When you look back at Marvin Hagler’s career, the early narrative was about how underrated he was. Boxing insiders who followed closely knew he was the goods, but he didn’t have a high following. Sugar Ray Leonard knew how good he was. And then, at some point in the early 80s, he was ranked fairly as one of the best boxers in the world. All it took was a decision victory against the legendary Roberto Duran for people to think he was all of a sudden now overrated. Rather than see it as Duran putting on one of the best performances of his career, most writers saw it as Hagler slowing down.
It didn’t help that Juan Roldan caught him with a punch and put him down in his very next fight. That just gave the folks who thought he was losing a step more ammunition.
Thomas Hearns was just coming off his own victory over Duran, but his was in devastating fashion. With both guys headed on a collision course, you could see how many people thought that Hearns was in his prime and Hagler may be on the other side of it.
Hearns wanted Hagler next, but Hagler had another title defense against Mustafa Hamsho upcoming. Hagler beat Hamsho three years prior. Hearns took on Fred Hutchings in the mean time. Hagler said after he disposed of Hamsho, he and Hearns would get it on. This is the subject of our next Fabulous Four Podcast.
Much like Hearns did with Hutchings, Hagler made light work of Hamsho, knocking him out in the 3rd. But it wasn’t before Hamsho had some early success. He landed a right hook late that looked to shock Hagler and then followed up with a deliberate head butt. It seemed to anger Hagler, but he kept his composure. The second round was mostly Hagler, but Hamsho landed some shots late. But in the third round, Hagler put together some lethal combinations stopping him while putting him down twice. It was the first time Hamsho had gone down in his career.