Originally Posted by Manassa
Leonard won closely but clearly. He didn't 'run', he boxed precisely off the back foot. Any talk of needing to take the title is bull ****, otherwise Willie Pep would never have regained his featherweight championship.
Excellent display by a former welterweight to beat the middleweight king.
No shame in losing to Leonard; he'd have beaten several great middleweights, I'm sure of it. He always had that special talent and looked comfortable at 160lbs.
Hagler seemed to age very quickly. For whatever reason, he already looked slow by the Hearns fight and as a former student of Hagler's career, I in fact first noticed the decline in the Hamsho rematch, 1984, even if there was a great knockout on the end of it. By 1985, aggression was enough to cover up the fact he no longer had the speed and footwork to counter punch and box. Any snap in his punches had long disappeared by 1986 - seriously - see for yourself and compare the velocity from earlier showings. 1987 was worse.
Hagler simply couldn't keep up with Leonard and walked in with his head down and swung hooks slowly.
I'm absolutely convinced that a 1980-'83 Hagler would have dominated Leonard, and rightly so, seeing as 160lbs was his territory. He was a sharp hitting technician back then, as opposed to a slow, hittable, not-that-powerful clubber with only remnants remaining of a once stiff jab.
There was definitely a deterioration there. If it was anyone else but Marv in the first half of the fight, most people wouldn't have a problem scoring for Ray. He looked very flat, his work just wasn't cohesive. At his best i think he would have just ground Ray down with strength, sharpness and educated pressure.