Marvin Hagler, one of the greatest middleweight boxing champions of all-time, passed away on Saturday (March 13). He was 66 years old.
His wife, Kay Hagler, confirmed the news. An official cause of death has yet to be determined.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement,” Kay wrote on his Facebook page. “Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire.”
Marvin debuted as a professional in 1973 and won his first 17 fights in a row, all in front of partisan crowds in Massachusetts. It would not be until 1979 did he get his first chance at the middleweight crown against Vito Antuofermo. Although it is widely believed Hagler won the fight with Antuofermo, the judges scored it a split draw. However, a year later, against Alan Minter, Hagler defeated the UK fighter in the third round to become the undisputed Middleweight champion.
Hagler would hold onto the Middleweight crown for seven years, emerging as one of his era’s dominant fighters. In 1983, he would square off against Roberto Duran in one of Hagler’s first “super fights.” He would beat the future Boxing Hall of Famer by unanimous decision. Two years later, he would enter the ring with Thomas “Hitman” Hearns for one of the greatest fights in boxing history.
Famously dubbed “The Three Round War,” Hearns and Hagler avoided a feeling out process and went after one another as if it were a Rocky film. Hagler won a brawl in three rounds with the first widely considered as one of the most action-packed in the sports’ history.
Two years later, Hagler would be in the ring for another super fight, with “Sugar” Ray Leonard. In one of the more controversial decisions in boxing history, Leonard was awarded the middleweight title by split decision after a 12-round fight. Hagler, believing he won the fight, called for an immediate rematch but Leonard wouldn’t grant him one and retired.
Tired of “waiting” for Leonard, Hagler retired in 1988 with a record of 62 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws.
Nicknamed Marvelous, Hagler would enjoy a second career as an actor in Italy, starring in action films such as Indio and Indio 2. He would be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
He is survived by his wife Kay, who he married in 2000 and five children (Charelle, Celeste, James, Marvin Jr., and Gentry) from his ex-wife Bertha.