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The boxing thread

doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

I dedicate this thread to Eric Renaud, aka @thisistheshow, like me, he was fascinated by this sport and I kick myself everyday because there was so much that Eric and I never got to discuss about boxing, he loved to pick my brain about it and I enjoyed sharing my knowledge with him. I love this sport because you're out there by yourself with no team mates to help you, it is a sport based on man's most primitive instincts, fight for your survival, defend yourself when under attack, it is my favorite sport and there's nothing quite like it. I'm going to be working on this thread over the summer, I'll add onto it periodically, so don't pay me any mind as I work on this thread. I'm going to profile some of my favorite boxers of all-time here and just enjoy working on this. So without further ado, Showman this one's for you buddy. 👍

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Eugene Criqui, featherweight. You're looking at one tough son of a gun right here, a real savage, he had his jaw shot off in WW1 and kept fighting, he ended the great Johnny Kilbane's title reign.

    Criqui was, arguably, the greatest French boxer of all time. He originally competed from 1912-1914, but then went to serve in WW1. While on guard duty, a German sniper shot him in the face and his jaw shattered. The doctors were able to rebuild his jaw using wire, plastic, a silver plate and a goat leg. As a result, Criqui was able to continue competing.

    After returning to boxing in 1917, Criqui fought on for 6 years until he got his shot at Featherweight champ Johnny Kilbane in 1923. Kilbane was champion for 11 years up to this point, and Criqui KO'd him in 6 rounds. Criqui's reign wouldn't last long though, as legendary featherweight Johnny Dundee took his title later that year. Criqui retired in 1928

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 18, 2024 2:00PM

    He became more aggressive after WW1, perhaps the war had that effect on him, you can see where his jaw was shot off.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 18, 2024 1:59PM

    Eugene Criqui as a soldier for the French Army in WW1.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Eugene Criqui Knocks out the great Johnny Kilbane, who had been world featherweight champion for 11 years.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 18, 2024 7:28PM

    Eugene Criqui in his prime

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is another one of my favorite boxers, Iran "the blade" Barkley, middleweight. He was an ex-New York gang member. He was a throwback to the 1950s, guys like Gene Fullmer and Carmen Basilio, tough as nails. Fearless in the ring, he would fight anyone at anytime, win or lose he came to fight and always went out on his shield. He had two of the greatest fights ever with Tommy Hearns, winning both. The first fight saw Hearns land some big shots and bust Barkley up pretty bad, until Barkley turned the tables on Hearns and stopped him. The second fight, Hearns came prepared for revenge and fought one hell of a fight, but the relentless pressure of Barkley was too much, he broke Hearns's nose with a left hook and just kept going after Hearns and took the decision, he was Tommy Hearns kryptonite for sure. He also had one heck of a war with Roberto Duran, but the seasoned veteran Duran took the decision. I honestly wish every fighter was like Barkley, didn't duck anyone, always came to fight.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Iran Barkley vs Tommy Hearns 2, you can see Tommy Hearns nose has been broken.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Barkley vs Hearns 1.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    John Conteh, the handsome scouser, light heavyweight. He held the WBC light heavyweight title from 1974-77, always loved watching him operate in the ring, he was a great technician and had a beautiful jab. Fought two brutal fights with Matthew Saad Muhammad, came up short both times, but a joy to watch in his prime.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Beautiful jab.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Conteh hits the speed bag.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 18, 2024 4:00PM

    The Conteh jab was a beautiful weapon, used to torment his opponents.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Love the way he pumped that jab out there.

    https://youtu.be/oOBcHZ4updY?si=vf5orz3sCvcIqO8t

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 18, 2024 5:29PM

    Right before he passed away, Eric was asking me about this next fighter, the Mexican featherweight great, Salvador Sanchez, the "invincible eagle." I didn't get the chance to talk with Eric about him. Salvador Sanchez died at the young age of 23, he was killed in a car accident in Mexico when he crashed his Porsche, he died from the impact, but he had already become a legend. He had amassed a 44-1-1 record, and beaten the murderous punching Danny "little red" Lopez twice, the murderous punching Wilfredo "bazooka" Gomez, and Azumah "the professor" Nelson, that is one heck of a resume to only be 23 years old, three all-time greats he beat. Sanchez was something else, he was a great fighter, but he seemed to be at his best when he was in with really dangerous opponents, he seemed to love it when the sh.. hit the fan.

