Here, the voices of the Hagler-Leonard fight recreate that night:
When I think about it being 30 years ago, I go, "Wow. That’s a long time ago." But it doesn’t feel that long ago. It really doesn’t. The only way I can describe it is, it was a moment. It was a moment.
(From the radio interview) The only way they could beat me was to steal it, and that’s what they did... But I gotta tell you something. In the long run, it coulda been the best thing that ever happened because of the fact nobody would still be talking about it. If I knocked him out, people woulda forgot about it. So now the way that the controversy is there and the people are still talking about it today, it’s unbelievable.
And it truly was. Staged in the 15,000-seat outdoor arena in the parking lot of Caesars Palace, the fight was shown on closed-circuit television in more than 600 theaters across the US and around the world at prices ranging from $20 to $60 a seat.
FORMER HBO SPORTS PRESIDENT SETH ABRAHAM: It really was the peak of closed-circuit boxing. In those days, going to a closed-circuit fight was a social event. You’d have to leave your house, you’d meet up with friends, go to dinner, then the fight, then maybe for a few drinks afterward to discuss it. Now, people stay home to watch a big fight on their TV sets. So when pay-per-view took over that was clearly a bend in the culture of watching sports.
TOP RANK MATCHMAKER BRUCE TRAMPLER: Going to see it on closed-circuit really was like going to the fight. Pay-per-view changed everything. People watch the fight, and when it’s over, they turn off the TV and go to sleep.
JUDGE DAVE MORETTI: People still ask me about this, and I’m always thinking, "When are you guys going to get off of this thing?" But if you showed it tonight, I bet a million people would tune in.