The Four Kings: Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran

Marvelous Marvin Hagler was fighting in his first super-fight against a Roberto Duran who had previously had two fights with Sugar Ray Leonard.

The third instalment of the Four Kings rivalry saw Marvelous Marvin Hagler - middleweight's undisputed world champion take on Panamanian maverick Roberto Duran in 1983.

The previous year had been 12 months of frustration for Hagler. First there was the proposed fight with Thomas Hearns.

The pair were set to go toe-to-toe in the spring, only for Hearns to pull out after injuring his finger whilst in training.

Then there was Sugar Ray Leonard.

After successfully recovering from surgery for a detached retina, Leonard held a press conference in Baltimore to update fans on his next move.

Hagler - who legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler because of not being referred to it by ring announcers - was invited to the event which sparked excitement amongst the boxing fraternity about the prospect that two of the world's biggest stars meeting inside the ring.

Those hopes were put to bed when Leonard completely head f***** everybody by stating he would never face Hagler.

Sugar Ray Leonard is a former five-division world champion and won Olympic gold in 1976
Sugar Ray Leonard is a former five-division world champion and won Olympic gold in 1976

Refusing to cry over spilled milk, Hagler continued to be the ultimate pro and racked up victories over William Lee, Fulgencio Obelmejias, Tony Sibson and Wilford Scypion.

All four were inside the distance and in the process he added the inaugural IBF championship to his WBA, WBC and Ring titles.

Hagler finally got the big fight he had craved after promoter Bob Arum confirmed he would face Roberto Duran.

"Hands of Stone" had previously fought Leonard twice in 1980, winning The Brawl in Montreal before conceding the rematch now known as 'No Mas'.

A rejuvenated Duran delivered a sensational display to snare away the WBA junior middleweight title from Davey Moore in the summer of '83.

Hagler climbed through the ropes to congratulate Duran on his victory before confirming they would face off next in a bout which would prove highly lucrative for both men, especially Hagler who was guaranteed a minimum of $5million.

November 10, 1983 would be the selected date for the contest. Based on reach, size, strength and miles on the clock, Hagler was a huge favourite going into the super-fight.

The only question - and a ridiculous question considering seven successive world title defences prior - could Hagler deliver on the biggest stage having not fought in a magnitude of a fight like this before?

Hagler - the naturally bigger, more powerful fighter - overcame a wave of aggressiveness from Duran in the early rounds and outpointed "El Cholo" via unanimous decision in a performance which left fans underwhelmed.

Marvelous had shaded it on the scorecards by the judges who had Duran winning with two rounds to go.

Hagler had won.

He finally had a win to gloat about. But it did little to enhance his reputation.

His conservative, laboured approach against the former three-division world champion did little to whet the appetite of fans wanting to watch Hagler's next fight.

Hagler's last fight at Caesars Palace before Duran was in 1979 when the judges scored his fight with Vito Antuofermo a draw - a disgraceful decision - so perhaps fans should remember his last memory in Las Vegas was a robbery for middleweight glory in his first attempt.

Bewildered by the reaction, Hagler was quick to compliment his own performance at the post-fight press conference.

"Hey, how about giving me some credit? I beat a legend. I thought I did a good job. I have to give myself a pat on the back."

Meanwhile, his Panamanian counterpart was adored by fans for daring to be great at middleweight.

His bravery and sheer guts to have the audacity of going toe-to-toe with Hagler was admired from afar, something which he simply chose not to show against Leonard in New Orleans.

Duran, who lost on the scorecards 144-142, 144-143, 146-145, ended Hagler's eighth-fight knockout streak despite defeat.

"Leonard is a much better fighter and boxer," Duran said at the post-fight press conference.

Despite demanding a rematch, the pair would never cross paths again.


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