philadelphia because that was a f—— hell of a show,” Hearn said. “The Philly guys came out, the Irish came out, the Polish came out. It was just a great feeling all night, from top to bottom.”

Not too shabby, considering that the very good DAZN card will be overshadowed by Saturday night’s megafight in which IBF welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr. will defend against future Hall of Famer Mikey Garcia in Arlington, Texas, and maybe even by Sunday afternoon’s St. Patrick’s Day card in Madison Square Garden topped by popular Irish featherweight Michael Conlan against Ruben Garcia Hernandez.

If there was anything to be disappointed about in Philly, it was the lack of coverage by the city’s two major newspapers and web site, which did not send any reporters from its offices located just a few miles away from the Liacouras Center. Maybe the fight card got lost on an extremely busy local sports day that included the Eagles’ latest moves in free agency, the Phillies in spring training with newly signed superstar Bryce Harper, the 76ers winning at home against the Sacramento Kings, the Flyers losing a high-scoring contest on the road against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and defending NCAA basketball champion Villanova and Temple playing in their respective conference tournaments.  Still, for a town that has long prided itself as being America’s hottest of boxing hotbeds, the snub might not portend well for more such shows finding their way back here.

Carroll, who had at the insistence of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission trimmed a jet-black beard that would have done Rip Van Winkle proud, promised to give a spirited effort, and he did just that. Punch statistics revealed that he landed 294 of 1,227, the latter number third highest all-time for super featherweights since such statistics have been tallied. He elected to make the fight at close range from the opening bell, with a furious body assault designed to wear Farmer down.

But Carroll – who landed exactly 10 more punches than Farmer, despite throwing an astounding 404 more – wound up wearing himself down more than the champion, who had enough gas left in the tank to clearly hurt and nearly finish off the Irishman in the 11th round. After another big round for Farmer in the 12th, the scores were read: 117-111 (twice) and 117-110, a just decision but by wider margins than some veteran observers at ringside had it.

Asked if he thought he might have taken Carroll out with his 11th-round barrage, which included more doubles than singles, Farmer said, “When I seen him hurt, I thought I could. But I messed my hand up in, like, the fourth round. It’s swollen.

“But I had to push through it. I knew a guy at this level was not going to be easy. You got to keep pushing, and you got to be in shape to go 12. I’m a tough guy. It’s going to take a lot to stop me.”

Carroll, whose puffy face was indicative of his hard night on the job, confirmed that he had to dig deep to make it through the 11th round in which Farmer landed 36 of 67 power shots. “Obviously, I was hurt,” he said. “Me balance was off. Mentally, I was all right. Mentally I was with it. But I had never experienced that before, so me legs were all over the place, you know what I mean?

“But it’s good to overcome those things so you can come back stronger. Next time when it happens I’ll know how to deal with it. Boxing is all about pushing yourself to the limit every single time. If you’re not pushing yourself in the boxing world, what’s the point of being in this sport? I don’t want to fight average people. I want to fight the best in the world.”

DiBella credited Carroll with providing Farmer, who had said beforehand that he was winning fights too easily, with a much-needed trial by combat. “I know what kind of fighter I have in Tevin Farmer, but this guy gave a blueprint of what you do when you get a chance to fight for a world title,” DiBella said, nodding toward Carroll. “You give 110 percent of what you have.”

Next up for Farmer, if he has anything to say about it, will be a unification showdown with WBA super featherweight titlist Gervonta Davis (21-0, 20 KOs). But if that fight can’t be made quickly, Hearn and DiBella won’t hesitate to put Farmer in with whoever’s available and willing.

“That’s the fight that will secure Tevin’s legacy in this sport, not just his financial legacy,” Hearn said of the prospect of the most attractive 130-pound title bout that can be made at this time. “Tevin’s had three world championships defenses in four months. Tank’s (Davis) had three world championship fights in five years.”

Women’s boxing in the United States is still attempting to break that figurative glass ceiling, but it is much more popular in Europe and Taylor, a 2012 London Olympics gold medalist, is a really big deal in her home country, and apt to be even bigger after the way she systematically dismantled the previously unbeaten Volante. Taylor’s Irish fans, many draped in Ireland’s green, white and orange flags, cheered her rapid-fire combinations as if they were at a U2 concert.

