The year won't be remembered for isolated blows, like this mighty right Alexis Arguello unloaded on Aaron Pryor. Fusillades counted for considerably more. In the 14th round of their WBA junior welterweight title fight, Pryor, fueled by some nips of peppermint schnapps, loosed 23 straight punches, knocking Arguello unconscious and foiling his attempt to win an unprecedented fourth championship, each in a different weight class. With a shower of blows in the 13th round, the WBC heavyweight champ, Larry Holmes, subdued Gerry Cooney, bringing Cooney's trainer, Victor Valle, into the ring to protect his man from the onslaught. As Dwight Braxton, 5'6" Dwight Muhammad Qawi had Matthew Saad Muhammad on the ropes for a sixth-round TKO in their WBC light-heavyweight rematch, proving for the second time in eight months that his arms weren't too short to box with Saad. Shortly after that, Braxton changed his name. Before a national TV audience, WBA lightweight champ Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini KO'd Duk Koo Kim of South Korea 19 seconds into the 14th, putting Kim in a coma. Four days later, he died from brain damage. Kim's death touched off boxing's most critical reappraisal since 1962 when Benny Paret died after being knocked out by Emile Griffith. The WBC imposed a discretionary standing eight-count and a 12-round limit on all title fights.
Arguello mulls A. Pryori knowledge (above) after becoming A. Pryor's victim; Thomas Hearns (right) outfoxed Wilfred Benitez for the WBC super welter title.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler, the only unified champion, dispatched Fulgencio Obelmejias.
Featherweight Salvador Sanchez (right) KO'd Azumah Nelson, then died in a car crash at 23.
February 16, 1983
In his first bout as Dwight Muhammad Qawi, the WBC's light heavyweight champion put Eddie Davis down once and won by an 11th-round TKO.
Shortly after scrawling "kill or be killed" on a lampshade, Kim took a beating from Mancini, then fell, mortally injured, into Referee Richard Green's arms.
Arrows on junior middleweight champ Davey Moore's trunks tell Ayub Kalule where he's going.
Sugar Ray Leonard said his final foe, Bruce Finch, hurt him worse than Hearns, Duran or Benitez.
Though he didn't get a zillion-dollar payday for the pounding, Randall (Tex) Cobb (left) lasted longer against Holmes than did Cooney (above).
Thanks to the WBA, which ruled that the referee had stopped his fight with Michael Dokes too soon and ordered a rematch, Mike Weaver will get a chance to regain his heavyweight title. But Weaver's expression above—that of a man who has just seen something mystifyingly vanish before his very eyes—was a familiar one during 1982. Where, for instance, was Middleweight Teddy (TNT) Sanders when he was supposed to fight Alex Ramos in Fort Lauderdale on network TV? Why, home in L.A., of course, where he'd mysteriously returned the night before. Some disappearances, like Sugar Ray Leonard's, left us wistful; others, like Howard Cosell's, didn't.
Tags got tagged: It took Larry Holmes to reveal that the touting of Gerry Cooney was largely hype. The challenger had fought just 54 seconds in 20 months. This time he lasted 2,332 seconds before the champion took him out. The polished Holmes went on to polish off Tex Cobb, who-much like Cooney—showed little but determination. And Thomas Hearns belied his reputation as a hit-but-no-run man. In a WBC super welterweight bout with Wilfred Benitez, he outscooted the defensive-minded champion to win his crown.
Hagler's undisputed middleweight title didn't disappear, but the two fights he badly wanted did-one with Hearns, who pleaded an injured finger, and an anticipated bout with Leonard, who retired. Roberto Duran, to whom the fight game may have said its final no màs, and Earnie Shavers didn't vanish as much as evanesce. But it was Leonard's retirement, influenced partly by a detached retina, that was the most notable parting of all. He'd brought unprecedented purses and glamour to the lighter weight classes and seemed to be in his prime.
Amid all the leave-taking there was one act of redemption. After suffering through weight problems, two "retirements," the discouragement of two unsuccessful cracks at the title and his wife's suicide, 31-year-old Bobby Chacon decisioned Bazooka Limon, 28, for the WBC super featherweight championship.
Weaver wound up empty-gloved and sans title after losing to Dokes in 63 seconds.