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

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

  1. Mark Dunham

    Mark Dunham Active Member Full Member

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    Benitez MAY have gotten a shot but he proved he wasn't good enough because he lost a 1983 bout with a top contender named Mustafa Hamsho.

    Maybe you heard of him?
     
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  2. Cobra33

    Cobra33 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    So tell everyone on here how Benitez deserved a title shot at the undisputed Middleweight title having never fought at middle?
    And before you shout well Ray got one Ray was a HUGE star in boxing and Benitez was nowhere near Ray in terms of drawing power.
    Hearns beat Benitez easily.Ray did as well and in fact Hearns doesnt hurt his righthand he stops Benitez who he had already dropped.
    Benitez has one win against the four kings one win.
     
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  3. Cobra33

    Cobra33 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    See Duran did it right: crushed Cuevas. Then battered Moore for the title and the same year MOVED UP and fought Hagler not defend his title lose a one sided decision and then want to fight Hagler.
     
  4. Mark Dunham

    Mark Dunham Active Member Full Member

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    I really believe that a motivated Duran like the one that outfought Leonard, would have convincingly beat Wilfred
     
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  5. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Duran didn’t move up to middleweight until Hagler gave him a shot. He won a junior middleweight title. Benitez won a junior middleweight title and defended it successfully … against the same Duran lol. (Who ‘did it right’ by beating a former welterweight champ Pipino who was coming off a loss and a year-long layoff, and that fight was at junior middle, a weight Pipino never did anything to distinguish himself at.)

    As for Wilfred, he called out Hagler after beating Duran, before he had lost to Hearns (a fight that happened, btw, because Hagler pulled out of a fight with Hearns over an injury and didn’t get around to fighting him until almost 2 1/2 years later).

    I agree that Hagler did decide to wait Benitez out rather than fight him. That’s self-evident.

    But if you have a problem with Hagler fighting people who hadn’t established themselves at middleweight, you can start with Duran, Leonard and Hearns. But don’t use that as an excuse if you’re not going to call him out for making those fights.

    He could have skipped Don Lee and fought a bigger, more important fight against a more deserving opponent in Benitez. He could have had Arum pay Fully Obel step-aside money to make the more lucrative fight with Benitez — Arum did it multiple times with Roldan.

    Nah, Hagler wasn’t making some grand stand about Benitez not being proven at middleweight or he wouldn’t have fought Leonard, Duran or Hearns. He just didn’t want the fight.
     
  6. Journeyman92

    Journeyman92 El Radar Dios los bendiga Full Member

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    I don’t know that. I don’t think you do either. If the money is there he’d have done it. Why would Haglers management pass up the chance to make good dough off Wilfred? If it could’ve happened and was good business it would’ve. Are you trying to say Hagler was worried about Benitez?
     
  7. Mark Dunham

    Mark Dunham Active Member Full Member

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    Hagler never fought Don Lee

    It's evident you have no idea of what went on in the division or who was who or how any of the contenders earned their ranking

    You seem to think Hagler pulled out of the Hearns fight (you said it yourself) using an injury as an excuse.

    It was Hearns who used the injury excuse

    you still dont realize Wilfred lost to Hamsho to earn a title shot even after I told you!

    How DENSE can you be and you really need to do some research on the division. Read a few books, before making more comments
     
  8. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I’m saying somebody was. Maybe it was Arum. Maybe it was the Petronellis. Maybe it was Marvin.

    But the fight was there to be made and it definitely was worth more than fights with the likes of Caveman Lee and Fully Obel, neither of whom was a household name outside his own household.

    Marvin’s biggest fight to that point in his career was being on national TV in primetime on the undercard of (wait for it) Ray Leonard vs. Wilfred Benitez, where he fought Vito the Mosquito to a draw and failed to live up to his hype in a mostly tentative performance where he failed to win the middleweight title.

    In fact, Marvin had fought on a Leonard undercard before Ray was champ. And the only time he was on the same card as Benitez, he was on Wilfred’s undercard against Ray. Benitez had been on network TV more than Marvin had, and had additionally a win over Carlos Palomino, who was a network TV darling.

