The Index-Journal from Greenwood, South Carolina on April 5, 1987 · Page 30
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The Index-Journal from Greenwood, South Carolina · Page 30

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Greenwood, South Carolina
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Sunday, April 5, 1987
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.4 2D-T) todnKlourwat, Gw wood, S.C., Joseph Sitarz Questions of pride Lights out? Matters of pride... It has the makings of a bad Hollywood script. A 30-year-old damaged boxer trying to make a come back in a brutal sport a sport that almost cost him his life as well as his eyesight against the reigning middleweight champion. The wounded boxer, after a hiatus of about three years, has decided to enter the ring Monday night and put it all on the line against a lighter who has not lost in more than 11 years. Sounds like the stock Sylvester Stallone makes his "Rocky" movies from. But Its not. ON MONDAY night at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the lights will shine brightly heralding what is being billed as "The Super Fight" between Sugar Ray Leonard and the Marvelous One Marvin Hagler. A record number of media will be covering it. The 15,356-seat arena will be overflowing with spectators. Add to that the millions who will view the fight from closed-circuit venues around the world, including the Greenwood Civic Center, it is easy to see there is great interest in the fight. It is more than a boxing match it is an event. Even the Pointer Sisters, of "Neutron Dance"-fame, will sing the national anthem. While Leonard has been off for such a long time, Hagler has defended his title four times since 1984. In March of that year, Hagler knocked out Juan Rolaan in 10 rounds, then followed that with a knock out in the third round in an Octo-ber fight with Mustafa Hamsha. The next year he squared off with Thomas Hearns in April, scoring a KO in the third round. LAST MARCH, John "The Beasr Mugaoi went aown uii the Uth round, ffivinff Hairier' another win by a KO, but Hagler struggled. He may have won by knock outs, but surely Hagler's body has suffered. The outcome of Monday night's fight probably is not as cut and dry as a lot of people might believe. There is a good chance Leonard can puD off the upset and topple the champion. The fight has been a long time coming. The two were supposed to tangle twice before both times the matches were called off because of Leonard's retirement. Leonard suffered a detached retina in his left eye back in 1962 training for a fight against Roger Stafford. He retired from boxing then, had surgery to repair the eye, and made a one-fight comeback in 1984 to take on Kevin Howard. YET, THERE still was an obstacle remaining in Leonard's path. A big obstacle, a big mountain Hagler. "He's that mountain," Leonard said. "There's only one to climb, one to conquer. So far, no one's been able to do that. Hagler's been on my agenda for a while, but I was just sidetracked through some other circumstances. But he's always been there." Leonard disclaims reports his return to the ring is because of financial troubles. "I want to fight Hagler not because this is a come back for financial reasons, this is just a continuation of my career." NBC sportscaster Marv Albert said he liked Leonard if the fight goes more than seven rounds, reasoning that the 30-year-old has more than just money on his mind he has his pride. "EVEN THOUGH there is a lot of money at stake, I don't think he would go into it to be embarrassed. So I really don't count him out," Albert concluded. Embarrassed -1 doubt it, but there will be a major target zone for Hagler to shoot for, Leonard's left eye. Hagler already has come out and stated be would go after Leonard's eye. "It's a dog-eat-dog world," Hagler said, adding be would not back off his opponent. "Do you think he'd worry about me: Perhaps not, but that is the nature of the sport and both fighters know that. Leonard (See Column, page 3D) Sun., April S, 19S7 Leonard attempting to get Mffled LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) -Sugar Ray Leonard is rich, handsome and, at 30, still unfulfilled. He thinks that feeling will change when he challenges middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler on Monday night at Caesars Palace. "If I had never fought Marvin, it'd still be on my mind when I'm 60 years old," said Leonard, who will be 31 May 17. "I think he has to feel the same way. ... for money, ego and pride, and it's Sugar Ray Leonard." Of course, the former undisputed welterweight champion wants more than just the fight. He wants to fulfill a dream he s been having. "I see myself taking him