The 1970’s were such a GOLDEN era for the weight class that they’ve lived through it, not out of it. A star-studded roster that has hosted some of the biggest superfights in boxing history.

Naturally, expectations were high for the 1980s, and it is said that expectations were not met, to say the least. That being said, we’re not here to wrestle in the 1980s Heavyweight Division (it wasn’t that bad anyway).

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Today it’s all about the five greats who rose to prominence in the post-Muhammad Ali era and carried the sport of boxing on their backs. “Sugar” Ray Leonard, “The Boxing Bible” Wilfred Benitez, Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, “Hands of Stone” Roberto Duran and the amazing Marvin Hagler; FIVE exceptional fighters, distinguished by their style and personality, who gave everything to history. Almost every combination of these five men has fought, Benitez being the exception, he and Hagler never locked horns (despite talk).

The Fab 5 managed to emulate the success of the heavyweight division of the 1970s with their fights, showing that boxing is not dead, but still very much alive. Such battles include the 1980 duology between Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran (“War in Montreal” and “NO WAR”), the 1981 back-and-forth between Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns (“The Showdown”), the 1984 blowout between Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran (“Evil in the Palace”), the 1985 “greatest fight of all time” between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns (“The Fight”; also known as “The War”) and the 1987 fateful date between the amazing Marvin Hagler and Ray Leonard (“Super Fight”/”The King of the Ring”).

Hagler vs. Leonard (Ali vs. Tyson, lower weight class, anyone?) was especially the dominant story of the Fab 5 rivalry, as it seemed like 10 years (give or take) of mind games ended with arguably the biggest and most important fight. since the 80s. Leonard retired just as the heat was building for a fight against Hagler (coming off an eye injury and already proving himself against Duran and Hearns).

Hagler was so disrespected that he had to legally change his name to Marvin Hagler to go by his nickname; he was never going to make it easy, and he wanted his paycheck (and the chance to clip the wings of golden boy Leonard). Was it a masterclass in combat by “Sugar” Ray, or was it just the right timing and circumstances at the behest of “Awesome” Marvin? We’ll never really know, but history will continue to debate the results of Hagler and Leonard’s final matchup. Who won? Should it have been a draw? Should there be a rematch? Up to your own devices, in the end.

So you’ve now noticed the number FIVE as opposed to FOUR here. Yes, there are 5 kings. Wilfred Benitez was overlooked and almost forgotten by the casuals, but not here and now by the faithful. He is still the youngest champion in boxing history. A 3-division World Champion who shares the Hall of Fame with his peers. He may not have been as successful as “Sugar” Ray, and he may not have fought everyone in the realm of kings (remember, the Hagler fight never was), but he still made his mark on the sport and the sport. competitions. It was his fight loss to Ray Leonard that led to Leonard’s trilogy with Roberto Duran.

It was Benitez’s masterclass over Roberto Duran that might have motivated the “Hands of Stone” to get it and come back from the shadow of “No MÁS” (which he apparently never said). The masterclass is said to have also led to the greatest spectacle in boxing history between himself and the Motor City Cobra, a match that also showed how Hearns could handle boxing. You get the picture; Wilfred Benitez (as ‘Sugar’ Ray himself admitted) was as valuable and important to the big story of the era as the other 4 kings.

What else needs to be said? This is the story of the Five Legendary Kings in their quest to rule boxing at one another’s command. Part 5 of BoxingPedia’s ongoing Lost Generation documentation. Written, produced, and narrated by The Author of The Encyclopedia of Boxing, Charles Jackson celebrates the all-time greats who created time without equal. Rest in peace, Marvin Hagler.



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