Marvelous Marvin Hagler, one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport, died unexpectedly yesterday at the age of 66. The announcement was made by his wife and no cause of death was given.
Hagler, whose professional boxing record was 62 – 3 – 2, with 52 wins by knockout, dominated the middleweight division from the time he won the title on September 27, 1980 until his controversial split decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard on April 6, 1987. Along the way, Hagler beat anyone they put in front of him including all the great middleweights of the era – Alan Minter, Vito Antuofermo, Mustafa Hamsho, Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns and many others.
Hagler’s fight with Tommy Hearns lasted less than 3 rounds, but is considered by many fight fans to be not only the most exciting fight in boxing history, but it also contains the most exciting round ever. Hagler won the fight by a TKO before the end of the third round.
Hagler lost the title in a controversial split decision to Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard who was warned for holding in every round, fought in spurts and did enough in two judges’ eyes to win. Fight enthusiasts and reporters were split in their opinions as to who should have won the fight with an extremely slight majority favoring Hagler. Although one would think that a title fight decided on such a razor-thin margin would demand an immediate rematch, it never happened. Leonard announced his retirement, despite Hagler’s request for a rematch. Hagler waited for the Leonard to change his mind, but when after 14 months that didn’t happen, Hagler officially retired. A month later, Leonard announced a comeback against another fighter. By this point, Hagler was done with boxing for good and moved to Italy where he starred in action movies.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler was named Fighter of the Decade (1980s) by Boxing Illustrated magazine. He was the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year for 1983 and 1985 and Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year for 1983 and 1985. Marvelous Marvin Hagler was inducted into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
I was a huge Marvelous Marvin Hagler fan. Hagler was a fighter’s fighter. I watched Hagler’s fights on television and pay-per-view. Hagler provided so many great evenings spent with family watching him perform. His fight against Tommy Hearns is perhaps the most exciting boxing match in the history of the sport. I have a post scheduled for Tuesday (written a few days ago) in which I spotlight Marvelous Marvin Hagler as one of my choices to be in a group of “men’s men”, little knowing that he would pass on before the post would ever be published.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s family, friends and fans.