What Ever Happened To ……. ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler ?

Growing up as a kid I loved the sport of boxing and it was something that was instilled into me by my late father. He loved the sport and use to tell me stories and he showed me the pictures of his favorite boxers from a bygone era. He’d talk of Willie Pep, Joe Louis, Sandy Saddler, Archie Moore, Floyd Patterson and of course Muhammaad Ali, who my father would still refer to as, Cassius Clay. Not that he minded the fact ,that Clay changed his name for religious beliefs. As far as he was concerned the name you’re born with, remains your name ’til the day that you die.

A prostrate Sonny Liston  lies on  his back  having  been  just  knocked to the  canvas  by  Muhammad Ali in their heavyweight title  fight.   These two  famed  fighters would  meet twice professionally  over their fabled  careers.  Each time  Ali  , the  younger  fighter  would  end  being  a  decisive winner.   picture appears  courtesy  afp/reuters  .............
A prostrate Sonny Liston lies on his back having been just knocked to the canvas by Muhammad Ali in their heavyweight title fight. These two famed fighters would meet twice professionally over their fabled careers. Each time Ali , the younger fighter would end being a decisive winner. picture appears courtesy afp/reuters .............

As a teenager during the seventies there were several stars of the ring. Some of whom I liked and others I disliked, for one reason or another. The heavyweight division was replete with stars and it may well have been the richest era of boxing in terms of that particular division. Especially when measured against the banality of today’s era of heavyweights. Not one of which I’d favor over any of the heavyweights of the seventies or for that matter the eighties and the early part of the nineties. The likes of the Klitschko brothers couldn’t box their way out of a wet paper bag , much less take on the likes of an Earnie Shavers, George Foreman, Ali , Joe Frazier or Larry Holmes. But yet the likes of Bob Arum would have us believe that there’s untapped rich vein of untapped talent within today’s heavyweight division. He’s kidding himself and the fervent fans of the sport.

Hagler seen here fighting one of his ardent foes during his career, multiple world champion, Tommy Hearns . The two would participate what many have called the greatest ‘three rounds’ of boxing ever to have taken place professionally in a boxing ring.

Of all the boxers throughout the years that I’ve come to admire , in this place love. Perhaps none other than, Marvin Hagler epitomized what I loved about the sport and the way he carried himself in and out of the ring. He was always the consummate gentleman outside of it, had respect for his peers and opponents alike. But above all he had respect for the sport that he graced so effortlessly. And even when he made it official by anointing himself ‘ Marvelous’ and then made it official by inking it as his name professionally. Well, it just didn’t matter to me, at all, gimmick ,or not ! He became an assassin in the ring and someone whom his respected outside of it.Hagler, in some ways reminded me of myself, quiet on the outside at first , unafraid to speak his mind when asked. But when it came to his art and craft he was extremely professional. So much so, that one couldn’t question his pursuit to make it out of from the humble beginnings of his childhood of Newark, New Jersey. For myself, it was getting out of the inner area of the ‘East End’ of London. Where during the seventies it wasn’t so much about what side of the racial divide you were on. But whether or not you wanted better things in life for yourself ,as to an immediate future. Luckily the path I followed proved to be prudent.

Hagler seen here fighting multiple world titlist Roberto Duran.  The Panamanian fighter , Duran , would  challenge  Hagler , the  title holder  for the undisputed middleweight  crown at  Caesars Palace, Las Nevada in November, 1983.  Hagler  would  end up winning  the bout with a  unanimous 12 round decision over the challenger.   picture appears  courtesy  of espn.com/ap/ Phil Roache ....
Hagler seen here fighting multiple world titlist Roberto Duran. The Panamanian fighter , Duran , would challenge Hagler , the title holder for the undisputed middleweight crown at Caesars Palace, Las Nevada in November, 1983. Hagler would end up winning the bout with a unanimous 12 round decision over the challenger. picture appears courtesy of espn.com/ap/ Phil Roache ....

