Dundee knew that Hagler would often fight from a southpaw stance. As a rule, you never move to the right against a lefty, "because then you're moving into his left, his power hand," says Dundee. But Dundee also knew that Hagler is a converted southpaw and that his real power is on the right side. "You don't fight this guy the way you fight a regular southpaw," Dundee told Leonard. Instead he schooled Leonard on moving to Hagler's left.
"Move right, take a dip and nail him with a right hand," Dundee said. During the fight Leonard scored repeatedly with that very maneuver.
"That was the cleverest thing that Angie did," Trainer says. "Ray had his own theories on how to fight Hagler, but he needed Angie to reaffirm them."
Leonard and Dundee met at least once a day to discuss strategy. They worked on all the slipping and dipping and moving that Leonard displayed in the fight. "We worked on every movement to offset Hagler," Dundee says. "You know, feint one way and go the other. Head and hand feints, too. That's an art that's gone."
Dundee also entreated Leonard to lean on Hagler when he tied him up, and to push him and muscle him. "I told Ray, 'You're going to be able to move this guy. He's never been manhandled,' " says Dundee.
By the night of the fight, Leonard sensed he had stepped back in time, back to the old days. "It was like a transformation took place," Leonard says. "I had thought it all out before that first bell. It was as though my soul had left my body. Jeez, I was like Sugar Ray of 1981. Where was the ring rust? I was moving and I was sticking. Everything I did worked. This was not a tough fight. It was relatively easy. I felt like a kid again, rejuvenated. I was coasting. That was not me in the ring. Oh, it was me, but it was me of five years ago. How else could I have done that?"
Despite his momentous achievement, Leonard evinced a twinge of sadness in his final reflections on the greatest evening of his life. "My heart goes out to Hagler," he said. "I swear to God it does. As much as I wanted to beat him, I wish there was a way I could have beaten him and could have said, 'Here's your belt.' "
That belt was the symbol and center of Hagler's life. It represented all he had worked for and much of what he has ever had. Then along came Leonard, five years out of nowhere and in an impossible quest, to snatch it from him. "Where does he go now?" Leonard asked. "I feel sad for him. I really do."