SI Vault
Pat Putnam
October 12, 1981
One of last Saturday night's title fights at The Horizon in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont resembled bayonet practice at Parris Island. The other was, in effect, a 15-round footrace that went to the slowest. Marvin Hagler was the bayonet, and when he had finished slashing up Mustafa Hamsho at 2:09 of the 11th round, he was $1 million richer and still the world's only middleweight champion. Mike Weaver, trim at 215 but rusty after a year's layoff, plodded to a unanimous decision over James (Quick) Tillis, who fought as though he were in the Boston Marathon. In his second defense of the WBA heavyweight title, Weaver worked about 13 minutes longer than Hagler did but was paid $250,000 less.
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October 12, 1981

One Goring, One Boring

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The area below Hamsho's left eye was torn open in the fourth. After about a minute of the round, Referee Octavio Meyran of Mexico stopped the fight and asked the two ring doctors to look at Hamsho's cuts. "Why two doctors?" Braverman yelled. "The other guy is cut, too. Send one of the doctors over to look at him. At least give us half a chance."

Hamsho passed the physical, but the pattern was set. Hagler is a relentless sharpshooter. By the sixth round Hamsho had dropped all pretense of boxing and was walking straight in, taking an awful beating, trying to land the one big punch. With blood streaming down his face onto his chest, he was rocked again and again, only to laugh at the beating and go in for more.

"I don't know what his corner was waiting for," Hagler said later. "The meat from his eyes was hanging down. But I can't let that bother me. I just have to think: better him than me."

After the 10th round, Meyran told Braverman he would permit Hamsho just one more round. Braverman nodded and told Hamsho, "This is your last shot."

Hagler came out firing. "I didn't want him stopped on cuts," he said. "I wanted him out." Hamsho tried gamely to fight back. In his corner, Patty Flood, Hamsho's manager, said to Braverman, "He's had enough. We've got to stop it."

Braverman started up the steps into the ring. Hagler fired four straight hooks and then a string of hooks and crosses as Braverman, a big man, struggled to get between the ropes. Finally he made it into the ring. Two seconds later Meyran took Hamsho into protective custody.

In the dressing room, Braverman tried to clean up the cuts. "Butts," he said. "But I believe they were accidental butts. This one, stitches. That one, stitches. This one, maybe stitches. How many? A lot."

Flood studied the ruined face. "I know guys get 200 stitches after a bar fight and don't make a quarter," he said. "At least we get 200 grand for this."

No one seemed cheered by the thought of Hamsho's 55 stitches.

On the officials' cards, where Hamsho had lost a point in the third round for butting, Meyran had Hagler ahead by seven points; judge Michael Glienna put him up by nine; and judge Al Tremari, who scored four rounds 10-8, had him winning by 15. "I got to admit," Flood said, "I knew Hagler was a great puncher and he was strong, but I didn't know he was such a beautiful boxer."

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