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Sorcery at Caesars: Sugar Ray's Marvelous Fight 1st Edition
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In deft, terrific prose, Steve Marantz has laid out the itineraries for Marvin and Sugar Ray, leading up to one memorable night in the desert. The whole story is here, as exciting as it was the first time. -- Leigh Montville, Sportswriter, Columnist and Author
About the Author
More About the Author
My stories connect with me on a personal level -- but they aren't about me. I try to get out of the way of the story.
"Next Up at Fenway" reflects my interests in public education in Boston, baseball, and Latino immigration. All of those stem from my background as a reporter with the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, and as a researcher/producer with the ESPN E:60 show.
"The Rhythm Boys of Omaha Central" is a story about social upheaval and basketball at my high school in 1968. I carried it with me for 40 years until it seemed to find closure in politics and cultural evolution.
"Sorcery at Caesars" stems from my coverage of boxing for the Boston Globe from 1979 to 1987. I had a ringside seat to the rivalry between Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, whose fight in 1987 is the climax to my story.
I respect my subjects and the craft. The process -- research and writing -- is exacting and humbling.
Top Customer Reviews
Leonard-Hagler story packs a wallop
By Doug Most, Globe Staff | August 12, 2008
Don't be deceived by the title of Steve Marantz's terrific new boxing book, "Sorcery at Caesars: Sugar Ray's Marvelous Fight."
Marantz, a longtime Boston journalist who covered boxing for the Globe, pulls no punches of his own in letting the reader know which fighter he was pulling for when Brockton's Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard squared off in their epic title bout on April 6, 1987, in Las Vegas. Marantz wanted to see the angry, shaven-headed Hagler wipe the perpetual smile off of Leonard's famous pretty-boy mug.
Of course, as anyone who followed boxing when boxing actually mattered knows, things didn't quite work out for the Marvelous one.
Surprisingly, the weakest part of the book may be its climax, the 12-round fight between a legitimate middleweight brawler known for being able to take a punch even better than he could deliver one and the aging, puffed-up welterweight from Washington, D.C., named after singing legend Ray Charles. The underdog Leonard saw Hagler as the perfect foil against whom to conclude his golden career, but the fight details almost go by too quickly, with not enough analysis of the blow-by-blow to fully convey how Leonard accomplished what he did.
Fortunately, by the time readers get to the fight, they will be so engrossed in the back story of what led up to it that the punching almost feels anticlimactic. Marantz does a terrific job of bringing to life the vastly different stories of these two proud but troubled men who came together for one night of brawling and bloodshed.Read more ›
Both guys conquer their toughest opponents in the ring, but succumb to their toughest enemies outside the ring (adultery, cocaine abuse, volatile domestic episodes, divorce, etc).
As for the fight itself, both men put on a stirring performance, but according to author Steve Marantz, Sugar Ray "put the fight game" on Marvelous Marvin by psyching him out (complimenting him outside the ring, mocking him in the ring, throwing dazzling, crowd pleasing flurries several times a round, bolo punching, ducking, dodging, dancing, sticking and moving, frustrating Hagler at every turn.
Sugar Ray was a winner in the eyes of the public for putting on such a strong performance for this being his 2nd official fight in 5 plus years. Hagler came on in rounds 5-12, winning a majority of those rounds to make the fight close. Actually, I felt that a draw would not have been unreasonable. But two judges scored it 115-113 (one for Hagler, for Leonard), the other judge had Leonard way ahead, 118-110.
For me, the most disturbing part of the book was the court documented description of Leonard's brutal abuse of his first wife Juanita. I came away from this book admiring the boxing skills of both fighters, but appalled by their behavior at times outside the ring.
To this day, the world is split on who truly won the Leonard-Hagler fight. 6-6 or 7-5 either way is not out of line, but 10-2 for Leonard seems extreme to me. But the book itself is a knockout! All boxing fans should get this book.
The author may be overreaching when he attempts to highlight the hidden demons of cocaine abuse and womanizing -- that lurked behind the boxing scene -- in both Leonard's and Hagler's corner. Similarly, one might criticize Marantz for presumption when he explains some of the psychological injuries suffered by Hagler in his battles with Leonard and the boxing world. How, afterall, could this author truly know what motivated, displeased, or haunted either of these boxers. And yet, to keep the narrative flowing, Marantz frequently states as fact what can only be conjecture. Even so, Marantz appears to have done assiduous homework -- with quotes and references from many sources. Rarely does he make a statement about either boxer's emotion or mood without an immediate attribution or direct quote. The book is nothing if not extremely well sourced.
The product of all this research is a great boxing book that dances and weaves as smoothly as Sugar Ray, with the power of the Marvelous one himself. A great story well told.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you were a boxing fan during the time of this bout, you will really enjoy this book.
I can vividly remember the buildup to this fight. Read more
Interesting inside view On sugar rays public and private calculated ways of winning. Never before heard stories of this on going psyche job.Outstanding.Published 22 months ago by justinmoore76
Great book, it takes you Ringside to the action of this amazing fight.The book also gives you short biographic data of other contemporary rivals of Hagler and Sugar Ray. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Maximo Zaldivar
pretty good book............... i am somewhat confused after reading the book as to "the sorcery" as per the judging... seems like most people think it was close fight. Read morePublished on November 21, 2013 by L. donsor
Sugar Ray Leonard defied the odds when he came out of retirement to fight Marvelous Marvin Hagler for the middleweight championship. Read more
The 1980s provide the backdrop for this strange encounter between the blue collar, carry his own lunch pail to work middleweight champion, and the flash and dazzle former Olympic... Read morePublished on December 28, 2012 by Pugwash
In March of 1987, the two biggest boxing athletes of their era, Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler, fought for the WBC World Middleweight Boxing Championship in Las Vegas, It... Read morePublished on November 13, 2011 by kone
I am happy that I have this book in my boxing library and I believe that it was worth the investment I made to purchase this book. Read morePublished on April 20, 2011 by Hawk