“I think she brought the best out of me tonight,” Taylor said of the valiant but outclassed Volante. “It was definitely a great showcase for women’s boxing.”

Taylor has big plans for the remainder of 2019. She hopes to add the fourth and final slice of the women’s 135-pound title pie by enticing WBC champion Delfine Persoon (43-1, 18 KOs) of Belgium into a June 1 bout, on the undercard of IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s defense against Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller in Madison Square Garden. Further down the road might be high-visibility, catchweight clashes with undisputed welterweight champ Cecilia Braekhus (35-0, 9 KOs) and Amanda Serrano (36-1-1, 27 KOs).

The first of the three DAZN-streamed fights also was action-packed. Sulecki floored the 33-year-old Rosado in the first and eighth rounds to build a sizable points lead, but Rosado, a two-time challenger for world titles, roared back to register two knockdowns himself in the ninth round and was still firing desperation bombs in the 10th and final round, narrowing the gap on the scorecards.

In other bouts:

*Welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov (6-0, 3 KOs), a gold medalist for Kazakhstan at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, fought for the first time with new trainer Cory Spinks in his corner and won his first scheduled eight-rounder on a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Silverio Ortiz (37-24, 18 KOs).

*”Cool Hand” Luke Campbell (20-2, 16 KOs), a lean southpaw from Hull, England, and the WBC’s No. 1-rated lightweight, had the hot hand in stopping Adrian Young (26-6-2, 20 KOs) of Mexico in five rounds.

*In an all-Philly lightweight matchup, Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs) scored an entertaining 10-round draw over “Hammerin’” Hank Lundy (29-8-1, 14 KOs), who came out in a green-and-white ensemble decorated with his hometown Eagles’ logo.

*Super middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (20-0, 13 KOs), of Temple Hills, Md., looked sharp in stopping Mexico’s Victor Fonseca (17-10-1, 14 KOs) in five rounds.

*Raymond Ford, a 2018 National Golden Gloves titlist from Camden, N.J., just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, turned pro with a four-round unanimous decision over Weusi Johnson (3-11), of Wilmington, Del.

*Irish-born John Joe Nevin (12-0, 4 KOs), a lightweight now based in Philly, took a six-round unanimous decision over Andres Figueroa (9-4, 5 KOs) of Colombia in a walk-out bout after the main event.

Bernard Fernandez is the retired boxing writer for the Philadelphia Daily News. He is a five-term former president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, an inductee into the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame and the recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism and the Barney Nagler Award for Long and Meritorious Service to Boxing.

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Three Punch Combo: An Early Look at Inoue-Donaire and Under the Radar Fights

Matt Andrzejewski

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Inoue vs Donaire

THREE PUNCH COMBO — This past Saturday, Naoya Inoue (18-0, 16 KO’s) punched his ticket to the bantamweight final in the World Boxing Super Series when he impressively knocked out Emmanuel Rodriguez in the second round of their scheduled 12-round fight. The win sets up a showdown with veteran Nonito Donaire (40-5, 26 KO’s) who punched his ticket to the final with an impressive knockout of Stephon Young last month.

As expected, Inoue has opened as a monstrous favorite in the betting markets. While this suggests a one-sided wipeout, I have some other thoughts.

Inoue is pound for pound one of, if not the, hardest puncher in the sport today and put that power on full display in his destruction of Rodriguez in the semi-finals. But having enormous power does not make him indestructible.

In watching that fight against Rodriguez, there were clearly flaws on display on the defensive side of Inoue’s game. For one, Inoue does not move his head at all and as such can be hit. Rodriguez landed several clean punches on Inoue in the first round. And Inoue frequently keeps his hands low looking to bait opponents into throwing to set up counter opportunities. It has worked so far but could be something he pays for down the road.

Donaire is a smart and skilled fighter and though he is 36, his last few fights have shown that he still has plenty left in the tank. Moreover, he possesses one thunderous left hook and has always been at his best when fighting below 122. He has all the capabilities to expose Inoue’s flaws and a left hook that can alter the course of a fight as we have seen him doing plenty of times in the past.

