Sugar Ray Leonard said yesterday that he would give Marvelous Marvin Hagler until Hagler's June 24 news conference, but no longer, to say whether he will accept Leonard's challenge to fight him.
Leonard also said that Thursday's comments by Goody Petronelli, Hagler's trainer, that the fight would take place "are speculative, mainly because I haven't heard from the source himself Hagler ."
Hagler, the world middleweight champion, has scheduled a news conference for June 24 in Las Vegas, where he is expected to announce his next opponent. That may be Thomas Hearns, who will fight Mark Medal the night before.
"I'll give him the respect of a champion," Leonard said from New York, where he was scheduled to do commentary for HBO on last night's Hector Camacho-Edwin Rosario lightweight title fight. "I'll give him to that date. That's my deadline."
Since Feb. 15, 1982, Leonard, 30, has fought only once -- a victory over Kevin Howard on May 11, 1984. He said on May 1 of this year that he would come out of retirement for one fight only, if it was against Hagler.
Leonard said yesterday he was "dismayed" by Hagler's continued silence.
"His actions, or inactions, are out of character," Leonard said. "I think Hagler, for some reason, is upset over what has happened as far as my statement May 1."
Petronelli said yesterday that he may have chosen the wrong words when questioned by reporters after a news conference in Los Angeles Thursday, but that he didn't mean to say the fight was certain.
"I'm in no position to say if he's going to fight or not fight," Petronelli said from Reno, Nev., where he is training Hagler's brother Robbie Sims for a June 23 fight in Las Vegas.
"I said it would be ideal if they could fight, but Marvin will make up his own mind, not Pat Petronelli, Hagler's manager or I."
Leonard and his adviser, Mike Trainer, reiterated that there are many logistics to work out before a fight will take place. That means Trainer is waiting for a call from Pat Petronelli.
"I told Pat in our one conversation that it made no sense for us to talk until you find out what your fighter wants to do," Trainer said yesterday.
"So if I don't hear from him, I'll assume Marvin hasn't told them anything."
Pat Petronelli was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Trainer said he was at a loss to explain why it was taking so long for Hagler or his camp to respond.
"I don't know, but somebody has to talk to Marvin, and he's not talking," Trainer said. "I don't know if they're trying to build suspense or create attention for the show on the 23rd the date of the Hearns fight .
"If I was a gambling man -- which I'm not -- I'd say he'd go with Thomas Hearns. If he was going with Ray Leonard, I would think he would have said something, because there is a lot of preliminary things that have to be done."