out," he said. "That would be beautiful. ... with a right hand. "Beat Hagler, beat the odds. It's a package deal." Leonard will be trying to beat the odds almost 11 years after he won the light welterweight championship at the Olympics in Mon- On the night of July 11, 1976, Leonard got his gold medal with a three-round decision over Andres Aldama of Cuba, then said: "My ?uest is conquered, my dream ulfilled ana my journey finished." Twice the journey appeared to be finished with announced retirements. The first retirement was announced Nov. 9, 1982, seven months after Leonard underwent retinal surgery on his left eye. Hagler was present when Leonard announced his decision Hagler place in to stay LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) -Marvelous Marvin Hagler no longer trains among the sea gulls and wind-whipped surf of Prov-incetown during the Cape Cod winter, but he still approaches his profession with icy resolve. Though he has been middleweight champion for almost the entire life of this decade, Hagler doesn't forget that it took him most of the 1970s to get a title shot. And he worries that a loss at this late stage of his career could damage his place in boxing history. ... especially a loss to Sugar Ray Leonard, who has outshined Hagler as a personality ever since he arrived on the pro boxing scene as an Olympic champion in 1976. To some, Leonard is risking bis sight he had retinal surgery in 1982. Others see his challenge as a bid to climb a mountain without a rope. The fight, Monday night at Caesars Palace, will be only his second in almost 62 months. "This is a sentimental fight," Hagler said. 'They're making me the bad guy, the mean old bad guy, who's going to knock out his eyeball, who's going to mark up his pretty face. Girls say, 'Don't hurt his prettty face.' Thinking about his image one day amid the sunshine and affluence of Palm Springs, Calif., where he trained from January until this past Tuesday, Hagler grinned, the wrinkles blending with the scar tissue around his eyes. The trade-mark shaven pate was covered by a white, cap, which carried the message "No Mercy." On that particular morning, Hagler ran 15 miles. That night, he worked out in a tent where heaters guarded against the desert chill. He carried his own equipment bag, wrapped his hands, greased his face. A champion? "He puts himself into a challenger's position," said Goody Petronelli, trainer and co-manager. Look for an entourage, and you'll find Goody and brother Pat, the other manager; Hagler's half brother, Robbie Sims, who is a midddleweight contender, and the sparring partners. Hagler's payroll is as lean as his body. Asked earlier who was his bodyguard, Hagler pointed and said, "There are my two body guards." Lounging in the shade were the Petronellis. Hagler gave up winter training Monday's. (Continued from page ID) Early in the week, Arum said, ''We've taken in more money than any fight in history." He thinks the net revenue will top $30 million and could even approach $40 million. , There are sceptics. ' Leonard is guaranteed $11 million and has 50 percent of the closed-circuit television rights to homes in the Baltmore-Washing-ton area. That should earn ' 7 M Sugar Ray before the press and public at the Baltimore Civic Center. "Sorry, Marvin; it's not going to happen," Leonard said. Now that it is, Leonard's sight has been the eye of a storm of controversy. The Hagler fight will be only his second bout in almost 62 months. Reporters attending Leonard's workouts at Hilton Head, S.C., wants history clean on Cape Cod as a concession to the Petronellis. Pat remembered that he and Goody would take turns spending two weeks with the champion in an empty hotel in a virtually empty seaside community. "I used to tell Goody that I had a cold, just so I wouldn't have to go down there on time," Pat said. "When ice got on the inside of the windows, we were in trouble." Hagler enjoys celebrity he had Marvelous legally added to his full name but he doesn't like to actively seek it. As a fighter, Hagler wants to be considered a throwback to middleweight champions of the past Rocky Graziano, Tony Zale, Sugar Ray Robinson. "I still fight like a challenger because it took me a long time to get the title," Hagler said. "Yes, the anger and the bitterness is still inside me after all those years of being sidetracked and Ignored." Hagler, who will be 33 on May 23, grew up in Newark, N.J., and in 1969 moved to Brockton, Mass., where he met the Petronellis. He turned pro May 18, 1973. When he became champion on Sept. 27, 1980, by stopping Alan Minter in three rounds in London, he had a 49-2-2 record with 40 knockouts. Throughout Hagler's slow and sometimes discouraging climb to the