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On This Day: Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns battle to a thrilling draw

Opinion was divided, but perhaps it was the fairest result, wrote Daniel Herbert in the original Sugar Ray Leonard vs Thomas Hearns fight report from ringside
Sugar Ray Leonard
Leonard and Hearns thrill the Las Vegas crowd

IT was billed as ‘The War’, and for once the hype proved justified as Sugar Ray Leonard drew over 12 thrilling rounds with old rival Thomas Hearns to retain his WBC super-middleweight title at Caesars Palace on June 12, 1989.

In a fight which saw both men on the brink of inside-the-distance defeat several times, Leonard had to get off the floor twice, in the third and 11th rounds, to snatch the draw with a big last-round effort.

All three officials (referee Richard Steele did not score) gave the last round to the champion, Las Vegas judge Dalby Shirley by a 10-8 margin.  That brought the score to 112-112 on Shirley’s card, while the other two officials both had it 113-112 – Jerry Roth of Las Vegas for Hearns and Tommy Kaczmarek of New Jersey for Leonard.