Marvin Hagler: Boxing great Marvelous Marvin Hagler dies at 66

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Marvelous Marvin Hagler stopped Thomas Hearns in a battle that lasted lower than eight minutes but was so epic that it nonetheless lives in boxing lore. Two years later he was so disgusted after shedding a call to Sugar Ray Leonard — stolen, he claimed, by the judges — that he by no means fought once more.

One of the great middleweights in boxing historical past, Hagler died Saturday at the age of 66. His spouse, Kay, introduced his dying on the Facebook web page for Hagler’s followers.

“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 largest phases in opposition to its largest names, as he, Leonard, Hearns and Roberto Duran dominated the middleweight lessons throughout a golden time for boxing within the Eighties. Quiet with a brooding public persona, Hagler fought 67 occasions over 14 years as a professional out of Brockton, Massachusetts, ending 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts.

“If they reduce my bald head open, they’ll discover one massive boxing glove,” Hagler as soon as mentioned.

“That’s all I’m. I reside it.”

Hagler was unmistakable within the ring, combating out of a southpaw stance together with his bald head glistening within the lights. He was relentless and he was vicious, stopping opponent after opponent throughout an eight 12 months run that started with a disputed draw in opposition to Vito Antuofermo in 1979 that he later avenged.

He fought with a proverbial chip on his shoulder, satisfied that boxing followers and promoters alike did not give him his correct due. He was so upset that he wasn’t launched earlier than a 1982 battle by his nickname of Marvelous that he went to courtroom to legally change his identify.

“He was definitely one of many biggest middleweights ever however one of many biggest those that I’ve ever been round and promoted,” promoter Bob Arum mentioned.

“He was a real man, loyal and just fantastic person.”

Any doubts Hagler wasn’t certainly Marvelous had been erased on a spring night time in 1985. He and Hearns met in one of many period’s massive middleweight clashes outside at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and when the opening bell rang they traded punches for 3 minutes in a gap spherical many contemplate the perfect in boxing historical past.

Hagler would go on to cease Hearns within the third spherical, crumpling him to the canvas with a barrage of punches at the same time as blood poured out of a big gash on his brow that just about brought about the referee to cease the battle earlier within the spherical.

“When they stopped the battle to look at the reduce, I spotted they could be taking part in video games and I wasn’t going to allow them to take the title away,? Hagler mentioned later.

“It was a scary feeling. I believed, Why are they stopping this battle?’ I did not notice I used to be bleeding. It wasn’t in my eyes. Then I knew I needed to destroy this man.”

Arum mentioned Hagler merely willed himself to victory over Hearns, whose massive proper hand was feared within the division however could not maintain Hagler at bay.

“That was an unbelievable fight,” Arum mentioned.

“Probably the best battle ever.”

Hearns mentioned Saturday he was fascinated by Hagler and their historic battle. Hagler wore a baseball cap with the phrase “War” whereas selling it whereas on a 23-city tour with Hearns that Arum mentioned made the fighters despise one another earlier than they even entered the ring.

“I can’t take anything away from him,” Hearns advised The Associated Press.

“His awkwardness messed me up however I can not take something away from him. He fought his coronary heart out and we placed on a great present all the time.”

Hagler would battle solely two extra occasions, stopping John Mugabi a 12 months later after which assembly Leonard, who was coming off a three-year layoff from a indifferent retina, in his remaining battle in 1987. Hagler was favored going into the battle and lots of thought he would destroy Leonard — however Leonard had different plans.

While Hagler pursued him across the ring, Leonard fought backing up, flicking out his left jab and throwing combos that did not damage Hagler however received him factors on the ringside scorecards. Still, when the bell rang at the top of the twelfth spherical, many thought Hagler had pulled out the battle — solely to lose a controversial cut up resolution.

Hagler, who was paid $19 million, left the ring in disgust and by no means fought once more. He moved to Italy to behave, and by no means actually seemed again.

“I feel fortunate to get out of the ring with my faculties and my health,” he mentioned a 12 months later.

Hagler took the lengthy path to greatness, combating largely within the Boston space earlier than lastly getting his probability at the 160-pound title in 1979 in opposition to Antuofermo as a co-main occasion with Leonard combating Wilfredo Benitez on the identical card. Hagler bloodied Antuofermo and appeared to win the battle, however when the scorecards had been tallied he was denied the belt with a draw.

Hagler would journey to London the subsequent 12 months to cease Alan Minter to win the title, and he held it for the subsequent seven years earlier than his disputed loss to Leonard.

Arum remembered being at a black tie occasion honoring high fighters a 12 months later that was attended by each Hagler and Leonard, amongst others. He mentioned Leonard got here as much as him and pointed to Hagler throughout the room and prompt he go discuss to him a couple of rematch that might have earned each fighters unbelievable purses.

“I went over to Marvin and mentioned Ray is speaking a couple of rematch,” Arum mentioned.

“He glared at me as solely Marvin might and mentioned, `Tell Ray to get a life.”’

Hagler was born in Newark, New Jersey, and moved together with his household to Brockton within the late Sixties. He was found as an beginner by the Petronelli brothers, Goody and Pat, who ran a health club in Brockton and would go on to coach Hagler for his whole professional profession.

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

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