Is Michael Spinks a greater fighter than Marvin Hagler?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Golden_Feather99, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. Golden_Feather99

    Golden_Feather99 Active Member Full Member

    Apr 23, 2019
    On almost every p4p list, Hagler is ranked over Spinks (by a wide margin sometimes). I believe Spinks has the better resume. I'm not sure who the better boxer was. Both were well-rounded with different styles.

    Spinks had to beat Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Marvin Johnson, and Dwight Muhammad Qawi to establish himself as the best LHW. Can Hagler match the Qawi win? You could make a case for Hagler's win over Hearns. Even though Hearns wasn't a middleweight, he was an ATG, wasn't that small and he was in his prime. But Spinks also beat Eddie and Marvin. These wins are better than any other win Hagler has (including Duran).

    Spinks fought in a much more competitive division and cleaned it out. Then he moved up to HW and beat Larry Holmes. Spinks already had a better resume than Hagler as a LHW. Holmes was past his prime but he was 48-0, an ATG HW whereas Spinks was a LHW (not a big one either). Spinks also KO'd Cooney. Hagler fought the best fighters of his era but so did Spinks. I think Spinks is the greater fighter. And it's not like there's a big gap in skills between the two. Make a case for Hagler, I'd love to hear it.
  2. George Crowcroft

    George Crowcroft The Cobra Will Always Bite Back... Full Member

    Mar 3, 2019
    Hagler's résumé is underrated, there's a reason he's ranked so high.

    He's beat Briscoe Antuofermo, Monroe, Hamsho, Finnegan, Minter then has Duran, Mugabi and Hearns.
    He also should probably have 2 wins over Antuofermo and Minter, he also obviously has the argument of having the Leonard fight.
    Hagler has a better résumé than Spinks by quite a bit imo, especially considering more of them were prime than Spinks's were (Cooney, Lopez, Holmes and Johnson all weren't prime imo).
    Personally I think Spinks is a better fighter skills wise but it's close.
    Spinks definitely was a bigger LHW imo, 6 foot 1 an half is a big LHW imo.
    Johnson is a small LHW and there was a massive difference between them 2.
  3. ChrisJS

    ChrisJS Active Member Full Member

    Sep 11, 2018
    I think Hagler was the better fighter and he has the deeper resume. Spinks got the close fights that Hagler didn’t get and perhaps that makes it closer than it should be.

    Both were tremendous though.
  4. 88Chris05

    88Chris05 Active Member Full Member

    Aug 20, 2013
    Agree completely. A lot of it is to do with timing and perception. True crossover stars or genuine megafights are relatively rare in boxing and Hagler (as well as a couple of his higher profile victims in Duran and Hearns) benefits from being linked inextricably with the sport's biggest and most marketable star of that era in Leonard. Hagler toiled throughout the seventies, but in the eighties had a gateway to the wider public which relatively few fighters are afforded.

    Naturally this made him superfight material and in Hearns, another fighter whose profile was boosted because of his rivalry with Leonard and own thrilling style, he had the perfect dance partner to produce a fight which could appeal to the masses and penetrate that audience who might only watch a couple of fights per year. To this day Hearns-Hagler is still synonymous with excitement and a byword for ferocity amongst the more casual fan base. This kind of stuff, along with Halger's fan-friendly style, makes his career and achievements a little easier to regard with nostalgia and reverence.

    On the other hand, Spinks suffers from his association with the sport's next major crossover star post-Leonard. To the casual observer or the mainstream media, he's just a cog in the 'PRIME TYSON WAS INVINCIBLE!' machine. If he's ever brought up in these kind of circles, it's usually only to show how good his vanquisher was, rather than how good he was himself.

    But if you take emotion and dollar signs out of the equation and look at both men's careers dispassionately, there's no reason why Hagler should be ahead. They're comparable at their most noted weights (I have them both at #3) but Spinks made significant history in a higher division. Yes, Holmes was past his best, but Spinks did legitimately beat him as an underdog (first fight in any case), whereas Hagler stayed put and lost his title to a past-his-best Leonard in a fight where he was favourite.

    Hagler has often complained that he never got the respect he deserved, but to be honest from a 2019 vantage point I think history has been pretty generous - maybe a shade too generous - to him. On the other hand, Spinks is way too readily underestimated and underrated by a lot of publications. No doubt in my mind that he deserves to outrank Hagler. Not by a landslide, but enough to broker no real argument in my opinion.
  5. Golden_Feather99

    Golden_Feather99 Active Member Full Member

    Apr 23, 2019
    Excellent comment, as usual.
  6. The Funny Man 7

    The Funny Man 7 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Apr 1, 2005
    Spinks had those great wins over Marvin Johnson, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, and Qawi. He also had two wins over Larry Holmes, which are great, no matter how you feel about Holmes' form at that point or the judging. So I would say if you weighed Spinks' top wins in the ring with Hagler's marquee wins, they would at least be comparable.

