Marvelous Marvin Hagler

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Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Hagler elgrafico.jpg
Hagler as he appeared on the cover
of El Gráfico, March 1984
Height5 ft 9 12 in (177 cm)[1]
Reach75 in (191 cm)[1]
BornMarvin Nathaniel Hagler
(1954-05-23) May 23, 1954 (age 66)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights67
Wins by KO52

Marvelous Marvin Hagler (born Marvin Nathaniel Hagler; May 23, 1954)[2] is an American former professional boxer and film actor who competed in boxing from 1973 to 1987. He reigned as undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987,[3] making twelve successful defenses of that title, and holds the highest knockout percentage of all undisputed middleweight champions, at 78%, while also holding the Third-longest unified championship reign in boxing history at twelve consecutive defenses. At six years and seven months, his reign as undisputed middleweight champion is the second-longest of the last century, behind only Tony Zale, whose reign included several years of inactivity during his service in World War II. In 1982, annoyed that network announcers often did not refer to him by his nickname "Marvelous", Hagler legally changed his name to "Marvelous Marvin Hagler".[4]

Hagler is an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He was named Fighter of the Decade (1980s) by Boxing Illustrated magazine, and twice named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America. In 2001 and 2004, The Ring named him the fourth greatest middleweight of all time[5] and in 2002 named him the 17th greatest fighter of the past 80 years.[6] The International Boxing Research Organization rates Hagler as the 6th greatest middleweight of all time,[7] while BoxRec rates him the 29th greatest boxer of all time, pound for pound.[8] Many analysts and boxing writers consider Hagler to have one of the most durable chins in boxing history, having been knocked down only once during the entire professional career, and the scored knockdown is still being disputed.

Early life[edit]

Hagler spent his early years in Newark, New Jersey's Central Ward. Following the Newark Riots of July 12–17, 1967, in which 26 people were killed and $11 million in property damage was caused, including the destruction of the Hagler's tenement, his family moved to Brockton, Massachusetts.

Amateur career[edit]

In 1969, Hagler took up boxing after being roughed up on the street by a local boxer—whom he later defeated—with his friends watching. The very next day after being roughed up, Hagler, determined to become a boxer himself, walked into a gym owned by brothers Pat and Goody Petronelli, who became his trainers and managers. As Hagler needed to be 16 in order to enter some amateur tournaments, he lied about his age, saying that he was born in 1952 instead of 1954. Hagler's real birth year publicly came to light in 1982 when he had to state his date of birth in order to change his legal name from Marvin Nathaniel Hagler to Marvelous Marvin Hagler. In 1973, Hagler won the National AAU 165-pound title after defeating a U.S. Marine from Atlanta, GA, Terry Dobbs:[9]

National Golden Gloves (Light Middleweight), Lowell, Massachusetts, March 1973:

  • 1/2: Lost to Dale Grant by decision

1st place, gold medalist(s) United States National Championships (Middleweight), Boston, Massachusetts, May 1973:

  • Finals: Defeated Terry Dobbs by decision

He completed his amateur career with a 55–1 record.[10]

Professional career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Hagler was a top-ranked middleweight boxer for many years before he fought for the title. He struggled to find high-profile opponents willing to face him in his early years. Joe Frazier told Hagler, "You have three strikes against you, "You're black, you're a southpaw, and you're good."[11] He often had to travel to his opponents' hometowns to get fights. His first break came when he was offered on—two weeks' notice—a chance against Willie 'the Worm' Monroe, who was being trained by Frazier. Hagler lost the decision but the fight was close, so Monroe gave him a rematch. This time Hagler knocked out Monroe in 12 rounds. In a third fight, he defeated Monroe in two rounds.

Boston promoter Rip Valenti took an interest in Hagler and began bringing in top ranked opponents for Hagler to face. He fought 1972 Olympics gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales; Hagler won the first time, the second was a draw and Hagler knocked out Seales in the third fight. Number 1 ranked Mike Colbert was knocked out in the twelfth and also had his jaw broken by Hagler. Briton Kevin Finnegan was stopped in eight. Afterwards Finnegan required 40 stitches in his face.[12] He dropped a controversial decision to Bobby 'Boogaloo' Watts, but knocked out Watts in two rounds in a rematch. Hagler won a ten-round decision over 'Bad' Bennie Briscoe. By then, promoter Bob Arum took notice and signed him.

