Former middleweight champion ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler died on Saturday at the age of 66, his wife Kay G. Hagler announced. She did not reveal the cause of death, simply mentioning that he “passed away unexpectedly” in a Facebook post.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement. 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,” she wrote.
Hagler became the undisputed middleweight champion in 1980 and held the title till 1987. His famous fight against Tommy Hearns in 1985 is considered one of the most epic bouts in the history of boxing, with the three-round fight being billed as ‘The War’.
Twelve successful title defenses later, the boxing icon’s reign as champion ended in 1987 after he lost a controversial 12-round split-decision to ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard, a decision he claimed was stolen from him by the judges. He officially retired the next year and moved to Italy, where he became an actor.
In his career, Hagler fought 67 times over 14 years as a pro and notched up 62 wins, three losses and two draws, with 52 wins by knockout. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
Many in the boxing community mourned the loss of Hagler.
“He was certainly one of the greatest middleweights ever but one of the greatest people that I’ve ever been around and promoted,” promoter Bob Arum said.
“He was a real man, loyal and just fantastic person.
“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,” Arum said.
Former boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya said, “Saddened to hear about the death of Marvelous Marvin Hagler. One of the greatest to ever step in the ring!”
(With inputs from agencies)