[Criteria: Fighter theoretically enters weight category of choice]
MIDDLEWEIGHTS 160 lbs: p1 Marvin Hagler p2 Gennady Golovkin p3 Harry Greb p4 Carlos Monzon p5 Stanley Ketchel p5 Bernard Hopkins p6 Jake LaMotta p7 Marcel Cerdan p8 Dick Tiger p8 Gene Fullmer p8 Tony Zale p9 Rocky Graziano p9 Sam Langford p10 Michael Watson
[8.9] MARVIN HAGLER 67-62(52)-3-2: Marvin Hagler - The Ring online - The Kings TV - The Marvelous One 2023 -
There are a lot of things and in order to be at the top and maintain your focus you have to have something that motivates you. For me, it was what I perceived as a lack of respect from the boxing world as well as the media, which made me want to work so hard and be great. Marvin Hagler
Marvin Hagler lived up to what became his legal name: ‘Marvelous’. Hagler was a breathtaking hurting machine at his best, a very good, aggressive boxer with tremendous punching power and one of the best chins of all time. He insisted the only knockdown of his career, against Juan Roldan, was a slip.
Hagler lost two times relatively early in his career but then went 36-0-1, the blemish being a controversial 1979 draw against Vito Antuofermo in his first title fight.
Some considered Hagler the best middleweight in the world even before September 1980 when he fought Alan Minter for the Ring, WBC and WBA titles in London. Hagler won when Minter could not go on because of a cut, marking the beginning of one of the division’s greatest runs.
Hagler made 12 successful defenses over five-plus years, 11 by knockout, and also picked up the IBF title along the way. Among his victims: Roberto Duran (UD 15), Thomas Hearns (TKO 3) and John Mugabi (KO 11).
The Hearns fight is remembered as one of the greatest of all time, as the principals exchanged murderous punches at a frenetic pace from the opening bell. Hagler sustained a deep cut to his forehead but continued to press Hearns until finally hammering his adversary to the canvas at 1:52 of the third round.
‘With Tommy Hearns, finally they gave me what I’m looking for,’ Hagler told The Ring. ‘I knew it was going to be that kind of a fight because [during] the buildup to the fight, he didn’t like me, I didn’t like him.’
Hagler would be named The Ring Fighter of the Year in 1983 and 1985. His victory over Mugabi in 1986 set up a showdown the following year against Sugar Ray Leonard, who was making a comeback after almost three years out of the ring.
Hagler found his groove after a slow start but it wasn’t enough to prevent Leonard from winning a split decision, which Hagler still disputes today.
‘I didn’t really feel I lost,’ said Hagler, who then mentioned his early setbacks – both of which he avenged by knockout – and Leonard’s refusal to give him a rematch. ‘They were a learning experience, they put a lot of hatred into my war game. I think Leonard looked at my record and said, ‘Hagler, forget you man! You think I’m crazy?’
‘If the shoe was on the other foot, I’d have gave him a rematch because it shows the mark of a champion.’
Hagler (62-3-2, 52 knockouts) retired from boxing following the Leonard fight. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
‘Why do you want to hang around after all your hard work and let someone get lucky and destroy your record?’ he asked. ‘After I had nothing to prove to myself, it was the best thing to walk away.’
Hagler wishes he could’ve faced fellow legend Carlos Monzon. The great Argentine retired in 1977, when Hagler was becoming a contender.
‘I think it would have been an interesting fight if I had fought Carlos Monzon,’ he said. ‘I think he was a great champion. I believe I would have caused some sort of problem for him.’
