Sunday, March 14, 2021 1:44 pm
By Nehru Odeh
He was never known to chicken out of great fights. Rather he courted bouts the way men chase village belles and relished wins like an unrepentant drunk nursing his beer
However, not one to succumb to defeat, he gave death the last laugh unexpectedly on Saturday night, aged 66.
This is former undisputed middleweight champion, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, whose death was confirmed by his wife on Saturday night.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement. Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire,” she wrote. “Our family requests that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler fought from 1973 to 1987 and delivered some epic bouts in a golden era of the sport, finishing with a record of 62-3 with two drawn and 52 knockouts.
As his name signifies, Hagler, one of the greatest boxers of all time, was indeed marvellous. Known for his hard punches, greatest right jabs and a granite chin, with a bald head that glitters in the ring like a china in the sun, he was one of the most complete boxers in history. He dominated the middleweight division from 1980 to 1987 and made 12 defences of the undisputed middleweight title. He will indeed be remembered for the thrills he brought into the boxing ring.
Some of the fights that will go down in history as among his greatest include his bouts with the legendary Roberto Duran, Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. He retired from boxing after his controversial fight with Sugar Ray Leonard 1987. Leonard won the bout by a split decision. Hagler felt cheated because he believed he won the fight.
He requested for a rematch, but it never happened. He retired from boxing in 1988 and pursued a career as an actor. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
However, since his death was announced, the boxing world has been paying tributes to him:
“I’m simply stunned to hear the news of Marvelous Marvin Hagler,” three-time world heavy champion Lennox Lewis wrote on Twitter. “Not only was he a living legend, but I was proud to call him my friend. He was so full of life, energy and positivity in our conversations that you would never guess what a wrecking machine he was in the ring.”
Eleven-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya also shared his condolences. “Saddened to hear about the death of Marvelous Marvin Hagler,” he wrote on Twitter. “One of the greatest to ever step in the ring!”
David Haye, former heavyweight and cruiserweight world champion, said that Hagler was “one of the greatest to ever play this crazy game called boxing.”
“Marvelous Marvin Hagler was among the greatest athletes that Top Rank ever promoted,” legendary US promoter Bob Arum said. “He was a man of honour and a man of his word, and he performed in the ring with unparalleled determination.”
“He was a true athlete and a true man. I will miss him greatly,” Arum added of Hagler.
Hagler was born in Newark, New Jersey. He later moved to Brockton, Massachusetts, with his family, where he was discovered by the Petronelli brothers. The Petronelli brothers trained him throughout his illustrious career.