First title shot[edit]

In November 1979, Hagler fought World Middleweight Champion Vito Antuofermo at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. After fifteen rounds, most ringside observers thought that Hagler had won, even though Antuofermo had been closing the gap in the second half of the fight. Hagler claimed that referee Mills Lane said he won, but Lane denied ever saying it. Hagler claimed that he and many others were surprised when the decision was announced as a draw. Judge Duane Ford scored the fight in Hagler's favor, 145-141. However, judge Dalby Shirley scored the bout for Antuofermo, 144-142, while judge Hal Mller scored the fight even, 143-143. This result only added to Hagler's frustrations, as Antuofermo retained his title with the draw. Hagler had the boxing skills and killer instinct to knock Vito out, but instead he played it safe as Antuofermo closed the gap late in the fight and it cost Hagler the title.[13]

World champion[edit]

Antuofermo lost his title later to British boxer Alan Minter, who gave Hagler his second title shot. Hagler went to Wembley Arena to face Minter. The tense atmosphere was stoked further when Minter was quoted as saying that "No black man is going to take my title"[14]—Minter would later insist he meant "that black man".[15] Hagler took command and his slashing punches soon opened up the cut-prone Minter. With Hagler dominating the action, referee Carlos Berrocal halted the fight during the third round to have the four glaring cuts on Minter's face examined. Minter's manager, Doug Bidwell, almost immediately conceded defeat. Once Berrocal waved the bout off, a riot broke out among the spectators. Clive Gammon of Sports Illustrated described the scene as "a horrifying ululation of howls and boos." Hagler and his trainers had to be escorted to their locker room by a phalanx of policemen, all the while enduring a steady rain of beer bottles and glasses. After seven years and 50 fights, Hagler was the World Middleweight Champion.

Hagler proved a busy world champion. He defeated future world champion Fulgencio Obelmejias of Venezuela by a knockout in eight rounds and then former world champ Antuofermo in a rematch by TKO in four rounds. Both matches were fought at the Boston Garden near Hagler's hometown, endearing him to Boston fight fans. Syrian born Mustafa Hamsho, who won his shot in an eliminator with Wilfred Benítez and would later defeat future world champion Bobby Czyz, became Hagler's next challenger, put up a lot of resistance but was finally beaten in 11 tough rounds. Michigan fighter William "Caveman" Lee lasted only one round, and in a rematch in Italy, Obelmejias lasted five rounds. British Champion (and mutual Alan Minter conqueror) Tony Sibson followed in Hagler's ever-growing list of unsuccessful challengers. Sibson provided one of the most entertaining (to this point) fights of Marvelous Marvin's career, but he ultimately fell short, lasting six rounds. Next, came Wilford Scypion, who only lasted four. By then, Hagler was a staple on HBO, the pay-per-view of its time.

Hagler vs. Durán[edit]

A fight against Roberto Durán followed on November 10, 1983. Durán was the first challenger to last the distance with Hagler in a world-championship bout. Durán was the WBA Light Middleweight Champion and went up in weight to challenge for Hagler's middleweight crown. Hagler won a unanimous 15-round decision, although after 13 rounds, Durán was ahead by one point on two scorecards and even on the third. Hagler, with his left eye swollen and cut, came on strong in the last two rounds to win the fight. Judge Guy Jutras scored the bout 144-142. Judge Ove Ovesen scored it 144-143. Judge Yusaku Yoshida scored it 146-145.

More title defenses[edit]

Then came Juan Roldán of Argentina, who became the only man to be credited with a knockdown of Hagler, scoring one knockdown seconds into the fight. Hagler protested bitterly that he had been pulled/pushed to the canvas. Hagler cut Roldan's left eye, then brutalized him over ten rounds and stopping him in the middle of round ten. Sugar Ray Leonard was calling the fight ringside with HBO analyst Barry Tompkins. He noted to Tompkins between rounds that Hagler looked older and slower. "Marvin might finally be slowing down, Barry" Leonard remarked. Many people believe this is the fight that gave Sugar Ray Leonard the idea that he could actually win a fight with the aging Hagler. Hamsho was given a rematch, but the Syrian was again TKO'd, this time in only three rounds. Hamsho angered Hagler with a trio of intentional headbutts in the second round and a fourth early in the third, goading the normally patient and cautious Hagler into a full-out attack that left Hamsho battered and defenseless in a matter of seconds.

Hagler vs. Hearns[edit]

On April 15, 1985, Hagler and Thomas Hearns met in what was billed as The Fight; later it would become known as "The War." Round One: Three minutes of blistering violence. Within the first fifteen seconds, Hearns landed his best punch, a straight right, onto Hagler's chin. The champion stepped back, then came forward. At this point, Hagler began to walk through Hearns' power punches.

