Is Michael Spinks a greater fighter than Marvin Hagler?

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


  1. Jel

    Jel Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Some interesting comments.

    I guess one of the main questions is how heavily do their respective losses weigh on their reputation. After all, neither fighter fought again after the biggest fights (and losses) of their careers.

    If you remove how their careers ended and focus on their winning legacy, it becomes a lot closer in my view.

    Spinks made 10 successful defenses over 4 years and then won the heavyweight title from Holmes. Hagler made 12 successful defenses over 6 years. Hagler's pre-title opposition was generally tougher than Spinks's. Title reign for title reign it's tight although Hagler was maybe more dominant overall. Spinks beating Holmes possibly evens that up though.

    After 85, there was a bit of a decline in both of their careers. Hagler struggled with Mugabi while Spinks edged a fortunate decision over Holmes and then pretty much avoided Tyson until he couldn't any more and the money got him.

    The Tyson loss did wonders for Spinks's bank balance but pretty much wiped out his reputation for a long time. Once the memory of the Tyson KO receded, his reputation started to build back up.

    Hagler was favourite to beat Leonard and can still argue, rightly or wrongly, that he won. The inconclusive nature of that defeat and the fact that he never came back arguably enhanced his reputation over the years.

    Spinks was a big underdog against Tyson but the conclusiveness of that defeat and the way he folded hurt his rep badly. It doesn't hurt it quite as much as it used to but it's still an immovable stain on an otherwise flawless record.

    So Hagler edges it for me.
     
  2. Jel

    Jel Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Good post and I agree about the number of fights hurting Spinks a bit when compared to Hagler.

    One point I was interested in is whether people think Spinks had a naturally higher ring IQ than Hagler.

    You mention that Spinks had more versatility than Hagler but I wonder how much this was Spinks having an outstanding trainer in Eddie Futch and how much Hagler having the Petronellis in his corner hindered him at times. Was Spinks just better at adjusting to circumstances (one of the marks of a great fighter) or was he just very good at executing the gameplan of a superior trainer and fight analyst in Futch.

    Putting it another way, would Hagler have fought the way he did against Duran and Leonard had Futch been in his corner and would Spinks have been able to execute his wins over Qawi and Holmes with the Petronellis?

    Interested to hear people's take on this.
     
  3. George Crowcroft

    George Crowcroft Youngest Ezzard Charles Fan Ever Full Member

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    It's an interesting question, and one that's hard to gauge, I think that Hagler would've been told to go out and smash Duran and Leonard, whilst also not fighting orthodox for 4 rounds vs Leonard.

    Spinks would've had a less successful left hand and may have lost the Qawi and Holmes fights because of it.
     
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  4. Jel

    Jel Well-Known Member Full Member

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    I think both fighters trusted their trainers fully, which is great when Eddie Futch is your trainer, but maybe not so great when it's the Petronellis? I don't know, just a theory...
     
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  5. Colonel Sanders

    Colonel Sanders NSB defector Full Member

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    One thing that is easy to overlook : Hagler's had 67 fights VS 32 for Spinks.
     
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  6. PhillyPhan69

    PhillyPhan69 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Good article out there on how Futch devised the plan that Spinks worked to perfection. Not sure Spinks beats him apart from that and I found Spinks-Qawi much closer than the commentary team...they were the worst commentary team I have seen (I want to say SRL was part of it...but it escapes my memory)? Anyway a portion of the article followed by a link:

    Futch had made a vivid impression on Newman back when Newman was managing a light-heavyweight champion named Dwight Braxton (later known as Dwight Muhammad Qawi).

    "In March 1983, Futch was the trainer for Michael Spinks when Spinks and Dwight fought a light-heavyweight unification bout," said Newman. "That was as close as I've ever come to seeing a strategy do as much to beat a fighter as the fighter himself."

    Futch's plan for that bout was simple.

    Braxton had a habit of baiting a foe into throwing the right hand by dropping his left hand. "As the man threw the right," Futch explained, "Braxton would roll and take the right on his shoulder and fire back with his right. He did that real well."

