The World of Boxing and the World of Sports is in profound shock, with the heart breaking news that Marvin Hagler has died aged only sixty six.
His Wife Kay has given a brief statement saying: “I am sorry to make a very sad announcement. Today unfortunately my Husband Marvin passed away unexpectedly at home in New Hampshire. Our Family requests that you respect our privacy at this time.”
As long as there`s Boxing, all true fans will remember and cherish the spine chilling, blood curdling Greatest Round Ever, when after the opening bell, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns went to war in 1985. The crowd was awestruck, mesmerized, enraptured and enthralled. Marvin tore into Tommy and Tommy met firepower with bombs. it was described as off the bat and there wasn`t a moment of respite. At the end of three blazing minutes, we had seen more action than in an entire title fight. A primeval roar welled from the audience who gave the two a thundering standing ovation. They and we had witnessed sheer greatness. Seeing was believing!
A clash of heads in the second opened a small but deep cut on Marvin`s forehead, which poured blood. This only energized Marvin, especially after the fight was momentarily paused for the Ring doctor to inspect the damage. Marvin KO`d Tommy in the third with a cascade of blows, starting with a pulverising right. Tommy managed to get up at eight but collapsed into Referee Richard Steele`s arms. It was the zenith the highlight, the supreme moment of Marvin`s career.
Marvin was born in Newark, but his family decided to move following race riots. They chose Brockton, which had nurtured Rocky Marciano…where else?!
Marvin`s amateur career was 55-1, but it was in the pro ranks, where he made his name, excelled and became a legend.
Joe Frazier warned him it wasn`t going to be plain sailing, even though he trained in Cape Cod. He told Marvin: “You`ve got three strikes against you. You`re black, you`re southpaw and you`re good!”
Marvin`s first title shot ended controversially with a draw against Vito Anturfermo in 1979. No mistakes against fellow southpaw Alan Minter at Wembley Arena in 1980. Marvin cut the taller Alan to pieces in three bloody rounds capturing The WBC Green belt . All the punches were pinpoint clean and fair, and Referee Carlos Berrocal had to save Alan. But a minority of thugs threw bottles in cans into the ring. So much so that Marvin and his Team had to be shielded and protected by an escort of Metropolitan Police back to the changing room. His moment of triumph marred.
Another all time classic was against the tremendous Roberto Duran who went the entire distance and even swelled up Marvin`s left eye. But Marvin`s power meant he won with a UD.
Marvin fought from 1973 to 1987. He won sixty two fights with fifty two KO`s, two draws and lost three times. Two of those were avenged. He was the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980-87, with twelve successful defences. His KO record as undisputed champion was 78 percent. It is the all time record.
Which brings us to the battle royal against Sugar Ray Leonard. To this day the experts and the fans are evenly, yet controversially divided as to who won. It ended with a split decision for Ray. Marvin, who was unable to secure a rematch with him, retired to never return. Throughout his career Goody and Pat Petronelli were Marvin`s trusted Training Team and were in his corner and his loyalty was exemplary as he never left their side as well as to his promotional company Top Rank. Marvin was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
Marvin went on to star in action movies in Italy, pursue business ventures and was a so valued, so wonderfully astute commentator every now and again for television. His assessments were jewels beyond price.
Marvin was a beloved WBC Champion. He attended many Conventions and always tremendously popular. We`ll forever remember that winning smile, the great sense of humor, accompanied by a mischievous chuckle. The one hundred and ten percent dedication to training and his craft and his humanity. The life of a great man, simply cannot be described in an article or even a book!
Marvin leaves a Window Kay, and five children.
We have lost an all time great. Marvin is irreplaceable.
Rest in Peace Champion of Champions. We salute you.
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