Marvin Hagler: Remembering Boxing’s Greatest Middleweight Of All-Time!

Remembering The Great Marvin Hagler!

Marvin Hagler poses for the camera; Hagler lands an uppercut on Alan Minter; Thomas Hearns carried out of the ring after being knockout out by Hagler; Hager stares down Sugar Ray Leonard
From left to bottom right: Marvin Hagler, Hagler lands an uppercut on Alan Minter, Thomas Hearns carried out of the ring after being knockout out by Hagler and Hagler stares down Sugar Ray Leonard.

Boxing Loses the Greatest Middleweight of All-Time: Marvin Hagler

March 13, 2021 was a very sad day for the entire boxing community. Former undisputed middleweight champion and widely regarded the greatest middleweight of all-time “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler (62-3-2, 52ko) has passed away at the age of 66!

Words can not describe the career of this legend. Hagler was one of those special fighters and his style inside the ring was exemplary of how he trained. Like it was life or death!


In 1973, the New Jersey native started his career winning his first seventeen fights with only three of them going the distance. Hagler’s first career bump in the road was when he got a draw against the talented Sugar Ray Seales. However, he bounced back with another streak, winning eight-straight before suffering losses to Bobby Watts and Willie Monroe in 1976. Hagler had voiced many times that he didn’t get the respect he deserved early in his career. Maybe the early loses contributed to this. Regardless, the stigma was fuel for what formed him into one of the greatest

Hagler following the defeat to Monroe went into straight beast mode winning twenty fights in a row. The wins included two knockout victories against Monroe and one a piece against Seals and Watts. By 1980, he had avenged his only two losses in impressive fashion and one of his draws. However, he previously picked up another draw in 1979 against then-undisputed champion Vito Antuofermo. This was the co-main event on a block-buster card that featured the classic WBC welterweight champion Wilfredo Benitez taking on the chosen one “Sugar” Ray Leonard as the main event!

Becoming an Undisputed Champion

In a second attempt at becoming a champion which also ended up being another attempt to become an undisputed champion, he would challenge champion Alan Minter in the UK. Hagler was not going to let the moment sleep away this time, and he was all over the champion brutalizing him with right hooks and punishing body shots. Minter suffered a bad cut over the left eye and in three rounds the fight was stopped. Most former champions accomplish the feat for the first time winning a single title. However, Hagler made the immediate jump from contender to undisputed champion!, Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to celebrate the victory immediately, Following the win, fans threw garbage in the ring which caused a riot and the new middleweight king had to be rushed out of the ring!

RELATED: Alan Minter: Former Undisputed Middleweight Champion Dies At 69!

Hagler now had more of an incentive to stake his claim as the greatest middleweight! He went on to compile six straight defenses of the undisputed crown! One of which, avenging his last draw against Antuofermo by fourth round stoppage. In 1983, a new major sanctioning body was formed. The International Boxing Federation (IBF) looked to crown a middleweight champion and Hagler wasted no time adding it to his collection. In May of 1983, he destroyed Wilford Scypion to become the first ever three-belt undisputed middleweight champion!

The Roberto Duran Test

Then the fights that will keep Hagler’s name forever aligned with other legends of his era happened! In November of 1983, arguably the greatest lightweight of all-time Roberto Duran wanted to take the challenge! Besides his body of work at lightweight, Duran was revered because three years prior, he had given then-WBC welterweight champion Sugar Ray Leaonard the first loss of his career! Nevertheless, Duran’s reputation nor extremely durable chin didn’t deter WBA, However, it did stop his knockout streak as he picked up his seventh defense of the undisputed crown by unanimous decision!


On April 15, 1985, Hagler would take on the then WBC, Ring and Lineal junior middleweight champion Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns in the biggest fight of the year. The lead up to the fight saw Hagler wear a hat with the word “WAR” written on the front of it. The hat would become a symbolism that fighters used to promise action in their upcoming fights,. Both men promised lots of action and pain, and they would both deliver in a major way.

The opening round saw Hagler come out ultra aggressive after normally being a slow starter. He landed punishing right hands that pushed the taller but smaller Hearns back onto the ropes. However, that wouldn’t deter Hearns as he bit down on his mouth piece and went to war. A right hand stunned Hagler and opened a cut on his forehead, which resulted in him clinching and holding on.

As the fight progressed, the undisputed middleweight champion’s power, pressure and volume would be too much for Hearns. When round three began, many could sense the end was near. Hearns had fought valiantly and he was able to muster one more spurt before a right hand to the head hurt him. Sensing this, Hagler would be in hot pursuit finally landing another big right hand to the chin of Hearns immediately dropping him. Although he was able to rise to his feet, referee Richard Steele waved off the bout as it was clear the junior middleweight champ was in no position to continue. That fight made Hagler an instant star as it became the Fight of the Year in 1985! He finally achieved the notoriety and attention he had been seeking his entire career!

Defeating The Beast

He followed that win up defeating John “The Beast” Mugabi in another Hagler style fight. Mugabi was ranked number one in all three major sanctioning bodies and was expected to give the champion serious trouble. Mugabi fought extremely well, often matching the champ fire with fire throughout the fight. He even frustrated Hagler who was deducted a point for repeated low-blows. By the start of the eleventh round, the judges had the fight extremely close. However, Hagler would do what he was known to do…get his opponents out of there! With a little over a minute and a half left in the round, three big right hands put the exhausted Mugabi down. Referee Mills Lane waived the fight off after counting the challenger out!


After beating Mugabi, Marvelous’ fame and popularity continued to soar to new heights. He had twelve consecutive defenses of his undisputed middleweight crown, beating the previous record of nine set by Carlos Monzon. However, Leonard who was in attendance at the Mugabi bout, stated he felt he could beat the long-reigning undisputed middleweight champion. He would end his three year retirement due to a detached retina, heading straight into the fight with Hagler without a tune-up!

When Hagler got wind Leonard’s statement, he immediately jumped at the opportunity. A fight that had eluded him up until that point. The WBC and Ring titles were the only belts on the line due to it being a twelve round fight.

Hagler was a slow starter, but his decision to come out as an orthodox fighter instead of his usual southpaw stance, may have hurt him in the early portion of the fight. Also, Leonard appeared to steal rounds early by finishing each round with flash and fast flurries to impress the judges. Hagler would come on in the middle rounds as the pace of the fight picked up. The championship rounds would see Leonard gain his second wind, as both men started to really let their hands go.

Eventually, a highly debated split-decision victory went in favor of the more popular Leonard. To this day, this remains as one of the more debatable decisions in boxing. A disgusted Hagler, who believed he should have won that fight walked out of the ring and the sport never fighting again.


After his career ended, Hagler would go on to star in a few films as well as commentate. Aside from winning Fighter of the Year in 1983 and 1985 and Fighter of the Decade in the ’80s, he was elected to the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in 1992.

On behalf of we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family of Marvin Hagler. Rest In Peace Champ!

By: Jerrell Fletcher, Garrisson Bland & EJ Williams

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