    Sanchez – One Fight Made All The Difference

    For Salvador Sanchez, all it took was a single fight to bring his career out of the shadows and into the spotlight. And in the spotlight it remained until his untimely death at the age of 23. While I can’t say I remember both of Sanchez’s bouts with Danny “Little Red” Lopez like it was yesterday, I remember them none the less.

    I was a big Lopez fan at time. The year was 1980. Boxing was about to enter into another “golden era” of sorts. With fights broadcast regularly on free TV, the major networks brought us a regular stream of all-out, action-type fighters such as Bobby Chacon, Cornelius Boza Edwards, Ruben Olivares, Wilfredo Gomez, Carlos Zarate and of course, Danny Lopez. Quite simply, the decade of the 80’s was a terrific time to be a boxing fan.

    Back to our story.

    Although Sanchez brought an excellent record into his fight with Lopez (33-1-1), it was hardly against standout competition. A long line of no-hopers led to a fight against Antonio Becerra (14-2) for the vacant Mexican Bantamweight title in 1977. Becerra came away with the decision.

    Three fights later in his American debut, Sanchez was floored twice and almost stopped in the final round against Juan Escobar (8-2). The fight was declared a draw and the crowd booed the decision. Sanchez changed his management after the Escobar fight and hired trainer Enrique Huerta. Huerta worked with him and converted his style from the traditional Mexican style to that of a boxer-puncher.

    Going into the WBC Featherweight title fight against Lopez, there was a general consensus among boxing insiders the fight would be over once Lopez landed one of his thunderous punches upon Sanchez’s prominent chin. During the lead-in to the fight, they broadcast a highlight reel of Lopez’s kayo victories over David “Poison” Kotey, Mike Ayala and Jose Caba. A clear edge in experience went to Lopez. It seemed like a Lopez victory was in the bag even before the fighters even stepped into the ring.

    That’s part of the beauty of the sport. Once the bell rings, anything is possible.

    In the opening round, Lopez shuffled forward behind his left jab, looking for a home for his big right hand. Sanchez moved and counterpunched. When a counterpunch suddenly staggered Lopez, I was a little surprised, but not overly worried. Lopez wasn’t the type of fighter who was “difficult to find,” as the saying goes. He was a puncher. Like all punchers, he was willing to take a few to land a few.

    Like everyone else, I figured the last thing Sanchez would be able to do is stand inside with Lopez and trade punches. Lopez led and Sanchez countered. It soon became evident that Lopez’s punches weren’t having the effect on Sanchez everyone thought they would. Not only that, but as the rounds continued, Sanchez continued to land two or three solid counters to every punch Lopez threw.

    Looking back, it comes as no surprise that Sanchez’s under the radar development transformed him from the “not quite ready for primetime” fighter into the man who systematically broke down Lopez. The end of Lopez’s championship run came at 51-seconds into the thirteenth round. Sanchez later commented on how he felt after absorbing some of Lopez’s big right hands – saying, “He’s not as strong as I thought.”

    At the conclusion of the fight, talk of a rematch began immediately. Did Lopez take Sanchez too lightly? I’m sure he didn’t lose any sleep over the outcome going in. That said, Lopez was in good shape when he stepped into the ring. His straight ahead, stand-up style was just too one dimensional against Sanchez’s counterpunching strategy, however. Had they fought a dozen times, the outcome would probably always be the same.

    The Don King Factor

    The next steps came quickly for Sanchez. Signing with Don King as a promoter turned out to be, in this writer’s opinion, a pivotal point in the career trajectory of Salvador Sanchez. Like other athletes, opportunity is often the missing link between potential and the realization of that potential. Sanchez is a perfect example of this. All it took was a single fight to turn everything around. And when it was over, he never looked back.

    Two months after winning the title, he was back in the ring making his first defense against Ruben Castillo. Sanchez won a 15-round decision.

    After Castillo, Salvador Sanchez stepped back into the ring with Danny Lopez for their anticipated rematch. Lopez did a little better, but the result was basically the same. Sanchez forced a TKO stoppage in the 14th round when Lopez, who was completely out of gas, took one too many solid punches.

    The second fight against Lopez really solidified Sanchez’s standing in the minds of many as being a true world champion. He became an overnight hero among his countrymen in Mexico.

