Laureus sporting legends pay tribute to academy member Marvelous Marvin Hagler
THE WORLD IS ONE GREAT MAN LESS TODAY
LONDON, March 14, 2021 – Laureus World Sports Academy Member and former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis led the tributes to fellow Laureus Academy Member Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who has died unexpectedly at the age of 66 at his home in New Hampshire.
Lewis says he was stunned by the news. “Not only was he a living legend, but I was proud to call him my friend. He was so full of life, energy and positivity in our conversations that you would never guess what a wrecking machine he was in the ring. This hits so hard also because he was the one I emulated in my own training camps. The world is one great man less today.”
Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick added: “Marvelous Marvin Hagler was an undisputed champion in the ring, and a wonderful friend and ambassador for the positive power of sport out of it. He has been a wonderful supporter of Laureus Sport for Good. The thoughts of the entire Laureus Academy are with Marvin’s wife, Kay, his family, and loved ones.”
One of the greatest fighters of the 1970s and '80s, he was the undisputed World Middleweight Champion from 1980 to 1987 and one of the most ferocious boxers ever to go into the ring. He made 12 successful title defences. His three-round shootout with Thomas Hearns is regarded as one of the best fights of all-time.
He retired with a career record of 62 wins, 3 losses, and 2 draws, with 52 wins by knockout. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993. He became a Laureus World Sports Academy Member in 2007, and from that moment was a frequent visitor to sports projects around the world which use the power of sport to help young people.
Among the tributes from his fellow Laureus Academy Members are:
Edwin Moses: “Today is a sad day for the Laureus family, the sport of boxing and sports fans across the world. Not only was Marvelous Marvin Hagler one of the greatest boxers the world has ever seen, he was an inspirational champion for the power of sport. Over the years, I saw the impact Marvelous' infectious smile and personality had on the Sport for Good programmes he visited, and I know what those visits meant to him.”
Michael Johnson: “Kay, I’m sorry for your loss. We have all lost a very special man. Marvelous was a role model for me as a child and a friend as an adult. I will miss him greatly.”
Nawal El Moutawakel: “So sorry to hear such sad news. May his soul rest in peace. He will be greatly missed and forever remembered. He was a true legend.”
Chris Hoy: “That’s such terrible news. The Laureus Family will miss him greatly.”
Mark Spitz: “Marvelous, your passing has suspended reality for all of us. I still know, as humble as you always were, that you would be pleased to know that we are here today sending our love to your family and that we are all grieving now. I have lost a friend and we have lost a champion.”
Mike Horn: “His gentle kindness, courage and willpower that inspired us all will stay with us forever. He was an example to us who had the privilege knowing him. We all learned from him. Let’s celebrate what an amazing life and man he was.”
Maria Höfl-Riesch: “Dear Kay, very sad news this morning. Sending you my condolences. The Laureus Family will miss him, but he will always be there in our hearts.”
Bryan Habana: “Marvelous was an absolute legend and embodied so many of the values that Laureus stands for. His infectious positivity always lit up the room. He will be sorely missed.”
Marvelous Marvin spent his early years in Newark, but during the 1967 race riots, in which 26 people died, the family's tenement was destroyed and the Haglers moved to Brockton in Massachusetts. In 1969, he walked into a gym owned by brothers Pat and Goody Petronelli and fell in love with boxing. They became his trainers and managers, and he embarked on his remarkable career.
He earned his first shot at the undisputed middleweight crown in November 1979, but he could only draw with champion Vito Antuofermo. He could not be resisted long, however, and in September 1980, he beat the new champion, Britain’s Alan Minter, in three rounds to win the title which he held for seven years.
Hagler's last fight was in 1987 when Sugar Ray Leonard came out of retirement and won an exciting, but controversial 12 round split decision for the WBC middleweight title. Hagler called for a rematch, but Leonard refused.
At Laureus he was an enthusiastic supporter of Laureus Sport for Good, visiting sports-based programmes from Morocco to Hong Kong, Italy and the UK as part of his role as an Academy Member. He was popular wherever he went and always inspired the young people who attended these projects.