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Classic Fight: Marvin Hagler vs Sugar Ray Leonard remains one of the most polarizing outcomes ever

33 years ago, Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard met in a huge middleweight showdown. The result is debated fiercely to this day.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

April 6 of this year marked 33 years since “The Super Fight,” the much-anticipated middleweight showdown between “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard, live from Caesars Palace outside Las Vegas.

The fight put two of the great “Four Kings” of the 1980s in the ring together again, with Hagler defending the WBC, Ring magazine and LINEAL!!!!!! middleweight championship against Leonard, a golden boy superstar of the sport. He did not defend his IBF title, which he also held, as the sanctioning body refused to approve the fight, but kept Hagler as champion unless he were to lose, at which point the belt would go vacant. He also did not defend the WBA title, which was stripped from him for choosing the fight with Leonard over a date with mandatory challenger Herol Graham.

To this day, Hagler-Leonard is one of the most intensely debated outcomes in boxing history. Many still feel Leonard essentially “stole” the win by “stealing” rounds with late flurries of punches during the final 30 seconds of each round. Others point to the fact Leonard landed more punches and at a higher connect rate. But were they of better quality? That’s another debate.

Leonard, of course, did win the fight by split decision. Those who covered the sport at the time were pretty much split on who deserved the win — some for Leonard, some for Hagler, some thought it was even.

Hagler wanted a rematch, but Leonard chose to “retire” for a third time instead, which he’d do two more times before actually hanging it up for good. A little over a year after this fight, Hagler tired of waiting on Leonard changing his mind and retired himself. Hagler’s stuck — he never fought again, exiting the sport officially at age 34. Leonard, of course, would return in late 1988 and fight five more times — once in ‘88, twice in ‘89, once in ‘91, and one more ill-fated time in ‘97. He went 2-2-1 in those fights, and the losses to Terry Norris and Hector Camacho were ugly.

How did you have it? How do you have it now, if you bother to score along fresh or just once again?

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