TODAY is the anniversary of Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler.
“Top Rank promoted that fight, which took place on April 6, 1987,” promoter Bob Arum recalled. “It was a momentous event in the world of boxing. I want to set the scene for that event particularly for the younger people who may not be aware. The scene was very important. ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler had come up the hard way in boxing. He had never been to the Olympics and he fought any fighter that would step in the ring with him. He’d have to go from Boston to Philadelphia and other places to find opponents who would fight him. Through intervention of the Speaker of the House of Representatives Tip O’Neil and Senator Ted Kennedy who sent letters to various people, including myself at Top Rank, they forced everyone to give ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler a shot at the middleweight title. His first shot, I thought he clearly won the fight against Vito Antifermo, but the judges scored it a draw. A year later he fought Alan Minter over in London and stopped Minter in the early rounds – bloodying him so much that the fight had to be stopped. Marvin was greeted by the great sportsmen in England by a barrage of bottles and cans so that everybody had to hide under the ring until the police were ready to restore order. But came back to the United States a real hero then he embarked on a streak of defending his middleweight title. His first big fight was in 1983 against Roberto Duran and then in ’85 in a major, major event he and Thomas Hearns fought a great middleweight championship battle and Marvin knocked Tommy out in the third round. Marvin wanted to retire from boxing at that point but his managers and myself as the promoter convinced him to carry on and in 1986 he fought John ‘The Beast’ Mugabi and Mugabi was a tough hard-punching guy – they went toe-to-toe and in the eleventh round, Marvin knocked Mugabi out.
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