    But Hagler's less famous wins are definitely better. I'll take wins over Tony Sibson, Hamsho (X2), Seales, Briscoe, Cyclone Hart, Sypion etc. over beating Eddie Davis, Murray Sutherland, and a washed up Gerry Cooney any day. For being a two-division titlist with a lengthy title reign at 175, Spinks' resume is fairly shallow. I think people would be more forgiving of his loss to Tyson if he'd fought legit contenders instead of treading the waters at hw against Tangstead and Cooney. There were plenty of credible, ranked opponents that Spinks would have been likely to beat.
  7. Golden_Feather99

    Golden_Feather99 Active Member Full Member

    Apr 23, 2019
    I don't think Hagler has the better resume. Briscoe was washed up at the time. Mugabi, Minter, Antofuermo, Hamsho aren't the same level as Qawi, Eddie, and Johnson. Spinks beat fighters of higher caliber. Beating more B level fighters doesn't make Hagler's resume better.

    Hagler beat Duran who was past his prime and not a middleweight. Holmes was past his prime but he was much bigger than Spinks. Guys like Finnegan and Monroe won't really make a difference here. Hagler's best wins came against fighters who weren't middleweights. Spinks beat some of the best LHWs of the last 50 years. Once he was done cleaning out the division, he moved up and beat Holmes.

    Spinks was tall but he was always a lean/skinny dude. He wasn't a big LHW. A big LHW wouldn't weigh 170 lbs in his second last fight at LHW. Spinks weighed 175 just once as a champion (last fight). His average weight was 173 (11 title fights). Spinks wasn't a big LHW.

    No LHW had moved up and beaten a HW champ since Tunney. There wasn't a big difference in size between those two (Dempsey/Tunney). Charles won a vacant title against Walcott who was a contender. As the HWs got bigger, there were less LHWs moving up to HW. What Spinks did was extraordinary. No matter how old Holmes was, he was still the best HW in the world. Hagler can't match that win. His best win is Hearns which is comparable to Spinks' best wins. But other than that, Spinks beat superior fighters. Hagler's resume is deeper but Spinks' is better.
    Bokaj, crixus85, roughdiamond and 2 others like this.
  8. PhillyPhan69

    PhillyPhan69 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Good post and good thread. I have not done a list in about 5 years? But had both in the 30-50 range? But have always rated Hagler higher.

    Not sure what I think after this thread. I think it is a narrow separation on a cursory glance, but need to think about it more.
  9. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Spinks packed alot of quality into his record. Hagler fought at the Championship level longer and his record his deeper. His wins in the 70s were impressive. Going to Philly and beating Watts, Monroe and Briscoe etc.
    Spinks gets a slight edge for me for moving up and winning the Heavyweight Championship + Winning a Gold Medal.
  10. robert ungurean

    robert ungurean Богдан Full Member

    Jun 9, 2007
    To answer the direct question question I rate Hagler higher.
    Everyone talkes about Spinks beating Braxton. Braxton couldnt get out of first gear in that fight and it had nothing to do with Spinks. Spinks is great and I enjoyed his fights back then followed his whole career but Hagler is better in my book.
  11. Tramell

    Tramell Hypocrites Love to Pray & Be Seen. Mathew 6:5 Full Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    Agree with @PhillyPhan69 need to think it through. different weight class, different style. 1 fighter got starched, but in his last fight, the other never got starched but lost questionable fights. 1 guy moved up, the other fought whole career at same weight. Very tough to compare the 2.
  12. PernellSweetPea

    PernellSweetPea Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Feb 26, 2009
    I love both, but I will say this. I think Spinks had more versatility than Hagler to change a style to compensate for a fighter and a weight, which is why moving up in weight does prove something. The Holmes fight proved a lot and to me shows a versatility in Spinks which Hagler did not have. Hagler had that style which could beat most guys, but that versatile fighter with a good game plan (Leonard perhaps on good timing) could beat him. Could Hagler have moved up and beaten Spinks like Spinks beat Holmes? Probably not. Hagler was great, he was strong physically, southpaw and orthodox both. Good jab long reach 75 inches and a great chin. He always had the advantage that way during his reign. So guys could not really brawl with him since he would take it and land- the way to beat Marvin was to box him. And that happened with Ray, and he would have fights were when if he could not dominate exchanges or he was not aggressive he would struggle. Hagler's claim to fame is Thomas Hearns. The fight itself and winning in that fashion by letting it all hang out put him in a rare class. He has a greater fight than Spinks on his resume, and that helps his standing. Without the Hearns fight, who would look better in history? The Hearns fight might put Hagler over Spinks. And Spinks record for a great fighter. He didn't have too many fights which hurts Michael.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  13. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    Nothing in it really and the personal criteria would be the main story IMO. Having said that Spinks should get an immense amount of mileage out of beating Holmes. That was a HUGE achievement.
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  14. zadfrak

    zadfrak Boxing Addict Full Member

    Feb 17, 2008
    Marvin's pre-title set of bouts is off the scale compared to Spinks. And he frequently went into the other guy's backyard even. Spinks tried that against who? Spinks did nothing approaching that kind of thing. If it took him 45 or 50 bouts to get to the bigtime, his knee's give out. He sure did not have Marvin's durability.

    The other thing with Spinks is he came along when all those other guys were on the other side of the mountain. Most had turned pro from that 1972 timeframe. The only contemporary was Qawi. When Spinks was older as the champ the pedigreed up and comer was Hill. And that was a bout we never got. So some old names, but hardly a long list of A#1 guys.
  15. christpuncher

    christpuncher Member Full Member

    Jul 31, 2019
    Hagler wasn't exactly a huge middleweight either

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