Originally Posted by Rex Tickard
I think many people underestimate or mischaracterize the work Leonard did in this fight. They characterize the fight as simply "Hagler landing harder punches, while Leonard threw pity pat flurries," but I don't think it's as clear cut as that. I think there were times when Hagler's punches looked slow and sloppy, while Leonard actually landed the sharper punches (see round 6, for example). I think Leonard mixed in enough solid punches among his so-called "pity pats" to make Hagler respect him and not simply walk through him. He also did a great job of tying up or smothering Hagler, especially in the early rounds, and made him miss with a lot of punches.
Leonard largely outclassed Hagler over the first four rounds. After his ring-rusty body began to tire in the 5th, he used his guile and will to remain competitive even in the rounds he probably lost. Despite people's characterizations of Leonard as "running" and Hagler "chasing," there are times in that fight where Hagler actually looks like the more tentative and less hungry of the two.
IMO, this was a close fight that probably could've been scored either way. I think a close win for Leonard was fair and well deserved.
I agree completely. Over the first half of the fight, Leonard was hitting him sharp and hard, and making him miss to the degree he looked clumsy. He was completely the ring general- Hagler was chasing him with no real skill, purpose, or effect. Leonard won anywhere between 4 of the first 6, to, on some cards, all 6. I only gave Hagler round 5 myself.
118-110 is a bad card, but it's not so far off as to imply corruption. Once you bank half the fight, and the other half is gritty and competitive give and take, a scorecard can conceivably come back wide. It's possible. After the first 6, it was 100% Leonard's fight to lose, he was a mile ahead.