Marvin Hagler remains one of the most iconic fighters in boxing history. Hagler dominated the ring for many years that featured several memorable matches in his Hall of Fame career. However, he experienced much difficulty moving past his crushing loss to Sugar Ray Leonard, which turned out to be his final professional bout.
Marvin Hagler’s illustrious boxing career
Marvin Hagler strung together a stellar boxing career that earned him recognition as one of the greatest fighters in the sports’ history.
Hagler had many memorable fights throughout his career, highlighted by dominating the likes of Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran. He fought 67 matches in 14 years with 52 knockouts, including 12 straight successful undisputed middleweight title defenses.
The southpaw put on an incredible display against Hearns that featured one of the most thrilling rounds in boxing history. Hagler dismantled him in three rounds that further built up his prestige in the ring.
However, his final professional fight remained a sticking point for him as he chose not to get back into the ring again after the crushing loss to Sugar Ray Leonard. The defeat was much more than only the third such result in his Hall of Fame career.
Marvin Hagler spiraled into depression after crushing loss to Sugar Ray Leonard
Marvin Hagler had many memorable matches throughout his career with high-profile fighters.
However, his first and only bout against Sugar Ray Leonard, which turned out to be the final fight of his career had plenty of chatter. The match met the billing with plenty of intense moments from each fighter.
It marked Leonard’s return to the ring after three years away from the craft. The two boxers went toe to toe, which there remains the belief that Hagler well performed enough to edge out a win. However, Leonard earned a split decision victory that sparked controversy.
In the months following the match, Hagler struggled with the loss as his manager Pat Petronelli said it “shattered his life.”
“I’ve told him he has a long way to go in life, and we want to see him happy,” said Petronelli via The Washington Post. “He’s been a great champion. He hasn’t been a phony — he always fought. We love the guy. We hate to see him not handling the situation…He got moody. He got depressed. He couldn’t deal with it. Some people can deal with it, and others can’t.
“I had a feeling he was going to take it bad, but not this bad.”
Personal issues came about as he had marital problems and reports linking him to alcohol and drug abuse. However, Hagler denied any substance abuse.
Hagler needed time to move on from the fight that left a lasting effect on his life and mentality. He preserved, but there was a rough stretch that he had to work through mentally to finally move forward.
Legacy remains forever intact
Despite these personal struggles with the crushing loss to Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler’s legacy remains strong.
His passing over the weekend has brought forth many fond memories regarding his boxing career. During his time in the ring, Hagler was one of the best in the business as marquee showman in the squared circle.
His dominance helped place him in the conversation of one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing history. Hagler’s legacy has only grown stronger since his last fight and even more so following his death.