View Full Version : The Marvelous One's Mystique Still Rings True

04-20-2006, 11:11 AM
Marvelous mystique still rings true
Brockton boxing legend Hagler checks in from Italy

By Robert Carroll, Boston Globe Correspondent

The body, still solid and within 10 pounds of his glory days in the ring, gives nothing away. His face, with nary a nick, remains as smooth and polished
as his signature shaved head. It's not until Marvin Hagler speaks that there's any sign of what he's been doing these past 17 years, since his final bout against Sugar Ray Leonard.

Hagler now speaks with an Italian flourish, and the Brockton boxer who had his name officially changed to ''Marvelous Marvin" now ends conversations with a warm, ''Arrivederci."

''I feel fantastic," said the 51-year-old former world middleweight champion, who has lived in Milan for much of the past 17 years. ''I just love Italy. Italians are warm people with big hearts. I fought a couple of times there and never imagined I'd make it my home. I couldn't be happier."
Or busier.

Hagler last month stopped by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers offices in Dorchester to show his support at a fund-raiser to raise awareness about the area's homeless. Before that, it was Argentina and another fund-raiser, this one to help keep kids off drugs. There, Hagler caught up with Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran, two opponents who, with Hagler and Leonard, helped make the 1980s a memorable decade for boxing, particularly at the middleweight level.

''I keep going all the time, traveling and working out," he said. ''I really haven't slowed down. Along with everything else, I do boxing commentary for ESPN and the BBC."

In between Boston and Buenos Aires, Hagler slipped into his hometown of Brockton to touch base with longtime friends and enjoy some of the local flavor at George's Café on Belmont Street, where autographed photos of Hagler look down on customers from every angle.

''It's always good to hear from Marvin," said legendary Brockton trainer Goody Petronelli, who with his brother, Pat, molded the aggressive and cocky kid from the streets into a world champion. ''He's such a credit to the sport of boxing and to himself."

Outside of Brockton, Hagler's spotless reputation as a fighter and person runs strongest on the streets of Milan, where he has built a decent reputation as an actor. Appearing in four Italian-made films, he has played a military officer, a cop, and a terrorist. Never, he said, would he portray a boxer. ''I want to branch out and play a doctor or a lawyer," he said. ''I love acting."
The films, for the most part, are in English. ''Taking a punch is easier than learning Italian," he said.

As for any more punches to be doled out or absorbed by Hagler, he said he has no plans to ever return to the ring. ''If you open my head up I probably still have a boxing glove for a brain," he said. ''And sometimes, the smell of a gym can get the juices flowing. But no, I retired years ago with all my senses, and I'm not going to make a comeback like George Foreman or Hearns. I walked away at the right time. I've taken care of my money. I have no regrets."Continued...
What he does have is a legion of adoring fans, a new wife, and an unquenchable thirst to promote a better world both in and outside the ring.

He also has memories -- something he shares with the Petronelli brothers, who guided Hagler to fame, starting one fateful day in Brockton.
''Marvin came to Pat and me. We didn't find him," said Goody Petronelli, who still runs the Petronelli Bros. Gym in town, where he continues to train fighters, including Irish heavyweight Kevin McBride, who last November defeated Mike Tyson. ''He told me early on he was going to be a world champion one day. Being the good trainer, I kind of winked and said, 'OK, Marvin.' I'll be damned if he didn't know what he was talking about."
Hagler, Petronelli said, wasn't anything special at the start. ''But what he did different was work harder than anyone else. Pat and I would tell Marvin on a particular day to go three rounds in training. He'd go six. Always it was the extra mile for him. I'm proud to say that Marvin never got dropped once in the ring as either an amateur or a pro. That's a credit to how hard he worked."