Round Two: Hagler was cut on his head from an unintentional elbow or headbutt. Despite the blood, the champion continued to push the fight forward. Hearns was fighting hurt as well, having suffered a broken right hand in the last minute of the first round. The pace continued as before, but now Hearns was backing up, trying to move around the ring. Hearns' trainer Emanuel Steward would later reveal Hearns had a leg massage, much to his dismay, before the fight. Hearns' legs by the end of the round were weakening.

Round Three: The pace slowed until Referee Richard Steele called a time out to have the ringside doctor examine the cut on Hagler's head. The crowd was on its feet for the next ten seconds, before the doctor allowed the fight to continue. Hagler charged the much taller Hearns, drilling in an overhand right behind Hearns' ear. Hearns' legs wobbled, and Hagler was on him quickly. Hearns topples to the canvas, rising at the count of eight, but collapses into Referee Steele's arms. The fight was then halted.

The fight lasted only eight minutes and one second, but it was rightly regarded as a classic. Commentator Al Michaels uttered the now immortal line, "It didn't go very far, but it was a beauty!" The fight was named "Fight of the Year" by The Ring.

Hagler vs. Mugabi[edit]

Next was Olympic silver medalist John Mugabi of Uganda, who was 25–0 with 25 knockouts and was ranked the number one contender by all three major bodies. The fight took place on March 10, 1986 as Hagler had hurt his back and could not fight on the first date booked in 1985. Hagler stopped Mugabi in the 11th round of a brutal fight. Many ringside observers, including analyst Gil Clancy, noticed that Hagler was showing signs of advanced ring wear and age. He was much slower of hand and foot and seemed much easier to hit. He had also completely morphed his ring style from a slick, quick-fisted, boxer/puncher to a strictly flat-footed, stalking, slugger to compensate for his loss of speed and reflexes. Hagler was now said to be seriously considering retirement.[16] Hagler's promoter Bob Arum was quoted as saying he was expecting Hagler to retire in the face of being challenged by Sugar Ray Leonard.

Hagler vs. Leonard[edit]

Hagler's next challenger was Sugar Ray Leonard, who was returning to the ring after a three-year retirement (having fought just once in the previous five years). During the pre-fight negotiations, in return for granting Hagler a larger share of the purse, Leonard obtained several conditions which would be crucial to his strategy: a 22 × 22 ft ring instead of a smaller ring, 10 ounce gloves instead of 8 ounce gloves, and the fight was to be over 12 rounds instead of the 15 rounds favoured by Hagler.[17][18] Leonard was two years younger, had half as many fights, and unbeknownst to Hagler, had engaged in several 'real' (i.e. gloves, rounds, a referee, judges and no head gear) fights behind closed doors in order to shake off his ring rust. The fight took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on April 6, 1987. Hagler was the clear betting favorite after a dominant six and a half years as the reigning undisputed middleweight champion of the world, having knocked out all opponents as champion except in winning a very close unanimous decision over 15 rounds against Roberto Durán. It was Leonard's first fight at middleweight (160 lbs weight limit). The fight was to be for Hagler's WBC, lineal and Ring middleweight titles only, as the WBA stripped Hagler of their belt for choosing to face Leonard instead of WBA mandatory challenger Herol Graham. The IBF, while keeping Hagler as their champion, refused to sanction his fight against Leonard, and said that the IBF middleweight title would be declared vacant if Hagler lost to Leonard.

Hagler, a natural southpaw, opened the fight boxing out of an orthodox stance. After the quick and slick Leonard won the first two rounds on all three scorecards, Hagler started the third round as a southpaw. Hagler then did much better, though Leonard's superior speed and quick flurries kept him in the fight. But by the fifth, Leonard, who was moving a lot, began to tire and Hagler started to get closer. As Leonard tired he began to clinch with more frequency (in total referee Richard Steele gave him over 30 warnings for holding, although never deducted a point). Hagler buckled Leonard's knees with a right uppercut near the end of the round, which finished with Leonard on the ropes. Hagler continued to score effectively in round six. Leonard, having slowed down, was obliged to fight more and run less.[19]

