BREAKING NEWS: Former undisputed middleweight champion ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler passes away ‘unexpectedly at his home’ aged 66
- Marvelous Marvin Hagler passed away in his New Hampshire home aged 66
- Hagler held boxing’s middleweight championship title between 1980 and 1987
- He was the 1980s Fighter of the Decade and was inducted into the Hall of Fame
- His wife Kay announced his death on Saturday, claiming it was ‘unexpected’
- Members of the boxing community have paid tribute to Hagler’s life and career
Boxing was in mourning on Saturday night after the shock early death of one its all-time greats, Marvin Hagler, at just 66.
The man who was floored officially only once in his incredible brutal career – and that was actually a slip – finally took the count.
The American boxer – born in Newark, New Jersey – was also named as the Fighter of the Decade for the 1980s by Boxing Illustrated magazine and won the Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year award twice.
Undisputed boxing champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler has passed away at the age of 66
Hagler’s wife, Kay (left), announced her husband’s passing on social media on Saturday
The unfashionable Hagler, who turned pro in 1973 out of Brockton, Massachusetts, took seven years to earn his first middleweight title crack after almost beating everyone in his path.
He had to settle for a controversial draw against Vito Antuofermo in that first crack but essentially ruined Antuofermo who lost his title in his next defence to Alan Minter.
Hagler then challenged Minter and on a night of pure hate at Wembley Arena cut up the Crawley southpaw in three rounds before having to run for his life to the dressing room while a racist crowd rained bottles on him. It summed up Hagler’s career. He had to do everything the hard way.
But now that he had finally won the title, there was no way he was going to lose it without a fight. Hagler duly destroyed a whole new generation of challengers in the 1980s, including Britain’s Tony Sibson. He simply cleaned up the division.
Hagler was the middleweight champion between 1980 and 1987 – he defended his title 12 times
If it was a bit brash that he officially changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1982, who could begrudge him after all he had been through.
Joe Frazier told him in Philadelphia in the 1970s that he had three strikes against him… he was good, he was a southpaw, and he was black.
In 1986 came Hagler’s finest hour when slugged it out with Thomas Hearns in one of the greatest fights of all time. He walked right through Hearns in three savage rounds.
Hagler (right) lost his middleweight crown in 1987 to Sugar Ray Leonard (left) in Nevada
He finally lost his crown in 1987 when Sugar Ray Leonard outsmarted a faded Hagler over 12 rounds.
His wife Kay Hagler wrote on social media yesterday: ‘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.
‘Our family requests that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.’
The great man has earned his rest.
Former WBA and lineal featherweight world champion Barry McGuigan said on Twitter: ‘Shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the incredible Marvellous Marvin Hagler.
Members of the boxing community paid tribute to Hagler after his death was announced
‘I’m honoured to have spent some amazing times with him. My heartfelt sympathies to his wife Kay and his family. Rest in Peace Champ.’
Promoter Frank Warren claimed boxing lost ‘an all-time great’ while Eddie Hearn announced that ring announcer Michael Buffer will lead a ten-bell tribute at the rematch between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez II on Saturday.
Buffer himself tweeted: ‘I am crushed at the news that MARVELOUS MARVIN HAGLER has passed away! He was-in his prime-POUND4POUND-the best, going 11yrs in 38 fights w/o defeat! He dominated the MW division 4 a decade! 62 wins/52KOs-3 losses R.I.P. 4EVER CHAMPION-4EVER REMEMBERED’.
World champion boxing trainer Dave Coldwell added: ‘Gutted to hear of the passing of Marvellous Marvin Hagler.
‘One of the toughest, and best fighters in one of the greatest eras in boxing history. Hagler along with Leonard, Hearns & Duran – the Real Four Kings.’