Boxing great Marvelous Marvin Hagler dies at 66

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  one month ago  •  9 comments

By:   TIM DAHLBERG (AP NEWS)

Boxing great Marvelous Marvin Hagler dies at 66
Marvelous Marvin Hagler stopped Thomas Hearns in a fight that lasted less than eight minutes yet was so epic that it still lives in boxing lore. Two years later he was so disgusted after losing a...

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In this April 1985 file photo, Marvin Hagler, right, and Thomas Hearns fight during the first round of a world championship boxing bout in Las Vegas.

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Hagler, the middleweight boxing great whose title reign and career ended with a split-decision loss to "Sugar" Ray Leonard in 1987, died Saturday, March 13, 2021. He was 66.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler stopped Thomas Hearns in a fight that lasted less than eight minutes yet was so epic that it still lives in boxing lore. Two years later he was so disgusted after losing a decision to Sugar Ray Leonard — stolen, he claimed, by the judges — that he never fought again.

One of the great middleweights in boxing history, Hagler died Saturday at the age of 66. His wife, Kay, announced his death on the Facebook page for Hagler's fans.

"I am sorry to make a very sad announcement," she wrote. "Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire. Our family requests that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

Hagler fought on boxing's biggest stages against its biggest names, as he, Leonard, Hearns and Roberto Duran dominated the middleweight classes during a golden time for boxing in the 1980s. Quiet with a brooding public persona, Hagler fought 67 times over 14 years as a pro out of Brockton, Massachusetts, finishing 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts.

"If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove," Hagler once said. ``That's all I am. I live it."

Hagler was unmistakable in the ring, fighting out of a southpaw stance with his bald head glistening in the lights. He was relentless and he was vicious, stopping opponent after opponent during an eight year run that began with a disputed draw against Vito Antuofermo in 1979 that he later avenged.

He fought with a proverbial chip on his shoulder, convinced that boxing fans and promoters alike didn't give him his proper due. He was so upset that he wasn't introduced before a 1982 fight by his nickname of Marvelous that he went to court to legally change his name.

"He was certainly one of the greatest middleweights ever but one of the greatest people that I've ever been around and promoted,″ promoter Bob Arum said. ``He was a real man, loyal and just fantastic person.″

Any doubts Hagler wasn't indeed Marvelous were erased on a spring night in 1985. He and Hearns met in one of the era's big middleweight clashes outdoors at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and when the opening bell rang they traded punches for three minutes in an opening round many consider the best in boxing history.

Hagler would go on to stop Hearns in the third round, crumpling him to the canvas with a barrage of punches even as blood poured out of a large gash on his forehead that nearly caused the referee to stop the fight earlier in the round.

"When they stopped the fight to look at the cut, I realized they might be playing games and I wasn't going to let them take the title away,″ Hagler said later. "It was a scary feeling. I thought, 'Why are they stopping this fight?' I didn't realize I was bleeding. It wasn't in my eyes. Then I knew I had to destroy this guy."

Arum said Hagler simply willed himself to victory over Hearns, whose big right hand was feared in the division but couldn't keep Hagler at bay.

``That was an unbelievable fight," Arum said. ``Probably the greatest fight ever.''

Hearns said Saturday he was thinking about Hagler and their historic fight. Hagler wore a baseball cap with the word ``War" while promoting it while on a 23-city tour with Hearns that Arum said made the fighters despise each other before they even entered the ring.

``I can't take anything away from him," Hearns told The Associated Press. ``His awkwardness messed me up but I can't take anything away from him. He fought his heart out and we put on a great show for all time.''

Hagler would fight only two more times, stopping John Mugabi a year later and then meeting Leonard, who was coming off a three-year layoff from a detached retina, in his final fight in 1987. Hagler was favored going into the fight and many thought he would destroy Leonard — but Leonard had other plans.

While Hagler pursued him around the ring, Leonard fought backing up, flicking out his left jab and throwing combinations that didn't hurt Hagler but won him points on the ringside scorecards. Still, when the bell rang at the end of the 12th round, many thought Hagler had pulled out the fight — only to lose a controversial split decision.

Hagler, who was paid $19 million, left the ring in disgust and never fought again. He moved to Italy to act, and never really looked back.

"I feel fortunate to get out of the ring with my faculties and my health," he said a year later.

Hagler took the long route to greatness, fighting mostly in the Boston area before finally getting his chance at the 160-pound title in 1979 against Antuofermo as a co-main event with Leonard fighting Wilfredo Benitez on the same card. Hagler bloodied Antuofermo and seemed to win the fight, but when the scorecards were tallied he was denied the belt with a draw.

Hagler would travel to London the next year to stop Alan Minter to win the title, and he held it for the next seven years before his disputed loss to Leonard.

Arum remembered being at a black tie event honoring top fighters a year later that was attended by both Hagler and Leonard, among others. He said Leonard came up to him and pointed to Hagler across the room and suggested he go talk to him about a rematch that would have earned both fighters unbelievable purses.

``I went over to Marvin and said Ray is talking about a rematch," Arum said. ``He glared at me as only Marvin could and said, `Tell Ray to get a life.'''

Hagler was born in Newark, New Jersey, and moved with his family to Brockton in the late 1960s. He was discovered as an amateur by the Petronelli brothers, Goody and Pat, who ran a gym in Brockton and would go on to train Hagler for his entire pro career.

He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1983.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

The guy was an epic warrior. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2  seeder  JohnRussell    one month ago

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  JohnRussell @2    one month ago

 
 
 
MrFrost
Masters Principal
3  MrFrost    one month ago

That sucks, the guy was awesome. 

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
3.1  cjcold  replied to  MrFrost @3    one month ago

We all die. 

Was a long-time fighter and martial art instructor.  

No longer have anything to do with pugilism.

Saw a few too many kids take punches and kicks and chokes that ruined their minds.

Will no longer teach martial arts.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  Kavika     one month ago

I saw some of his fights in person and some on TV. There have been great middleweights in history and he is right at the top. What a hell of a fighter. He could fight as a lefty or orthodox with KO power in either hand and an iron chin.

His fights with Hearns, Mugabi, Leonard et al were classic and he defended his middleweight title 12 times. 

His fight with Mugabi matched two of the hardest hitters in middleweight history, it was a classic won by Hagler with a 11th round KO.

I was at the Hagler/Hearns fight in 1985 at Ceasars Palace in Vegas..What a frickin' fight the greatest round in boxing history.

RIP Marvelous.

 
 
 
cjcold
PhD Quiet
4.1  cjcold  replied to  Kavika @4    one month ago

Promoted PKA way back in the day. Not a pimple on MMA. Things tend to evolve.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Participates
5  Sean Treacy    one month ago

Probably my favorite fighter of all time.

RIP

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
PhD Guide
6  Paula Bartholomew    one month ago

Someone hands me 19 million dollars and I would not look back either.  I would be so out of here.

RIP Sir.

 
 
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