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Looking Back – Marvin Hagler Vs Roberto Duran

Marvin Hagler Vs Roberto Duran

Photo via Fight City

We take a look back at Marvin Hagler vs Roberto Duran.

This is supplemental material to our podcast series The Fabulous Four. Our fourth episode, up tomorrow, discusses the fight in heavy detail.

The Stage

November 10, 1983

Marvin Hagler: 57-2-2 with 45 KOs, WBC, WBA, and IBF Middleweight champion
Roberto Duran: 77-4 with 57 KOs, WBA Light Middleweight champion

This is Marvin Hagler’s first chance on the big stage. After being the best middleweight for a very long time, it took Roberto Duran going up in weight and challenging Marvin for him to get that big fight that he’d wanted for so long. Duran was clearly the better known fighter, but most insiders had Hagler as a heavy favorite.

If you’d like to follow along, this is the version of the fight that we watched on YouTube.

The Fight

Round One

Duan: You can see the respect these two have for each other in what is a pretty tepid opener. They’re both just using the jab to test the waters early. Hagler finds his range first, but towards the round’s end, Duran starts to time the shot, slip it and come back with his right. Not a huge amount to separate them but Marvin had control of the ring.

GG: Hagler starts out as a southpaw. Hagler starts out slow and tactical, even though he’s the natural middleweight. Very much respectful of Duran’s power. Duran looked good, winning a close first round.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Duran

Round Two

Duan: Hagler was the more active on the inside in the second and that’s the work that won him the round. There’s a couple of interesting moments though when Duran starts to press forward and he’s quick to back off and sometimes even gets his legs in a tangle and throws himself off balance doing so. It makes you wonder if he was feeling the weight behind the smaller man’s shots more than he has let on since.

GG: First round looked to be enough of a look at Duran for Hagler. He’s much more comfortable in the second. Duran’s uncomfortable and Hagler is hitting him with both hands.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Three

Duan: Duran already looks very tired in the corner after just two rounds. You do see that a lot when a guy is giving up weight. It just means they have to spend that bit more energy in every clinch and every grapple. He came out looking sharp in this one though. Roberto has his best spells when they’re in punching range letting the gloves fly. He’s the one who is able to better draw a shot, defend it, and answer back. I gave him this round.

GG: Hagler’s taking more chances and was off-balanced and Duran caught him to the body. Otherwise, this is mostly Hagler’s round. Hagler is superbly blocking a lot of Duran’s right hands. He then caught Duran and rocked him a bit. This is the best round so far.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Duran
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Four

Duan: Petronelli warns Hagler not to shoot for the knockout with every punch and that he’s getting suckered into a Duran fight. Might it have made it an easier night had they let Marvin loose instead? I don’t know. I do know one thing though: the tactics they went with allowed Duran to fight in bursts and that’s the type of tempo that’s traditionally served him well. I thought this was a close one. Roberto picked some really nice individual strikes and I feel he was outboxing Hagler a lot of the time, but Hagler put in the bigger shift and stole the session.

GG: Crowd is clearly behind Duran at points of the fight. But Hagler is doing a better job at putting his punches together and Duran is trying to set up the big right with his jab. I scored it closely for Marvin.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Five

Duan: Hagler switched stance a couple of times in the fifth and seemed to catch Roberto out on the adjustment. It was mostly a strong round for Marvin, but Duran landed his best punch of the fight just shy of the bell. It probably would have put down a lot of guys.

GG: Hagler switched to fighting right-handed and caught Duran off-guard a bit. Duran was uncomfortable with the switch, but when Marvin went back to southpaw, Duran had a lot of success, stealing the last minute of the round or so.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-10

Round Six

Duan: The swelling on Hagler’s eye is starting to come up between rounds and the team go to work on it with the enswell. It’s going to be a factor (and a target) for the rest of this fight. This was a really good round for Marvin though. Duran was spurred on by the damage he did at the end of the fifth and went looking for a war. Again, it was Hagler who took over in close quarters. He was able to use his strength to wrestle himself free and get the punches off. He caught Duran with some real clean connections to the head here.

GG: Hagler caught Duran off-balanced and hit him with a left hand. Duran was able to get inside and they had some nice exchanges. When Hagler went right-handed, he easily landed shots. What a labyrinth he must’ve been to fight. Duran had to worry about punches coming from everywhere. This is the best round of the fight so far.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Seven

Duan: Closer round than the sixth. Hagler complained about what he felt was a thumb to the eye and it seemed to take his mind off the job at least momentarily. Duran had a decent spell early but Hagler took charge again and just controlled things from there.

GG: This was a close round, but I think a lot of why it seemed that way is because of Duran standing right up to Hagler. Duran landed a few nice shots, but in between, it was Hagler landing punches on the inside.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Eight

Duan: This is a point you can look at and say that the time was right for Hagler to turn up the heat on Duran and he did the opposite. He went back to his boxing and a lot of this round was fought back in that in-between range where Duran is having his best success. I think Hagler did enough good work to sneak it, but he left the door open for Duran.

GG: Hagler’s doing a magnificent job at blocking Duran’s punches. You can hear a loud noise, but it’s from Duran’s gloves hitting Marvin’s. The body work and inside fighting leans this one toward Marvin’s way as well.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Nine

Duan: Now because Hagler didn’t press on when he had the advantage, Duran has a foothold back in the fight. It’s a much tamer three minutes, and again, the drop in pace is advantage Duran. This was his best round in a long time.

