|Born||May 23, 1954
Newark, New Jersey, USA
Marvelous Marvin Hagler is a famous retired American boxer. He was the undisputed world middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987. Throughout his career, he made 12 undisputed title defenses. Marvin also holds the highest number of knockouts of all middleweight champions at 78%. Within a period of six years and seven months, Marvin’s reign as undisputed middleweight champion is the second longest of the last century.
Marvin was born on May 23, 1954, in Newark, New Jersey. He was raised without his dad in a tenement section of Newark until his mom moved the family to Brockton in Massachusetts. In 9th grade, Hagler dropped out of school. After this, he went to work for construction companies.
Marvin started boxing under the tutelage of Goody and Pat Petronelli. He won 57 amateur fights before taking the 165-pound division at the 1973 Amateur Athletic Union nationals. When he was 19, he was voted the tournament’s most outstanding boxer. With his 75-inch reach and strong chin, he became a great addition to the sport of professional boxing in 1973.
Soon after becoming a professional boxer, Hagler intimidated his opponents with his fierce approach and brute strength. He was even eager to fight outside the arena. In 1976, he broke out of the “B” ranks with three fights in Philadelphia, but he lost two of them.
The losses only seemed to make him more determined. He started to fight more aggressively and even sent a few opposing fighters to the hospital. He broke the jaw of Mike Colbert and punched Kevin Finnegan so hard that he required 40 stitches in his face.
After the losses in Philadelphia, Marvin won 20 consecutive fights. This was before his 1979 title bout with Vito Antuofermo which ended in a draw. On September 27 of that year, Hagler took the world middleweight crown with a third round technical knockout against Alan Minter. Over the next seven years, Marvin successfully defended his title 12 times.
On April 15, 1985, Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns met in what was referred to as “The War.” Despite a cut to the head and having blood all over, Marvin managed to beat Thomas in the third round with a decisive knockout after delivering a glancing right hand followed by two more rights and lefts..
The first round of Thomas versus Marvin is in most cases considered to one of the best rounds of boxing in the history of the middleweight division. This is because the two fighters stood toe to toe trading blows. Thomas broke his hand in the first round, but he was still very competitive in the subsequent rounds. The fight lasted eight minutes and is considered Marvin’s greatest achievement.
The Super Fight
In April of 1987, Hagler’s biggest fight came up. This happened after Sugar Ray Leonard came out of retirement for a shot at the middleweight champ. Marvin had a 37-fight unbeaten streak during this time. However, in the intense back and forth against Leonard, Marvin could not find a way to put Leonard down to the mat.
The fight ended with a split decision in favor of Leonard. This turned out to be a very controversial decision and the discussion over who actually won this fight has never died down. The loss surprised Hagler and he always felt Leonard was unfairly awarded the win.
Hagler Goes into Retirement
After the fight with Leonard, Hagler turned to drinking, which affected his marriage. Leonard refused a rematch and retired almost immediately after the fight, denying Marvin the chance of regaining his crown. After finding out a rematch was not possible, Marvin retired in June of 1988. Two years later, Leonard came back, but Hagler turned him down along with the $15 million payday.
After the end of his boxing career, Marvin Hagler appeared in several films. He also remarried.
Legacy and Recognitions
Marvin was an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. In the 1980s, he was named Fighter of the Decade and was twice named the Fighter of the Year by Ring Magazine. In 2001 and 2004, he was named the fourth greatest middleweight of all-time by Ring Magazine which also named him the 17th greatest fighter of the past 80 years.