Marvelous Marvin Hagler, November 1983, Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas
Rare is the case that a loss can enhance a fighter’s reputation. Yet, Duran is a prime example that it can happen. Fresh off the Davey Moore win he stepped up to middleweight to challenge champion Hagler. It was a fight in which neither man backed down, nor falling for the others tricks. The early rounds belonged to Duran as he slipped Hagler’s tentative leads and effectively counter punched which excited the crowd. Duran repeatedly used his timing and defensive skill to make Hagler miss before countering with quick right hands. However, facing the bigger stronger man did wear on Duran and midway Hagler seized control, but a funny thing happened. Hagler got comfortable and conservative, enough so that after 13 rounds, Duran was actually ahead on two scorecards and even on the third. Hagler’s corner was keenly aware how close a fight it was and implored their man to finish strong. The Marvelous one, did, in the final two rounds he was the aggressor and won rounds 14 and 15, taking the fight by a close unanimous decision. Duran was the first fighter to go the distance with Hagler during his championship reign. More importantly, the world was yet again on notice, no matter how big the opponent in size or stature, Duran is not to be taken lightly.