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The 13th Round... Remembering Marvelous Marvin Hagler (and Nicky The Vest)

I tend to do a fair amount of boxing coverage... And in the wake of not having the Barstool Breakfast brand to throw all that content into, I am trying to group it into something called "The 13th Round".

Having some logo artwork done up now.

So far, I have this...

And this…

Whichever one I use, this new brand will (hopefully) house all my boxing shit going forward… Including this blog.

Just over a month ago, I wrote a blog eulogizing the dentally challenged Leon Spinks.

Bettmann. Getty Images.

After I was done, I tried to imagine which boxer from my youth would be the next to go, and as I ran down that list of names (most of them out-of-shape heavyweight like myself) I never even considered Marvin Hagler.

Hagler was fucking SCULPTED back in the day… Had what many considered the perfect body for a middleweight boxer

Hagler also got out of boxing before he started to break down… Something that so many other great fighters fail to do.

So when I was sitting at a bar Saturday night and my phone blew up with fellow fight fans telling me the bad news, I was equally shocked and saddened.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler, one of the greatest middleweights in boxing history, died Saturday at the age of 66.

Boxing expert Kevin Iole wrote yesterday that Hagler "was one of The Four Kings of the 1980s"… A term I never heard before but a term that summed up perfectly what Marvelous was, alongside Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, and Tommy Hearns.

Those four guys along with a handful of heavyweights like Holmes and Cooney were the reason I got into boxing, but I have always felt Hagler was the best in the bunch.

Others will argue it was Sugar Ray, very few will argue it was Hearns, and only people from Panama will say it was Duran.

I'll give you some bullets on Hagler, just so you have some perspective on a boxing icon…

- The future Southpaw was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1954, but his mother moved the family to Brockton, Mass (the hometown of Rocky Marciano) after the 1967 Newark Riots where 26 people were killed.

- Early in his career, he rarely fought outside of Massachusetts and didn't get his first real shot at a strap until 1979, when a 47-2-1 Hagler fought undisputed World Middleweight Champion Vito Antuofermo… That fight ended in a DRAW although many thought Hagler had won.

- In March of 1980, in his first fight after the Hagler DRAW, Antuofermo lost his belts to a Brit named Alan Minter.  Vito got a rematch against Minter later that year but lost again.

- Vito, later on, got a bit part in both the Sopranos and in Godfather III.

Denise Truscello. Getty Images.

- At the end of 1980, Hagler flew to England for his second title shot… This time against Minter… And he beat the balls off of the Brit in his own backyard.  So much so, Hagler’s hand was never raised in victory because disgusted English spectators showered the ring with bottles when the fight was stopped in the third round and their boy lost.

Giphy Images.

Fucking hooligans.

- Marvin successfully defended that title 12 times between 1980 and 1987, beating real names like Antuofermo (in a rematch), Roberto Duran, John "The Beast" Mugabi (who is listed #38 on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time), and Thomas Hearns (in the greatest 8-minute fight you ever saw).

AP. Shutterstock Images.

- And it was during that stretch… In 1982… Marvin was so upset that he wasn't introduced before a fight by his nickname that he went to court and had his name legally changed to Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

- In 1987, Hagler lost a controversial split-decision versus Sugar Ray Leonard, who was coming off a three-year layoff from a detached retina.  Many people are reporting that Hagler was so disgusted by the decision, that he left the ring in disgust and vowed to never fight again… That is just not true.

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

- Hagler requested a rematch but Leonard chose to retire again (the third of five high-profile retirements announced by pretty-boy Leonard during his career).  Fourteen months after their fight, Hagler retired from boxing in June 1988, declaring that he was "tired of waiting" for Leonard. 

- 32-year-old Marvelous Marvin Hagler never fought again.

- All told, he fought professionally for 14 years finishing with a record of 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts… He himself was never knocked out, and, as a matter of fact, he was only KNOCKED DOWN only once during his entire professional career… And that scored knockdown (against Juan Roldán in 1984) is still being disputed because it was actually a slip.

- In 1989, he moved to Italy to act and eventually “starred” in 4 movies… And they were all fucking AWFUL.

Then Saturday night happened.

Predictably, there is a COVID angle to this tragic news… Tommy Hearns shared with his followers on social media that Hagler was "fighting the after-effects of the vaccine" just hours before the news hit that Marvelous passed away.  The Hagler family has not made any comment about COVD-19 nor the vaccine, so the true cause of death remains to be seen, I guess.

But whatever the reason, we lost a great one this weekend… Rest in peace, Marvelous.

Bob Riha Jr. Getty Images.

Take a report.

-Large


Man, it sucks getting old. 

As I was writing this blog about a dead icon, I was hit with the news about another (albeit less iconic) name from my past…

The bartender at Rao's, Nicky The Vest, also passed away this weekend… Condolences to the Vest's family.

Giphy Images.

(I searched for a "Nicky The Vest" GIF, and this popped up… It's not him.)

TAR

-L


Here's Hagler vs Hearns… It's got everything you need in 8 minutes of boxing.

It's pretty grainy because so was the rest of the 80s but enjoy.