Marvelous Marvin Hagler was a world middleweight boxing champion and is known as one of the greatest boxers of the 1970s and 1980s. He was born Marvin Nathaniel Hagler on May 23, 1954 in New Jersey. His family’s property was destroyed in the 1967 Newark Riots, after which they relocated to Brockton, Massachusetts. He took up boxing as a teenager, and trained with two brothers named Pat and Goody Petronelli, who owned a local gym. In 1973, he became the National Amateur Athletic Union boxing champion. During his early career as a professional boxer, he was ranked No. 1 in the middleweight category but never had a chance to fight for the title because many of his opponents were unwilling to face him. He often had to travel long distances to his opponents’ home towns to look for prominent fights.
His first major fight was against Willie ‘the Worm’ Monroe who was being trained by Joe Frazier. He only received 2 week’s notice to prepare for the fight, which he lost by a close decision. However, Monroe offered him a rematch which Hagler won in 12 rounds and then defeated him again in a third fight, this time in only 2 rounds. He was brought to the notice of a Boston based promoter named Rip Valenti, who started pairing him up with more prominent opponents. He first fought the 1972 Olympic Gold Medalist Sugar Ray Seales, whom he defeated in the first fight. He then won a number of other fights against opponents such as Mike Colbert, Kevin Finnegan and Bobby Watts.
His first title fight came in November 1979 against World Middleweight Champion Vito Antuofermo in Las Vegas, Nevada. After a grueling 15 round match, the match was announced to be a draw, much to everyone’s surprise. After Antuofermo lost his title to Minter, Hagler fought Minter for it. This was a controversial and racially charged fight, but Marvelous Marvin Hagler won and finally managed to gain the title of World Champion. Over the next seven years, he successfully defended his title 12 times and remained the undisputed middleweight champion between 1980 to 1987.
The biggest fight of Hagler’s career was in 1987, when he fought Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard had recently come out of a three year retirement, and he challenged Hagler for the title. Although Hagler was on a long winning streak, he lost the match in a split decision which went in favor of Leonard. This left him so depressed that he began drinking, which eventually caused his already shaky marriage to fall apart. All he wanted was to fight Leonard for a chance to win his title back but Leonard retired immediately after the fight. For years, Hagler tried to get Leonard to agree to a rematch but was repeatedly turned down. Leonard finally agreed in 1990, but by this time Hagler had retired for good, and refused both the fight and the temptation of the $15 million prize money.
After retiring from boxing, Marvelous Marvin Hagler moved to Italy to start his life afresh. He became a well known star of action films such as “Indio”, “Indio 2” and “Virtual Weapon”. He has also worked in the development of video games and worked as a sports commentator for British sports channels. He remarried when he moved to Italy, and currently lives in Milan with his second wife. He is remembered as one of the best middleweight fighters ever and was inducted into the “International Boxing Hall of Fame” as well as the “World Boxing Hall of Fame” in 1993.