SI Vault
Pat Putnam
June 06, 1983
Neither Wilford Scypion nor the game's pooh-bahs could lift Marvin Hagler's title
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June 06, 1983


Neither Wilford Scypion nor the game's pooh-bahs could lift Marvin Hagler's title

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As a last resort, Sulaiman tried a direct appeal to Hagler. He placed a call to the champion's training camp in Province-town, Mass., on the tip of Cape Cod. Co-manager and trainer Goody Petronelli answered the telephone. "I'm confused," Sulaiman said. "Why is Marvin saying all those terrible things about me? Why is Bob Arum telling me to stay home?"

"Don't believe all that stuff you read in the papers," Petronelli told him. "A lot of it is getting blown out of proportion."

"I want to talk to Marvin."

Petronelli was firm. "No, not now," he said. "You're a fight person. You know I don't want to get his mind all messed up over this 15-and 12-round stuff. If you want to talk to him after the fight, he'll be glad to talk to you."

"I understand," said Sulaiman. "Tell him I have always respected him and I think he's a great champion."

That's an opinion Scypion seemed to share. He arrived in the ring frozen with fear, and in the first round Hagler hit him with a short and wicked left hook to the head, leaving him barely erect and barely conscious. As Scypion staggered backward into a corner, Hagler went after him—and then backed off. "He was fighting back out of instinct, and that's the time you can get hurt," Hagler said later. "I figured I had 15 rounds, so there was no hurry."

After two more rounds of toying with Scypion, Hagler decided 15 rounds was 11 too many. Early in the third minute of the fourth round, Hagler unleashed a volley of punches—the first being a jarring overhand right—and when he was done, Scypion was down for the count. Just which punch had put him there was unclear. Even the HBO replays couldn't provide the answer.

No matter. When Jones saw Scypion fall, he decided he had taken enough. As Cappuccino counted eight, Jones was starting through the ropes, and at nine he was inside the ring, just as Trainer Victor Valle was last June, when Gerry Cooney, another boxer in the Jones stable, was being pounded by Larry Holmes. Even if Scypion had made it to his feet, and indeed he was trying, he would have been disqualified because his cornerman was in the ring. Officially the result will be listed as a knockout at 2:47.

A few moments later, Hagler, in the bored manner of a veteran mountain climber who has scaled all the Himalayas, said he was seriously pondering retirement. "I've beaten everything that's out there," he said. "There are no big-money fights for me, and I don't feel like just hanging around waiting for somebody to knock me off. I'm going home for a long rest. I'm going to be with my wife and my family, and I am going to think about it."

Hagler's boredom is understandable. His next fight is scheduled to be against the WBA's top contender, Juan Roldan, a crude and slow Argentinian who decisioned Teddy Mann on Friday night's undercard. After that, Arum has suggested Roberto Duran, should he win the WBA junior middleweight title from Davey Moore on June 16, and, possibly, Wilfred Benitez, the former WBC super welterweight champ.

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