Hagler began his boxing career by winning 57 amateur fights, including the 1973 National Amateur Athletic Union middleweight title. As a professional, he worked his way to 62 career victories in 67 bouts (three draws). Called one of the 100 greatest punchers of all time by Ring Magazine, Hagler won the world middleweight title from Englishman Alan Minter in 1980. The match was held in London, and Hagler and his team, including the Petronellis, barely had time to enjoy the moment as disgruntled fans rained chairs and beer bottles down on the ring.

''It didn't bother me all that much," Hagler said of the fan reaction. ''I came to get something" -- the title belt -- ''and I got it."
For the next eight years, Hagler was the force in the middleweight division, successfully defending his title 11 times, including victories over granite-chinned Mustafa Hamsho and the stone-fisted Duran. His most memorable match, though, came 21 years ago, on April 15, 1985, when he and ''Hitman" Hearns met after weeks of trash-talking between both camps. And while Hearns initially opened a cut above Hagler's left eye that brought referee Richard Steele to nearly call the bout, it was Hagler who would own the day, stopping Hearns in three rounds in what many in boxing circles call Hagler's defining moment as a professional fighter.

''Tommy still gives me respect when I see him," Hagler said.
In 1987, Hagler lost his crown to Leonard in a 12-round unanimous decision. He was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
''To this day Marvin's display at the hall still brings in visitors," said Ed Brophy, the hall's executive director, who often welcomes Hagler to the boxing mecca located outside Syracuse, N.Y., on induction weekend.
''Marvin makes sure he comes here to greet the new inductees. He's a class act, always has been."

Still, he finds time to come home to visit.

''I'll be back in Brockton in July," Hagler said last month before heading back to Milan. ''I've got the Marvelous Marvin Hagler Boxing Tournament set up with 80 boxers to help my charitable foundation. I raise money to help young men and women who didn't finish school get the education they need. We've been able to help over 5,000 kids over the years."
With that, ''The Marvelous One," as he calls himself, left to catch his flight home.

''Take care," he offered. ''Arrivederci!"

04-20-2006, 11:13 AM

Cyber Boxing Champion -- "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler

Linear Middleweight Champ

Record: 62-3-2 (52)