top, ran a thread tying him to Leonard. On June 10, 1977, at Hartford, Conn., Hagler fought as a pro for the 36th time and knocked out Roy Jones in the third round for a purse of $1,500. Leonard fought his third pro bout on the same card and knocked out Vinnie De-' Barros in the third round for $40,000. Monday night, Hagler, who has earned about $30 million, is guaranteed $12 million. The 30-year-old Leonard, who has earned more than $40 million, is guaranteed $11 million. Hagler first challenged for the middleweight title in his 50th fight on Nov. 30, 1979, at Caesars Palace and failed to get it when his 15-round bout with champion Vito Antuofermo ended in a draw. In his 26th fight, immediately thereafter, Leonard won the World Boxing Council welterweight championship by stopping Wilfred Benitez in the 15th round. Hagler has defended 12 times, two short of Carlos Monzon's record of 14 consecutive middleweight title defenses. One of Hagler's defenses was a spectacu- another $1 million or so for Leonard, who does not have a manager. One-third of Hagler's purse will go to managers Pat and Goody Petronelli. The fight, at a soldout 15,300-seat outdoor stadium, will start about 8:15 p.m. PST. It will be shown on closed-circuit television at between 1,500 and 1,600 locations, with about 3 million seats, in the United State and Canada, according to Arum. Has dream of taking Hagler out Leonard were given copies of the four questions most-asked of Leonard and his answers. Question 3 asked if he wasn't concerned about losing his sight. "Please give me credit for not underestimating the seriousness of this situation," Leonard's statement said. "I'm upset that anyone would think I would take an unreasonable risk of injury. "Marvelous" lar third-round knockout of Thomas Hearns, which has been the feather in his cap. He would like to make the Leonard fight a plume. "If this Is my last fight, it will be my best," he said. "All I learned in boxing will come out that night." Twice Hagler appeared headed toward a showdown with Leonard; twice Leonard retired. Then last May, Leonard announced he would come back again if Hagler would fight him. Tale of the Tape Tale of the tape for Marvelous Marvin Hagler's World Boxing Association heavyweight title defense against Sugar Ray Leonard, to be held Monday, April 6 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nev.: aWkrlMMri ak a Weight m m Height Wi S-W4 Reach IS M Cbett (nrnull Cbett (eiptodedi Bnep 15 Forearm U Want It 2f 5 Neck K Wrist 7 Filt U Ankle I Official weigh-in will be Monday, April 6. The promoter also said it will shown on limited pay-per-view television in the United States and will be beamed to about 75 other countries. Hagler, who will be 33 on May 23, enters the fight with a 62-2 2 record with 52 knockouts. It will be his title defense, just one short of Carlos Monzon's record. Hagler has an unbeaten streak of 37 fights dating back to a 10-round decision loss to Willie "The The reason I have such confidence about returning to the ring, after the eye operation was so successful, is the medical 'seal of approval' furnished by a team of doctors some of the top experts in the world in the field of retinas and eye surgery. ... I have no concern about my eye in any way. ... and no one else should either." Leonard has made more than $40 million from boxing and is guaranteed another $11 million for fighting Hagler. Hagler, who has earned about $30 million, is guaranteed $13 million. "If I'm going to make this thing an event, I want to be paid for it, Leonard said last fall, about a month after the fight was officially announced. But Leonard said his motive for fighting is simply Hagler, and if he wasn't fighting Hagler, he wouldn't be fighting anybody. "1 don't want a career," he said. "I want one fight." Leonard had Hagler in mind when he announced he would come out of retirement to fight Kevin Howard on Feb. 25, 1984, at , Worcester, Mass. But the fight was postponed until May 11 so Leonard could undergo surgery to strengthen the retina of his right eye. Looking tentative, Leonard got up from a fourth-round knockdown to stop Howard in the ninth. Then he stunned Hagler, who was at ringside, by announcing his retirement. "He's the only one ... I know who could walk away from $20 million," said an exasperated Pat Petronelli, Hagler's co-manager. Leonard feels he overreacted in retiring that night. Marvin Hagler Hagler didn't jump at the challenge. There was even speculation he would retire. Hagler reached his decision about an hour past midnight on a July morning while he and bis wife, Bertha, were swinging in a park near their summer home at Bartlett, N.H. "I know what you're thinking," Hagler recalled Bertha as