One of the greatest fighters of the 1970s and '80s, Marvelous Marvin Hagler was World Middleweight Champion from 1980 to 1987. He compiled a career record of 62 wins, 3 losses, and 2 draws, with 52 wins by knockout and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
Hagler earned his first shot at the undisputed middleweight crown in November 1979. Going into the fight against champion Vito Antuofermo, he was already considered by some to be the best middleweight in the world. Hagler battled the tough, aggressive champion for 15 rounds, and in the eyes of many appeared to have won, but the decision was a draw. Hagler could not be resisted long, however, and in September 1980, he beat the new champion, Britain’s Alan Minter, in three rounds to gain the title which he held for seven and a half years.
Hagler made twelve successful title defenses. Among his victims were Vito Antuofermo, Mustafa Hamsho, Roberto Duran, Juan Roldan, John Mugabi, and Thomas Hearns. His three-round shootout with Hearns is regarded as one of the best fights of all-time. As soon as the opening bell sounded, Hagler rushed forward and attacked, abandoning boxing for a wide-open melee. Hearns, who had planned to use his height and reach, was caught off-guard and forced to trade punches at close range with the stronger Hagler. After some first round success by Hearns, who had opened a nasty cut on Hagler's forehead, the champion took control. Hearns’ punches seemed to have no effect and the challenger began to struggle. Midway through the third round, referee Richard Steele called time to examine Hagler's cut. Knowing that Steele was close to stopping the fight and awarding Hearns victory, Hagler sent Hearns reeling across the ring with a right. Hearns had not even regained his balance before Hagler ran across the ring and struck him with a second right. Hearns went down and although he climbed unsteadily to his feet at the count of nine, the fight was stopped to give Hagler the defining moment of his career.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler's last fight was in 1987 against Sugar Ray Leonard. The fight for the WBC middleweight title went twelve rounds, ending with a controversial split decision in favor of Leonard. Hagler called for a rematch, but Leonard refused. Hagler then decided to retire from boxing, traveled to Italy, and began another career as an actor, boxing analyst, and sport commentator.