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Sorcery at Caesars: Sugar Ray's Marvelous Fight 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1592993369
ISBN-10: 1592993362
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  • Sorcery at Caesars: Sugar Ray's Marvelous Fight
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Editorial Reviews


A terrific story. With simple but profound insight Steve Marantz creates a smooth fable of two epic fighters who were defined by each other- Hagler and his bald bluecollar sincerity against the get-rich-quick celebrity of Sugar Ray, a scheming con man in pinstripes. Were we all in love with the wrong guy? -- Ian Thomsen, Sports Illustrated

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

STEVE MARANTZ is co-founder of SportsMediaGuide.com and a researcher for ESPN Content Development. He covered sports, government, and politics for the Kansas City Star, Boston Globe, and Boston Herald.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Inkwater Pr; 1st edition (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592993362
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592993369
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven C. Marantz on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Sugar Ray Leonard defied the odds when he came out of retirement to fight Marvelous Marvin Hagler for the middleweight championship. It was a fight Hagler had been wanting for many years and it always seemed that something kept it from being a reality. When it finally took place on April 6, 1987 it was the climax of the story of two fighters who had taken different paths to reach this point. The result, a split decision in favor of Leonard, remains one of the most hotly disputed results in a championship bout today.

The author made it known from the very beginning that he felt Leonard sold himself to the judges of the fight, not that he actually won it on skill or by outfighting Hagler. Indeed, at 3% into the ebook, the writer noted that "Leonard had sold himself to two judges, not literally, but as a salesman sells a product, a con man sells a lie or a magician sells an illusion. More importantly, he had sold himself to Hagler..."

This last point is important, as Hagler had wanted to fight Leonard for the title for several years. He felt that Leonard was more marketing machine than actual boxer and that was why Leonard was the champion much quicker than Hagler was. Leonard was the more popular boxer as many more fans knew of him or had seen him in the Olympics and many televised bouts, whereas Hagler had to work his way up from the gyms of Massachusetts to the championship.

The troubles in both men's lives are chronicled here, although the telling of Leonard's drug use and his marital problems were told in a more critical manner than Hagler's. This is not to say that Hagler got a free pass or that nothing positive was said about Leonard. Both men's boxing talents and personal problems are covered well.
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This is one of the better boxing books I've read. It is well researched, well-written and pulls no punches when covering the skills, flaws and foibles of Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. We see that there is Ray Leonard the nice guy and "Sugar Ray Leonard," the crafty, media manipulating Hollywood darling who is a master of ring psychology and public relations.

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.
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