    Sanchez struggled in his next fight against Patrick Ford of Guyana, coming away with a 15-round majority decision. Ford’s height, reach and jab gave him problems in the early rounds. Ford would go on to face Sanchez’s counterpart, WBA champion Eusebio Pedroza, in his very next fight. Pedroza dominated Ford, scoring a 13th round knockout. It was Pedroza’s 11th defense of the WBA title. The promotional drums for a Sanchez vs. Pedroza unification bout started beating.

    Unfortunately, the fight would never occur.

    Sanchez reeled off two more title defenses (Juan LaPorte W15 & Roberto Castanon TKO10) leading up to a superfight with undefeated Jr. Featherweight king – Wilfredo Gomez. Gomez, who was rising in weight, had a spectacular record of 32-0-1 with all of his wins coming by way of knockout. Gomez was very confident going into the fight. When asked about Gomez, Sanchez said, “I’m the champion. I know I’m a better boxer than Gomez, a sharper puncher with better speed and reflexes.”

    Salvador Sanchez vs. Wilfredo Gomez

    The Sanchez-Gomez fight was electrifying while it lasted. Gomez weighed in four pounds over the 126-pound limit. Two subsequent trips to the scales also ended in failure. Although his official weight was listed at 126, some people doubt that he actually made weight at all.

    One thing was for certain, by the time he stepped through the ropes on December 12, 1981, he was looking for an early knockout to win.

    Gomez’s seek and destroy mission took an unforeseen detour less than halfway through the first when he was floored by a combination of punches – punctuated by a left hook to the chin which landed as he was falling to the canvas. To his credit, he arose and survived the round.

    Adding injury to insult, one of Sanchez’s opening round punches also succeeded in breaking the cheek bone beneath Gomez’s right eye. This resulted in a huge amount of swelling under and around the eye area. Although Gomez would bravely fight his way back in the subsequent rounds, the crisp punching of Salvador Sanchez piled up the swelling and facial damage – reducing both eyes to two slits. When Sanchez dropped him again in the 8th round, it was all over.

    Referee Carlos Padilla signaled the end.

    In toppling Gomez, Salvador Sanchez had won the biggest fight of his career and was instantly elevated on everyone’s pound for pound lists.

    He closed out 1981 with a split decision victory over tough Pat Cowdell in December.

    1982 – The End of the Road

    In May of 1982, Sanchez made his 8th defense of the WBC title against Rocky Garcia (23-2) W15. This led to his final fight, and one of his most exciting. His intended opponent, Mario Miranda, pulled out of the fight with an injury less with less than two weeks to go. A substitute, a young, inexperienced, Azumah Nelson (13-0) was chosen.

    The fight took place at Madison Square Garden on. This fight was easily the toughest of Sanchez’s career. Sanchez finally pulled the fight out of the fire for good with a 15th round, TKO stoppage. This fight did as much for Nelson as it did for Sanchez. Nelson went on to establish his own Hall of Fame career.

    On August 12, 1982, Salvador Sanchez crashed his new Porche 928 on the San Luis de Potosi highway while trying to pass a truck. He collided head-on with a pickup truck and was killed instantly.

    At the time of his death, plans were already underway to move up to lightweight to face Alexis Arguello after a scheduled rematch with Juan LaPorte. The fight was already in the signing stages. After the Arguello fight, Sanchez planned to retire from the ring and pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

    Was Salvador Sanchez Overrated?

    How good was Salvador Sanchez? Was he overrated as some have suggested? I understand both sides of the argument. Mechanically speaking, Sanchez was capable of doing it all. He could box, punch, counterpunch and take a punch. As a 23-year old fighter, Salvador Sanchez accomplished a lot by any standard.

    Saying that Gomez had not trained properly or that Danny Lopez was one dimensional doesn’t alter the fact that Sanchez delivered results when it counted the most. Had Sanchez lived and his career continued, like all fighters, he probably would have met his match, had an off night, or experienced any of the other number of potential setbacks that fighters have experienced throughout history of the sport.

    The same would probably have been said about Ray Leonard had he passed away after his victory over Thomas Hearns.

