Today, had he lived, had he not been so cruelly taken from us and, above all, his loved ones, Marvelous Marvin Hagler would be celebrating his 69th birthday. Hagler, born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954, is of course celebrated as one of the greatest middleweights ever. Some say Hagler should be referred to as THE greatest middleweight ever.
It’s still hard to believe Hagler is gone, dead way before his time, no longer here with his fellow “Four Kings”, ready, willing and able to talk about those epic, super-special fights. You of course know the fights I’m talking about – Hagler-Hearns, Hagler-Duran, Hagler-Leonard. And that’s just the “Four Kings” fights.
Hagler also fought, as in destroyed, Alan Minter, Vito Antuofermo (in a rematch), Caveman Lee, Mustafa Hamsho, Fulgencio Obelmejias, Tony Sibson, John Mugabi, Juan Roldan and Wilford Scypion. In all, Hagler retained his beloved middleweight crown 12 times. In the end, only a still hotly debated decision loss to Leonard ended Marv’s time at the top. And in the sport.
Hagler was so devastated, so disgusted with the split decision that went against him in April of 1987, he never fought again. In fact, Hagler once said he never again put on a pair of gloves after losing/being robbed (take your pick) in the Leonard fight, so much the bitterness had taken from him.
But we fans never stopped loving Hagler, nor did we ever stop watching his many great fights. Today, a time when the sport has changed so much, with multiple titles up for grabs, with at their peak fighters opting to box just once a year (Hagler’s activity level did dip in his later years, yet this came after Marvin had more than clocked up his ring time during his, shall we say, lean years), we have never yearned so much for the days of Hagler, of Hearns, of Duran, of Leonard. Of “The Four Kings.”
But those great days are never coming back. We must slide a DVD into the player if we wish to be treated to those kind of special times, times when a super-fight like Hagler-Hearns or Hagler-Duran could be signed with relative ease. Back then, the best relished in proving they were such by taking on the best. And Hagler ducked no one. It could be argued how Hagler was never, every truly beaten by anyone (as for the honour of coming the clearest any fighter ever came to besting Hagler, this probably goes to Willie Monroe, this in his March 1976 battle with Hagler).
Hagler was special, we all know that. In fact, all fight fans, casual or hardcore, know that. How many of us instantly resonate with the very name, Hagler! We all know. Hagler was, and is, a fighter who, if one wished to find a description of what a great fighting man is, provides the perfect example in any dictionary or encyclopaedia.
Halger once said that he was a born fighter, that if anyone “ever cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove.”
Hagler was sincere, “that’s all I am. I live it,” he said of the sport that he gave so much to.
Hagler should still be here, but he isn’t. But Marvelous Marvin’s many great fights are. And for the great memories, we all owe him so much.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler – middleweight king September 1980 to April 1987. 62-3-2(52).
What’s YOUR favourite Marvin Hagler fight?