Former undisputed middleweight world champion Marvin Hagler has died aged 66, his wife confirmed on Saturday.
The American, nicknamed ‘Marvelous’, dominated the division from 1980 through to 1987 and was named Boxing Illustrated’s 1980s Fighter of the Decade before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1993.
Hagler vowed never to fight again after a judges decision went against in his bout with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987, with the latter coming out on top in a controversial 12-round split to claim the WBC middleweight title.
The New Jersey-born fighter’s son, James, told TMZ earlier on Saturday that his father had been taken to hospital after experiencing difficulty breathing and he passed away around four hours later at his New Hampshire home.
‘I am sorry to make a very sad announcement,’ Hagler’s wife, Kay Guarrera, told his supporters on a Facebook page.
‘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.’ Hagler’s wife, Kay, confirmed the news on Saturday.
Hagler was involved in 67 fights across his career, winning 62 of them (52 by knockout), drawing two and losing just three.
His epic showdown with Thomas Hearns, despite only lasting three rounds, is considered by boxing fans to be one of the greatest and most brutal fights in history.
The pair would go on to have a friendship for life and Hearns, now 62, paid tribute to the man who beat him back in 1985 and slammed those linking his death with the coronavirus vaccine.
‘Allow us to have our peace. Our love and respect to Marvin and his family, this is not an anti vaccine campaign,’ Hearns wrote on Instagram. ‘It’s outrageous to have that in mid during the passing of a King, Legend, Father, Husband and so much more. ‘The Marvelous one Marvin Hagler #BoxersArePeopleToo’
Tributes from around the world of boxing poured in for Hagler following the announcement of his death, with Frank Warren, Oscar De La Hoya, Bob Arum and Teddy Atlas among those to pen heartfelt messages on social media.
— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) March 14, 2021
‘Rest In Peace Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Boxing lost an all time great today,’ Warren wrote.
De La Hoya said: ‘Saddened to hear about the death of Marvelous Marvin Hagler. One of the greatest to ever step in the ring! #RIPMarvelous’
He was a no frills solid man, who brought a lunch pale filled with power, guts, pride, will, talent and character. And he fought everyone, anytime, anywhere. And he was great. He was Marvin Hagler. R. I. P. Champ. #marvinhagler
— Teddy Atlas (@TeddyAtlasReal) March 14, 2021