Unlike a lot of people, I do not consider Donaire to be another layup for Inoue. There is real danger in this fight for Inoue if he does not make changes to his game. Donaire has starched big punching rising stars before and I would not discount his chances to expose the significant defensive flaws in Inoue’s game.

 Under The Radar Fight

Boxing returns to ESPN on Saturday with a card from Kissimmee, FL headlined by 130- pound champion Masayuki Ito (25-1-1, 13 KO’s) who is making the second defense of his title against former US Olympian Jamel Herring (19-2, 10 KO’s). While I think this should be an excellent fight, the co-feature, which is flying deep under the radar, should be even better.

In this fight, former two division world champion Jose Pedraza (25-2, 12 KO’s) makes his return to the ring after losing his lightweight title to Vasiliy Lomachenko in December to face Antonio Lozada (40-2-1, 34 KO’s). Given their respective styles, this fight at the very least will provide plenty of sustained action.

Appropriately nicknamed “The Sniper,” Pedraza at his best is a precision puncher. A boxer-puncher by trade, he uses subtle movement inside the ring to create angles that are used to land sharp power shots on his opposition. He is also a very good inside fighter and will shift around on the inside to once again set up just the right angle to land his power shots with maximum efficiency. But despite being a good inside fighter, Pedraza has a tendency to stay in the pocket a bit too long which leaves him open to getting hit.

Lozada is best known for his upset TKO win against one-time blue-chip prospect Felix Verdejo in March of 2018. However, he failed to build momentum off that win and is coming off a lackluster split draw his last time out to 12-7-1 journeyman Hector Ruben Ambriz Suarez.

Lozada certainly does not have the technical proficiency of Pedraza. He is slow and plodding. But what he does bring to the table is relentless pressure combined with a high volume of punches. He will press forward, recklessly at times, winging punches consistently hoping to wear down his opposition through attrition.  As such, he tends to get hit a lot and can be involved in shootouts.

Cleary, Pedraza is the more skilled fighter, but given Lozada’s all-offensive mindset as well as Pedraza’s willingness to stay in the pocket, the leather is all but guaranteed to be flying from the opening bell. Neither are big punchers either so I suspect we see a fight that goes rounds providing many exciting exchanges and one that could certainly steal the show on Saturday.

Another Under The Radar Fight

Also on Saturday, Fox Sports 1 will televise a card from Biloxi, MS featuring a crossroads fight between former 154-pound champion Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KO’s) and former US Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO’s). But it is another 154-pound fight on the undercard that is receiving almost no coverage that I want to highlight. It pits Chordale Booker (14-0, 7 KO’s) against Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KO’s).

Booker turned pro in 2016 after a successful amateur career and has kept up a fairly busy schedule. He is coming off a dominating 8-round unanimous decision over veteran Juan De Angel in January and now is taking a big jump up in his caliber of opposition in facing Omotoso.

Booker, a southpaw, likes to press forward behind a stinging right jab. He possesses elite level hand speed and likes to use that jab to set up quick power punching combinations. Booker is also an excellent counter puncher and possesses a very potent right hook coming from that southpaw stance. He will often hold his left low to bait his opponents into opening up to set up counter opportunities. However, he has also been clipped by his share of left hooks fighting in this manner and this is something he will need to tighten up against Omotoso. So just how will Booker respond to Omotoso’s pressure and heavy handed body attack? Depending on the answer, we will either see Booker step up to the next level or get exposed. And that’s what makes this fight so intriguing to me

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Serhii Bohachuk KOs Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez in Hollywood

David A. Avila

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in Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.-Super welterweight prospect Serhii Bohachuk got his first taste of upper tier boxing from Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez and gave him his best Sunday punch to win by knockout.

Bohachuk (14-0, 14 KOs) showed the excited Hollywood crowd he’s more than ready for former world title challengers like Hernandez (34-11, 22 KOs) or maybe even the current contenders with an exuberant display of pressure fighting at the Avalon Theater.

The smiling Ukrainian fighter has been steadily attracting fans to the 360 Promotions fight cards.

Trained by Abel Sanchez, the lanky and pale Bohachuk – whose nickname “El Flaco” fits perfectly – always moved forward against Mexico City’s Hernandez who has made a reputation of being crafty despite the strength of competition. With Bohachuk constantly applying pressure the Mexican fighter used the first round to touch and feel his way around the Ukrainian bomber.