Hagler’s career started off from humble beginnings but over time its fruition was there for all to see. A keen student ,he proved that using his hands in the ring as a pugilist was a far better option than that of a life of crime. And from a promising amateur career he advanced up the professional ranks with the usual process of hard work , the usual machination of having to labor through the ranks to get noticed. With his growing reputation as not only fighter but also a pure technical boxer and being able ‘to hit with power’ from either fist’. Most promoters and their fighters would rather not have anything to do with the budding young fighter on the rise. Especially, given the fact that Hagler was marching through the middleweight division, the way that Alexander The Great marched through Asia.

Carlos Monzon seen here fighting the great Italian fighter, Nino Benvenuti. The Italian fighter was challenging Monzon for his WBA and WBC world titles at the Stade Louis II, Monte Carlo , Monaco , on 5th May, 1971. The fight would be stopped in the third round with Monzon being declared the winner , with a TKO.

As with any professional career, you make good of the opportunities that are afforded you. Be it through luck, or sheer grit and determination. And for Marvin Hagler , it was no different as a professional boxer. While he toiled in somewhat relative obscurity. While his career progressed , he watched as lesser fighters were given the opportunity to challenge for the middleweight title. And at the time, the respective title holders within the division were the legendary, Carlos Monzon and Hugo Corro. It wasn’t so much that there was disdain for Hagler, inasmuch, that the promoters out there knowing the dangers he posed. Well, they’d rather see their fighters go up against the likes of Monzon and Corro and be handsomely paid for their efforts -even if they did end up losing in the end.

Hagler seen here challenging Vito Antuofermo for the WBA and WBC World middleweight champion. (rounds 1 & 2) Venue for the bout was a ‘Mecca’ of the ‘fight game’, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas , Nevada,. The fight itself took place on 30th November,1979. The venerable, Howard Cosell provides commentary.

Rounds 12,13 and 14 of Hagler vs. Antuofermo .

Rounds 1 and 15 of Hagler vs. Antuofermo

While these two undeniably great champions in Corro and Monzon would go on to have distinguished careers. Hagler was never given the chance to face either fighter and challenge for the middleweight title. However, his rise to prominence would not go unnoticed, as he was given the chance to challenge Vito Antuofermo (*)for the then, WBA and WBC world middleweight titles. And this may well have come about because many felt that while Hagler still posed a threat, having lost two preceding bouts to lesser opponents in Bobbie Watts and Willie Monroe. Antuofermo’s people may well felt the bout would be nothing more than a workout, of sorts. What they did however, was to underestimate the grit and determination of the challenger, Marvin Hagler. The fight itself , was one terrific ferocity and brutality, in every sense of the word. And for the entire twelve rounds of this epic title fight , it was hard to predict the outcome. The fight would end up being a hard fought draw. The two would later meet with Antuofermo being the challenger, however , he could not prevail in his attempt to dethrone Hagler, as the then champion.

Hagler challenges Minter the undisputed middleweight championship of the world. The venue was Wembley Arena , London, England on 27th September, 1980.

Not long after the bout Antuofermo would go on to lose his undisputed middleweight titles to British boxer, Alan Minter. A fight with which, the challenger, Minter, won on a split decision over fifteen rounds at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. The stage was set for Hagler to challenge Minter, but instead the newly crowned champion saw fit offer a rematch to the formerly deposed champion , in , Antuoefermo. A fight in which Minter soundly defeated his challenger with an eighth technical knockout in his native, Britain. Acrimony would follow in the lead up to the bout between Minter and Hagler. As Minter publicly made the statement that verbatim …….I’m not gonna lose my title to a black man, no way , how ‘ ! Racially motivated or not , it would lead to a great deal acrimony between the two camps, prior to and at the proposed venue for the title fight, Wembley Arena, London .

Hagler lands  a  shot to Minter's   jaw in the  second  round  of their  middleweight  title   fight  .
Hagler lands a shot to Minter's jaw in the second round of their middleweight title fight . As the fight continued, Hagler would dictate the pace of the bout. By the third round he'd cut ,bloodied and battered the title holder to the brink of submission. picture appears courtesy of guardian.uk.co.