saying. "You want to fight, don't you? "Why dont't you just go ahead and get that skinny little runt out of the way?" is 11. u u m 7 u Worm" Monroe, March 9, 1976 at Philadelphia. In that streak, is a 15-round draw against Vito Antuofermo, which enabled Antuofermo to keep the middleweight title on Nov. 30, 1979. On that same card at Caesars Palace, Leonard won the World Boxing Council welterweight title by stopping Wilfred Benitez in the 15th round. Leonard is 33-1 with 24 knockouts and has won six straight "I was so self-critical," he said. "I didn't watch the tape of the fight for eight months. If I had watched it the next day, I would not have retired. It wasn't me, but it wasn't that bad." "Not that bad," is not a description usually associated with a Leonard peformance. Superlatives more often were in order for the Golden Boy with the feet and flashinfi fists. He I showmanshiD to the ring, but neath that dazzling smile and some showboat moves beat a street-fighter's heart. In posting a 31-1 record, with 23 knockouts, nef ore his first retirement In 1962, he won the World Boxing Council welterweight title by stopping Wilfred Benitez with six seconds left in the fight Nov. 30, 1979, then became undisputed welterweight champion by stopping the previously unbeaten Thomas Hearns in the 14th round Sept. 16, 1981. He also won the WBA junior middleweight title with a ninth-round knockout of Abdul Kalule on June 25, 1981, but relinquished it without defending it. Leonard's only loss was on a close, but unanimous 15-round decision to Roberto Duran in Olympic Stadium at Montreal Sept. 13, 1980. The two met again five months later in the New Orleans Superdome, with Leonard taunting Duran and regaining the WBC title when Hands of Stone said "no mas" and quit in the eighth round. On Feb. 15, 1982, Leonard kept the undisputted title by knocking out Bruce Finch in the third round. Then came the eye problem, and it looked as if Leonard's journey was finished. Curry wins by opponent's miscue LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) - Former welterweight champion Donald Curry moved a step closer to a world junior middleweight title fight Saturday when opponent Carlos Santos was dis- Jualified for head butting in the ifth round of their scheduled 12-round fight. It was the second straight fight Curry has won on a disqualification. On Feb. 7, Tony Montgomery was disqualified in the fifth round for repeating butting. Referee Carlos Padilla, who , had warned Santos twice for butting and taken away points in the fourth and fifth rounds for repeated fouls, finally stopped the bout at 2:25 of the fifth round. The end came after a final butt by Santos stunned Curry and cut him over the right eye. Curry backed away and looked at Padilla, who moved in and motioned Santos off to end the bout. Curry, of Fort Worth, Texas, retained his U.S. Boxing Association 154-pound title and moved in line for a possible world title fight at that weight in his next fight. Santos, a former International Boxing Federation 154-pound champion from Puerto Rico, was trailing badly on the scorecards of the ringside judges when the fight was stopped. Curry, fighting for the second time since losing his undisputed welterweight title last September to England's Lloyd Honey ghan, took control of the fight early when he stunned Santos with a left-right combination midway through the first round. Curry, 153, stalked Santos around the ring, scoring effectively with left nooks and an occasional right against his southpaw opponent. Santos, also 153, was first warned for butting midway through the second round, then was warned again after another butt about 30 seconds later. Padilla took a point away from Santos following a butt in the fourth round and took another point away in the fifth. Curry raised bis record to 27-1 with 20 knockouts. He received $100,000 for the win, which was his second since moving up to the 154-pound division. Santos' record dropped to 30-3. After the fight, the Nevada State Boxing Commission told promoter Bob Arum to withhold Santos' $25,000 purse pending an investigation. The fight, which was televised nationally by CBS, was held at an outdoor arena at Caesars Palace. Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard will fight in the same arena Monday night. fights since a 15-round decision loss to Robert Duran on June 20, 1980 at Montreal. Leonard will try to become the seventh welterweight champion to win the middleweight title. The last was Emile Griffith, who scored a 15-round decision over Dick Tiger on April 25, 1966, at New York. He also could be become the 10th fighter to win titles in three weight divisions. I

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