    Benitez-Leonard, Benitez-Duran and, a bit later, Benitez-Hearns were all bigger fights on bigger stages than any Marvin had ever fought on. HBO was still just breaking into the boxing biz around the time Marvin became champ and (wisely) hitched its wagon to Hagler as its blue-collar star because he was a champion that they could afford because the networks weren’t breaking down Arum’s door to televise Hagler.

    There’s no question whatsoever that a fight with Benitez coming off a win over Duran would have been bigger than any Marvin had been involved in to that point and could have generated a bigger purse. The Benitez-Duran fight had been on HBO but also on closed circuit in a lot of locations (because HBO didn’t have reach yet into a lot of cable markets … the idea of a premium pay channel wasn’t firmly established yet to the point that some systems just wouldn’t carry it) — and Hagler wouldn’t get into a CC fight until he met Duran.

    I’m not saying ‘scared’ but maybe they thought the risk was too high because Wilfred was a defensive master and might be able to befuddle Hagler. I personally think Marvin would have won, as most do, but it would have been a bigger risk that Caveman or a second fight with Fully Obel. (And at the time Wilfred had tamed Duran, looked splendid in winning the junior middleweight title against Maurice Hope and hadn’t shown the signs of fast decline that would arrive. We can’t look at what happened after as impacting what the fight looked like at that time because Arum, Marvin and the Petronellis didn’t have a crystal ball.)
     
  9. Pugguy

    Pugguy Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I agree IF two guys should’ve fought, the projected outcome shouldn’t be provide as a dismissal or excuse as to why it didn’t happen.

    Why have fights at all of we’re so confident in our forecasts? Let’s just say, “Hello Buster!”

    The relevance/value I see in the projected outcome for Hags vs Wilfredo is to potentially eliminate the motive that Marv avoided Benitez for fear of losing or at least evading a high risk challenge.

    And, if the reason for Marv not fighting Wilfredo was NOT for fear of losing, what improper motives did Marv have otherwise?

    Personally, I don’t see any. It’s a good discussion nonetheless, with lots of excellent facts arising out of the dynamic.

    Lots of things are easier to understand and make sense of when you lived through the era in question, being incrementally privy to the facts in their correct, real time chronology.

    Rebuilding the facts and their chronology is no mean feat - therefore, lots of valuable info being released here.
     
  10. Cobra33

    Cobra33 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    You keep chasing your tail. Fully was mandatory Hagler has no choice. Caveman was a last minute opponent for Goodwin
    Hearns was the one that stopped the fight due to breaking his righthand.
    Im going to quote this for you from the NEW York T/imes: "The winner of the Wilfredo Benitez vs Thomas Hearns bout is to recieve a shot at MARVIN HAGLER."
    Guess who won but injured his hand in the process?? HEARNS.
    Nobody wanted to see Benitez vs Hagler that was the problem. Benitez couldnt punch and lets be honest he lacked the speed of a Leonard or the punch of a Hearns.
    But your right people did mention it as a possiblity BUT it was rare. People were more interested in the Hearns fight.
    And here is what you fail to understand: When Benitez DID move up to middle it was a disaster he got mauled by Hamsho and he showed he had no strength at middle.
    I mean after he moved back down he got dropped and stopped by Moore then he upset New York favorite Moley and everyone thought Benitez had turned the clock back until Hilton TOOK HIS HEAD OFF.
    So ask yourself what a Hagler who never showed up not in shape would have done to Benitez???
     
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  11. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Ask yourself what would happen if a fighter who got humiliated by Kirkland Laing fought Marvin Hagler — I’ll tell you what happened: Roberto Duran gave him his toughest title defense to that point in Hagler’s reign. That happened to Duran BEFORE he fought Hagler.

    So you’re asking me to ask myself what happens if Benitez fights Hagler and I’ll tell you we don’t know, and that what happened later in Wilfred’s career when he was shot has no bearing on what might have happened before then. That’s not a hard question to grasp — that’s not the version that would have fought Hagler.

    Aren’t you the one going in circles? Didn’t you just tell me that Benitez should have moved up to middleweight before getting a shot, and how you’re telling me had Wilfred beaten Hearns (who wasn’t a middleweight yet) he would have gotten a shot? Then you said Duran did it the right way … by beating a welterweight (Cuevas) at junior middle and then beating a junior middle.