The fight between Hagler , the challenger and Minter , the newly minted champion lived up to all of the hype and intensity that one would come to expect of such a high profiled bout. And with the champion fighting in front of his hometown crowd and fans. The vast majority of the support was behind the champion and hometown hero. That would not however perturb Hagler from putting on a thoroughly convincing and polished display , as he savagely beat Minter to an almost bloody pulp in a little less than over three barbaric rounds of boxing. The events that took place after the bout was stopped and the verdict announced, led to the worse scenes of rioting ever, at a boxing event in the U.K. The referee declared Hagler the winner , with Minter being able to go on due to his injuries. The fans in attendance showed their anger by rioting, uprooting the seats and any other object they could find, by throwing them into the ring in the direction of Hagler, his trainers and members of his entourage.

At the aftermath of the announcement of the verdict, sheer bedlam took place. As the fans turned and showed their disdain by directing their anger in the direction Hagler and his entourage.

Hagler defends his title against Tony Sibson. The defense would be Hagler’s 6th defense of the undisputed middleweight crown that he’d won against Sibson’s fellow countryman, Alan Minter. The venue for the bout was at the DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts ,on 11th February ,1983 .

With the win , Hagler could now really begin to cement his legacy and he would do so, making twelve successful defenses of the middleweight crown. He defended the title against Tommy Hearns, John Mugabi , Kevin Finnegan, Mustafa Hamsho, Juan Domingo Roldan and Tony Sibson. But it would be his defense against the then ‘Golden Boy’ of boxing, ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard and the controversial decision that would see Hagler depart from boxing with some acrimony. Many felt that Leonard simply did not do enough to win the fight outright. But to this day, Leonard simply maintains the fact that he won the fight with his superior boxing skills. Well, if that includes backpedaling for the entire three minutes of the twelfth and final round, barely landing a punch and not showing anything in terms of aggression. Then one could surmise that’s to an extent a superior form of boxing ? But Leonard was always known to have been the consummate showman , rather than being a prodigious boxer.

Hagler  looks to defend  himself against  'Sugar' Ray  Leonard  in  their  world  middleweight  title  fight  held  at  Caesars Palace ,  Las  Vegas  , Nevada,.   Leonard  would  dethrone  Hagler  in a  controversial  split  decision  after   twelve  rounds  of championship   boxing.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  getty  images/  Dennis  Mitrone'  ...........
Hagler looks to defend himself against 'Sugar' Ray Leonard in their world middleweight title fight held at Caesars Palace , Las Vegas , Nevada,. Leonard would dethrone Hagler in a controversial split decision after twelve rounds of championship boxing. picture appears courtesy of getty images/ Dennis Mitrone' ...........

With the controversial decision that was adjudicated by the judges and the overt favoritism shown towards the challenger , Ray Leonard. There was little left for Hagler to do , but to walk away in disgust, after being so blatantly cheated out of his title. To this day the decision is still viewed as being one the biggest and one the more heinous decisions in the sport of boxing. But then again , the sport was always corrupt to begin with and it remains so, to this very day ! Hagler, immediately retired after that fight on 6th April, 1987, vowing never to step into the ring ever again. Numerous ‘big money’ attempts were made to lure him to return the ring and they were to no avail. Hagler uprooted himself and moved to Italy , where he carved out something of a niche for himself , as an actor, appearing in several European action low budget ‘action movies’. He was content to wile away his days in his new found vocation.

Hagler and Leonard in their WBA middleweight title bout. What at the time was viewed as one of the great middleweight title fights of alltime ended in controversy and pandemonium. The controversy of the decision to this day still irks a great many people in and outside the sport of boxing.

For myself as an ardent fan of the sport. I’ve got to say that I was completely astonished at the decision. And even though I admire the accomplishments of Sugar Ray Leonard’s career over the years. On that night , in no way was he deserving of the decision afforded to him. Quite simply, he did nowhere enough to be deserving of the decision. And that’s not through any bias on my part. I view it as such, when you go into a title bout you win by aggression , not by retreating and continually backpedaling, just showing flashes of brilliance, merely to impress the judges. Style over substance , essentially was Leonard’s modus-operandi. Much like some of his many successors, who followed thereafter, Namely, Oscar De La Hoya !