BORN : May 23 1954, Newark NJ


18 May Terry Ryan MA TKO2

25 Jul Sonny Williams MA W6

08 Aug Muhammad Smith MA KO2

06 Oct Don Wigfall MA W8

26 Oct Cove Green MA TKO4

18 Nov Cocoa Kid MA KO2

07 Dec Manny Freitas ME TKO1

18 Dec James Redford MA TKO4

05 Feb Bob Harrington MA TKO5

05 Apr Tracy Morrison MA TKO8

04 May Jim Redford MA TKO2

30 May Curtis Phillips ME TKO2

16 Jul Robert Williams MA TKO3

13 Aug Peachy Davis MA KO1

30 Aug Ray Seales MA W10

29 Oct Morris Jordan MA TKO4

16 Nov George Green MA KO1

26 Nov Ray Seales WA Draw10

20 Dec DC Walker MA KO2

15 Feb Don Wigfall MA KO5

31 Mar Joey Blair MA KO2

14 Apr Jimmy Owens MA W10

24 May Jimmy Owens MA WDSQ 6

07 Aug Jesse Bender ME KO1

30 Sep Lamont Lovelady MA TKO7

20 Dec Johnny Baldwin MA W10

13 Jan Bobby Watts PA L10

07 Feb Matt Donovan MA TKO2

09 Mar Willie Monroe PA L10

02 Jun Bob Smith MA TKO5

03 Aug DC Walker RI TKO6

14 Sep Eugene Hart PA TKO8

21 Dec George Davis MA TKO6

15 Feb Willie Monroe MA TKO12

16 Mar Reggie Ford MA KO3

10 Jun Roy Jones CT TKO3

23 Aug Willie Monroe PA TKO2

24 Sep Ray Phillips MA TKO7

15 Oct Jim Henry RI W10

26 Nov Mike Colbert MA KO12

04 Mar Kevin Finnegan MA TKO9

07 Apr Doug Demmings CA TKO8

13 May Kevin Finnegan MA TKO7

24 Aug Bennie Briscoe PA W10

11 Nov Willie Warren MA TKO7
03 Feb Ray Seales MA TKO1
12 Mar Bob Patterson RI TKO3
26 May Jamie Thomas ME KO3

30 Jun Norberto Cabrera MON TKO8

30 Nov Vito Antuofermo NV Draw15
[World Middlewight Title]

16 Feb Loucif Hamani ME TKO2

19 Apr Bobby Watts ME TKO2

17 May Marcos Geraldo NV W10

27 Sep Alan Minter ENG TKO3
[Won World Miidleweight Title]

17 Jan Fulgencio Obelmejias MA TKO8
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

13 Jun Vito Antuofermo MA TKO5
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

03 Oct Mustafa Hamsho IL TKO11
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

07 Mar William Lee NJ KO1
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

31 Oct Fulgencio Obelmejias ITA KO5
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

11 Feb Tony Sibson MA KO6
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

27 May Wilford Scypion RI KO4
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

10 Nov Roberto Duran NV W15
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

30 Mar Juan Roldan NV KO10
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

19 Oct Mustafa Hamsho NV KO3
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

15 Apr Thomas Hearns NV KO3
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

10 Mar John Mugabi NV KO11
[Retained World Middleweight Title]

06 Apr Ray Leonard NV L12
[Lost WBC Middleweight Title]

04-20-2006, 11:21 AM
One of the greats of the Modern Era, total class.

Hagler's my favourite Middleweight ever, full stop.

I understand Hagler and Hearns get on quite well these days.

04-22-2006, 02:03 PM
On my fave list there is Duran, then there is Marvin, and then there is the rest.

04-22-2006, 03:49 PM
Viewing Hagler's fights today must be somewhat akin to what they say about wine getting better with the passage of time. I think he's finding his niche in retirement which I guess does not include aspirations to being a serious thespian.......

HE Grant
04-22-2006, 08:53 PM
Glad to hear Marvin's doing so well...he deserves it.

Ted Spoon
04-23-2006, 12:35 PM
Such a contrast is today's easy going Hagler to the man who displayed real resentment towards all his opponents -- during his career, Marvellous Marvin's state of mind was quite frightening. 'Destruct n' Destroy'.

As a champion and fighter, Hagler was (and I quote Mills Lane) "Complete".

He attended to business like a champion should; Never came in out of shape, always gave it everything. He was a smooth boxer, a brawling tough guy, and colder than a Eskimo's fridge, great.

With his ripped body, work ethic n' bald head, Hagler's unique appeal in the 1980's was magnetic, one that has given birth to legions of fans who have nothing but contempt for Ray Leonard to this very day.

While everything that Hagler did was done well, if taken out of his rhythm he fought in confused spurts. Minter, Hamsho and the like were good/game fighters, but fairly limited. Subject Marvin to a tough cat who could feint (Tony Zale, Marcel Cerdan, Emile Griffith) and a uncomfortable chess match would ensue.

04-24-2006, 10:18 AM
From my old stomps Boxingtalk.

Hagler was a beautifull boxer. Not that fans don't know this, but it isn't really spoken out loud much.

The first thing with Hagler has to be how he switches from southpaw to orthodox with simple ease in the middle of trench fighting as well as from the outside. Hagler throws crisp combinations form either side. His jab is great from either side and he knows when to throw his left or right straight or as a hook when ever the situation needs.

Marvelous' jab to me is one of the best I've ever seen. It found the range almost as soon as the fight started. It was hard enough to hurt you (Caveman Lee) or null your whole game plan (Mugabi).

Hagler out fought Duran in the inside. I always will think that Duran is the best in-fighter of all-time. Hagler nulled Duran's infighting attack with his blocking and combination on the inside. Yes Duran was old but, his skill were still very effective when he got going good.

