Who Really Won Hagler vs Leonard?

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My opinion on the fight is below (SPOILERS!): 

First off, this was a close fight, but in a very weird, complicated way.  I would say most close fights have one person winning most of the first half convincingly and then the other fighter comes back and wins most of the second half convincingly. Loma vs Lopez is a pretty good example of this. Another way it could be close is if the fighters go back and forth, gaining and losing momentum every few rounds. An example of this might be any of the Ali vs Frazier fights. This fight is different, in that most of the rounds  are close. Meaning, the majority of the rounds could be seen as having different winners by different judges. Each fighter did have two rounds in  which I would consider them totally dominant, meaning that it’s downright strange (in my opinion) for a judge to give it to the other fighter. For me, those would  be the 1st and 6th for Leonard, and the 5th and 9th for Hagler. 

That being said, I think the vast majority of the rounds that could conceivably be ruled to either fighter strongly favor Hagler. There are rounds like the second or the 10th that seem really even, but most others seem to me to heavily lean towards Hagler. So many that I would find it odd to give Leonard half of them, let alone the majority. 

Punch Count: In preparing for this breakdown, I went through the fight in slow motion once for each fighter, counting the shots that eached landed clean. Compubox is two guys with buttons in real time, and is notoriously unreliable. I found that they had missed a LOT of  punches, but mostly Hagler’s body shots. My count is 304 for Hagler, 260 for Leonard. I’ve since found similar updated counts on a few websites. Most rounds, Hagler’s only landing a few more punches than Leonard, but they really add up. And the few rounds that Hagler had Leonard in trouble the points  really piled up even higher. For the rounds that they were close to the same amount, you also have to look at the quality of the punches. Except for a few rounds, I would  give them to Hagler for harder, cleaner shots. 

Defense: 80 Percent Leonard here. He showed insane defense,  while Hagler would at times just walk through shots to get inside, then still miss. 

Controlling the Ring: I would give this to Leonard easily, except that he took an incredible amount of damage in the clinch. For anyone new, fighters are allowed to punch with their free arm, and it does count for points. Most of Hagler’s body shots were not the small taps you sometimes see one fighter use to irritate the other, they were hard, loaded shots. You can hear for yourself if you watch the fight with the sound on. If Leonard was able to move out of the corner without taking major damage, then that would be ring control. But he did take damage. This is why I would actually consider the second fairly even, despite the popular narrative about Hagler giving up the fight by fighting orthodox. Hagler landed a lot of crushing body blows. But Ray did move Hagler around and make him miss  throughout the fight. He did control the action at times and walk Hagler into punches. So I would consider ring control even. 

Aggression: I would give this to Leonard. Joking, obviously Hagler. 

The Infamous Flurries: These fooled me for years, even knowing that most  of the punches weren’t landing. I still just had NO IDEA how many really weren’t landing. However, I  will say that it is also unfair to call them pitter patter shots. The shots that did land backed up Hagler, and that’s saying something. Ray could punch.  

In Conclusion: I would find it very difficult to give this one to Leonard, I think Hagler won by a lot. But, for all the reasons I mentioned before, I would completely understand someone having it a draw or giving it to Leonard by 1 or maybe  even 2. This is conceivable if they saw rounds close on points and they were more impressed by an element of Leonard’s performance in those rounds. Let me know what you guys think!

 

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