“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler is as big of a boxing legend as they come.
On Saturday, March 13, 2021, Hagler passed away at the age of 66, and left boxing circles shaken and distraught. The world lost a beloved ring icon.
Known primarily for his indestructible come-forward fighting style, Hagler never cared about the judges’ scorecards. All he wanted was to test himself against the man who stood across from him in the squared circle.
Over the course of his 14-year boxing career, which ran from 1973 to 1987, Hagler put together a plethora of amazing performances. He was the world middleweight champion for a very long time, effecting a reign of dominance that lasted for more than a decade. He is widely considered to be the greatest middleweight in the history of the sport.
Inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993, Hagler was a proponent in some of the most memorable fights of all time, and helped drive boxing into mainstream popularity in the 1980’s. His most epic ring wars will live on forever in our memories.
To celebrate the life of the “Marvelous” one, we’ve compiled Hagler’s best performances. Let’s take a closer look at one of boxing’s biggest superheroes. Today, Evolve Daily shares the five greatest fights of Marvin Hagler’s boxing career.
1) Alan Minter
On September 27, 1980, at Wembley Arena in London, Hagler challenged Alan Minter for the WBC and WBA Middleweight World Titles. It was the second defense for Minter, and also Hagler’s second chance to become a world champion.
After a slow start from both fighters in the first minute, the action picked up, and before long, both men were tagging each other with powerful combinations. Firing behind a stiff jab, Hagler began to break Minter down in round two, connecting on a handful of haymakers to force his opponent on the defensive.
Hagler grew more comfortable as the fight wore on. In round three, a pair of looping lead right hooks staggered Minter, creating a gash on the eye. With Minter’s eye compromised, the ringside physician called a halt to the contest, and Hagler took home the decisive finish behind a furious rally.
The victory crowned Hagler the middleweight world champion.
2) Vito Antuofermo
On June 13, 1981, at the famous Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, Hagler put his middleweight titles on the line against former opponent Vito Antuofermo in what was a highly-anticipated rematch.
Hagler first met Antuofermo in the ring in 1979, coming away with a close yet controversial split draw. It was a hard-fought 15 rounds. Judge Duane Ford had it 145-141 for Hagler, while judge Dalby Shirley saw the fight in favor of Antuofermo, 144-142. Judge Hal Miller turned in the deciding 143-143 scorecard to call it even.
Still, many fans believe Hagler did enough to win that fight. Their rematch looked to settle that score. This time, however, Hagler left absolutely no doubt.
It was an intense fight for its duration, with both men testing each other’s mettle in the pocket. This fight showcased Hagler’s laserlike precision, as he peppered Antuofermo with fast and powerful shots from start to finish.
Before the fifth round bell, Antuofermo’s corner felt their fighter had enough, and the end result was a TKO victory for Hagler.
3) Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran
What do you get when two legends collide? On November 10, 1983, Hagler traded leather with three-division world champion Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Duran in what was a long and grueling 15-round bout.
At this time, Hagler held three alphabet middleweight titles. But despite his dominance, this was considered Hagler’s first big money fight against a star of equal magnitude.
The fight itself, however, was incredibly tactical, as both fighters showed mutual respect for one another. Hagler and Duran boxed each other from range, with each man attempting to create counterpunching opportunities. While it was an enjoyable exchange for technical purists, it made for a somewhat slow-paced fight.
Every now and then, they stood toe-to-toe and exchanged haymakers, brawling in close quarters, to the delight of the crowd. As the fight wore on, Hagler began to pull away with the more accurate, and more telling blows. Both men made it to the final bell.
Hagler bagged the win by scores of 144-142, 144-143, and 146-145, to retain his middleweight belts.
4) “Sugar” Ray Leonard
It was basically a legends tour for Hagler towards the latter stage of his career. On March 10, 1986, Hagler fought in his final professional boxing match, in what was an extremely controversial and greatly disputed loss against the great “Sugar” Ray Leonard.
Billed as “The Super Fight,” the bout was for the WBC and lineal middleweight titles.
Hagler came in with his usual aggressiveness, moving forward behind his southpaw stance while forcing Leonard against the ropes. In what proved to be an intelligent tactic, however, Leonard would flurry in the final 30 seconds of every round in an effort to steal rounds.
On the official scorecards, Leonard took home the split decision win by scores of 115-113, 118-110, and 113-115. However, the majority of fans and observers feel Hagler won the fight, and deserved to get his hand raised.
After losing for the first time in 11 years, Hagler retired from the sport.
5) Thomas “Hitman” Hearns
You can’t talk about Hagler’s career without mentioning his fight against Tommy “Hitman” Hearns. On April 15, 1985, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hagler and Hearns figured in an intense battle, in what is widely regarded as one of the best boxing matches of all time.
The entire fight lasted less than eight minutes, but it was eight minutes of pure action, with both men refusing to back down.
Round one of this epic masterpiece is considered by many to be the best round in the history of boxing, and for good reason. Hagler and Hearns exchanged power shots like true Rock’em Sock’em Robots at the center of the ring. Each man gave it everything they had, putting their entire weight behind every punch, enough that fans could feel the impact from ringside at the iconic outdoor venue.
It was non-stop action from start to finish. After a grueling war, Hagler sent Hearns to the nether realm with a vicious right hand and a pair of uppercuts. Hearns valiantly rose to his feet to try and beat the count, but referee Steele had seen enough and promptly called a halt to the contest, awarding the third-round TKO to Hagler.
“That first round took everything I had, man,” Hearns said in the ring after the fight.
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