Speaking of blocking punches, Hagler was a master of parrying shots and blocking. He didn't roll much or counter punch but when he did he did it effectively. Hagler slipped shots just as good as any middleweight I've ever seen.

If Hagler got you hurt he was going to finish the job or die trying. The man was in the best condition any champion of any weight class has ever seen and he used it to great effect in some of his best battles. Against Mugabi he threw a tremedous amount of shots. Once he got John hurt he plowed through John until he finished him.

Hagler didn't fight with much flash, and didn't act like he was more than just a regular guy. Hagler was blue collar and he was very efficent. On the list of great technicians Hagler's name is worth mentioning.

04-24-2006, 10:40 AM
Marvin was a great courageous warrior.A tough as nails guy whom I wish had gotten ahold of Leonard 2 years before he did.Best chin I ever saw in boxing.Great conditioning.My favorite middleweight.

04-24-2006, 01:35 PM
[I]The first thing with Hagler has to be how he switches from southpaw to orthodox with simple ease in the middle of trench fighting as well as from the outside.

Can anybody name a fighter who could do this better than Hagler?

Thor DK
04-24-2006, 10:22 PM
Just curious, does anyone know, whether Hagler is right- or lefthanded? Since he fought mostly southpaw, I would guess, that he's lefthanded. On the other hand (so to speak) I have a picture of him from one of his movies, where he's holding a gun in his right hand, which might indicate, that he's righthanded?

04-24-2006, 10:29 PM
I heard some where, just can't remember where that he is righthanded.
It must have been on t.v. during one of his fights.

Frank B.

04-25-2006, 02:06 AM
Shifting leftie to rightie . . . how about Pacquiao? PeteLeo.

Roberto Aqui
04-25-2006, 04:26 AM
Can anybody name a fighter who could do this better than Hagler?

I believe George Dixon used to do this as well as well as Midget Wolgast. I've noticed that maybe more of today's fighters switch stances as the fighters become more independent from trainers, but have no way of verifying that.

Thor DK
04-25-2006, 07:28 PM
If more fighters switch stance today, and I get that impression too, perhaps it's an influence from martial arts. If you watch taekwondo, they switch stance constantly.

About Hagler, if he's indeed righthanded, isn't that very unusual, a righthander fighting southpaw? I think, I've seen Joe Frazier and Gerry Cooney mentioned as lefthanders, who fought in the 'normal' stance, but the other way around I can't think of anyone. Perhaps Michael Moorer?

04-25-2006, 07:32 PM
Thor DK
I think you are right about Michael Moorer been righthanded.

Frank B.

04-25-2006, 07:56 PM
He fought in a stance that I have referred to by those who practice Martial Arts as "power side forward".

In essence, have your most powerful punch closer to your opponent, rhather than bring it accross your body.

Persoanlly I think this tends to retard a fighter's developement in becoming a successful two handed fighter.

As for who shifted back and forth between southpaw and orthodox as seemlessly and effectively as Hagler, I personally haven't seen anyone.


04-26-2006, 06:25 AM
What are the best or most notable fights to collect or Marvelous Marv before his 1st title fight with Antuefermo...?

04-26-2006, 01:42 PM
What are the best or most notable fights to collect or Marvelous Marv before his 1st title fight with Antuefermo...?

I've been told that there are very few pre- Vito Antuofermo 1 Hagler fights available maybe about 8 or so which is very fustrating to say the least.

I have his fights against Bennie Briscoe & Eugene Hart which are both worth getting.

I was told that there are only 26 Hagler fights in circulation

04-26-2006, 02:11 PM
Switching to an orthodox stance wasn't so seamless against Leonard. Marvin blew the first 4 rounds & the fight because of the switch. I truly admire Hagler but why he did that I'll never understand.


04-26-2006, 02:18 PM
And fighting orthodox wasn't necessarily the best tactic for not only THAT bout, but others as well.

