Man! Do you want to talk about a bad man? Think of a boxer with the punching power of Mike Tyson. His boxing skills were almost on par with Muhamad Ali. I’m just saying…if you don’t believe me, ask some of his opponents, like Sugar Ray Leonard or Roberto Duran, or Hit Man Tommie Hearns himself. All three boxers and Hagler were the who’s who of the boxing world during their prime.
I remember looking at Hearns, who, by the way, knocked people out as he made his way to the ring. Just kidding, but Hearns came into the fight with Hagler as a man who knocked-you-out with either hand, for starters.
The two men went on to exhibit three rounds of in your face, up-close and personal boxing skills. Finally, Marvin Hagler, forever moving forward as the “Hit Man,” peppered him with various punches landing while sometimes slowing the approaching Marvelous Marvin. Hagler never stopped his advancements while also catching a few punishing blows to his body and face.
All until 1:53 seconds into the third round, the Hit Man got caught with a left-right that sent him to the canvas for a TKO. The fight was over, some say recording into the record books as one of the best two rounds, almost two minutes of a third-round ever fought between two quality fighters. The winner, obviously the better fighter of the two.
Over the years, Hagler compiled a 62-3-2 record with 52 knockouts. Watching the man fight was like seeing a Tasmanian Devil come to life with professional boxing tools. He was a caging smart fighter who happened to knock an opponent out with either hand. A fighter better have a plan before stepping into the ring with the Marvelous one. As his record indicates, most fighters’ plans didn’t work out against Hagler. They would quickly find out that they were no match for this 160-pound fighter.
He wowed us with his style, grace in the ring. He dodged no one, including beating Duran and Hearns. But then there is always someone waiting in the wings to put a permanent mark on one’s glorious career. And so he went, as he ran into a problem fighting an unretired Sugar Ray Leonard. Most, including me, say he won that fight too. Unfortunately, the scoring refs disagreed with the eyes of his viewing boxing fans.
On April 6, 1987, he felt, although a close split decision by the scorers at Las Vegas Caesars Place, he won the fight. The scores from Judge Guerra were 118-110, Leonard. It’s a score that was unbelievable to a lot of Sugar Ray’s fans. Filippo scored 115-113 for Hagler, while Dave Moretti scored 115-113 for Sugar Ray. Hagler always stated that Leonard admitted while they embraced in the ring after the fight concluded,” You beat me, man.”
The loss so hurt Hagler; he walked away from boxing and out of the public life. He never fought again. That did prevent his 1993 introduction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. It took another twenty-two years for an introduction into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame in 2015. He did appear in public for the ceremony. Richard Steele, the famous ref, held Hagler’s and Sugar Rays’ hand in the air for the occasion. Finally, all are forgiven, and they seem to enjoy themselves.
Notification of his demise appeared as a post on his fan page by his wife, since 2000, Mrs. Hagler. It simply read, “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.”
One writer called him “a fighter’s fighter and a man’s man, and rarely have his likes been seen in this game since.” For me, that description is a fitting wrap-up of Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Rest in Peace, warrior; you earned it.
Peace, blessings, stay healthy, vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment