Marvelous Marvin Hagler was one of the absolute greatest middleweight boxers in history. He ruled the division from 1973-87. A controversial 1987 split-decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard soured the champion, for not only did he (and I) think he had won that bout, he fought a poorly executed fight after being affected by Leonard’s psychological warfare.
Hagler never received a second fight because Leonard was well aware he had little chance to win a rematch after using all he had physically, psychologically and mentally to slip past Hagler the first time.
Hagler’s reaction to Leonard’s hemming and hawing was to retire.
I made the same decision at the same time as Hagler. After decades of passionate boxing fandom, the sport’s greed, graft, avarice and self-interest finally got the best of me, and I vowed never to return to boxing.
I owe Hagler much. He gave me the final impetus to walk from a sport that became and remains a charade. After several years away from combat sports, my deep thirst for fighting returned when mixed martial arts, a sport rife with integrity and clear, unadulterated results, arose in the early 2000s to fulfill my love for fight handicapping.
RIP, Marvin Hagler.
Last week Dan Ige showed he was the more refined, polished and powerful fighter as he stopped Gavin Tucker early in their bout. We’ll take the well-earned unit and move ahead to this week’s UFC Vegas 22 card.
Insight the Octagon 2021: 7-5 + 2.95 units.
Kevin Holland -190 vs. Derek Brunson + 165,
middleweight (185 pounds), main event
This is a great matchup between the seventh-ranked Brunson and the 10th-ranked Holland.
Holland arrives with an impressive body of work and brimming with confidence. After making a mistake and getting submitted against Brendan Allen in 2019, Holland has won five straight bouts. Decorated with a black belt in BJJ and a second-degree black belt in Kung Fu, Holland is a devastating striker who has finished four of those last five opponents via KO or TKO. Still, do not overlook his sound grappling ability.