    Not against Spinks. As Newman recalled, "I kept waiting for Michael to throw the right."

    So did Braxton. But Futch had instructed Spinks to use his left hand -- jab and hook -- and never throw the right until Braxton did. The brawl that the public had anticipated never materialized, as Spinks fought and won a strategic victory.


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  7. PernellSweetPea

    PernellSweetPea Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Very good points. I always thought Marvin was just what he was which was so much better than most that he would win just on that and his will, which was tremendous, and being southpaw and strong physically with a long enough reach helped him against everyone else. Just a great style all together. He outmatched everyone he fought, and once he got the experience at 50 fights or so and the Antuofermo draw, he came back even better for Minter.

    But I think part of the reason Duran told Ray you can beat him had to do with this lack of versatility in Marvin when he had to change on the fly. Duran sensed it. It was not that Marvin could not beat Duran better, he could not adjust quickly to completely start to dominate. He had a bit of a robotic style to him at times, which was a flaw. All fighters have flaws.. He was so great in his style and everything else that his top ability was enough to get him where he wanted to go and to beat whom he wanted to within limits. He had the advantages to that point, but going beyond it with a fight plan? I am not sure. I don't know if an Eddie Futch could have helped him-although in close fights it does make a difference perhaps.. The Hearns fight was a change in fight plan for him, but he had to take the punches and he was fueled by anger with Hearns and everything was personal at that point. Marvin had great physicality. Southpaw, switching. Good power etc. That would not have always worked.

    But I think Marvin had that limit where he could not really go past his top level, where I think Spinks could or Leonard could. Maybe that had to do with the amateur levels where they were at fighting different styles around the world to get the gold medal. That is a lot of competition and pressure and it teaches those guys. Hearns? Tommy limited himself by wanting to brawl and being impatient at times, and Tommy did not have a great great versatility. He could start to box when he was hurt, but that was more moving and jabbing instinctively, and he improved and was probably a little more versatile than Marvin. Duran was not as versatile as people think either. He was a little like Marvin in that he could beat most guys with what he had in that situation ,but if they gave him something different he had a hard time adjusting. Ray was the most versatile of the 4 and that is why he beat all 4. That is the mark of the true true great, which is why I think Ray was the greatest of the 4. He exploited the other fighters faults more than they could his. Versatility.

    Like when Marvin fought Tommy he was hit so clean and those punches hurt him, but they did not knock him out so he simply kept up the pressure. But he was hit and kept getting hit. He did not adjust to that he just relied on his chin and to put on pressure to take the punches and keep coming. Yet if you see round 3 he was tired at the beginning of round 3, but he relied on Tommy being more tired. And Tommy was not being defensive either, so it was a case of the stronger natural middleweight relying on his chin to weather the storm. Not really versatile, more like calculating. But it could have backfired. He won the gamble. That is not versatility or skill to be hit that clean.

    Had he been hurt he could have been knocked out. He couldn't do anything but take the punches and come back. And part of that gamble was Hearns gamble also. So Marvin was lucky he could take the punch and come back.

    Futch in his corner with Duran or Leonard? I think Futch might have told him get more aggressive with Duran when the rounds were going by and Marvin was not being too aggressive. Marvin won anyway, but he might have had a late stoppage or wider scores. And the same with Ray but Ray exploited Marvin's rust and inactivity and slippage. Resume wise Marvin beats Spinks probably, yet the Holmes fight was incredible and tells me skill wise Spinks was a little better. I don't think a middleweight Leonard could have moved up and fought a Spinks at 175 and beaten him the way he beat Marvin rust or not.

