The boxing world is mourning Marvellous Marvin Hagler after the middleweight died on March 13 at the age of 66.
His wife, Kay, announced his death in an online post.
“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.”
In his 14-year boxing career, Hagler fought 67 fights. His record was 62 wins, three loses and two draws with 52 knockouts. His three losses were all by decision.
The American dominated the middleweight division from 1979 until his controversial split decision loss to Sugar Ray Leonard on April 6, 1987.
Hagler won his first world titles, the WBA and WBC belts, in September 1980 when he beat Britain’s Alan Minter at Wembley Stadium.
His most famous fight came in April 1985 when he fought Thomas ‘Hit Man’ Hearns over three brutal rounds – a classic known as ‘The War’.
Hagler made 12 successful title defences until his defeat by Leonard in 1987. The controversial win was his final fight.
He announced his retirement on June 13, 1988, saying he didn’t want to wait for a rematch with Leonard.
”My heart says yes but my brain says no,” Hagler said.
”I feel fortunate to get out of the ring with my faculties and my health. I’m going to say goodbye to boxing.”
Hagler was born in Newark, N.J., on May 23, 1954. Following the race riots in Newark in 1967, his family moved to Brockton, Mass.
Hagler walked into the gym run by the Petronelli brothers, Goody and Pat, in 1969 after he was roughed up by a local boxer. He wanted to learn to fight, and he won the US amateur national title in 1973.
The Petronellis trained Hagler for his entire professional career.
Hagler was known as a ‘blue-collar’ champion and the fighters’ fighter.
He boxed as a right-handed southpaw and switched freely from the southpaw to orthodox stance. He was relentless and vicious in the ring.
He was an equal-opportunity boxer. He attacked the body and the head.
Hagler believed boxing fans and promoters didn’t give him the credit he deserved. He legally changed his name to Marvellous Marvin Hagler in 1982 because he wasn’t announced as “Marvellous” before a fight.
His given name was Marvin Nathaniel Hagler.
Boxing was Hagler’s life.
“If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove,” he once said. “That’s all I am. I live it.”
Hagler was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
SOURCES: BBC.COM, CBC.CA, IBHOF.COM, THEGUARDIAN.COM, NYTIMES.COM