The boxing world lost a legend Saturday with the death of Brockton, Mass. native and former undisputed middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler at the age of 66.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement,” Hagler’s wife, Kay, wrote via Facebook. “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.”
A champion by way of a 1980 victory over Alan Minter, Hagler embarked on a 79-month reign atop the middleweight division, and with a staggering 12 successful defenses over that run.
In addition to his title run and countless defenses, Hagler is perhaps best known for his 1985 bout with Tommy Hearns. Dubbed “The War,” the battle between the two lasted just eight minutes, but is considered one of the most violent and impactful fights in middleweight boxing history.
Hagler’s run continued on into Apr. 1987, where he dropped the belt in a highly-controversial bout with Sugar Ray Leonard. In a fight with conditions that largely favored Leonard, who came out of retirement for the bout, the 12-round battle came down to a split decision, and with the victory going to Leonard.
Leonard shared some praise for Hagler and that 1987 bout following Hagler’s death Saturday.
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.”— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) March 14, 2021
It would turn out to be the final fight of Hagler’s illustrious career, as he waited for a rematch offer that never came, and retired shortly after their bout.
Hagler, a member of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame, retired with a career record of 62-3-2 with 52 wins via knockout, and was never knocked out in his career. In fact, Hagler was knocked down just once in his entire boxing career, and even that knockdown, which came from Juan Roldan, is disputed as being a true knockdown.