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The five biggest upsets in boxing history

The heavyweight division is no stranger to some of the biggest upsets in the sport, as Daniel Herbert reveals

4. SUGAR RAY LEONARD W PTS 12 MARVIN HAGLER

April 6, 1987

“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler had been world middleweight champion for nearly seven years when he defended against the sport’s one-time golden boy in 
Las Vegas in April 1987. It appeared a match made purely for financial reasons: Leonard, the 1976 Olympic gold medallist and world champion at welter and super-welter, had been inactive for 35 months, retiring with 
a detached retina following a get-off-the-floor victory over Kevin Howard.

Ray had also never scaled more than 153lbs, a whopping 7lbs below the middleweight limit, so seemed to be in it for the guaranteed $11m (plus a share of closed circuit receipts in home state Maryland – Hagler was guaranteed $12m). Yet for some inexplicable reason southpaw Hagler boxed in an orthodox stance during the early rounds, conceding a lead that Leonard would hang on to with some dazzling flurries en route to a split decision that stunned the world.

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