    Let me try again:

    I’m not talking about after Wilfred fought Hearns. I’m talking about after he beat Duran, which came before that fight.

    At that point he’s a very viable challenge for Hagler. He called Hagler out. He’s a better challenger than Mickey Goodwin (explain what he did to earn a shot). He’s a better challenger than Caveman Lee — how about instead of fighting Lee, when Goodwin fell out Hagler could have worked out a deal to fight Wilfred instead? What did Lee do to earn a title shot, beat journeyman John LoCicero? That counts more than beating Duran? (If that’s the case, then Duran never should have gotten a shot at Hagler.)

    And if the Hearns-Benitez winner was supposed to get a fight with Hagler, why didn’t it happen until nearly 2 1/2 years later?

    As for Fully Obel being a mandatory, so was Roldan … yet Arum happily handed him step-aside money AND paid him to fight on a couple of Hagler undercards so Marvin could fight other challengers. He could have done the same with Obel, or at least tried.

    There is a period of time where Wilfred is way more viable and way more attractive an opponent than who Marvin was defending against. You cannot with a straight face argue that Mickey Goodwin, Caveman Lee nor Fully Obel (who MMH had already KO’d) are better opponents than Benitez. Yet Marvin didn’t fight him.

    What happened after that is immaterial — you might as well use Muhammad Ali vs. Larry Holmes to argue that Ali wasn’t good enough to beat Foreman.
     
  12. Journeyman92

    Journeyman92 El Radar Dios los bendiga Full Member

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    “Defensive master” No sir. Also, I’m going to stay firm and say if it could’ve happened it would’ve, Not in this life or the next is Marvin Hagler worried about the guy who got bounced by Curry. Benitez is my first boxing hero but he’s not the man for Hagler to worry about. Who is to say that Benitez wasn’t worried? Talk is cheap, it’s all up in the air.
     
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  13. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Well Hagler could have offered him a title shot and we’d have seen if Wilfred would have taken him up on it.

    Wilfred stylistically could give a lot of guys problems. He completely neutralized Duran.

    Make a case for me that Mickey Goodwin, Caveman Lee and Fully Obel were better opponents, more financially attractive or were higher profile fights than Benitez coming off a win over Duran would have been. It’s not possible with a straight face.

    Why Marvin didn’t fight him is up to conjecture, but it’s very possible that whether Hagler himself saw Benitez as potentially troublesome or not that Arum or the Petronellis might have.

    I mean, who would have thought Vito Antuofermo could have given the ‘uncrowned champion’ a close enough fight for it to be a draw? Who would have anticipated a Duran who had already lost to Robbie Sims and been humiliated by Kirkland Laing (an opponent hand-picked because he was supposed to be a walkover) would give Marvin such a troublesome fight, or that a Leonard who had taken off years and not even had a tuneup could upset MMH? Who saw Buster Douglas and said ‘well if Tyson doesn’t bring his A game, Buster will dominate him and knock him out’?

    All of what you’re saying is conjecture — yes, Marvin would be favored. But he fought plenty of other guys he was favored against, so why not Benitez?
     
  14. FastLeft

    FastLeft Well-Known Member Full Member

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    no.

    Hagler did not duck Benitez
     
  15. Cobra33

    Cobra33 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Pretty much everyone that saw the first Vito vs Hagler bout had Hagler winning handily- Hagler won at least 10 of the 15 rounds.
    You keep going on and on about Duran vs Hagler which Duran has a completely different style then Benitez they aren't even similar in any way and Hagler BEAT Duran.
    Duran fought Laing months after BENITEZ genius. He wasn't coming off a loss vs Laing he had just won the title vs Moore a YEAR latter.
    Hearns earned his shot by blasting out Duran in under TWO rounds which got people talking: does Hearns hit hard enough to KO Hagler? Everyone I was around wanted to see it.
    And you still keep glossing over that Hamsho absolutely MAULED Benitez and rather easily.
    So there are two chances Benitez had of meeting Hagler: Beat Hearns and Beat Hamsho. End of story.
    And he did NEITHER he lost HANDILY to both.
    Middleweight was too far up for Benitez.
    Hagler FOUGHT his way to that title the hardway and he wasn't going to give up that title unless MILLIONS were involved and with Benitez he wasn't going to get that.