That said, Hagler's ability to seemlessly switch between the two stances and fight effectively (agianst an opponent that it makes sense to do so), is unmatched in my eyes.


04-26-2006, 07:45 PM
About Hagler, if he's indeed righthanded, isn't that very unusual, a righthander fighting southpaw?

Not really. Today, former lightweight champs Stevie Johnston and Paul Spadafora both fit that bill. I fight this way myself.

Thor DK
04-26-2006, 08:40 PM
Not really. Today, former lightweight champs Stevie Johnston and Paul Spadafora both fit that bill. I fight this way myself.

That's interesting. Did this feel natural to you from the beginning, or is it something, you have consciously worked on?

I use a heavybag myself, just for excercise. I'm righthanded, and when I try the southpaw stance it feels very awkward, not at all natural to me. Especially the left hand becomes useless, whereas in the normal stance the left hook is my favourite punch.

04-28-2006, 02:06 AM
To me, when you say "switching" - That excludes the Leonard fight because Marvin came out in orthodox, not in southpaw and then adopting orthodox. The fact is when he switched in the Leonard fight was when he started to win, so the Leonard fight kinda is an example of effective switching.

Where Marvin blows me away from the switch is the way he does it, it's not just changing feet over walking in - box til in close and either from the clinch or on the break, stepping out and into orthodox and changing it - THAT for me made his switching so effective and why he seems so much better at it than any other fighter.

I believe De La Hoya is a natural lefty who boxes in orthodox.

08-13-2008, 01:11 PM
Does anyone know the true story about the street fight between Marvin Hagler and fellow professional Don Wigfall?

One version I read (can't remember where) was that it happened when both were novice fighters, outside a house where there was a big party taking place and that Wigfall dropped Hagler by smashing a beer bottle over his head. Hagler had to roll under a nearby parked car to protect himself from a beating.

The other version I have just read (The Four Kings by George Kimball) claimed this fight happened when Hagler was 16, before he had ever stepped into a Boxing gym. In this slightly different story the 'feared' street tough Wigfall bumped into Hagler at a party and 'beat the crap' out of Hagler and then stole the coat off his back.

Within a few days Hagler was looking around the local Boxing gyms...... the rest is history.

08-17-2008, 11:43 AM
I believe Hagler knocked Wigfall out in a pro fight in the mid 70's. If the story about Wigfall beating him in a street fight are true, a win over Wigfall in the ring had to be sweet revenge.

Juan C Ayllon
08-17-2008, 03:18 PM
Somewhere years ago, I read an interview where Hagler said that Wigfall cold-cocked him as he was taking off his coat to fight, and then he rolled under a car to avoid the follow-up. Then, when they fought in the ring sometime later, Hagler punished him. Every time he had Wigfall on the cusp of a knockout, he'd ease up to prolong the beating.

That's what I read, anyway. I cannot give you a source.

08-17-2008, 03:51 PM

08-18-2008, 09:31 AM
Hagler - Wigfall II


08-24-2008, 12:43 PM

Many thanks for posting those clippings.

Juan C Ayllon
08-25-2008, 10:28 AM

1994 Seville Spain.

I was at a cocktail party and Hagler came up behind me and grabbed me in a bear hug.
We had known each from the past and before he had gone to Brockton Mass, he had lived in Newark as a kid and I spent a lot of my youth there boxing and training in a Newark gym. As he grabbed me, he said, "What's a kid from Newark doing over here?" I turned around and busted up laughing I was so surprised to see it was Marv. He was the absolute greatest. We both got there early and he answered all my questions about his methods of training and he was very interested in the time I spent with Carter and Tiger and how they prepared for fights. I told him "I can still tell that no matter how nice you are, you are still that tough kid from Newark." He laughed a deep genuine laugh and told me that I was right. He always stayed in shape between fights and was very smart about dieting and conditoning.