Why didn’t Marvin Hagler fight Wilfred Benitez in 1982?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Saintpat, Feb 6, 2022.

  1. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Wilfred was WBC junior middleweight champion and beat Roberto Duran decisively in January that year.

    He called out Marvelous Marvin. It was a marketable and makable fight. It was a marquee fight, which Marvin had been screaming for since becoming champion.

    Wilfred didn’t fight again until December, when he faced Thomas Hearns and lost his 154-pound belt.

    Marvin spent 1982 fighting Caveman Lee (in March) and, for a second time (and nobody wanted to see it the first time, much less the second), Fulgencio Obelmejias (known, for the few who knew of him, as Fully Obed).

    Why didn’t Marvin make room for Benitez in the middle of the year?

    And why does no one ever mention this, considering how often it’s said on here that this, that and every other fighter ducked everyone?

    Benitez was a viable, pedigreed fighter with a great record who brought more value, would have created more interest and shined more of a light on Hagler than anyone else campaigning at 160 at the time — and instead he’s fighting Caveman and Obel II (Marvin stopped him in eight the first time, five in the non-anticipated rematch). It makes no sense that this fight didn’t happen.
     
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  2. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Honestly don't know. I know that the first attempt at matching Hagler with Hearns was supposed to have been in '82, but Hearns broke a finger in training. Not sure how much of the year was eaten up with that commitment though, fruitless as it was.
     
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  3. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Well Hearns was well enough to fight Wilfred by December of 1982. And Marvin didn’t find a spot on his datebook until 1985.
     
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  4. Moonlight

    Moonlight Walking in the moonlight... lonely.. as always.. Full Member

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    I think he didn't want to struggle with his head movement. Benitez at his absolute peak in the Duran fight and was looking like a wizard. Benitez was elusive fighter. Better defensive fighter than all of fab four.
     
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  5. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Yeah, I dunno. Maybe some part of Benitez realized he should stay in 154 at that point.
     
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  6. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Wilfred after the Duran fight said he wanted to move up to 160 and challenge Marvin. He said he felt strong at 154 but it was a strain to make the weight (he’d probably say that if it was 175 or 195, haha).

    He 100% called out Marvin and said he wanted him. There was no hesitation on his part to fight Hagler. But Marvin decided he’d rather fight at caveman and a guy he’d already knocked out.

    Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck.
     
  7. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Wasn't Obel a mandatory though?
     
  8. HolDat

    HolDat Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Calling someone out in public doesn't mean he was actually serious behind the scenes. Plenty of fighters yap for the cameras.
     
  9. Balder

    Balder Well-Known Member banned Full Member

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    To risky for Hagler.

    Benitez had reached a peak in the Duran fight and looked far to dangerous.

    Had the fight happened and the same Benitez that fought Duran showed up - he would have legit chance to win a decision. Had Benítez won that fight history would have seen Hagler and Benitez very differently.
     
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  10. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    He was the first time I think. Maybe the second time too.

    But this is an age when champions didn’t only fight two times a year. Marvin fought three times in ‘81 and three in ‘83. Yet he only fought early and late in 1982.

    So he could have fit it in between. Or worked out step-aside money and gotten Obed a payday on the undercard (the Four Kings book talks at various points about other MMH mandatories like Roldan getting this). Or fought Obed mid-year and made the fight with Benitez instead of letting Wilfred get the big payday against Hearns while Marvin was counting pennies for his title fights.

    There’s not a hint that Hagler ever considered or tried to make a fight with Benitez. Not that it didn’t work out.
     
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  11. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Marvin not making this fight is what keeps us from having Five Kings instead of four.

    Duran fought: Leonard (x3), Hearns, Hagler and Benitez

    Hearns fought: Leonard (x2), Duran, Benitez and Hagler

    Leonard fought: Duran (x3) Hearns (x2), Benitez and Hagler

    Hagler fought: Leonard, Duran and Hearns

    Benitez fought: Leonard, Hearns and Duran

    One piece missing from this puzzle. There’s a time it could have been made and been almost certainly Marvin’s biggest payday (he didn’t get the other kings until later). Wilfred wanted it. Marvin …
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2022
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  12. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Well Marvin never apparently even uttered Wilfred’s name.

    When Sports Illustrated and the New York Times are reporting Wilfred’s words, that carries weight. He wanted the fight. He wasn’t scared of Duran, Hearns nor Leonard. He certainly wasn’t afraid of Marvin.
     
  13. Dynamicpuncher

    Dynamicpuncher Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I'm not saying Hagler avoided anyone, but during his title reign he never really fought any boxers, movers, or slick fighters. And that's type of style that gave him problems.
     
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  14. HolDat

    HolDat Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Possibly. I just don't believe everything someone says. That's just me. Benitez wasn't short of confidence.
     
  15. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Yeah, on the flip side of that: Marvin sure talked like a tough guy who would take on all comers but he managed to ghost Wilfred.

    My main thing is just why doesn’t this ever come up? It’s really a Five Kings super fight at least as big as any other that didn’t involve Leonard.
     
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