Marvelous Marvin Hagler, born Marvin Nathaniel Hagler on May 23, 1954, in Newark, New Jersey, was an American professional boxer and film actor who passed away on March 13, 2021, at the age of 66. He became an undisputed champion of the middleweight division from 1980 to 1987, reining for six years and seven months making twelve successful title defenses, except for one, by knockout.
Hagler's professional boxing career spanned more than 13 years, from 1973 to 1987, in which he fought a total of 67 times, winning 62 fights, losing three, drawing two, and experiencing no no-contests. The boxing legend had an outstanding record of 52 knockout wins, and four title wins. He was known for his incredible chin, having been knocked down only once in his entire professional boxing career. The lone knockdown, scored by Juan Roldán of Argentina, is still disputed.
Hagler's height was 5 ft 9 in (175 cm), and he had a reach of 75 in (191 cm). He was a southpaw boxer who fought mainly in the middleweight weight class.
Early Career and First Title Shot
Hagler was a top-ranked middleweight boxer before he fought for the title. His early years were characterized by struggles to find high-profile opponents willing to face him. Joe Frazier, a top-rated heavyweight boxing champion, famously told Hagler, "You have three strikes against you: You're black, you're a southpaw, and you're good." Hagler had to travel to his opponents' hometowns most times to get fights, which sometimes influenced the judging.
Hagler's first break came when he was offered a chance against Willie 'The Worm' Monroe, who was being trained by Joe Frazier, on short notice. Although he lost the first bout, the fight was close, so Monroe gave him a rematch. This time Hagler knocked out Monroe in twelve rounds. In a third fight, he defeated Monroe in two rounds. Boston promoter Rip Valenti took an interest in Hagler and began bringing in top-ranked opponents for Hagler to face.
He fought 1972 Olympic gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales in the first fight, Hagler won, but the second was a draw, and Hagler knocked Seales out in the third fight. Number one ranked Mike Colbert was knocked out in the twelfth round and also had his jaw broken by Hagler. Briton Kevin Finnegan was stopped in eight and required 40 facial stitches. Hagler dropped a controversial decision to Bobby 'Boogaloo' Watts before winning the rematch with a second-round knockout. Hagler won a ten-round decision over 'Bad' Bennie Briscoe, which ultimately concluded his Spectrum expedition. This led promoter Bob Arum to take notice and sign him.
In November 1979, Hagler fought world middleweight champion Vito Antuofermo at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. When the fight was over after 15 rounds, most ringside observers thought that Hagler had won the fight. Hagler claimed that referee Mills Lane told him he had won, but Lane later denied ever saying that. Hagler had the boxing skills and killer instinct to knock his opponent out, but instead he played it safe, which allowed Antuofermo to close the gap late in the fight, and that cost Hagler the title. Consequently, Antuofermo retained his title with the draw.
Antuofermo later lost his title to British boxer Alan Minter, who gave Hagler his second title shot. Hagler traveled to Wembley Arena to face Minter. The atmosphere was tense and was stoked further by Minter, who was quoted as saying that "No black man is going to take my title." Hagler took his chances and used his slashing punches to open up the cut-prone Minter. With Hagler dominating the action, referee Carlos Berrocal halted the fight during the third round to have the four glaring cuts on Minter's face examined. Minter's manager, Doug Bidwell, almost immediately conceded defeat. Once Berrocal waved the bout off, a riot broke out among the spectators. Clive Gammon of Sports Illustrated described the scene as "a horrifying ululation of howls and boos." Hagler and his trainers had to be escorted to their locker room by a phalanx of policemen, all the while enduring a steady rain of beer bottles and glasses. After seven years and 50 fights, Hagler became the world middleweight champion.
Hagler was an incredibly busy world champion. After defeating Minter, he turned his attention to future world champion Fulgencio Obelmejias of Venezuela, whom he knocked out in eight rounds. In his next event, Hagler beat Antuofermo in a rematch by technical knockout (TKO) in four rounds. Both matches were fought at the Boston Garden near Hagler's hometown, endearing him to the locals.
Some of Hagler's Best Fights and Notable Victories
Some of Hagler's best fights and notable victories include wins over two Hall-of-Famers, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Durán, Alan Minter, Tony Sibson, Juan Roldán, Wilford Scypion, and Mustafa Hamsho.
