Death of ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler, who was the undisputed middleweight champion of the world from 1980 to 1987, announced by his wife; Barry McGuigan and Oscar De La Hoya among those in boxing to pay tributes
Former undisputed middleweight world champion ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler has died at the age of 66, his wife announced on Saturday.
Hagler had ruled the division from 1980, but was dethroned following a controversial defeat by Sugar Ray Leonard in April 1987.
Kay Hagler wrote on the official Marvelous Marvin Hagler Fan Club Facebook page: “I am sorry to make a very sad announcement.
“Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire.”
New Jersey southpaw Hagler was only knocked down once during his professional career and defended his middleweight crown 12 times.
In September 1980, Hagler fought Alan Minter at Wembley Stadium, securing a third-round stoppage victory after the British boxer was badly cut.
Hagler famously battled Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns in Las Vegas in 1985, winning in three brutal rounds of a fight which became known as “The War”.
But Hagler would suffer a split decision defeat to Leonard two years later and his American rival headed back into retirement, denying him a rematch.
Hagler subsequently retired from boxing in June 1988, with a record of 62 wins, two draws and three defeats.
Former WBA and lineal featherweight world champion Barry McGuigan led the tributes on social media, writing on Twitter: “Shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the incredible Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
“I’m honoured to have spent some amazing times with him. My heartfelt sympathies to his wife Kay and his family. Rest in Peace Champ.”
Lennox Lewis, the former unified world heavyweight champion, revealed how Hagler had influenced his ring career.
He tweeted: “This one hits so hard also because he was the one I emulated my own training camps after when I saw how seriously he took his training camps. The world is one great man less today.”
Eleven-time world champion Oscar De La Hoya said he was “saddened” by Hagler’s death, adding: “One of the greatest to ever step in the ring!”
Adam Smith, Head of Boxing Development for Sky Sports, said: “I’m devastated about Marvelous Marvin. What a fighter and what a lovely man, who I was lucky to spend time with.”
In 2019, Hagler had called for boxing to bring back one world champion per division.
“I hope that before I pass that they restore this game and bring it back to only one champion in the world,” said Hagler.
“They have these three or four belts, I was only looking for one. Years ago, guys like Carlos Monzon, Bennie Briscoe, Emile Griffith, all of us were fighting for one belt.
“Now you’ve got the WBA, the WBC, the IBF [and the WBO] – they say it’s like the alphabet boys.
“If [a fighter] loses a fight or loses a belt, they can always go to another organisation and try for that belt.
“It should be exciting if they bring back one champion [per division].