Hagler, who turns 60 in May, lives primarily in Italy. The Ring magazine article May 2014
As much as I love boxing, I hate it. And as much as I hate it, I love it. The Kings I: From Ghetto to Glory to Gold ***** Budd Schulberg, DiscoveryPlus 2021
Boxing is always an opening act to everything else that is happening in the world … You knew on some level you were seeing history. ibid. Teddy Atlas
You have four great fighters: Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran Marvin Hagler who were fighting each other, and it was enthralling. ibid. Thomas Hauser
Their fights meant so much. The four kings gave us unique personalities, unique fighters who all fought each other to their credit and created a time in boxing that was maybe the greatest period in the history of the sport. ibid. Steve Farhood
Hagler embodies the traditional American fighter. A working man. Nothing was ever handed to him. ibid. Richard O’Brien
Marvyn Hagler was an all-round boxer. He could box. He could slug … He was hard on himself. The Kings s1e2: Flesh and Blood, Richard Steele
Hagler v Minter: It’s the third round and Hagler is all over him. ibid. US fight commentary
November 10 1983 Las Vegas: Hagler v Duran. The Kings III: The Will to Win
After 13 rounds, Duran is ahead on the cards. ibid. Steve Barhood
I’ve never seen a first round like that in my life. ibid. chatshow host
It was the closing of a show. It was the closing of an era. These fighters made the world come out and watch. The Kings IV: A Champion Never Quits
Hagler v Leonard: I thought Ray was on a suicide mission of some sort. I mean, who would you bet on? ibid. Larry Merchant
Experts offer little hope for Leonard. ibid. The Miami News 1 April 1987
Marvin sort of bought into the chess match Leonard created. ibid. Steve Marantz
Hagler: He didn’t knock me down. He didn’t hurt me at all. Come on. ibid.
He overthought it, Hagler. Because he was trying to capture something that was never given to him. Acceptance. What he thought he should have had. How great he was. So maybe in the end he was a co-conspirator in his own demise. ibid. Teddy Atlas
He realised there was life after boxing. ibid. Thomas Hauser
Those great fighters’ reputation last for eternity. ibid. Teddy Atlas
‘This is a MAN’s game.’ The Marvelous One ***** 2023
Marvin Hagler was born on May 23rd 1954 in Newark, New Jersey. ibid.
Hagler turned pro in May of 1973. ibid.
Joe Frazier warned Hagler that he had three strikes against him: he was a Southpaw, he was black and he could punch. ibid.
Chaos ensued as Hagler and his team followed the British police to a room on the far side of the arena. ibid.
After the close call with Duran, hype began for a superfight with Thomas Hearns. ibid.
The Mugabi fight was described as a ‘showreel of suffering, pain and endurance’. ibid.
v Ray Leonard: ‘Come on. I won the fight.’ ibid.
54) Alan Minter TKO3: UK Fight Commentary TV - British Boxing Heroes TV -
v Alan Minter 27 September 1980 WBA WBC Middleweight Wembley Arena London: [r1] … Hagler already firing quickly and accurately … Minter’s got a cut underneath his left eye … These two have got down to business … He [Minter] might have a second injury … [r2] … Hagler is catching him with lefts over the top … What a right hand [Minter] … Minter is picking up quite a lot of punishment … Good left hand from Minter … A very fierce round indeed … [r3] … Minter’s picking up hard punches … He’s smothered in blood and he’s in desperate trouble … And it’s stopped. UK BBC fight commentary Harry Carpenter
A victory on cuts for Hagler. There were disgraceful scenes at Wembley that night, and Hagler was pelted with bottles and forced to flee the ring. British Boxing Heroes: Alan Minter v Kevin Finnegan
56) Vito Antuofermo Ret 4: US Fight Commentary TV -
v Vito Antuofermo 13 June 1981 WBA WBC Middleweight Boston Massachusetts: [r1] … A nasty cut [Antuofermo] … An incredible three minutes … [r2] … Hagler goes after him with a combination … another right hand … Antuofermo with two right hands … This is what is known as a bloody war … [r3] … Another [Hagler] jab … The left hand that puts Antuofermo down … staggering Antuofermo once again … A mauling brawling type of fighter [Antuofermo] … [r4] … That right hand by Marvin Hagler … Hagler forcing the action … It is not pretty. US fight commentary