In rounds seven and eight, Hagler's southpaw jab was landing solidly and Leonard's counter flurries were less frequent. Round nine was the most exciting round of the fight. Hagler hurt Leonard with a left cross and pinned him in a corner. Leonard was in trouble, then furiously tried to fight his way out of the corner. The action see-sawed for the rest of the round, with each man having his moments. Round ten was calmer even as Hagler continued to press forward and Leonard slowly got a second wind, as the pace slowed after the furious action of the previous round. Clearly tiring, Leonard boxed well in the eleventh. Every time Hagler scored, Leonard came back with something flashier, if not as effective. In the final round, Hagler continued to chase Leonard. He hit Leonard with a big left hand and backed him into a corner. Leonard responded with a flurry and danced away with Hagler in pursuit. The fight ended with Hagler and Leonard exchanging along the ropes. Hagler began dancing in celebration of his performance while Leonard collapsed to the canvas and raised both his arms in triumph.[19] Leonard threw 629 punches and landed 306, while Hagler threw 792 and landed 291.[20]

Hagler later said that, as the fighters embraced in the ring after the fight, Leonard said to him, "You beat me man." Hagler said after the fight, "He said I beat him and I was so happy." Leonard denied making the statement and said he only told Hagler, "You're a great champion." HBO cameras and microphones supported Hagler's version of events.

Leonard was announced as the winner and new middleweight champion of the world by split decision (118–110, 115–113, 113–115), a result which remains hotly disputed to this day. The Hagler vs. Leonard fight divides fans, pundits, press and ringside observers arguably more than any other fight in boxing history, with scorecards varying as widely as 117–111 Hagler to 118–110 Leonard, and everything in between. The only near universally agreed views about the fight are that Hagler was foolish for starting the fight in an orthodox stance, that Leonard won the first two rounds and that Hagler won the fifth round. Every other round in the fight divides people as to who actually won it, or if the rounds were even.

Post-fight reaction[edit]

Official ringside judge JoJo Guerra, whose scorecard of 118–110 in favour of Leonard was derided in many quarters, commented that:

Leonard outpunched Hagler, outsmarted him, outboxed him. He looked just great. Sugar Ray Leonard was making him miss a lot, and then counterpunching him. Sugar Ray Leonard was beating him to the punch. They should call him Marvelous Sugar Ray Leonard. Boxing is the art of self-defense, and Sugar Ray was in command at all times. He was very fast and he was very clever. He made Marvin Hagler come to him. He dictated the fight.[21][22]

Upon a second viewing of the fight, while maintaining his belief that Leonard won the fight, Guerra acknowledged that he made a mistake and should have scored two more rounds for Hagler.[23] Duane Ford, chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, commented that Guerra probably would not be invited back to Las Vegas to judge a fight in the near future.[24]

Judge Dave Moretti, who scored it 115–113 for Leonard, said:

Obviously, Hagler was the aggressor, but he was not the effective aggressor. You can't chase and get hit and chase and get hit, and get credit for it. Besides, the hardest punching was by Leonard.[25]

Judge Lou Filippo, who scored it 115–113 for Hagler and felt that Hagler's bodyshots and aggression earned him the nod, said:

Hagler was doing all the work. The referee, Richard Steele, warned Leonard at least once every round about holding. Leonard fought in spurts. Leonard would run in and grab and hold. He did what he had to do. But I can't see a guy holding that much and getting points for it.[25]

Hugh McIlvanney, commenting in the British Sunday Times and Sports Illustrated:

What Ray Leonard pulled off in his split decision over Hagler was an epic illusion. He had said beforehand that the way to beat Hagler was to give him a distorted picture. But this shrewdest of fighters knew it was even more important to distort the picture for the judges. His plan was to "steal" rounds with a few flashy and carefully timed flurries and to make the rest of each three-minute session as unproductive as possible for Hagler by circling briskly away from the latter's persistent pursuit. When he made his sporadic attacking flourishes, he was happy to exaggerate hand speed at the expense of power, and neither he nor two of the scorers seemed bothered by the fact that many of the punches landed on the champion's gloves and arms.[26][27]

McIlvanney also referred to Budd Schulberg's contention about a 'compound optical illusion', namely that by being the underdog and more competitive than expected against the dominant undisputed champion in Hagler meant that Leonard appeared more effective and to be doing more than he actually was. Leonard himself had said to journalists before the fight "the reason I will win is because you don't think I can".[27] Harry Gibbs, the British judge who ironically had been rejected by Pat Petronelli from Hagler's camp and replaced by JoJo Guerra, said he scored it 115–113 for Hagler when he watched the fight at home.

