“You have three strikes against you: you're black, you're a southpaw, and you're good,” Joe Frazier warned Marvin Hagler, the ultimate boxing outsider. Frazier’s warning proved prescient. Hagler was continually thwarted in getting his shot at the middleweight title despite fifty fights during his first seven years as a professional.
But Marvelous Marvin Hagler went on to change the boxing landscape through a combination of steely determination and his devastating fists.
Often called the greatest middleweight boxer of all time, he held the world title for 12 defences, including bouts with Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran which entered fistic folklore.
His story has never been shared – until now.
Brian and Damian Hughes’ Marvelous tells the story of Hagler’s extraordinary life for the first time, separating truth from myth to get right to the heart of a complex and charismatic man.
- His first title fight, against Vito Antuofermo, ended in a controversial draw. He eventually snatched the crown from Alan Minter, against a backdrop of explosive racial tension.
- Hagler then defended his title with a demonic intensity for the next seven years. Mustafa Hamsho walked away requiring over fifty stitches, William ‘Caveman’ Lee chose the comparatively safe option of bank robbery, and Britain’s Tony Sibson described meeting Hagler as like “being locked in a cage of pain and seeing him throw away the key.”
- These fights were punctuated by his classic encounters against three boxing legends, all surrounded with intrigue. Roberto Duran’s crude attempts at psychological warfare nearly caused the fight to be brought forward to the weigh-in.
- Hagler’s meeting with Thomas Hearns, almost derailed by an argument over a private jet, is still cited as one of the greatest fights of all time.
- His final encounter against Sugar Ray Leonard, which took five years to stage, still manages to split opinion today.
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