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The Big Question: Who was the greatest of boxing’s “Four Kings”?

Duran, Hagler, Hearns, and Leonard will be forever linked in the minds of sports fans the world over. Who was the best of the “Four Kings”?


Last week’s Big Question was on the Estrada-Chocolatito 2 fight, just a simple “who wins?” thrown out for everyone. Percentage wise, it was basically dead even. Estrada won the poll by a total of four votes. He did win the fight (full highlights), but personally, I think myself, every other Chocolatito voter, and my staff picks record for 2021 got jobbed by the judges. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t pick Jackson Marinez over Richard Commey so frankly I have bigger issues.

We also had some awfully sad news in boxing over the weekend, as the truly legendary, truly great Marvelous Marvin Hagler died at the age of 66.

I kind of mentioned this when talking about the first round of Hagler-Hearns, but I’m not personally a big “everything was better back when I was younger and more relevant” sort of person. Nostalgia is a funny thing that plays some tricks on all of us sooner or later. There are dudes my age who will straight up tell you that, like, music just isn’t the same as it was back in the halcyon days when Hootie & The Blowfish were king.

But the era of the “Four Kings” in the 1980s was genuinely special. I know this because I was a little kid when it was actually happening, I wasn’t even a boxing fan then, but I knew their names. They were stars. They were celebrities. If you cared about sports at all, you knew Roberto Duran and Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. And their fights are ones that I go back to a lot, even though personally I don’t have any great love of watching old sporting events.

They were all special fighters and athletes. They had distinct personalities, and they were real personalities. And most striking compared to the modern boxing world, these guys all fought each other.

In short, there is a true reason their era is so romanticized and so highly-regarded. They are timeless fighters who had timeless fights with one another, through all the action and drama and controversy.

I’m not going to bore you with running down all their career achievements for you to compare, because most likely you know their achievements, you’ve probably had this exact conversation before, either online or in real, actual life.

But lay it down: Who’s your pick for the greatest of the “Four Kings”? Whatever that means to you — the only thing I’d ask is let’s not count the post-primes of Duran, Hearns, or Leonard against them, really. We’re talking about when they were great, when they were themselves. But really, this is more an excuse to just talk about four legendary fighters.


Who was the greatest of the "Four Kings"?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    Roberto Duran
    (671 votes)
  • 30%
    Marvelous Marvin Hagler
    (719 votes)
  • 5%
    Thomas Hearns
    (122 votes)
  • 36%
    Sugar Ray Leonard
    (853 votes)
2365 votes total Vote Now

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