    As for the Holmes fight. I thought Holmes would stop him early and Spinks won and went 15 with him two times. And Larry can fight. Spinks was just a well skilled fast guy who had a gameplan and could adjust. Fight in spurts and do those little baby steps to avoid being in one spot and then in his awkward way punch when he had the opening and impress judges and not get caught. Spinks showed us something more when he moved up. I think Hagler knew he could not move up and adjust like that. He never did. If I had to pick who was more skilled. I pick Spinks. The Hearns fight was a great win for Hagler, but he was fighting a guy moving up regardless of Hearns being taller and all that. Spinks went up to heavyweight and beat an undefeated champion. To me that was more impressive because of leaving his comfort zone and still winning.. Also, Hearns gave Hagler that fight. Hagler vs. Hearns was a great fight. That is what probably gets Hagler the nod over Michael.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  8. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Boxing Junkie booted Full Member

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    I think Marvin Hagler was a better fighter than Michael Spinks in terms of overall skills. Spinks could be pretty awkward.

    I think Hagler's middleweight run was better than Spinks' run. Marvin fought better middleweight opponents than Michael's light heavy challengers.

    That said, I think Michael Spinks should be rated higher than Hagler on any all-time list because Spinks not only was the WORLD Light heavyweight champion but he was the first light heavyweight champion ever to win the WORLD heavyweight title - and he beat Holmes, who is arguably a top four all-time great heavyweight champion. (Not some putz like John Ruiz.)

    Hagler never accomplished anything like the Holmes win. Most of his top wins came over name fighters who moved up. Moving up to light heavy was something Hagler never considered.

    Most people don't seem to give Spinks the credit he deserves for beating Holmes. It was a historic victory. And Spinks "moved up" to do it. I think he weighs 175 pounds now. It wasn't like he was a fat guy who cut weight to make light heavy. Spinks only weighed 170 pounds (the day of the fight) when he defended against David Sears.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  9. he grant

    he grant Historian/Film Maker Full Member

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    Both are great fighters but I think there is more to this .. Spinks beat Qwai in a great exhibition of boxing but he for the most part ran for his life. Not a terrific win from a drama standpoint. He beat a weight drained, absurdly arrogant Mustafa. He beat Johnson who while still dangerous for sure was not only past his best but flattened a few times before .. he also had a very tough , close bout w Davis ..

    Hagler fought a ton of terrific, talented, bad ass middleweights, in many ways the black dynamites of the 70's . Worm Monroe, Cyclone Hart, Bobby Watts, Ray Seales, , Mike Colbert and Bernie Briscoe ... all badasses .. Antuofermo, Minter, Hamsho, Obel, Sibson, Mugabi, Roldan .. every one of these guys was a rough, tough fighter. Not one soft touch. The Duran fight was interesting as Marvin fought cautiously , maybe a bit concerned about his first super fight .. that said, despite absurd coverage , he won that fight more decisively than Spinks did over Qwai by running all night. And then there is Hearns ..

    Both Hagler and Spinks were amazing fighters for sure .. I think with far more fights against a much larger number of top opponents Hagler is more proven at 160 that Spinks was at 175 ..
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  10. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Spinks without question.

    Olympic gold medalist.

    Light hwt champion of the word defeating pretty much all major challengers.

    Only light hwt champion in boxing history to win the worlds hwt championship and he did so against the an ATG. Worlds Heavyweight championship is the most prized achievement in all of sport. Defended that championship three times.

    Only one loss in his entire pro career vs Mike Tyson.
     
  11. Jel

    Jel Well-Known Member Full Member

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    I agree with this. Hagler at middleweight has the edge over Spinks (good though he was) at light-heavyweight. He reigned for longer and was more dominant overall.

    The Holmes win probably evens things up for Spinks though.
     
  12. PhillyPhan69

    PhillyPhan69 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Well that settles it, the answer must be Hagler!
     
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  13. BundiniBlack

    BundiniBlack Active Member Full Member

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    Anyone who has Spinks below Hagler is not worth listening to. Spinks resume destoys Hagler's to be quite honest
     
  14. Jel

    Jel Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Take some time to read some of the previous, very considered responses. It's obviously not that clear cut.
     
  15. Jel

    Jel Well-Known Member Full Member

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    It'd be interesting to see a poll - response for response this looks pretty split!
     


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