    Sanchez’s best work occurred between February 1980 and July of 1982. Based upon these fights, I would think it would be fair to say that Salvador Sanchez could have fought competitively with the best 126-pounders in history. He wasn’t unbeatable, but he sure was hard to beat.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Salvador Sanchez vs Danny Lopez. Danny Lopez is one of my all-time favorites as well, he was nicknamed "little red" because of his knockout power.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Salvador Sanchez vs Wilfredo "bazooka" Gomez. Now, Gomez is one of my favorites too, he was called bazooka because of his power as well, and he finished his career with a 66-3 record.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Salvador Sanchez vs Azumah Nelson. Azumah was young at this time, but very dangerous, he had power in both hands and could fight like hell, he would later become known as "the professor" because he could take his opponents to school, but Sanchez was too much for him.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The great Salvador Sanchez.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The legendary Salvador Sanchez on film.

    https://youtu.be/rwzDgVt76dM?si=rOM2eHd9IbIzZTyE

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Vinny Pazienza, he came back from a broken neck, win or lose he was intense.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Vinny Paz when he had a broken neck.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Vinny Paz was a blood and guts warrior, that's for sure. He autographed this photo, "don't stop the fight."

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Marvelous Marvin Hagler was Eric's favorite boxer, and he picked a darn good one, Hagler was the epitome of what a boxer should be. He lived the life, talked the talk, and walked the walk. He once said, "If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove. That's all I am. I live it." And live it he did, Hagler used to train for fights at Cape Cod in Massachusetts, he would isolate himself up there with no women, no partying, and just focus on what he needed to do to get better and win. He would jog up there in the freezing cold, in the snow, wearing combat boots while he jogged.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    "I love fighting. I know the road is hard, but I'm going to be prepared for it."

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    And prepared he was, Hagler was intimidating, he had the look of a guy you didn't want to screw with.

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is an interview with Marvelous Marvin Hagler done a while before he passed away, he talks about his career and the best he faced in the ring.

    Marvin Hagler lived up to what became his legal name: “Marvelous”. Hagler was a hurting machine at his best, a very good, aggressive boxer with tremendous punching power and one of the best chins of all time. He insisted the only knockdown of his career, against Juan Roldan, was a slip.

    Hagler lost two times relatively early in his career but then went 36-0-1, the blemish being a controversial 1979 draw against Vito Antuofermo in his first title fight.

    Some considered Hagler the best middleweight in the world even before September 1980 when he fought Alan Minter for the undisputed championship in London. Hagler won when Minter could not go on because of a cut, marking the beginning of one of the division’s greatest runs.

    Hagler made 12 successful defenses over five-plus years, 11 by knockout, and also picked up the IBF title along the way. Among his victims: Roberto Duran (UD 15), Thomas Hearns (TKO 3) and John Mugabi (KO 11).

    Hagler closed well to outpoint the legendary Roberto Duran in 1983. Photo from The Ring archive

    The Hearns fight is remembered as one of the greatest of all time, as the principals exchanged murderous punches at a frenetic pace from the opening bell. Hagler sustained a deep cut to his forehead but continued to press Hearns until finally hammering his adversary to the canvas at 1:52 of the third round.

    “With Tommy Hearns, finally they gave me what I’m looking for,” Hagler told The Ring. “I knew it was going to be that kind of a fight because [during] the buildup to the fight, he didn’t like me, I didn’t like him.”

    Hagler would be named The Ring Fighter of the Year in 1983 and 1985. His victory over Mugabi in 1986 set up a showdown the following year against Sugar Ray Leonard, who was making a comeback after almost three years out of the ring.

    Hagler found his groove after a slow start but it wasn’t enough to prevent Leonard from winning a split decision, which Hagler still disputes today.

    “I didn’t really feel I lost,” said Hagler, who then mentioned his early setbacks – both of which he avenged by knockout – and Leonard’s refusal to give him a rematch. “… They were a learning experience, they put a lot of hatred into my war game. I think Leonard looked at my record and said, ‘Hagler, forget you man! You think I’m crazy?’

    “If the shoe was on the other foot, I’d have gave him a rematch because it shows the mark of a champion.”

    Hagler (62-3-2, 52 knockouts) retired from boxing following the Leonard fight. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.

    “Why do you want to hang around after all your hard work and let someone get lucky and destroy your record?” he asked. “After I had nothing to prove to myself, it was the best thing to walk away.”

    Hagler wishes he could’ve faced fellow legend Carlos Monzon. The great Argentine retired in 1977, when Hagler was becoming a contender.

    “I think it would have been an interesting fight if I had fought Carlos Monzon,” he said. “I think he was a great champion. I believe I would have caused some sort of problem for him.”

