Boxing Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler Dies at Age 66

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 14, 2021

Middleweight boxer, Marvelous Marvin Hagler poses in this undated photo. (AP Photo)
Associated Press

Former undisputed middleweight boxing champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler died Saturday at the age of 66.

Hagler's wife, Kay Hagler, made the announcement on the boxer's official fan club Facebook page.

"I am sorry to make a very sad announcement. Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire. Our family requests that you respect our privacy during this difficult time. With love. Kay G Hagler."

Hagler was the undisputed middleweight boxing champion from 1980 to 1987, defending his titles successfully 12 separate times before ending his career with a split-decision defeat to Sugar Ray Leonard in April 1987.

Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix spoke with Leonard on Saturday following news of Hagler's death, and the former champ provided his remembrances of that evening:

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix

Talked to @SugarRayLeonard tonight about Marvin Hagler, his middleweight rival who passed away on Saturday at age 66. Said Leonard of their epic 1987 war, “it was the closest I’ve been to death.”

His title reign began in September 1980, when he won the WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles over Alan Minter. Kevin Clark of The Ringer offered an anecdote from that bout:

Kevin Clark @bykevinclark

Marvin Hagler was an absolute warrior. He won his first world title against a guy named Alan Minter who said he “did not intend to lose his title to a black man.” Hagler beat the guy so badly in three rounds he needed 15 stitches and surgery. RIP to one of the best fighters ever. https://t.co/q0vt4cX9TD

Hagler went 62-3-2 during his career, winning 52 bouts by way of knockout. He began his career undefeated through 26 matches and didn't lose a bout from 1976 to 1987, going 36-0-1 over a 37-match stretch.

Hagler's most infamous fight, a bout now referred to as "The War," occurred against Tommy Hearns in April 1985.

The bout landed sixth on Sports Illustrated's list of the 25 greatest superfights of all time by Allen Kim and Richard O'Brien:

"The brutal fight between Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns for the Undisputed Middleweight Championship will undoubtedly go down as having the most exhilirating three-round stretch in the history of boxing. More of a street fight than a boxing match, it was being billed as “The Fight” before it would go on to rightfully become known simply as "The War."

Per ESPN's Bob Carter, Hearns and Hagler combined for 339 punches in eight minutes. Hearns broke his right hand in Round 1, and Hagler bled from his forehead. Hagler eventually won with a knockout at 2:01 of the third round.

Outside the ring, Hagler started the Marvelous Marvin Hagler Scholarship Fund, which provides funds for a scholarship at Massasoit Community College and learning materials for students.