Marvelous Marvin Hagler Would Have Been 70 Today

The Marvelous one, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, should have been celebrating his 70th birthday today. Sadly, as we know, the all-time great middleweight passed away in March of 2021, this at the age of 66. That sad and shocking day, the champ’s wife, Kay, announced to a stunned world how her husband had died unexpectedly at their home in New Hampshire.

Hagler had every right to live into old age, to fully enjoy his retirement. Hagler gave everything he had to the sport he loved, and he did it the hard way. Even as world champion, nothing was given to Hagler, and this was just the way he wanted it. Hagler tore his way through some bad men on the way up to the title – with warriors such as Bennie Briscoe, Bobby Watts, Willie Monroe, Eugene Hart, and Sugar Ray Seales all being beaten (Watts and Monroe each picking up a decision win over Hagler before being stopped in the return; Munroe being stopped by Hagler twice, while Seales boxed a draw with Marv in their second meeting, with Sugar having lost a decision in the first fight, with him being stopped quickly in a third encounter).

These fights, some of them tough and taking place in Philly against the popular hometown guy, steeled Hagler for the championship, both the winning of it and the making darn sure he held onto it once he’d got there. Hagler, perhaps more than any other superstar world ruler, absolutely identified as a champion, as a winner, and he would do all he could do to keep winning and to keep a firm grip of the crown he had sacrificed so much to win.

Hagler went through a veritable murderer’s row on the way to the title, and he gave us some epic battles as world champion. Hagler’s shining moment was his three round winning war with fellow great Thomas Hearns; the April 1985 super-fight still the benchmark against which all great shoot-outs are compared.

Hagler, who had to settle for a controversial draw in his first shot at becoming middleweight king, this against Vito Antuofermo in 1979, finally became recognised as the pound-for-pound best in the world as a result of his huge win over Hearns. Hagler’s reign ended in bitter, controversial fashion, this in April of 1987 against Sugar Ray Leonard. If Hagler-Hearns remains at the top of the pile when it comes to great action fights, then Leonard-Hagler remains THE most debated fight in history. To this day, whenever the subject of who really won is brought up, the arguments can be expected to last some time.

Hagler was hero-worshipped in retirement, and this would never have changed. Hagler kept something of a low-profile in the 2000s, but no fan ever forgot him. Hagler, had he lived, would have no doubt been making some public appearances today on his 70th. Hagler will be honoured with the unveiling of a statue of his likeness in Brockton next month, and if he was still here, the shaven-headed champ would be absolutely beaming with pride at the ceremony.

Today, all we Marvelous Marvin Hagler fans wish the great man a posthumous happy 70th birthday. And maybe a few of us will rewatch a couple of Hagler’s fights as we do so.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler – May 23 1954 to March 13 2021. Middleweight king September 27 1980 to April 6 1987. Final ring record: 62-3-2(52).

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