    Hagler, who turns 60 in May, lives primarily in Italy. He took time out of his busy schedule to speak with The Ring about the best fighters he fought in a variety of categories.

    BEST JAB
    Thomas Hearns: He was a person who was trying to stick and move, he used his jab a lot. He had a great jab.

    BEST DEFENSE
    Sugar Ray Leonard: He didn’t come to fight, he came to last. He came to go the distance, he didn’t come to knock me out. He just wanted to survive, so I would have to say he used his best defense to survive.

    FASTEST HANDS
    Roberto Duran: He caught me for three rounds at the start of the fight, which I didn’t understand. He caught me with an overhand right. As soon as I would jab, he’d throw the right hand. It didn’t hurt me too much, but it was annoying, aggravating. I really didn’t know what was happening, so I went back to the corner and asked my cornerman. I said, “What’s happening?” He said, “Marv, what he’s doing is that he’s timing you. Every time you shoot that jab out, he’ll go over with a right hand.” After [that], I started faking instead of just throwing it, and I started getting a better offense going.

    FASTEST FEET
    Leonard: You would have to say Leonard because he didn’t [just] move, he ran. It was hard to catch him. I wanted to fight because that’s what I am, I’m a champion. I’m a fighter and came to fight. I believe in that fight, I came in as an underdog. This guy didn’t want to take away my title, he wanted to survive, and it’s hard to beat a guy who just wants to survive.

    BEST CHIN
    Alan Minter: Believe it or not, I have to give it to Alan Minter because he was champion and he didn’t want to lose. I hit this guy with a lot of punches and he took a couple on the chin. I was amazed. I knew this was what I wanted, and I wasn’t going to stop. Unfortunately he bled early. I was still trying to knock him out with every shot. He took a lot of punishment.

    SMARTEST
    All of them (laughs): Because when they stepped in the ring with me, they already knew the deal: It was going to be a tough fight. They had to use their skills, their brain, their physical and mental attitude against me because I was very unorthodox. I could fight on the left-hand side and right-hand side. So they had to probably train harder to adapt to my style. But every fighter I fought, I never fought the same way. Each fight I had I was always in better condition than I was before.

    STRONGEST
    Mugabi and Tony Sibson: I remember seeing Tony Sibson at the weigh-in. This guy was strong. I remember when he hit me on the chest, he looked much stronger and bigger than me, and he’s supposed to be a middleweight. Mugabi, I believe he put on more weight before the fight. I could feel his body against me. He felt like a light heavyweight, he didn’t feel like a middleweight. When he threw punches, they were all deadly, very hard punches. This guy felt like a light heavyweight to me, so I had to wear him down, to take away some of that strength.

    BEST PUNCHER
    John Mugabi and Hearns: Because they came to fight. They came to take my title from me. Mugabi hit me with an uppercut. It didn’t hurt, but it was a hard punch, and I learned something from that. I had to regroup and come up with a different strategy. Also, with Tommy Hearns, he hit me with one good right hand, a good shot. I knew then that was his hardest punch, and I wanted more. I got more aggressive. I realized I had to keep the pressure on him, make him move and make him throw that right hand so he would leave an opening for me.

    BOXING SKILLS
    Duran: I would still say Roberto Duran. I loved that fight the most because between the both of us it brought out our skill, our talent. For me wanting to defend my title, for him wanting the fourth title, I mean it became a cat and mouse game. I enjoyed that fight, it was exciting.

    BEST OVERALL
    Duran: I would say Roberto Duran was very experienced, plus he was a three-time world champion when I fought him. I gave him the opportunity to win a fourth, which didn’t happen (laughs).

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    doubledragondoubledragon Posts: 23,024 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I want to go on record as saying that I thought Hagler was robbed in that first Vito Antuofermo fight, he should have been given the decision. Of course, Hagler's most memorable fight was against Tommy "the hitman" Hearns, that fight was billed as "the war" and it certainly lived up to it's name. Three rounds of brutal combat, which saw Tommy Hearns go right after Hagler and try to take him out. The hitman went for broke, and opened up a cut on Hagler early, but Hagler was just one tough son of a gun, you weren't going to stop Hagler, no one ever did. It's probably the most exciting fight in history, Hagler knew what was up, he was bleeding and he knew that if he didn't hurry up and get Hearns out of there then referee Richard Steele might stop the fight because of the cut and Hagler would lose his crown.

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