Jim Murray, long-time sports columnist for the Los Angeles Times felt that Leonard deservedly got the decision, arguing that Leonard landed more punches and showed better defense and ring generalship, and writing:

It wasn't even close...He didn't just outpoint Hagler, he exposed him. He made him look like a guy chasing a bus. In snowshoes. Leonard repeatedly beat Hagler to the punch. When he did, he hit harder. He hit more often. He made Hagler into what he perceived him to be throughout his career—a brawler, a swarmer, a man who could club you to death only if you stood there and let him. If you moved, he was lost.[28]

The scorecards from the ringside press and broadcast media attest to the polarizing views and opinions of the fight:

  • ABC (Howard Cosell): 117–112 Leonard
  • Associated Press: 117–112 Hagler
  • Baltimore Sun: 7–5 Leonard (115–113 Leonard)
  • Boston Globe (Ron Borges): 115–113 Hagler
  • Boston Globe (Steve Marantz): 117–111 Leonard
  • Boston Herald: 116–113 Leonard
  • CBS (Gil Clancy): 115–113 Leonard
  • CBS (Tim Ryan): 115–114 Hagler
  • Chicago Sun-Times: 115–114 Hagler
  • Chicago Tribune (1 - Bob Verdi): 115–113 Hagler
  • Chicago Tribune (2 - Bernie Lincicome): 115–113 Hagler
  • Chicago Tribune (3 - Sam Smith): 115–113 Hagler
  • ESPN (Al Bernstein): 115–113 Hagler
  • ESPN (Dave Bontempo): 114–114
  • HBO (Harold Lederman): 115–113 Leonard
  • HBO (Larry Merchant): 114–114
  • Houston Chronicle: 115–114 Leonard
  • Newark Star-Ledger (Jerry Izenberg): 115–113 Hagler
  • KO Magazine: 118–111 Leonard
  • Miami Herald: 116–112 Hagler
  • Miami News: 116–112 Hagler
  • Los Angeles Times: 117–111 Leonard
  • Newsday: 115–114 Hagler
  • New York Daily News (1): 117–111 Leonard
  • New York Daily News (2 - Michael Katz): 117–112 Leonard
  • New York Post (1): 114–114
  • New York Post (2 - Jerry Lisker): 115–113 Hagler
  • New York Times (Dave Anderson): 114–114
  • Oakland Tribune: 117–112 Leonard
  • Philadelphia Daily News (1): 116–112 Leonard
  • Philadelphia Daily News (2): 115–113 Hagler
  • The Ring (Nigel Collins): 115–113 Leonard
  • The Ring (Phill Marder): 114–114
  • San Jose Mercury-News: 116–115 Hagler
  • Seattle Times: 115–113 Hagler
  • Sports Illustrated (Hugh McIlvanney): 116–112 Hagler
  • Sports Illustrated (William Nack): 116–114 Leonard
  • Sports Illustrated (Pat Putnam): 115–113 Hagler
  • United Press International: 116–112 Leonard
  • USA Today: 115–113 Leonard
  • The Washington Post: 114–114