Hagler fought Thomas Hearns on April 15, 1985, in what was dubbed "The War." It was an eight-minute fight that remains one of the most epic bouts in boxing history. Both fighters fought ferociously throughout the first round, landing heavy blows that
Marvelous Marvin Hagler Fight Record
|67||Apr 6, 1987||32||Sugar Ray Leonard||Loss||SD|
|66||Mar 10, 1986||31||John Mugabi||Win||KO11|
|65||Apr 15, 1985||30||Thomas Hearns||Win||TKO3|
|64||Oct 19, 1984||30||Mustafa Hamsho||Win||TKO3|
|63||Mar 30, 1984||29||Juan Roldán||Win||TKO10|
|62||Nov 10, 1983||29||Roberto Durán||Win||UD|
|61||May 27, 1983||29||Wilford Scypion||Win||KO4|
|60||Feb 11, 1983||28||Tony Sibson||Win||TKO6|
|59||Oct 30, 1982||28||Fulgencio Obelmejias||Win||TKO5|
|58||Mar 7, 1982||27||William Lee||Win||TKO1|
|57||Oct 3, 1981||27||Mustafa Hamsho||Win||TKO11|
|56||Jun 13, 1981||27||Vito Antuofermo||Win||RTD4|
|55||Jan 17, 1981||26||Fulgencio Obelmejias||Win||TKO8|
|54||Sep 27, 1980||26||Alan Minter||Win ⭐️||TKO3|
|53||May 17, 1980||25||Marcos Geraldo||Win||UD|
|52||Apr 19, 1980||25||Bobby Watts||Win||TKO2|
|51||Feb 16, 1980||25||Loucif Hamani||Win||KO2|
|50||Nov 30, 1979||25||Vito Antuofermo||Draw||SD|
|49||Jun 30, 1979||25||Norberto Rufino Cabrera||Win||TKO8|
|48||May 26, 1979||25||Jamie Thomas||Win||TKO3|
|47||Mar 12, 1979||24||Bob Patterson||Win||TKO3|
|46||Feb 3, 1979||24||Sugar Ray Seales||Win||TKO1|
|45||Nov 11, 1978||24||Willie Warren||Win||TKO7|
|44||Aug 24, 1978||24||Bennie Briscoe||Win||UD|
|43||May 13, 1978||23||Kevin Finnegan||Win||TKO7|
|42||Apr 7, 1978||23||Doug Demmings||Win||TKO8|
|41||Mar 4, 1978||23||Kevin Finnegan||Win||TKO9|
|40||Nov 26, 1977||23||Mike Colbert||Win||TKO12|
|39||Oct 15, 1977||23||Jim Henry||Win||UD|
|38||Sep 24, 1977||23||Ray Phillips||Win||TKO7|
|37||Aug 23, 1977||23||Willie Monroe||Win||TKO2|
|36||Jun 10, 1977||23||Roy Jones Sr.||Win||TKO3|
|35||Mar 16, 1977||22||Reggie Ford||Win||KO3|
|34||Feb 15, 1977||22||Willie Monroe||Win||TKO12|
|33||Dec 21, 1976||22||George Davis||Win||TKO6|
|32||Sep 14, 1976||22||Eugene Hart||Win||RTD8|
|31||Aug 3, 1976||22||DC Walker||Win||TKO6|
|30||Jun 2, 1976||22||Bob Smith||Win||TKO5|
|29||Mar 9, 1976||21||Willie Monroe||Loss||UD|
|28||Feb 7, 1976||21||Matt Donovan||Win||TKO2|
|27||Jan 13, 1976||21||Bobby Watts||Loss||MD|
|26||Dec 20, 1975||21||Johnny Baldwin||Win||UD|
|25||Sep 30, 1975||21||Lamont Lovelady||Win||TKO7|
|24||Aug 7, 1975||21||Jesse Bender||Win||KO1|
|23||May 24, 1975||21||Jimmy Owens||Win||DQ|
|22||Apr 14, 1975||20||Jimmy Owens||Win||SD|
|21||Mar 31, 1975||20||Joey Blair||Win||KO2|
|20||Feb 15, 1975||20||Dornell Wigfall||Win||KO6|
|19||Dec 20, 1974||20||DC Walker||Win||TKO2|
|18||Nov 26, 1974||20||Sugar Ray Seales||Draw||MD|
|17||Nov 16, 1974||20||George Green||Win||KO1|
|16||Oct 29, 1974||20||Morris Jordan||Win||TKO4|
|15||Aug 30, 1974||20||Sugar Ray Seales||Win||UD|
|14||Aug 13, 1974||20||Peachy Davis||Win||KO1|
|13||Jul 16, 1974||20||Bobby Williams||Win||TKO3|
|12||May 30, 1974||20||Curtis Phillips||Win||TKO5|
|11||May 4, 1974||19||James Redford||Win||TKO2|
|10||Apr 5, 1974||19||Tracy Morrison||Win||TKO8|
|9||Feb 5, 1974||19||Bob Harrington||Win||KO5|
|8||Dec 18, 1973||19||James Redford||Win||KO4|
|7||Dec 6, 1973||19||Manny Freitas||Win||TKO1|
|6||Nov 17, 1973||19||Cocoa Kid||Win||KO2|
|5||Oct 26, 1973||19||Cove Green||Win||TKO4|
|4||Oct 6, 1973||19||Dornell Wigfall||Win||PTS|
|3||Aug 8, 1973||19||Muhammed Smith||Win||KO2|
|2||Jul 25, 1973||19||Sonny Williams||Win||UD|
|1||May 18, 1973||18||Terry Ryan||Win||KO2|