Hagler-Duran: a fight with more questions than answers

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Post by captain carrantuohil on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 4:34 pm

I watched Hagler-Duran again the other evening and remembered again what a strange fight it was. Hagler seemed almost timid (for him), while Duran, entirely uncharacteristically, refused to force the fight at all, relying on extremely accurate counters and ring smarts to befuddle his much larger opponent.

Lest we forget, Hagler had to sweep the championship rounds on all cards to prevent serious embarrassment. I started to imagine what might have happened if Duran had actually eked out a draw, or even sneaked a split decision over the Marvellous one. Would Duran have campaigned exclusively at middleweight? Would his fight against Hearns have been delayed or never taken place? What would such a result have done for Hagler's legacy? Did Duran expose a genuine weakness in Hagler's game, or was it just an off-night? Could Hagler have actually been overawed by sharing the ring with such a legend?

More questions than answers, as I say. In fairness, Duran seemed very happy with his night's work and never clamoured for a rematch with Hagler, considering how close the scorecards were. Hagler was acclaimed for his gutsiness down the stretch and his struggle to win against a great lightweight was largely swept under the carpet. But what do we think? Does the fight add to Duran's greatness, detract from Hagler's or both?

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Post by Fists of Fury on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 4:48 pm

I wouldn't say that it detracts too much from Hagler's legacy, captain, after all he did get the job done (just about). It does however leave him open to such scrutiny as we are giving him now, something that a much more dominant performance would have abolished.

As for Duran, I'd suggest that it enhances his legacy greatly. That, along with his win over Leonard in Montreal are what truly propel him into the top 10 of a lot of peoples ATG lists. For a career lightweight to cause such problems to naturally bigger, and supposedly just as skilled (if not more) men, now that really enhances his legacy,

If he had managed to keep it up in those final rounds and pull of what would have been an immense upset, then I think we may even be talking about Duran as a nailed on top 5 in the ATG stakes. There wouldn't be many with wins as impressive as one over Leonard and one over Hagler when you consider the disadvantages were all supposedly with Duran.

It was a strange fight that, and to this day I don't know whether it was Hagler underperforming or Duran using all of his incredible ring smarts and skill to put on such a performance and make Hagler's night a difficult one.

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Post by milkyboy on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 4:50 pm

Captain... you need to get out more! Certainly a strange fight, and not one i'd have picked for an evening's viewing.

My recollection at the time was that duran came out of it full of credit and hagler with his rep a little diminished. I think that's probably still the case retrospectively.

Given that duran was soon to get 'rolled like a drunk' by hearns, what it helped set up was the thought that hagler was beatable - and that hearns might be the guy to do it. Of course that turned out to be just a thought.

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Post by BALTIMORA on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 4:51 pm

I can absolutely understand why Duran would be happy with the result regardless of having lost. He took a career 160 guy fifteen rounds and made a show of it. Personally I think it adds credence to Duran's greatness (irrespective of what a certain Bostonian 'beefster' on here may say with regards Duran-Hearns). I don't know enough of Hagler to really cast judgement on it as being either an off-night or a deeper flaw which was largely unnoticed. It certainly doesn't look good on his record that a blown-up lightweight proved as much of a handful as Duran did, although the mitigating circumstance is that it WAS Duran, and not just a flash-in-the-pan LW.

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Post by captain carrantuohil on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 4:57 pm

Well, I've seen most of the classics so often, Milky, that on a Monday night, I thought that a hard day's writing could be given a treat with a double bill of Hagler-Duran and Nelson-DeLeon (not really). No, I just hadn't seen it for ages, and wanted to see how much of my memory was playing tricks. I did go and have a look at some of Antuofermo-Hagler I afterwards, and, lo and behold, there was the proof that Hagler had done something similarly tentative previously in his career. Most strange.

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Post by milkyboy on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 5:42 pm

true enough re the antuofermo fight... is there an argument that hagler didn't really turn up for the biggest fights of his career... first title fight, two legends... duran and leonard?

maybe he didn;t turn up for hearns either, but tommy woke him up?

Hey if we can query robbo, we can have a go at marv the choker!