Hagler requested a rematch but Leonard chose to retire again (the third of five high-profile retirements announced by Leonard during his professional boxing career), having said he would do so beforehand.[29][30] Fourteen months after their fight, Hagler retired from boxing in June 1988, declaring that he was "tired of waiting" for Leonard to grant him a rematch. Just a month after Hagler's retirement, Leonard announced another boxing comeback to fight against WBC light-heavyweight champion Donny Lalonde at the 168lbs super-middleweight limit. In 1990, Leonard finally offered Hagler a rematch which reportedly would have earned him $15m, but he declined. By then, Hagler had settled down into a new life as an actor in Italy and was now uninterested in his past boxing life.[31][32] Hagler said "A while ago, yeah, I wanted him so bad, but I'm over that."[31] At the 1994 Consumer Electronics Show Hagler and Leonard had a mock rematch by playing against each other in the video game Boxing Legends of the Ring, and claimed that an actual rematch was being planned, though it never happened.[33]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
67 fights 62 wins 3 losses
By knockout 52 0
By decision 9 3
By disqualification 1 0
Draws 2
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
67 Loss 62–3–2 United States Sugar Ray Leonard SD 12 Apr 6, 1987 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC and The Ring middleweight titles
66 Win 62–2–2 Uganda John Mugabi KO 11 (12), 1:29 Mar 10, 1986 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring middleweight titles
65 Win 61–2–2 United States Thomas Hearns TKO 3 (12), 1:52 Apr 15, 1985 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring middleweight titles
64 Win 60–2–2 Syria Mustafa Hamsho TKO 3 (15), 2:31 Oct 19, 1984 United States Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring middleweight titles
63 Win 59–2–2 Argentina Juan Roldán TKO 10 (15), 0:39 Mar 30, 1984 United States Riviera, Winchester, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring middleweight titles
62 Win 58–2–2 Panama Roberto Durán UD 15 Nov 10, 1983 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring middleweight titles
61 Win 57–2–2 United States Wilford Scypion KO 4 (15), 2:47 May 27, 1983 United States Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. Retained The Ring middleweight title;
Won inaugural IBF middleweight title
60 Win 56–2–2 United Kingdom Tony Sibson TKO 6 (15), 2:40 Feb 11, 1983 United States Centrum, Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
59 Win 55–2–2 Venezuela Fulgencio Obelmejias TKO 5 (15), 2:35 Oct 30, 1982 Italy Teatro Ariston, Sanremo, Italy Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
58 Win 54–2–2 United States William Lee TKO 1 (15), 1:07 Mar 7, 1982 United States Bally's Park Place, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
57 Win 53–2–2 Syria Mustafa Hamsho TKO 11 (15), 2:09 Oct 3, 1981 United States Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
56 Win 52–2–2 Italy Vito Antuofermo RTD 4 (15), 3:00 Jun 13, 1981 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
55 Win 51–2–2 Venezuela Fulgencio Obelmejias TKO 8 (15), 0:20 Jan 17, 1981 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Retained WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
54 Win 50–2–2 United Kingdom Alan Minter TKO 3 (15), 1:45 Sep 27, 1980 United Kingdom Wembley Arena, London, England Won WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
53 Win 49–2–2 Mexico Marcos Geraldo UD 10 May 17, 1980 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
52 Win 48–2–2 United States Bobby Watts TKO 2 (10) Apr 19, 1980 United States Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine, U.S.
51 Win 47–2–2 Algeria Loucif Hamani KO 2 (10), 1:42 Feb 16, 1980 United States Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine, U.S.
50 Draw 46–2–2 Italy Vito Antuofermo SD 15 Nov 30, 1979 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. For WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles
49 Win 46–2–1 Argentina Norberto Rufino Cabrera TKO 8 (10) Jun 30, 1979 Monaco Esplanade de Fontvieille, Monte Carlo, Monaco
48 Win 45–2–1 United States Jamie Thomas TKO 3 (10), 2:38 May 26, 1979 United States Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine, U.S.
47 Win 44–2–1 United States Bob Patterson TKO 3 (10), 1:00 Mar 12, 1979 United States Civic Center, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
46 Win 43–2–1 United States Sugar Ray Seales TKO 1 (10), 1:26 Feb 3, 1979 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
45 Win 42–2–1 United States Willie Warren TKO 7 (10) Nov 11, 1978 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
44 Win 41–2–1 United States Bennie Briscoe UD 10 Aug 24, 1978 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
43 Win 40–2–1 United Kingdom Kevin Finnegan TKO 7 (10) May 13, 1978 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
42 Win 39–2–1 United States Doug Demmings TKO 8 (10) Apr 7, 1978 United States Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
41 Win 38–2–1 United Kingdom Kevin Finnegan TKO 9 (10) Mar 4, 1978 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