Marvin Hagler  seen  here  acknowledges  the  applause of  the  fans  in  attendance  of  the  middleweight  title  fight  between Bernard  Hopkins  and   Ronald 'Winky'  Wright .     Hagler   boxing  Hall of  Fame  inductee  (1993)  was  a  special  guest  in  attendance   at the behest of  champion   Bernard  Hopkins.   picture  appears   courtesy of   getty images-sport/  Ethan  Miller  ...........
Marvin Hagler seen here acknowledges the applause of the fans in attendance of the middleweight title fight between Bernard Hopkins and Ronald 'Winky' Wright . Hagler boxing Hall of Fame inductee (1993) was a special guest in attendance at the behest of champion Bernard Hopkins. picture appears courtesy of getty images-sport/ Ethan Miller ...........

Hagler was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canosta , New York, knowing that his is legacy is cemented with his body of work. And the fact that to this day, he’s still respected by his peers and fans alike, shows the esteem with which he’s held. Today, there are so few boxers of the modern era to which such acclaim is shown. Hagler was amongst the very best of his generation and one of the top five middleweights of alltime, without a doubt !

Marvin Hagler’s bio.

Name: Marvin Nathaniel Hagler DOB :05/23/54 Newark, N.J.
Record: 62-3-2 (52KOs’)
First pro bout:05/18/73 Terry Ryan W KO 2nd rd 4 round bout
Last pro bout:04/06/87 ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard L SD 12 WBC middleweight title

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Alan Minter WBA Middleweight Champion
September 27, 1980 – March 10, 1987
Stripped Vacant
Title next held by
Sumbu Kalambay
WBC Middleweight Champion
The Ring Magazine Middleweight Champion
September 27, 1980 – April 6, 1987 Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Inaugural Champion IBF Middleweight Champion
May 27, 1983 – April 6, 1987
Stripped Vacant
Title next held by
Frank Tate
Vacant
Title last held by
Carlos Monzon World Middleweight Champion
May 27, 1983 – April 6, 1987
Titles fractured Vacant
Title next held by
Bernard Hopkins
Awards
Preceded by
Larry Holmes Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
1983 Succeeded by
Thomas Hearns
Preceded by
Thomas Hearns Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Shared award with Donald Curry
1985 Succeeded by
Mike Tyson

International Boxing Hall of Fame Inductee 1993

NB * Antuofermo preceded both Corro and Monzon as the middleweight champion

Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

20 thoughts on “What Ever Happened To ……. ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler ?”

  1. The Beast Mugabi was one of my favorites in the era, but Marvelous was in fact, marvelous. I totally respected him walking away, and even leaving the country.

    Clearly one of the best….

    Like

    1. Steve

      The asinine thing about the fight with Leonard is that were that fight held today. In all likelihood Hagler would still have lost the fight. As for Mugabi , all he had was the ferocious punch and not much else.

      Alan Parkins

      Like

  2. chappy81

    In terms of great middleweight boxers over the last forty years . Hagler stands up there alongside Sugar Ray Robinson, Carlos Monzon, Bernard Hopkins , Rocky Graziana and others of that ilk. He took on allcomers over his generation and ducked no one. His 12 sucessive defenses are only second in line to the 20 successful defenses made by Hopkins in the division. So of if anything that should tell you how good he really was.

    Unfortunately with you being of such a young age you may well not got the chance to see the real greats of the game live but merely on film.

    Alan Parkins

    Like

  3. Hey Al,
    You know I love the classic boxing footage.
    Hagler was the toughest boxer I ever saw fight. He was such a natural, he could put his opponet away with either hand.
    Great job my friend. Please keep the boxing posts coming.
    Thanks

    Like

  4. I remember exactly when and where I was when I watched that Hagler-Leonard fight.

    I can’t exactly remember why I was rooting for Hagler in that fight, but I was. I was disappointed when they gave the fight to Leonard but after watching the fight a second time, I do think Leonard probably fought the better fight.

    Here’s hoping Mayweather-Pacquiao is half the fight that was.

