Hagler, right, against John “The Beast” Mugabe on March 10, 1986. Hagler won the fight with a knockout in the 11th round. AP hide caption
Marvin Hagler, one of the greatest middleweight boxing champions of all time, died on Saturday, according to his wife’s Facebook post. He was 66 years old.
“I’m sorry to make a very sad announcement,” wrote Kay Hagler. “Today my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire. Our family ask you to respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
According to The Associated Press, Hagler was 62-3-2 with 52 eliminations from 1973 to 1987.
He beat Alan Minter for a world title in 1980 and made 12 successful title defenses before losing to “Sugar” Ray Leonard in 1987 in a controversial decision.
Leonard called Hagler in his autobiography The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring “the most intimidating opponent of [his] Career. “
“While I trained harder for Hagler than for any previous opponent,” wrote Leonard, reporting on the 1987 matchup, “no effort on speed bag, heavy bag, skipping rope and running could be compared to an actual fight.”
Hagler’s world title defense included fights against Thomas Hearns, Juan Roldán, John Mugabi, Mustafa Hamsho, and others.
According to Sports Illustrated, Hagler was nicknamed “Marvelous” by a journalist from Lowell, Massachusetts, where the boxer fought as an amateur.
In 1982, annoyed that announcers didn’t introduce him by the nickname, he then legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler, the AP reported.
After the news of his death, Hearns asked for “peace” on an Instagram post.
“Our love and respect for Marvin and his family,” he said, adding that Hagler was a “king, legend, father, husband and more”.
Hagler was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954. In 1993 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.