Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Iconic Boxer, Dead at 66

He spent seven years as undisputed middleweight champion

Marvin Hagler After Winning Bout with Mustafa Hamstro
Marvin Hagler vs. Mustafa Hamstro Fight. Madison Square Garden, World Middleweight title fight.
Bettmann Archive

Marvelous wasn’t just a way to describe how Marvin Hagler boxed — it was, after he had it legally changed in 1982, literally his name. But then, it’s hard to argue that his choice in names was inaccurate. Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s career statistics are awe-inspiring, including a 62-3-2 record and a seven-year stint as undisputed middleweight champion. Of his 67 fights, Hagler was knocked down exactly once. It’s among the many reasons why he’s considered one of the greatest in the sport.

Hagler died earlier today, according to a Facebook post made by his wife Kay G. Hagler. “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.” The announcement prompted a number of fond tributes to Hagler from the boxing world.

Hagler’s run as middleweight champion lasted from 1980 to 1987. The first round of his 1985 fight against Thomas Hearnes is considered to be one of the greatest in boxing history. His 1987 bout with Sugar Ray Leonard, which Leonard controversially won, continues to be debated by boxing experts; a 2017 article by Nigel Collins does an excellent job of explaining why the fight was so momentous — and why its outcome remains controversial.

Hagler retired from boxing in 1988, and went on to work as an actor in several films made in Italy. Later in life, he provided commentary on boxing, and worked with the nonprofit organization Laureus to spark social change. He leaves behind an impressive legacy, both in his chosen sport and outside of it.

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