Marvin Hagler, who went by the nickname “Marvelous” for his dominance of middleweight boxing, has died, his wife, Kay G. Hagler, announced on Facebook. He was 66.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement,” his wife wrote. “Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire. Our family requests that you respect our privacy during this difficult time. With love.”
The cause of death was not immediately revealed.
Hagler was the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980-87, recording 52 knockouts during his career.
Hagler took part in multiple notable bouts, but perhaps none as illustrious as when he squared off with Thomas Hearns on April 15, 1985, in what was first known as “The Fight.” It was later dubbed, “The War.”
Hearns seemed to dominant in the first two rounds, with Hagler first taking a massive shot on the chin, then getting cut after what was either an intentional elbow or headbutt.
But the champion Hagler rebounded in the third round, knocking out Hearns with an overhand right just behind Hearns’ ear. Hearns became wobbled, giving Hagler an opportunity to attack. The result was Hearns toppling to the canvas and referee Richard Steele stopping the fight after an eight count.
The fight last just eight minutes and one second, but was considered an instant classic. The Ring magazine called it the “fight of the year.”
Hagler still holds the highest knockout percentage of any undisputed middleweight champions at 78%. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame.
In 1982, annoyed that boxing announcers refused to call him by his nickname, he had his legal name changed to Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
The Ring named him the fourth greatest middleweight of all time in 2001, and the 17th greatest fighter of the past 80 years in 2002.