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1. TONY SIBSON relinquished his European and Commonwealth titles to ensure he got the right preparation for his tilt at Marvin Hagler’s WBC and WBA middleweight titles on Friday February 11, 1983.
2. HAGLER was unbeaten in his last 30 fights leading into this contest at a sold out 14,000 capacity DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. These included wins over fellow Brits Kevin Finnegan and Alan Minter, along with stoppages of Vito Antofuermo, Fulgencio Obelmejias twice, and an 11-round win over Mustafa Hamsho.
3. FINNEGAN – who Hagler would refer to as one of the toughest men he fought – outpointed Sibson for the British middleweight title back in November 1979.
4. IN the Boxing News – established in 1909 – preview, Tim Mo noted Sibson’s good record against southpaws and his ‘knack of hitting southpaws round their blindside’ with his ‘shatteringly hard’ left hook.
5. HAGLER would go on to destroy the challenger over six one-sided rounds before referee Carlos Padilla waved the contest off after Sibson’s second visit to the canvas in the round.
6. BN’S Harry Mullan described the victory in his ringside report as such: “Hagler’s performance was quite flawless: Sibson was the No. 1 contender, and the emphatic manner of his defeat emphasised the gulf that exists between the champion and the rest of the world.”
7. MULLAN went on to describe how “Hagler confused him with switch-hitting from southpaw to orthodox, cut him up with hurtful, stinging series of jabs, and went in punching to finish the job in the sixth. It was cold, ruthless, perfection, and it made nonsense of Sibson’s pre-fight boasts.”
8. “I KNOW now what I’ve got to do to become champion of the world,” Sibson told the morning-after press conference with wry humour: “I’ve got to improve.”
9. SIBSON looked to rebuild after the defeat by fighting on Hagler’s undercards in his next few defences, but this never materialised. Sibson managed to secure two more world title shots; a stoppage defeat for Dennis Andries’ WBC light-heavyweight title, followed by another stoppage loss in his last fight for Frank Tate’s IBF middleweight strap.
10. ROBERTO DURAN would be the only man to hear the final bell in Hagler’s next six fights – which included one of the the greatest fights of all-time against Thomas Hearns. In his last bout, in 1987, Hagler would lose a hotly debated decision to a returning Sugar Ray Leonard – one Marvelous Marvin would never get over.
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