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Post by captain carrantuohil on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 5:45 pm

I think that I might stick with the not terribly original observation that making his own running didn't really suit Marv. He had a great jab, but he seemed to prefer being the most intimidating counter-puncher of all time, in some ways.

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Post by Atila on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 5:47 pm

I haven't seen the fight in full for years but from what I remember, the fight wasn't that close, I thought Hagler won it clearly. I think that the fact that Duran did better than what was expected, is why some people think it was more competitive than it really was.


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Post by captain carrantuohil on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 5:54 pm

Not sure I agree, Atila. After twelve, all judges had Duran ahead, and while I might just about have made Marv a round up at that point, I thought that he definitely needed the finish that he duly supplied.

Perhaps it's not unfair to draw an analogy with the great West Indian cricketer Sir Viv Richards, who seemed to reserve his best for extreme pace bowling, while not being nearly so severe on the military medium types. It may be that Marv's manhood was not really challenged by people whom he was clearly expected to bully easily.

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Post by Atila on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 6:16 pm

Fair enough Captain, like I said I haven't seen the fight in full for years, probably not since 1983, and thinking about it, ITV often cut out bits of the less exciting action. I'll have to watch it again someday.

Milkyboy, regarding Hagler not showing up for the biggest fights of his career. The Minter fight was just as big if not bigger than the Antuofermo fight. Hagler certainly showed up for that one, hostile crowd, away from home..etc..

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Post by ONETWOFOREVER on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 6:52 pm

Haglar gambled.wanting to outbox Duran and he was lucky he got the decision .He gambled against Hearns too and that almost back fired.

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Post by 88Chris05 on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 7:00 pm

I'd agree that the fight certainly added to Duran's legacy and, while not necessarily detracting from it, raised a couple of questions regarding Hagler's. As has already been alluded to, I think Hagler may have underestimated Duran as he surely didn't feel all that threatened by a career Lightweight whose form had been so patchy in the three years beforehand. Pat Petronelli stated that Hagler wanted to put on a show against Duran as this was, until now, the biggest night of his career, and that he intended to make it somewhat of an exhibition before putting Duran away. Of course, as we all know, he was then faced with the 'Oh no, this guy is better than I thought he was going to be' scenario.

Disappointing as that is (if it's true), likewise it's highly commendable that he found that big finish in the championship rounds. I'm torn as to whether it was a case of Hagler underperforming or Duran overperforming - perhaps a mixture of both? I can see Duran vacating rather than staying at 160 lb had he pulled off the upset, personally, though of course had that happened Hagler would be a mere footnote in the history of the Middleweight championship.
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Post by milkyboy on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 7:04 pm

i thought you might appear on the thread atila.

I was being largely flippant, though he did seem to save some of his 'flatter' performances for some of his biggest nights. With leonard and duran you could perhaps credit some of that to his opponents tactics, with vito he was just a bit tentative.

Though the story goes that that was the fight that made him determined to take the judges out of the equation in the future... something minter could attest to.

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Post by skidd1 on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 7:18 pm

Marvin certainly could have nights were he was less than great however i do think that was largely due to the opponents he was facing.He did struggle with Antoufermo but he was awkward for Marvin's style anyway
Against Duran.At a guess he always thought he had it in the bag and didn't need to stretch himself hence his tactics .I think he thought the same pre-fight with Ray Leonard and got a shock.
As for Duran just another night at the office .A good one but no great threat to the bigger guy with an iron chin.He looked in good shape for this fight

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Post by Nico the gman on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 7:29 pm

Hagler was well on top near the end of the fight and stated after the fight had there been 1 more round he felt he would have stopped Duran ,as he felt he had him going last round.
A fit Duran a handful for anyone, biggest shock for me was when Hearns blow him away,never thought anybody could roll him like that.

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Post by Sugar Boy Sweetie on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 7:41 pm

I don't think there can be any doubt it adds to Durans legacy, after all he was thought to be a washed up fighter (more or less) going into this, yet as a career LW he took an ATG middleweight champ the distance and was within touching distance of the upset had it not been for a late rally from Marv. It also helps remind people of Durans boxing skills - many claim he was a crude fighter, but to go 15 with a guy like hagler when you're durans size takes skill, evasiveness and effective counterpunching - all things that he showed on the night.

