Marvin Hagler, born Marvin Nathaniel Hagler on May 23, 1954, in Newark, New Jersey, was a legendary professional boxer who competed from 1973 to 1987. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest middleweight boxers of all time. Hagler’s professional career was characterized by his exceptional skills, iron chin, and relentless determination. He held the undisputed middleweight championship from 1980 to 1987, making 12 successful title defenses during that period.
Hagler’s rise to the top was not easy. He faced numerous challenges early in his career, including controversial losses and struggles to secure high-profile fights. However, Hagler’s skills and determination eventually earned him a shot at the middleweight title. In 1980, Hagler faced reigning champion Alan Minter in a highly anticipated bout. Hagler dominated the fight and won by a third-round technical knockout, capturing the WBC (World Boxing Council) and WBA (World Boxing Association) middleweight titles.
Hagler’s reign as middleweight champion was marked by his intense rivalries with notable fighters such as Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, and Sugar Ray Leonard. These fights produced some of the most iconic moments in boxing history. His showdown with Thomas Hearns in 1985, often referred to as “The War,” is regarded as one of the greatest fights ever. Hagler and Hearns engaged in an all-out brawl from the opening bell, with Hagler ultimately stopping Hearns in the third round to retain his title.
In 1987, Hagler faced Sugar Ray Leonard in a highly anticipated super fight. After a closely contested bout, Hagler lost a controversial split decision, which marked his final fight. Following the loss, Hagler made the surprising decision to retire from boxing. Hagler retired with a professional record of 62 wins (with 52 wins by knockout), 3 losses, and 2 draws. Throughout his career, he was known for his incredible work ethic, strong chin, and aggressive fighting style. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
Marvin Hagler’s impact on the sport of boxing is profound. His intense battles, unwavering determination, and commitment to excellence have left an indelible mark on the sport. He will always be remembered as one of the all-time greats and an icon of the middleweight division. Hagler passed away on March 13, 2021.