Marvelous Marvin Hagler dead: Boxing legend and former undisputed middleweight champion dies aged 66


oxing icon Marvelous Marvin Hagler has died unexpectedly at the age of 66, his family confirmed.

Hagler’s wife Kay revealed the sad news via a Facebook post published on the dominant former middleweight king’s official fan club page on Saturday night.

The cause of death has not yet been disclosed.

“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement,” Kay Hagler 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, Kay G Hagler.”

Regarded as one of the finest boxers ever to grace the ring in a memorable era for the sport, American southpaw Hagler reigned as the undisputed middleweight champion of the world in the 1980s.

He famously beat Britain’s Alan Minter at Wembley Arena with a dominant, bloody third-round stoppage in 1980 to claim undisputed status.

The talented and durable Hagler went on to successfully defend his belts 12 times, defeating rival Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns in a legendary three-round battle at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in April 1985 – a fight that is still fondly remembered as one of the greatest of all time.

He was controversially defeated in ‘The Showdown’ by fellow boxing icon Sugar Ray Leonard two years later, losing a close fight via a split decision that is still furiously debated by fans today.

Hagler – who legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin in 1982 and also outpointed the great Roberto Duran in 1983 – sought a rematch but eventually retired from boxing in 1988, moving to Italy and becoming an actor in action films.

His illustrious professional career record stood at 62 wins and 52 knockouts from 67 total fights over 15 years, with three losses and two draws.

Figures from around the world of boxing were quick to pay tribute to one of the sport’s greatest-ever talents, with videos of that unforgettable first round against Hearns shared widely across social media.

Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn wrote on Twitter: “Rest in eternal peace the Marvelous One! @Michael_Buffer will lead a 10 bell tribute to the great Marvin Hagler tonight.”

Buffer himself added: “I am crushed at the news that MARVELOUS MARVIN HAGLER has passed away! He was-in his prime-POUND4POUND-the best, going 11yrs in 38 fights w/o defeat! He dominated the MW division 4 a decade!

“62 wins/52KOs-3 losses.


Trainer Dave Coldwell said: “Boxing has lost one of the all time greats. Gutted to hear of the passing of Marvellous Marvin Hagler. One of the toughest, and best fighters in one of the greatest eras in boxing history. Hagler along with Leonard, Hearns & Duran – the Real Four Kings.”

“Saddened to hear about the death of Marvellous Marvin Hagler,” Oscar De La Hoya wrote. “One of the greatest to ever step in the ring!”

Promoter Frank Warren said: “Rest In Peace Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Boxing lost an all time great today.”

Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes wrote: “The boxing world is sad to hear the news about Marvin Marvelous Hagler. A tragedy happened today, one of my best friends passed away. He was a good guy, a good man. May his soul RIP.”

Undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez said: “This one hurts.. Rest In Peace Champ! Marvin “Marvelous” Hagler.”

Barry McGuigan wrote: “Shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the incredible Marvellous Marvin Hagler.

“I’m honoured to have spent some amazing times with him. My heartfelt sympathies to his wife Kay and his family. Rest in Peace Champ.”

Top Rank boss Bob Arum tweeted: “Marvelous Marvin Hagler was among the greatest athletes that Top Rank ever promoted. He was a man of honor and a man of his word, and he performed in the ring with unparalleled determination. He was a true athlete and a true man. I will miss him greatly.”

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Katie Taylor beats Delfine Persoon to retain undisputed world lightweight titles

Taylor defended the four world lightweight titles in the garden of Matchroom Boxing’s headquarters

Ireland’s Katie Taylor produced a gutsy display to win a relentless rematch with Delfine Persoon and remain undisputed world lightweight champion.

Taylor boxed stylishly early on but was slowly forced into a battle by the non-stop pressure of her Belgian rival.

Persoon – dismayed by a points defeat 14 months earlier – barely stopped punching throughout and looked to be gaining significant momentum.

But Taylor won 98-93 96-94 96-94 and Persoon accepted the scoring this time.

“I think I broke my nose in the second round but I give respect to Katie – she deserves to win,” said 35-year-old Persoon.

The grace with which Persoon accepted the defeat was perhaps surprising given how close some of the rounds were in a bout which lived up to all expectations.

“You can’t relax against Delfine because she attacks all the time, it was such a tough fight and we’ve had two amazing fights for women’s boxing but it was more convincing this time,” Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Persoon (right) offered constant pressure throughout the 10 rounds
Persoon (right) offered constant pressure throughout the 10 rounds

Some 14 months ago, Persoon took Taylor to depths she had previously never visited as a professional. The night ended with Taylor’s arm raised, Persoon in tears and pundits up in arms at the scoring, yet unanimous in their praise for a truly stunning fight.

Madison Square Garden had been swapped for Essex and Eddie Hearn’s childhood back garden but the obscure surroundings brought on by enforced Covid-19 rules could not slow either woman as they picked up where they left off in New York.

Taylor boxed and moved early on to negate the pressure and Persoon – a policewoman in her homeland – was soon heavily marked under her right eye.

When space opened between the pair, Taylor’s class as an Olympic gold medallist shone. But Persoon constantly smothered, took the fight up close and punched endlessly.

Taylor said she would not be tempted into a brawl. She wasn’t, she was forced into one by the pressure and awkward fighting style her opponent once again brought.

“Keep your composure,” Taylor’s manager shouted in the seventh. By the end of the round his fighter sported a heavy swelling on her forehead and pundits pointed to the title being up for grabs in a contest so tight.

Both could be heard breathing heavily on their stools before the final round and Taylor did find well-picked, accurate shots while under fire in the closing stages.

Where she goes now is up to her. The financial constraints the Covid-19 pandemic places on making the most lucrative fights remains an ongoing issue.

But she remains the face of women’s boxing globally and the special fighter her rivals dream of beating. An Olympic champion, a two-weight world champion and the holder of all four titles at 135lbs, she has little left to prove.

This dogged win only serves to show how hard she will be to overcome. The champion remains a truly formidable force.

‘Ireland’s greatest and the debate is done’

Taylor's arm was raised and she moved on to 16 wins from 16 bouts while Persoon now has three defeats in 47 contests
Taylor moved on to 16 wins from 16 bouts while Persoon now has three defeats in 47 contests

Former world middleweight champion Andy Lee on BBC Radio 5 Live: It was closer than it really should have been but Katie’s won the rematch and that debate is now done.

Persoon can be at peace knowing she has lost to the better boxer. Katie keeps going from strength to strength, I don’t know what happens next and where she goes from here.

BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce: Persoon’s cut and swollen under one eye, Taylor has a lump above her eye.

Taylor’s lump is enormous, like half a tennis ball, but that’s what happens when you have fights like that and you give everything you have.

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