For Marv - well if he'd lost his credibility wouldve been shot, but he got the win and I think because Duran emerged with so much credit in defeat haglers own performance fell by the wayside a bit (probably a good thing for Marv). Of course not long after he blasted Hearns out in 3 rounds which remains the defining fight of his career, the one everyone remembers him for, so I think in a sense he got away with it because of that and because of the credit Duran garnered in defeat.
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Post by superflyweight on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 8:04 pm

I think it's clear that Marv wasn't at his best that night and there might be a number of reasons for this. One thought that I've always had is that Marv had a tremendous chip on his shoulder about the lack of marquee fights in his career and Duran was his first massive pay day. I've always suspected that he may have put a lot of pressure on himself to, as Chris puts it, put on an exhibition to prove his worth.

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Post by Nico the gman on Wed 12 Oct 2011, 8:43 pm

superflyweight wrote:I think it's clear that Marv wasn't at his best that night and there might be a number of reasons for this. One thought that I've always had is that Marv had a tremendous chip on his shoulder about the lack of marquee fights in his career and Duran was his first massive pay day. I've always suspected that he may have put a lot of pressure on himself to, as Chris puts it, put on an exhibition to prove his worth.
Big Hagler fan but totally agree with you about the chip on his shoulder,described by the late Reg Gutteridge as mean moody and a bit magnificent sums him up pretty well I think, apparently still doesn't talk to Sugar Ray Leonard to this day.

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Post by manos de piedra on Thu 13 Oct 2011, 9:16 am

I think the fact that Hearns blasted Duran out so emphatically afterwards also made the Hagler win look much more laboured and lacklustre. Up to that point Duran had never been knocked out and bar that bizzare Leonard fight he had never been beaten anthing other than closely and hard fought. So in that sense the Hagler fight wasnt too unusual. Once Hearns dominated Duran so impressively right after then it made the Hagler fight pale badly by comparison.

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Post by The Boss on Thu 13 Oct 2011, 10:54 am

Hagler is my favourite boxer of all time but I have to go with the general consensus on this one. Marv was jealous of the marquee fighters throughout his career and had to fight on the undercards of Leonard's debut fight if I'm not wrong? He fought his career thinking that the boxing God's were always trying to keep him down and undermine him. It is for this reason that I think he put undue pressure on himself to produce a masterclass when it came to the bigger fights of his career.

However, I think it really stands to Marv that he was able to produce what was needed of him in the championship rounds against Duran. And, looking back with the ease that Tommy Hearns handled Duran, it would have really damaged Hagler's reputation if he hadn't have beaten Tommy in the way that he did.

It may look bad when a career lightweight took Hagler so close to defeat but it still has to be taken into account that the career lightweight was, Roberto Duran.

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Post by milkyboy on Thu 13 Oct 2011, 1:13 pm

fair points boss... he had a chip on his shoulder, bit like pryor, but he had reason to resent that he had to do it the hard way. As yourself and superfly say, wanting to show himself their 'boxing' equal may explain the approach to the duran and leonard fights.

You could perhaps say that the same thing happened with hearns... tommy wanted a war and got one... the difference being that that suited marv, more than trying to out box leonard for example.

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Post by Colonial Lion on Thu 13 Oct 2011, 1:21 pm

I think whats interesting about the fight is Haglers post fight interview which gives away a little I feel. He says "nobody knocks out Duran" but also claims if they fought again he would be confident of knocking him out.

It could be easily dismissed as merely post fight hyperbole but I think it gives a glimpse at Haglers strategy which was to try an outbox Duran and give little consideration to a knock out victory or a brawl in which he would have the size advantage.

However in the aftermath of the fight he may have realised he showed Duran too much respect and could have been more aggressive - hence the comments about knocking him out in a return match. One would think if this fight happened post the Hearns/Duran defeat, Hagler would be much more forceful and aggressive. However up to that point Duran had been far more used to struggling with pure boxers - Leonard, Benitez, Laing for example and had never been knocked out. It seems reasonable to assume Haglers intent was to follow suit and try to outbox his opponent rather than the more forceful Hagler style that we were accustomed to.

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