40 Win 37–2–1 United States Mike Colbert TKO 12 (15) Nov 26, 1977 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. Won vacant Massachusetts middleweight title
39 Win 36–2–1 Canada Jim Henry UD 10 Oct 15, 1977 United States Marvel Gymnasium, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
38 Win 35–2–1 United States Ray Phillips TKO 7 (10), 1:11 Sep 24, 1977 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
37 Win 34–2–1 United States Willie Monroe TKO 2 (10), 1:46 Aug 23, 1977 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. Won vacant North American middleweight title
36 Win 33–2–1 United States Roy Jones Sr. TKO 3 (10), 2:10 Jun 10, 1977 United States Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.
35 Win 32–2–1 Guyana Reggie Ford KO 3 (10), 2:14 Mar 16, 1977 United States Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
34 Win 31–2–1 United States Willie Monroe TKO 12 (12), 1:20 Feb 15, 1977 United States John B. Hynes Memorial Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
33 Win 30–2–1 United States George Davis TKO 6 (10), 2:56 Dec 21, 1976 United States John B. Hynes Memorial Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
32 Win 29–2–1 United States Eugene Hart RTD 8 (10) Sep 14, 1976 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
31 Win 28–2–1 United States DC Walker TKO 6 (10) Aug 3, 1976 United States Schneider Arena, North Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
30 Win 27–2–1 United States Bob Smith TKO 5 (10), 2:05 Jun 2, 1976 United States Roseland Ballroom, Taunton, Massachusetts, U.S.
29 Loss 26–2–1 United States Willie Monroe UD 10 Mar 9, 1976 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
28 Win 26–1–1 United States Matt Donovan TKO 2 (10), 2:40 Feb 7, 1976 United States Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
27 Loss 25–1–1 United States Bobby Watts MD 10 Jan 13, 1976 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
26 Win 25–0–1 United States Johnny Baldwin UD 10 Dec 20, 1975 United States John B. Hynes Memorial Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
25 Win 24–0–1 United States Lamont Lovelady TKO 7 (10) Sep 30, 1975 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
24 Win 23–0–1 United States Jesse Bender KO 1 (10), 1:38 Aug 7, 1975 United States Exposition Building, Portland, Maine, U.S.
23 Win 22–0–1 United States Jimmy Owens DQ 6 (10) May 24, 1975 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S. Owens disqualified for repeated clinching
22 Win 21–0–1 United States Jimmy Owens SD 10 Apr 14, 1975 United States Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
21 Win 20–0–1 United States Joey Blair KO 2 (10), 2:22 Mar 31, 1975 United States Harvard Club, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
20 Win 19–0–1 United States Dornell Wigfall KO 6 (10), 1:25 Feb 15, 1975 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
19 Win 18–0–1 United States DC Walker TKO 2 (10), 2:58 Dec 20, 1974 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
18 Draw 17–0–1 United States Sugar Ray Seales MD 10 Nov 26, 1974 United States Center Coliseum, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
17 Win 17–0 United States George Green KO 1 (10), 0:30 Nov 16, 1974 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
16 Win 16–0 United States Morris Jordan TKO 4 (10), 2:20 Oct 29, 1974 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
15 Win 15–0 United States Sugar Ray Seales UD 10 Aug 30, 1974 United States WNAC-TV Studio, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 United States Peachy Davis KO 1 (10), 1:00 Aug 13, 1974 United States Sargent Field, New Bedford, Massachusetts, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 United States Bobby Williams TKO 3 (10), 1:11 Jul 16, 1974 United States Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 United States Curtis Phillips TKO 5 (10) May 30, 1974 United States Exposition Building, Portland, Maine, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States James Redford TKO 2 (10) May 4, 1974 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Tracy Morrison TKO 8 (10), 2:04 Apr 5, 1974 United States WNAC-TV Studio, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Bob Harrington KO 5 (10), 2:00 Feb 5, 1974 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States James Redford KO 4 (8) Dec 18, 1973 United States John B. Hynes Memorial Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Manny Freitas TKO 1 (8), 1:33 Dec 6, 1973 United States Exposition Building, Portland, Maine, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Cocoa Kid KO 2 (8) Nov 17, 1973 United States Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Cove Green TKO 4 (8), 1:27 Oct 26, 1973 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Dornell Wigfall PTS 8 Oct 6, 1973 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Muhammed Smith KO 2 (6) Aug 8, 1973 United States Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Sonny Williams UD 6 Jul 25, 1973 United States Boston Arena, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Terry Ryan KO 2 (4) May 18, 1973 United States Brockton High School Gymnasium, Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.

