Marvelous Marvin Hagler Tribute Tournament

Start Date: Apr 15, 2021

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This is a "No Vacation" tournament!

The first thing that stuck out about young Marvin Hagler the amateur was his toughness. Though he had taken a beating in sparring the day before he showed up the next day, ready to go, busted mouth and all.

The next thing that stuck out about Hagler, fighting out of Brockton, Mass., was his talent, and he went on to record a 55-1 amateur record, winning the U.S. National Championship in 1973 before turning pro five days before his 19th birthday of the same year.     

But perhaps Hagler’s greatest gift, in conjunction with his talent, of course, was his determination. Unlike today, when some fighters get title shots even before their 15th pro fight, Hagler had to pay his dues. It took him more than six years, but in 1979, in his 50th pro fight he finally got a shot at the world middleweight championship, but was denied the title when he walked away with a disputed split draw against champion Vito Antuofermo.

It was the last time the 25-year-old Hagler, then 46-2-2, would fail to win until 1987.

By now his toughness, talent and determination would meld into an irresistible force and the hard-punching boxer-puncher would avenge each of his defeats (against Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts and Willie “the Worm” Monroe”) and draws (against 1972 Olympic gold medalist Sugar Ray Seales and later against Antuofermo) by knockout.

It all finally paid off for the hard-punching southpaw and in 1980 he battered 160-pound champion Alan Minter into submission after three rounds in an unfriendly London environment. He would require a human shield to leave the ring amid a bottle-throwing riot.

Though not a free-swinging pure puncher like a Mike Tyson or Rocky Marciano, Hagler, who could seamlessly switch from left-hander to right hander, boxed behind a strong jab and would land brutally effective power punches until his battered opponents were finished.

His first seven title defenses ended in destructive knockouts (over Fulgencio Obelmejias —twice — Antuofermo, Mustafo Hamsho, William “Caveman” Lee, Tony Sibson and Wilford Scypion).

In 1983, multiweight champion Roberto Duran went the 15-round distance with him, but Hagler, who in 1982 legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler, finally picked up the first of his big paydays.

After two more knockouts (against Juan Domingo Roldan and a rematch with Hamsho) Hagler’s biggest payday came in 1985 in a career-defining title fight against Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns.

It was indeed a battle for the ages, with Hagler battering Hearns for a third-round technical knockout. The first round is widely regarded as the best round in championship history and many claim it was the greatest-ever fight.

Eleven months later Hagler would bludgeon his way to an 11th-round KO over previously undefeated John Mugabi, who had knocked out each of his previous 25 opponents. After a savage beating, Mugabe, a murderous puncher, would never be the same.

in 1987 Hagler went on to a mega-paying superfight with Sugar Ray Leonard, but dropped a controversial 12-round decision.

A disgusted Hagler retired after the fight and left the squared circle with a record of 62-3-2, with 52 knockouts and 12 successful title defenses.

He went on to a successful acting career in Italy, but on March 13, 2021, he died unexpectedly at his home in New Hampshire. He was 66.

Rest in peace, Champ.

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