Boxing legend Marvin Hagler, the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987, died on Saturday at the age of 66, his wife said.
In a post on the famous fighter’s Facebook page, Kay G. Hagler said that her husband died in the family home in Bartlett, New Hampshire.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement. Today my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin died unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire,” she wrote. “Our family demands that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler fought from 1973 to 1987 and delivered some of the epic matches of a golden era of the sport and finished with a record 62-3 with two draws and 52 knockouts.
Southpaw’s most submitted triumph came in a 1985 match at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas against Thomas “Hitman” Hearns, which lasted only a tick for eight minutes but was considered a classic that simply became known as “The War.”
After a first round filled with a power outage where Hearns was hit by a broken right hand, Hagler received an incision in the head early in the second.
A ring doctor examined Hagler in the third round and the fight continued. Hagler faltered Hearns with a power pack and sent him to the screen moments later, Hearns stepped just to collapse in referee Richard Steele.
Hagler won the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association middleweight titles in 1980, stopping Britain’s Alan Minter in the third round at London’s Wembley Arena and adding the International Boxing Federation’s inaugural title in 1983.
Hagler defended the undisputed crown 12 times, including a unanimous 15-round victory over Panama’s Roberto Duran in 1983 and his last triumph, an 11th round by the undefeated Ugandan John Mugabi in 1986.
“The amazing Marvin Hagler was one of the greatest athletes to ever be promoted,” says legendary American promoter Bob Arum. “He was a man of honor and a man of his word, and he performed in the ring with outstanding determination.
“He was a real athlete and a true man. I will miss him a lot,” added Arum about Hagler, a member of the midweek “Four Kings” in the 1980s with Hearns, “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Duran.
Former fighter and legendary coach Freddie Roach said Hagler visited Roach’s hometown to see one of his fights.
“Marvin Hagler came to my fight in Boston,” Roach wrote on his social media account. “I appreciated what he said to me after my fight.
“Rest in peace, my friend. Compassion for the Hagler family. Thank you wonderful Marvin Hagler for all you gave to boxing.”
For a decade from 1976 to 1986, Hagler was undefeated with 36 wins and a draw.
He was named Fighter of the Year in 1983 and 1985 by the Boxing Writers Association of America and was named Fighter of the Year in the 1980s by Boxing Illustrated.
He won a 16-fight battle in what turned out to be his last battle, a deal with Leonard in 1987 at the age of 32.
Leonard, who came out of three years of retirement at the age of 30, caught a controversial decision in twelve rounds and started his return to the ring when Hagler – angry at the score – said goodbye.
After leaving the ring, Hagler continued to act in Italy and a career as a boxing commentator. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
The sports streaming service DAZN honored Hagler with a dozen greetings under a boxing card in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday night.
“Rest in eternal peace the wonderful!” said organizer Eddie Hearn.
The famous ring advertiser Michael Buffer was devastated by the news of Hagler’s death.
“I’m devastated by the news that MARVELOUS MARVIN HAGLER has passed away!” Buffer wrote on social media. “He was-in his best-POUND4POUND-best, went 11 years in 38 battles without defeat!
“He dominated MW Division 4 for a decade! 62 wins / 52KOs-3 losses RIP 4EVER CHAMPION-4EVER REMEMBERED.”