In the second round a sharp counter right floored Hernandez who quickly got up and resumed the contest. It looked like the end was near until Hernandez caught Bohachuk with a solid right cross. It was a warning shot well heeded by Bohachuk.

Both fighters exchanged vigorously in the third round with the Ukrainian fighter’s youth a definite advantage. Hernandez was able to display his fighting tools more effectively in the third round but could it be enough?

Bohachuk was clearly the heavier-handed fighter but was finding it difficult to connect solidly against the Mexican veteran. But in the fifth round Bohachuk lowered his gun sights and targeted the body with a left hook that dropped Hernandez.  The fight was stopped by referee Wayne Hedgepeth at 1:40 of the fifth round.

Other Bouts

A battle of super featherweights saw Rialto, California’s Adrian Corona (5-0) rally from behind to defeat Florida’s Canton Miller (3-3-1) by split decision after six rounds.

Corona had problems with Miller’s speed in the first two rounds and was unable to track the moving fighter’s direction. But in the third round Corona began to apply more aggressive measures against Miller and was especially effective with lead rights. The momentum changed quickly.

Miller switched from orthodox to southpaw and it served to pause Corona’s momentum, but he seldom scored with solid blows. Though Miller landed quick soft blows, Corona was landing with strong shots and convinced two of the three judges that he was the winner by 58-56 twice. A third judge saw Miller the victor by the same score 58-56.

“It’s not my job to judge the judges,” said Miller. “It’s my job to just fight.”

Corona was happy with the victory.

“I could have put the pressure on him a little more,” said Corona. “It was a very technical fight and he put on a great fight.”

Other Bouts

George Navarro (6-0-1, 2 KOs) knocked out Cesar Sustaita (3-5) with a perfect overhand right that disabled the senses and forced referee Raul Caiz Jr. to halt the fight at 1:37 of the first round.

“I worked hard to prepare for this fight,” said Navarro.

A super bantamweight clash saw Humberto Rubalcava (10-1, 7 KOs) knock out Daniel Constantino (3-3-2) and win by knockout after a flurry of a dozen blows went unanswered. Referee Angel Mendez stopped the battering at 1:39 of the first round.

Photo credit: Al Applerose

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Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler Stood Tall in an Era of Epic Battles

Rick Assad

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Leonard & Hagler

It’s been said — and it applies to all sports, but especially boxing — that in order to be great, one has to face great competition.

During the 1980s, in what many consider boxing’s “Golden Age,” several epic battles were waged between Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Ray Leonard, which helped drive the sport’s appeal after Muhammad Ali’s retirement in 1981.

All four are enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but Leonard and Hagler stood the tallest.

With each celebrating birthdays this month – Leonard turned 63 on Friday, May 17,   and Hagler turns 65 on Thursday, May 23 –  this seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on their legendary careers.

Leonard, who would become a world champion in five weight classes, was a nonpareil ring craftsman who could box with absolute ease and also unload the heavy artillery.

Some said slick marketing after claiming the Gold Medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics as a junior welterweight helped Leonard vault to fame. Sugar Ray had the look, personality and charm to attract a large fan base, but did he have what it takes to hold his own against the top welterweights?

The answer was yes, but it wasn’t until Leonard stopped Wilfred Benitez in the 15th round for the World Boxing Council and lineal welterweight title in November 1979 at Caesars Palace, that he would be given his due.

Entering the fight, Benitez had a 38-0-1 record and was a two-division world champion.

In the opening frame, Leonard drilled Benitez with a left hook after tossing a jab and a right cross.

Two rounds later, Leonard knocked Benitez on his backside with a rattling jab. “I wasn’t aware I was in a championship fight early because I hit him so easy,” said Leonard, who was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine in 1979 and 1981, but then he adjusted to my style. It was like looking in a mirror.”

Leonard knocked Benitez down with a thunderous left in the 15th, but couldn’t put him away until the referee called it off with six seconds left.

“No one, I mean no one, can make me miss punches like that,” said Leonard of Benitez, who is also in the IBHOF.

In June 1980, Leonard, who went 36-3-1 with 25 knockouts, returned to the Canadian city where he first gained fame and faced the indestructible Duran, the former lightweight king, who came into the bout with a 71-1 record and was regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

The fight drew international attention and although Leonard lost, his showing removed any and all doubts about his greatness.

With 46,317 inside Olympic Stadium, Duran dictated the early pace by cutting off the ring and not allowing Leonard to extend his arms.

For four rounds, Duran didn’t give Leonard enough room to move and unload any significant blows.

Leonard finally came alive in the fifth and unleashed numerous combinations. The remainder of the fight saw Leonard score, but it was Duran who looked stronger and sharper.

William Nack, writing in Sports Illustrated described it thusly: “It was, from almost the opening salvo, a fight that belonged to Duran. The Panamanian seized the evening and gave it what shape and momentum it had. He took control, attacking and driving Leonard against the ropes, bulling him back, hitting him with lefts and rights to the body as he maneuvered the champion against the ropes from corner to corner. Always moving forward, he mauled and wrestled Leonard, scoring inside with hooks and rights.”

After 15 rounds, Duran won a very narrow but unanimous decision, handing Leonard his first setback after opening his pro career with 27 wins.

Angelo Dundee, Leonard’s trainer, had advised him to stick and move against Duran who wanted to brawl. But Duran was able to get inside Leonard’s head and Leonard, wanting to prove his toughness, did not follow Dundee’s advice.

Leonard realized his error and vowed not to make the same mistake if he met Duran again. And they did meet again, five months later, before a national television audience with 25,038 looking on at the New Orleans Superdome.

This time Leonard would fight his fight and not Duran’s. “The whole fight, I was moving, I was moving,” he said, “and voom! I snapped his head back with a jab. Voom! I snapped it back again. He tried to get me against the ropes, I’d pivot, spin off and pow! Come under with a punch.”

Late in a memorable seventh round, Leonard wound up his right hand as if to throw a bolo punch but instead tagged Duran’s face with a sharp jab.

Leonard then taunted him, sticking out his chin and daring Duran to hit it. The taunting continued as Leonard moved around the ring.

It was clear Leonard was ahead on all three scorecards, but it was still close, and Duran, though not hurt, seemed to lack real punching power and probably felt humiliated.

Toward the end of the eighth round, Duran turned his back to Leonard and uttered the now famous line “no mas” (no more).

It was over with 16 seconds left as Leonard regained the WBC and lineal welterweight belts.

Duran said he quit because of stomach cramps after overeating following the weigh-in. To which Leonard replied, “I made him quit…to make Roberto Duran quit was better than knocking him out.”

Leonard then agreed to meet Hearns in order to unify the welterweight title. They met on September 16, 1981, a sweltering night in Las Vegas, at an outdoor arena at Caesars Palace before 23,618. Hearns walked into the ring with a 32-0 mark and 30 knockouts, while Leonard had a 31-1 record with 22 knockouts.

In the early stages, Leonard stayed away and boxed while Hearns tried to find a hole in Leonard’s defense.

After five rounds, Leonard was trailing on the cards and had a swelling under his left eye. In the sixth, Leonard found his range and landed a left hook to the face and he was again the aggressor in the seventh.

Hearns decided to box and piled up points while Leonard wanted to unload the heavy guns.

Hearns dominated rounds nine through 12. But just before round 13, Dundee said to Leonard, “you’re blowing it, son! You’re blowing it!”

For the 13th, Leonard, who now had a badly swollen left eye, caught Hearns with a stunning right and then landed a clean combination as Hearns was on wobbly legs.

Hearns went through the ropes, but it wasn’t ruled a knockdown by referee Davey Pearl because it wasn’t a punch that sent him there.

Late in the same round, Hearns was decked after Leonard connected with multiple blows.

In round 14, with Hearns leading on all three cards but clearly out of gas, Leonard seized control with a sizzling overhand right and a combination that saw Pearl call a stop to the action.

A third round TKO over Bruce Finch in February 1982 with the WBA, WBC, and lineal welterweight titles on the table, was followed by a scheduled fight with Roger Stafford.

While in training, Leonard had problems with his vision. He was diagnosed with a detached retina which was repaired in May of that year.

In November 1982, at a charity event in Maryland, Leonard announced he was retiring from boxing.

