"His whole attitude has changed. I don't have to push him anymore," says Francis, who eventually joined in the instruction sessions himself and was baptized a Catholic on Sunday along with Mugabi. "I was worried that his relationship with Father Tony would make him a meeker person. But did you see the way John's sparring, have you seen the way he runs up those hills? He is more aggressive than ever. He is convinced that God is on his side, and also that Hagler is a fool to fight him."
Be that as it may, Hagler is a 3½-to-1 favorite. There is no disputing the champion's ring craft and strategic brilliance, and it seems clear even now that Hagler will not come out banging as he did against Hearns. He will surely try to capitalize on that arrogant, Ali-like habit Mugabi has of keeping his hands held low on defense.
However, Hagler's own defense is hardly total. "Everybody who has fought Hagler has hit him," says Duff. "If Mugabi catches him, he'll go. Please God," he adds devoutly.
Mugabi himself sees no problem. "I was studying him a long time, but not now," he says. "I know how he fights. He is a slow fighter. I am hungry for my title. I beat him up."