Career after boxing[edit]

After the loss to Leonard, Hagler moved to Italy, where he became a well-known star of action films. His roles include a US Marine in the films Indio and Indio 2. In 1996, he starred alongside Giselle Blondet in Virtual Weapon. Hagler has provided boxing commentary for British television. Another foray into the entertainment field includes work in the video game Fight Night: Round 3.

Personal life[edit]

Former middleweight southpaw boxer Robbie Sims is Hagler's brother.[34] Hagler has five children with his first wife, Bertha: Charelle, Celeste, James, Marvin Jr., and Gentry.[32] Although he owns a home in Bartlett, New Hampshire, Hagler lives in Milan.[35] In May 2000, he married his second wife Kay, an Italian, in Pioltello, Italy.[36]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b HBO Sports tale of the tape prior to the Sugar Ray Leonard fight.
  2. ^ "Marvin Hagler". Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  3. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
  4. ^ Carter, Bob. "[1]",, September 26, 2006. Accessed August 26, 2010.
  5. ^ "Division-By-Division – The Greatest Fighters of All-Time". March 13, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "Are These Really the 80 Best Boxers Ever?". ThoughtCo. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Middleweight". IBRO. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "BoxRec ratings: world, pound-for-pound, active and inactive". BoxRec. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  9. ^ Young Talent Dominates Boxing Bouts In Boston. AAU News, 1973, p. 172
  10. ^ Marvin Hagler Amateur Record at the BoxingRecords. Last updated : March 1, 2006.
  11. ^ "ESPN boxing". Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  12. ^ Pat Putnam (April 17, 1978). "A Sinister Reputation". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  13. ^ Pat Putnam (December 10, 1979). "Sports Illustrated December 10, 1979". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  14. ^ Kimball, George. "Look Back in Anger: Hagler-Minter, Wembley Arena, London, September 27, 1980".
  15. ^ Clive Gammon (October 6, 1980). "It Was Blood, Sweat And Beers". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  16. ^ "Hagler Considers Retirement". July 3, 1986. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  17. ^ "Decision Shocks Hagler". April 7, 1987. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  18. ^ Kimball, George (July 15, 2011). Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing. ISBN 9781780572567. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  19. ^ a b "Sugar Ray...Still In Style", Nigel Collins, The Ring August 1987
  20. ^ The New York Times, April 9, 1987
  21. ^ Ira Berkow (April 9, 1987). "Sports of the Times; No Hoosegow for JoJo Guerra". New York Times.
  22. ^ "Self-defense Guerra Brushes Off Critics, Praises Leonard Performance". The Inquirer. April 8, 1987. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  23. ^ They Witnessed Same Fight, Saw Different Winner
  24. ^ While the futures of Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler...
  25. ^ a b Berger, Phil (April 8, 1987). "Judgment Day For Ring Judge". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  26. ^ The Hardest Game, Hugh McIlvanney, Contemporary Books, 2002
  27. ^ a b "Video". CNN. April 20, 1987.
  28. ^ "Sugar Ray Exposed Him, Jim Murray, 1987". April 8, 1987. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  29. ^ Winderman, Ira (April 5, 1987). "After A Year's Prefight, Bell Tolls For These". Sun-Sentinel. Fort Lauderdale. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  30. ^ "Sugar Ray Leonard Post Fight Press Conference After Defeating Marvin Hagler". April 6, 1987. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  31. ^ a b Telander, Rick (July 2, 1990). "With Friends Like These, Who Needs Sugar Ray?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  32. ^ a b Carter, Bob (September 26, 2006). "You Look Marvelous". ESPN Sport. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  33. ^ "Famous Boxers Duke it Out". GamePro (57). IDG. April 1994. p. 176.
  34. ^ Hughes, Damian & Brian (August 23, 2018). "The Marvelous Marvin Hagler Story" (PDF). p21. The Marvin Hagler Story. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 23, 2018.
  35. ^ Boxing—Then & Now[dead link]
  36. ^ "Marvin Hagler – News Article". Retrieved May 16, 2014.
  37. ^ "Cairo, Italian Minister Franceschini, Maroni, Hagler at "Sport Movies & TV 2016". On podium China, Italy, USA, Russia – Ficts". Ficts. November 22, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2017.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Amateur boxing titles
Mike Colbert
U.S. middleweight champion
Vonzell Johnson
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Alan Minter
WBA middleweight champion
September 27, 1980 – March 10, 1987
Title next held by
Sumbu Kalambay
WBC middleweight champion
September 27, 1980 – April 6, 1987
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
The Ring middleweight champion
September 27, 1980 – April 6, 1987
Undisputed middleweight champion
May 27, 1983 – March 10, 1987
Titles fragmented
Title next held by
Bernard Hopkins
Inaugural champion IBF middleweight champion
May 27, 1983 – April 6, 1987
Title next held by
Frank Tate
Larry Holmes
The Ring Fighter of the Year
Thomas Hearns
Aaron Pryor
BWAA Fighter of the Year
Thomas Hearns
The Ring Fighter of the Year
With: Donald Curry
Mike Tyson
BWAA Fighter of the Year
José Luis Ramírez vs.
Edwin Rosario II
The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Thomas Hearns

Steve Cruz vs.
Barry McGuigan
Juan Meza vs.
Jaime Garza
Round 1
The Ring Round of the Year
vs. Thomas Hearns
Round 1

Steve Cruz vs.
Barry McGuigan
Round 15
Steve Cruz vs.
Barry McGuigan
The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Sugar Ray Leonard

Tony Lopez vs.
Rocky Lockridge