GG: Hagler scored the best shots of the round, and is doing so in such a workmanlike fashion. He’s not hitting Duran with shots to knock him out, but he’s scoring with punches and it seems the idea is that he’s eventually going to chop Duran down.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Duran
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Ten

Duan: This was a tremendously gutsy session from Duran. He was being battered on the inside for half of it, but he was able to battle back with some good bodywork – not to mention one or two low blows and a couple of other illegal shots that were staples of his repertoire.

GG: It was yet another strong round for Hagler, even though Duran landed the best shot. And Duran has landed some really good shots. But underneath that is Hagler ripping shots to the body and on the inside. I still have Marvin winning this one.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Duran
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Eleven

Duan: Hagler goes back to moving again and the crowd gets on his case for it. At this point, if it was very any other reason than he desperately needed the breather, it was the wrong choice. When he tried to pick his punches, Duran picked him off. Another slow round means another Duran round.

GG: Hagler decided to stay away for just about the entire round. Duran had to stalk him and didn’t have much success doing so, but maybe did just enough to get the round.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Duran
GG’s score: 10-9 Duran

Round Twelve

Duan: Petronelli knows Hagler gave away that last round. He tells him he was moving too much. Marvin tries to raise it again. Both guys are really tired but Duran is able to dig that bit deeper and fight through it the better. Hagler’s eye has opened up completely now and it’s causing him problems in there. Duran is able to target it with the hooks and uppercuts, and for the first time in the contest, he looks the boss. This was Roberto’s best round of the fight.

GG: The twelfth was the crackingest round of the fight so far. It seems like the prior round gave Duran a shot of energy. Hagler’s left eye is puffy and a target now. Duran was fighting more confidently, landing the lead right hand. Hagler still fought strong on the inside, but he was taking bigger shots in this round than he had in the entire fight.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Duran
GG’s score: 10-9 Duran

Round Thirteen

Duan: Duran’s corner point to Hagler’s worsening eye and send their man out to go back after it. In the opposite corner, there is a real sense of panic for the first time. They know that this fight could still slip away from them. Duran is running on fumes by now though. He wins this round by will and just a handful of eye catching attacks.

GG: This was a close round. If you split it in thirds, Duran clearly won the last minute of the round. Hagler came out quickly to try and shake off the last two rounds, but it ended too similarly as Duran was landing the right hand and showing out for the crowd.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Duran
GG’s score: 10-9 Duran

Round Fourteen

Duan: OK, this is where the fight was decided on the official cards. Duran was a point up on two of the three cards. Had he taken anything from these last two rounds he would have got at minimum a draw. So can you make a case for him? Not in round 14. Hagler was ferocious on the combo and worked him over pretty good. Having been jobbed so often by judges in the past, Marvin went hell for leather here to make sure it didn’t happen again. He forced out punch after punch and just completely took the play away from Duran.

GG: Hagler found his energy again and maybe felt a bit of immediacy and urgency. But Duran was able to cut Hagler higher on his eye than where it was swollen earlier. Duran looks exhausted, even though he’s fought brilliantly in the late rounds.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Round Fifteen

Duan: Hagler saved his best for last. He kept up his workrate from the last round ripping away to the head and body at close range. Duran didn’t have the strength left in his arms to keep him off nor the energy to equal his punch count. Marvin completely overwhelmed in those final three minutes and eliminated any lingering doubts about the outcome.

GG: Hagler absolutely closed out the fight like the champion he is. Duran was tired. The only thing Hagler didn’t do was knock him down. Brilliant work to close the show.

Duan’s score: 10-9 Hagler
GG’s score: 10-9 Hagler

Duan’s final scorecard: 144- 141 Hagler
GG’s final scorecard: 146-140 Hagler


Duan: What Duran did in Montreal was amazing, but equally too was this performance against Hagler. To comeback from the position he was in one year previously where he had been completely written off by everybody, to push one of the most feared fighters in the sport to his limit, and doing it while giving giving up so much physically was remarkable. He was the only person to take Hagler the 15 full rounds during his title reign and it was Hagler’s first truly competitive title match. This is the type of defiance that defined Duran.

GG: I always avoided watching this fight because it had a boring taint to it from what I’d read. In no way was this a boring fight. It was a tremendous performance by both men.

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5 thoughts on “Looking Back – Marvin Hagler Vs Roberto Duran

  1. I scored it a lot closer to how GG did, awarding 10 rounds to Hagler, and 5 to Duran (145-140). I did this by giving every round that I thought was close to Duran just so that I could try to see where all of the controversy was, and how 2 judges had Duran up after 13 rounds. I still cannot. To me, this is a case of a fighter’s legendary status doing half of the fighting for him. Hagler won this rather comfortably–albeit not spectacularly–in my eyes.

    As an aside, I am a big fan of Duran, whom I consider to be in the discussion for the greatest fighter who ever lived.

  2. I was unaware of it…as well as your response 15 months ago! I gotta find you guys.

  3. Hey Matt,

    You can find us on Twitter @fightgamemedia. You can find all our shows by clicking on the Fab Four tab at the top of this page.

  4. I had Always been an hagler fan but this time he had lost because of the clean right shots of Duran

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