With the sad news of former undisputed Middleweight Champion Marvin Hagler passing, it seems fitting to look back at the sensational fighter and his achievements.
Hagler, perhaps best known as one of the 4 kings of the 160lb divisions golden era, alongside Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. Hagler’s aggressive, southpaw style saw him dominate the division for a long time, defeating legends like Vito Antuofermo & John Mugabi. His absolutely iron chin, and unstoppable engine made him a the most feared man in the division for a number of years.
But it was amongst the “kings” he really went from undisputed champion to icon, a 15 round unanimous decision against Roberto Duran followed by a fight dubbed “The War” against Thomas Hearns catapulted him into infamy.
The Hearns fight started like no other, with Hagler, usually a measured fighter, steaming out of the corner in round 1 to attack Hearns with everything he had, as both men traded blows, Hagler was momentarily (and uncharacteristically) stunned, this didn’t slow him down. After Hearns was begged by his corner to box and not trade with the vicious Hagler, round 2 went more as predicted, with Hearns using his jab to keep away from the enraged Bull. In round 3, like round 1, Hagler fired out from the corner, throwing everything he could at Hearns until a looping right hand glanced the chin of Hearns, knocking him down and out.
On his one and only trip to the UK, Hagler fought Alan Minter for the WBO and WBC titles, controversy ensued. Prior to the fight, Minter, stoked up by growing nationalist sentiment in the 80s, said in an interview “No black man is taking my title”. Hagler, completely unphased by the racial taunts and the hostile atmosphere at Wembley, did take Minters title, after demolishing him inside 3 rounds, resulting in a full blown riot in the stadium.
After 62 wins (52KOs) and only 3 losses, it’s not hard to look back on Haglers career and make a case for him being the best middleweight of all time, the best southpaw of all time and having possibly the best chin of all time. A fully rounded fighter who could have beaten anyone, from any era on his day.