Marvelous Marvin Hagler, the undisputed champion who shook boxing to its boots

'Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler is what he changed his name to which provided perfect alliteration as well as a great description of the ring icon.

But, in truth, there were so many adjectives that could be used to describe one of the greatest middleweights of all time.

Fearsome and ferocious are two of the many others which convey the brilliance of the man who heard the final bell this weekend.

'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler has died at the age of 66.

He loved the ring moniker so much and it angered him that sometimes it would be ignored so he legally changed his name to ensure broadcasters and media had to use it.

Hagler, born in a Newark ghetto in 1954 but hailing from Brockton, Massachusetts, reigned as world middleweight champion from 1980 until 1987.

But the record books simply don't tell the whole story of the fighter who electrified the sport throughout the decade.

When the news emerged late on Saturday night, the boxing world was shook to its boots.

And shaking people to their boots was what Hagler made a career out of.

So many fighters could only wish they had a back hand as strong as the lead right of the southpaw Hagler.

A right-handed southpaw, that jab was a weapon many didn't want to go near.

“You have three strikes against you, "You're black, you're a southpaw, and you're good,” was what Joe Frazier once famously told Hagler.

But he couldn't be kept out forever even if his first shot at world honours came when he had already amassed a record of 46 wins, two defeats and a draw.

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    Alan Minter was sliced open by the brutal hands of Hagler in a bout that last just seven minutes and 45 seconds at Wembley Arena in 1980.

    Some of the boozed-up crowd caused a riot and forced Hagler's celebrations to be cut short as he needed a police escort out of the venue as beer cans and bottles rained down on him.

    As the decade wore on and Hagler's greatness became apparent, surely those who threw missiles will have felt shame.

    They got to witness a master yet acted like thugs towards him. They will regret it forever.

    “I must have been the only champion that never got to show off their belt because they were throwing stuff at me,” Hagler said later on.

    His next seven defences would result in knockout victories including a fourth-round stoppage of Antuofermo.

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    Still, Hagler craved the big names to become a big attraction and to get the big money his talents deserved.

    Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard lingered but his first mega fight would come against Roberto Duran.

    Hands of Stone would take him the distance in a tight fight that never really caught fire like many hoped it would.

    But in 1985, Hagler would get the moment he deserved.

    The Fight turned into The War and a legend was enshrined in boxing folklore.

    All it took was seven minutes and 52 seconds.

    Hagler knocked out Hearns in one of the best and most brutal bouts in boxing history. It will never be forgotten. Nor should it.

    Well-known for his own power, Hagler could also take a shot. Even in his latter years in the sport.

    Just look at the right uppercut John Mugabi caught him with in the sixth round of their 1986 clash.

    The Ugandan had knocked out his previous 25 opponents. Hagler barely took a step backwards.

    “You better hit me with the ring post because I'm not going anywhere,” he said.

    The curtain on his career would come down in 1987 and in controversy.

    Finally the super fight with Leonard but an outcome that left everyone but those in Sugar Ray's camp dissatisfied.

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    But the split-decision in Leonard's favour meant Hagler lost his middleweight crown and would never step in the ring again.

    It would be the third defeat of his career to go alongside his 62 wins (52 by knockout) and two draws.

    After boxing, he starred in several successful movies but none of them lived up to the action he delivered in the ring.

    He had five children, Charelle, Celeste, James, Marvin Jr, and Gentry with his first wife Bertha before he married Kay in 2000 and spent his later years living between Italy and Brockton.

    “I had to fight hard in life and in the ring,” he said in 2015.

    “Every time there was a challenge, I had to prove to myself I could do it.

    “I promised my grandfather that one day the world would know his name and that it would be remembered forever.”

    'Marvelous' Marvin Hagler certainly kept that promise.

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