Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Whether you’re a fan of boxing or not, the name Marvin Hagler will automatically register for you as he is one of the most famous fighters of all time, particularly following his unforgettable fight with Sugar Ray Leonard. Hagler was a scrappy beast that relished the battle, taking on anyone that would meet him in the ring in an effort to gain a name. Hagler would travel on the cheap to make it to any match, vying for a feature fight.
Raised by his mother in New Jersey, Hagler didn’t start boxing until his family relocated to Massachusetts and he began to train and box on an amateur level. It wasn’t until the early 70’s that he began to box professionally in the middleweight level where he boasts the highest percentage of knockouts.
His fighting style was brutal, hammering his opponents until he, in most cases, knocked them out. He was regarded as a championship contender for years before he actually got the opportunity to fight for the title. His only two losses prior to the Sugar Ray match up were decision defeats and many felt he was robbed of the victories due to the advantage being in his opponents’ favour in both fights. He returned to beat each of those fighters later in his career, classically winning by knockouts both times.
His first title shot came in 1979 in Las Vegas against Vito Antuofermo, a lengthy battle which ended in a draw though many believed that it was clear Hagler should have got the win, including the officiating ref that was poised to raise his arm as he announced the win. It would be one of the last occasions where Hagler would leave his fate in the hands of the judges and he set about to win primarily by knockout at that point. Sugar Ray would be the only fighter to defeat him through the rest of his career.
He finally grabbed the title in his battle against Allan Minter knocking him out in three rounds. The crowd was wild and the evening was set about with racial undertones, primarily because of taunting and jibes from Minter and by the fight’s end, Hagler and his entourage were spirited away from the event to avoid a riot with bottles flying. He still grabbed the title and continued on his brawling tirade to quickly become the darling of fans.
Beyond his record of knockouts, Hagler secured his place in boxing history through his matches with three legends. His fight against Roberto Duran marked one of the rare occasions where Hagler won by decision after 15 gruelling rounds, with the balance seesawing back and forth between the two. His match against Thomas Hearns was regarded as one of boxing’s most ruthless bloody events where Hagler took the victory by knockout after three punishing rounds.
When Hagler finally met Sugar Ray Leonard, he took a real beating, round after round, but he also managed to get in some brutal hits and by the end of 15 rounds, the judges were split on their decision and awarded the win to Leonard. With his first defeat in more than 10 years, Hagler selected to step away from the ring. The only temptation he demonstrated around going back in was in his attempt to get Leonard to meet him in a rematch but Leonard would not concede.
Hagler continues to be adored by fans but now he does so on the silver screen, acting in a number of feature length action films.
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