    Like

    1. Chris Humpherys

      I wouldn’t say that Leonard fought the better fight. What he in fact did was in large part to ‘dance’ his way around the ring and only showing flashes of brilliance when he felt it was needed. Hardly enough to show that you’ve been overly aggressive . But somehow the judges felt that it was enough. Hagler understandably was disgusted by the result.

      But what I think a great many of us may well tend to forget was that Sugar Ray Leonard was considered be ‘The Chosen One’ as far as the sport was concerned. Every era of boxing needs that one lone figure that has stood out. From Joe Louis to Marciano, Marciano to Ali, Ali to Leonard , Leonard to Tyson, Tyson to De La Hoya. And finally De La Hoya to the joint power tussle between Mayweather and Pacquiao.

      ‘Bring it on !’

      That fight (Mayweather vs Pacquiao) will definitely determine who is the pre-eminent fighter in the world as well as of this generation. And that’s with due respect to the likes of Hopkins and Calzaghe.

      Alan Parkins

      Like

  5. Loved Marvelous Marvin…my favorite fighter back in the day. Haven’t watched a boxing match since Tyson/M. Spinks though…that’s a looooooong time ago.

    Like

    1. Drew

      When I was heavily into the sport as a kid and then growing up , fighters such as Ali , Hearns and Hagler were amongst my favorites . Of the fighters, over the past decade and a half , it has been Bernard Hopkins , Arturo Gatti , Nonito Donaire and Lucian Bute , who’ve created a great deal more interest , but with their now being no undisputed champion in any weight category , the sport has now become completely devoid of any credibility whatsoever .

      In terms of Pacquiao and “Money ” Mayweather , I find those fighters are not in the sport for the glory , but now purely for the money ! . Case in point , Mayweather’s six-fight $200 million deal with HBO and PPV (Pay-Per-View). And considering the lack of quality in the opponents that Mayweather has faced . I personally believe , it’s not money well spent , albeit, that HBO will undoubtedly recoup that investment , many times over !


      Tophatal …………………….

      Like

  6. I have been teaching a class and we will be looking at this particular subject withnext 7 days.

    I’ll be directing my personal college pupil to look at your posting once and for all info I have been meaning to create something similar to this kind of on my personal website plus you’ve got provided me an idea.

    Like

  7. Hagler was one of the few. He never was wobbled badly for a prolonged time during his career. He was never stopped. And he fought the toughest fighters on the way up and avenged all his loses (sans Sugar Ray Leonard). Hagler was the man and there hasn’t been one like him since. The closes I can think of is MMA fighter Carlos Condit and it’s still not the same.

    Like

    1. Hagler , I believe to be the greatest middleweight of the modern era (three and a half decades) .

      If comparisons are to made to fighters in MMA , then I would have to say GSP, Jose Aldo and Carlos Condit are the protagonists I can see in a similar vain.

      tophatal …………………..

      Like

  8. Nolan SR

    I totally agree with you on this , but boxing was beginning to become even more corrupt and the decision smacked of favoritism , simply because Sugar Ray Leonard was seen as a ” golden boy of the sport” ! . Bear in mind , when he won the light-heavyweight title (WBC) against Donny Lalonde , the title bout itself and the belt which was on the line was simply engineered for Leonard to pad out what in many respects had become a mediocre fight record during the waning years of his career.

    Once Sugar Ray Leonard’s career came to an end his well-chronicled issues with substance and domestic violence abuse showed him in a completely new light to fight (boxing) fans everywhere .

    Tophatal ………………

    Like

  9. Marvelous Marvin Hagler was a good friend of ours in the late 80s in a ski resort in NH where he had a vacation home. He made our boys’ day whenever he showed up on the scene. What might interest you is that he employed another mutual friend as his bodyguard. Big Mike was 6’4″ 250 lbs and whenever Marvelous Marvin went out on the town in the evenings, Big Mike was his shadow. Why? Because Hagler was a lightning rod for everyone who ever thought they could fight. And he wasn’t a big guy. Tough and strong, yes, but not big. Even fans wanted to try themselves against him. So he just kept it classy: told people he wasn’t “allowed” to fight outside the ring, but they were welcome to take it up with Mike.

    Like

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