Twenty-seven months passed before Leonard returned to the ring in May 1984, when he faced Kevin Howard in a non-title match.

In the fourth round, Leonard was knocked down for the first time in his career. He went on to win, TKOing Howard in the ninth, but then shocked everyone at the post-fight press conference by announcing he was calling it a career once again.

Leonard sat ringside for the Hagler-John Mugabi fight in Las Vegas in March 1986 and was surprised to see Mugabi actually outbox Hagler for much of the contest before succumbing in the 11th round.

Leonard had seen enough and announced two months later he was coming back and that his next opponent would be none other than the great Hagler who would be making the 13th defense of his middleweight title.

The fight was set for April 6, 1987 at Caesars Palace. Hagler opened a 4-to-1 favorite.

Leonard won the first two rounds on all three judges’ scorecards as Hagler, a natural left-hander, fought in an orthodox stance.

In the third round, Hagler switched to southpaw and fared much better, but Leonard remained in control with the help of superior hand and foot speed.

Leonard started to tire by the fifth as Hagler buckled his knees with an uppercut toward the close of the frame.

Hagler scored well in the sixth round, but Leonard also had effective moments.

Hagler did well in the seventh and eighth as he landed his jab while Leonard wasn’t able to counter.

The ninth round was the most exciting with Hagler stunning Leonard with a left cross and had him pinned in the corner.

Leonard was able to escape and though each looked sharp, Hagler’s punches were crisper and more resounding.

The 10th round wasn’t as dramatic, but Hagler took that stanza, while Leonard boxed sharply in the 11th.

In the fight’s final round, the 12th, Hagler landed a tremendous left hand that backed Leonard into the corner.

Leonard threw a flurry of punches and the round concluded with each fighter exchanging blows along the ropes.

The final CompuBox stats had Leonard landing 306 of 629 punches for 48.6 percent and Hagler connecting on 291 of 792 for 36.7 percent.

The fight was very close. Lou Filippo had it 115-113 for Hagler but was out-voted by Dave Moretti and Jose Guerra who had it for Leonard by scores of 115-113 and 118-110 respectively.

Hagler, who closed his career with a 62-3-2 mark and 52 knockouts, insisted he won the fight.

This was Hagler’s final time inside the ring and he would eventually move to Italy.

Prior to his famous battle with Sugar Ray, Hagler scored two of the biggest wins of his career, scoring a unanimous decision over Roberto Duran in November 1983 and stopping Thomas Hearns in the third round in April 1985. Both bouts were at Caesars Palace.

Here is Pat Putnam’s lead graph of the classic Hagler-Hearns fight as it appeared in Sports Illustrated: “There was a strong wind blowing through Las Vegas Monday night, but it could not sweep away the smell of raw violence as Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns hammered at each other with a fury that spent itself only after Hearns had been saved by the protecting arms of referee Richard Steele. The fight in a ring set upon the tennis courts at Caesars Palace lasted only one second longer than eight minutes, but for those who saw it, the memory of its nonstop savagery will remain forever.”

After upsetting Hagler, Leonard waited 19 months before getting back in the ring. In November 1988, he defeated WBC light heavyweight title-holder Donny Lalonde via a ninth round TKO. The WBC also sanctioned this fight for their inaugural super middleweight title.

Leonard then faced Hearns in a rematch in June 1989 at Caesars Palace and though it was ruled a draw, many at ringside thought that Hearns, who knocked Leonard down twice, deserved the decision.

Six months later, at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Leonard met Roberto Duran in a rubber match. Leonard prevailed over Duran by unanimous decision.

There would be two more fights for Leonard before he retired from boxing for good. In February 1991 at Madison Square Garden he lost a unanimous decision to Terry Norris in a clash for the WBC junior middleweight crown.

Another retirement followed, but his career wouldn’t officially be over until March 1997 at Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, when Leonard, now 40 years old, was stopped in the fifth round by Hector Camacho with a fringe middleweight title at stake.

These last two fights were aberrations compared to Leonard’s glory days when he was the undisputed ruler of the welterweight division.

Few who watched Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler at their peaks will ever forget what they brought into the ring. No, they didn’t do it alone, but it’s unlikely anyone better than these two titans will appear any time soon.

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