Sugar Ray Leonard's adviser, Michael Trainer, said yesterday that his "gut feeling" was that middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler would fight Thomas Hearns in November rather than fighting Leonard first.
Trainer said he had not heard in "several weeks" from Hagler's manager, Pat Petronelli, leading him to think Hagler is "leaning toward" Hearns.
"The way we left it was that if Marvin wanted to fight Ray, we'd have to sit down and there'd be lots of things to be worked out first," Trainer said. "If Hagler wants to have a press conference this month and it's Ray, we have an awful lot of ground to cover first."
If Hagler fought Hearns later this year, Trainer said it would be too soon to say if Leonard would still be interested in fighting Hagler in 1987.
"I can't tell you," he said. "I know how Ray feels right now. He's ready to go. Who can say about '87? Who knows what could happen if Hagler fought Hearns? Who knows how Ray is going to feel next year?"
Trainer added, "If I was a gambling man, I would say Marvin's going to fight Hearns. But I really don't think Marvin has communicated [his decision] with his own people yet."
Leonard said on May 1 he would come out of retirement for one fight if Hagler was interested in meeting him. A week later, Petronelli said, "Every guy in the street knows who Marvin would like to meet first -- Leonard. He fought Hearns before. The only challenge for him is Leonard."
Hagler said he planned to call a news conference this month and announce his next opponent. Neither Hagler nor Petronelli could be reached yesterday for comment.
Several times recently, Leonard has said that he has begun to think that Hagler will fight Hearns, a third-round victim of Hagler's in April 1985. Hearns' manager, Emanuel Steward, said Friday: "I have no doubt in my mind at all he's going to take the fight with Tommy first."
Steward said Hearns and Hagler had agreed to fight this month, but that Hagler asked to move it back to November and Hearns agreed. Now Steward says that Hagler will keep the date because "he's a very moral person."
Trainer said Hagler would make "almost twice as much" money fighting Leonard. Speculation has had it that Hagler and Leonard could each make $10 million if they met.
"I don't know what unwritten loyalties Marvin may think he has to Tommy Hearns, Top Rank, Caesars Palace, or God knows who," Trainer said. "These things may be weighing on him heavily.
"We're not calling. We're not politicking. Ray has said what he wants to do. If Marvin fights Hearns, God bless him."