FALL RIVER, MA – The world just lost it’s toughest living middleweight. Marvelous Marvin Hagler was the biggest and baddest of the Fab 4. He along with Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Thomas Hearns fought a round robin of memorable clashes which defined so much of boxing in the 1980’s.
Hagler was born in Newark New Jersey but his mother brought him to Brockton Massachusetts after fleeing the riots that racked Newark in the late 60’s. As a teen Marvin took-up boxing under local trainer Goody Petronelli. Hagler made 50 dollars for winning his first fight by knockout in the gym of the high school. He quickly grew into the scariest man at Middleweight in the world. Frequently ducked by the champion Marvin had 49 fights before getting his first title shot. A draw with Vito Antuofuermo who chose not to give Marvin a rematch. Marvin had to go to England to get his title.
The champion was a man named Alan Minter who once said he’d never lose the title to a black man. Minter could not have been more wrong. It took just three rounds for Marvin to turn Minter’s face into an impressionist portrait of what it used to be. The English fans filled the ring with bottles and Marvin was denied his moment in the sun. His title was handed to him in the locker room afterward.
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Hagler wouldn’t lose for nearly seven years thereafter. Only Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard saw the final bell with him. Leonard nicked the most debated decision in boxing history; Marvin retired from boxing in protest. He went to Italy and starred in movies, then came back to Brockton to create a scholarship at a local community college. A petition has been created to enshrine Marvin Hagler in Brockton, just a former Heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano was.