Originally Posted by Addie
In the case of Hagler-Leonard, it was almost inevitable. Ray hadn't fought for 3 years in a professional ring. How can he hope to go 12 rounds with the Middleweight king? It won't happen. Hagler was as dedicated as they come, but he was also very arrogant when it came to his only ability. I'm currently reading Four Kings. Whenever there is a quote from Hagler he's being very bullish about his own ability, and the chances of his opponent beating him. I don't think he was worried in the slightest entering the ring with Leonard in 1987. As you say, a mistake.
That was certainly the feeling at the time. It was almost like it was some sort of circus sideshow exhibition rather than a serious middleweight title defense. By then, Hagler had just started coming down a bit from the heady success and huge money he'd only really started making two years earlier. I think by then, he'd gotten a bit jaded and maybe disinterested, like he'd climbed all the mountains he needed to climb. This fight seemed then like just an excuse to make a lot of money and "make the papers" as it were. Not a soul thought Ray would win. No one.
Except for revisionist historians on this board twenty-five years after the fact. They were pretty savvy, I guess.