Marvin Hagler, one of the greatest middleweight boxing champions of all time, died Saturday, according to a Facebook post from his wife. He was 66 years old.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement,” Kay Hagler wrote. “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 was 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts from 1973 to 1987, according to The Associated Press.
He knocked out Alan Minter for a world title in 1980 and made 12 successful title defenses before losing to “Sugar” Ray Leonard in a controversial split decision in 1987.
Leonard, in his autobiography The Big Fight: My Life In and Out of the Ring, called Hagler “the most intimidating opponent of [his] career.”
“While I trained more vigorously for Hagler than for any prior opponent,” Leonard wrote, recounting the 1987 matchup, “no amount of effort on the speed bag, the heavy bag, jumping rope, and running could compare to an actual fight.”
Hagler’s world title defenses included fights against Thomas Hearns, Juan Roldán, John Mugabi, Mustafa Hamsho and others.
According to Sports Illustrated, Hagler was given the nickname of “Marvelous” by a journalist from Lowell, Mass., where the boxer had fought as an amateur.
In 1982, miffed that announcers didn’t introduce him by the nickname, he then legally changed his name to Marvelous Marvin Hagler, the AP reported.
Following news of his death, Hearns asked for “peace” in an Instagram story post.
“Our love and respect to Marvin and his family,” he said, adding that Hagler was a “King, Legend, Father, Husband and so much more.”
Hagler was born in Newark, N.J., in 1954. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.