International Boxing Hall of Fame

"Marvelous" Marvin Hagler

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Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Real name Marvin Nathaniel Hagler
Nickname(s) Marvelous
Rated at Middleweight
Height 5 ft 9.50 in (1.77 m)
Nationality Flag of the United States American
Birth date May 23, 1954 (1954-05-23) (age 54)
Birth place Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 67
Wins 62
Wins by KO 52
Losses 3
Draws 2
No contests 0

"Marvelous" Marvin Hagler (born Marvin Nathaniel Hagler, in Newark, New Jersey, May 23, 1954), is a former American boxer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest middleweights of all time[citation needed] and finished his career with a record of 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts.

Early life and amateur career

Hagler was raised in Newark, New Jersey's Central Ward in a single mother household. During the summer of 1967 when Marvin was 13, the Newark Riots occurred July 12-17, with the disturbance epicenter being the Central Ward. Twenty-six people were killed and $10 million worth of property damage was caused by the disorder, which included the destruction of the Hagler family tenement. Following the riots, the Haglers moved to Brockton, Massachusetts where young Marvin soon began boxing training at the Petronelli brother's gym in 1969. In 1973, Hagler became the National AAU 165-pound champion after defeating Terry Dobbs of Atlanta. Hagler was named the outstanding boxer of the tournament, winning four fights, two of them by knockout.


Professional career

Hagler was a # 1 ranked Middleweight boxer for many years before he could fight for the title. He often had to travel to his opponents' hometowns to get fights, and he even boxed against the best that the city of Philadelphia had to offer. He lost decisions to Willie Monroe and Bobby 'Boogaloo' Watts, and had to suffer while watching less deserving challengers receive title shots against Carlos Monzon and Hugo Corro.

This served for Hagler to build upon a strong character. Hagler avenged his 2 defeats by knocking out Monroe and Watts in rematches, and won a 10-round decision over Bennie Briscoe in a classic Philadelphia confrontation, and by this time he had made fans in both Massachusetts and Philadelphia. By then, promoter Bob Arum, a lawyer who had helped in the White House during President John F. Kennedy's tenure, took notice and signed him.

Hagler needed some gubernatorial help, but Arum pulled the strings, and finally, in November 1979, Hagler was in the ring with a world Middleweight champion. Vito Antuofermo gave Hagler a shot, and the fight turned into a Middleweight classic. One of the greatest championship bouts in Middleweight history was unfortunately marred by controversy, and Hagler had to settle for a draw. This only added to Hagler's frustrations.

Antuofermo lost his title later to Alan Minter, who gave Hagler his second title shot. Hagler went to London and beat Minter, who had stated "no black man will take my title",[1] in 3 rounds at the Wembley Arena. At the conclusion of this bout a riot broke out, and Hagler and his trainers had to be carried away to their locker rooms by the police, in the middle of a rain of beer bottles and glasses.

Hagler proved a busy world champion, and he defeated future world champion Fulgencio Obelmejias by a knockout in 8 rounds, and then former world champ Antuofermo in a rematch by knockout in 5 rounds. Both matches were fought at the Boston Garden near Hagler's hometown, endearing him to Boston fight fans. Mustafa Hamsho, who would later defeat future world champion Bobby Czyz, followed, and he was beaten in 11 rounds. Caveman Lee lasted only 1 round, and in a rematch in Italy, Obelmejias lasted 5 rounds. British champion Tony Sibson followed in Hagler's list of unsuccessful challengers, falling in 6 rounds, and Wilford Scypion went in 4. By then, Hagler was a staple on HBO, the Pay Per View of its time.

A fight against Roberto Duran followed and Duran was the first challenger to last the distance with Hagler in a world championship bout. Hagler won a unanimous 15 round decision, although after 12 rounds two of the judges had Duran ahead. Then came Juan Roldan, who became the only man to drop Hagler, scoring a questionable knockdown seconds into the fight, but Hagler got angrier and proceeded to beat Roldan, stopping him in 10 rounds. Hamsho was given a rematch, but was again beat, in three rounds.

Thomas Hearns

On April 15, 1985, Hagler and Thomas Hearns met in what was billed as The War. This fight is widely regarded as one of the most brutal and thrilling boxing matches of all time. Hearns, who was expected to box and take advantage of his superior reach, stood toe to toe with Hagler from early in the first round. The pair fought at a ferocious pace with the crowd giving a standing ovation as the bell sounded to end the 1st round, in which Hearns broke his devastating right hand. Hagler who was pressing for such an exchange was happy to fight on the inside, both fighters landed hurtful punches but Hagler appeared to have the advantage with his more solid chin. Hagler, despite a cut to the head, managed to overpower Hearns in the third round, scoring a decisive knockout.

Marvelous vs The Beast

Next was John Mugabi, who was 25-0 with 25 knockouts. Hagler took Mugabi's best shots and came back handily, stopping Mugabi in the 11th in what would turn out to be his last successful defense. Due to the vicious body shots sustained, both men would later urinate blood.

Sugar Ray Leonard

Hagler's next challenger was Sugar Ray Leonard, who won a controversial split decision in Las Vegas on April 6, 1987. The decision remains a subject of debate to this day among sports fans, some of whom felt Hagler landed the harder shots and controlled the pace of the fight from the fourth round on. The opinion of those fans believing Hagler deserved more from the judges was summed up by veteran British boxing journalist, Hugh McIlvanney, who reported in the British Sunday Times that Leonard's plan was to "steal rounds with a few flashy and carefully timed flurries....he was happy to exaggerate hand speed at the expense of power, and neither he nor two of the scorers seemed bothered by the fact that many of the punches landed on the champion's gloves and arms." [2] Those who watched the fight live and on PPV generally agree that Hagler was never hurt and at no time in the fight was ever in trouble from any of Leonard's punches. The actual fight statistics show Leonard landing 306 punches to Hagler's 291 which attests to the closeness of the contest. .[3]

Hagler changed his name legally to Marvelous Marvin Hagler and made some commercials, most notably a commercial for Pizza Hut and, later, Gillette. He thought his decision loss to Leonard was undeserved, and quit boxing, saying he was tired of the backroom politics of the sport. The loss, however, was hardly bad for Hagler, as he walked away with an estimated $37 million from his purse and revenues from pay-per-view.

Awards and Recognition

Career After Boxing

After the loss to Leonard, he moved to Italy, where he made movies: his roles include a US Marine in the movie Indio and "Indio 2". In 1995, he starred alongside Giselle Blondet in another low budget film. Hagler also does regular boxing commentary for British Television. Other forays into the entertainment field include work in the videogame Fight Night: Round 3 and the film "Diggstown."


  • Half-brother of fellow boxer Robbie Sims
  • Hagler now lives in Italy.
  • Hagler has five children with his first wife, Bertha.
  • Hagler also has a home in Bartlett, New Hampshire, USA.
Preceded by
Alan Minter
WBA Middleweight Champion
September 27, 1980 April 6, 1987
Succeeded by
vacancy filled by
Sumbu Kalambay
WBC Middleweight Champion
September 27, 1980 April 6, 1987
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Preceded by
Inaugaral champion
IBF Middleweight Champion
May 27, 1983 April 6, 1987
Succeeded by
vacancy filled by
Frank Tate