From Marciano to Hagler, the Bell Rings in Brockton, "City of Champions"

Brockton is the sixth-largest city in Massachusetts (pop. 95,678). Originally, it was a city made up of mostly Irish and Italian immigrants, but since 1980, the city has become the home to immigrants from Haiti, Cape Verde, and Latin America. As a kid growing up in Sharon in the 60s and 70s, Brockton appealed to me because it had a lot to offer. There was the Westgate Mall, Field's Park, the Brockton Fair, a downtown area with city blocks full of stores and restaurants, and it was known as the "City of Champions", home of undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano.

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Young Rocky Marciano working the heavy bag

Brockton became the self-proclaimed "City of Champions" sometime during Rocky Marciano's rise in the 1950s when he earned the nickname "The Brockton Blockbuster". Natick, Massachusetts had been known as the "Home of Champions" since 1891 for their victories in “The World’s Hook and Ladder Championships”, a competition that pitted teams of firefighters from cities in a contest of firefighting skills. In an effort to avoid confusion, a bill was passed on December 31, 2006, making Brockton the undisputed "City of Champions" in Massachusetts. 

Originally known as the "Red and Black", in 1970, a year after Rocky Marciano's death, Brockton High School changed its name to the "Boxers", a tribute to their hometown hero. The high school football and soccer stadiums were named for Marciano as well.

My mother regularly took me to Taymor Shoe on Montello Street in Brockton for footwear. Founded in 1911, at one time they stocked 300,000 pairs of shoes in more than 2,000 styles and widths. Before Brockton became the "City of Champions" it was known as "Shoe City". By 1919, there were 39 shoe manufacturers in the city with approximately 13,000 employees. The majority of the shoes produced were hand-sewn and of high quality. 

When consumers turned to cheaper, imported,  throwaway shoes, many manufacturers moved South for cheaper labor, and to the Midwest where leather supplies were closer. 

By 1964, there were only 10 Brockton shoe factories employing just 2,000 workers. Today, the once strong shoe industry in Brockton has been reduced to the manufacture of mainly shoe-related products.

In 1990, Taymor Shoe with its six locations including one in Rhode Island, was sold and by the mid-90s the full-service, name-brand chain struggled to compete with self-serve shoe stores selling imported shoes. There's no longer a Taymor shoe store in Brockton.

Sports Studio Photos. Getty Images.

In 1926 Stall & Dean produced the first football pants with removable pads and helmets with form-fitting leather crowns. 

Brockton was also the home of Stall & Dean, a sporting goods company that manufactured baseball and basketball uniforms beginning in 1899.  When the demand for their products grew they opened a second plant in Chicago (1902). After they introduced durable pre-shrunk woven wool  "Safeslide Flannels" in 1910, their advertisements boasted that they were the "largest producers of baseball uniforms in the world". In 1911, due to growth, their Brockton factory was moved from its Foundry Street location to a larger facility at 95 Church St. 

Stall & Dean has also been credited with designing and producing the first catcher's mitt. They patented "Special Oil Dressed" baseball gloves with a "pocket-forming orifice" designed to help retain the ball. They held patents for a hand-turned hickory baseball bat with an eight section rattan and ash handle under the trademark "Biffer" (big hitter) that was advertised as "possessing more driving power than any other bat with positively no jar or sting to the hand when the ball is struck". They got endorsements from Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson, Tris Speaker, Bill Carrigan, Jake Stahl, and Eddie Collins. 

They made punching bags, shin guards, footballs, and many other athletic goods for track and gymnasium use. In 1926 Stall & Dean produced the first football pants with removable pads and helmets with form-fitting leather crowns. 

But in 1932, amidst the great depression, they were forced to file bankruptcy and close their Chicago facility. Stall & Dean did not produce a catalog between 1934 and 1947. 

It was in the late 40s, through the use of modern fabrics and styling that business improved. They stopped producing baseball bats and football helmets but started focusing on hockey uniforms and equipment. 

Stall & Dean was the first American company to provide uniforms for the original six modern-day NHL teams (Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, New York, and Chicago). In their 1958 winter catalog, they proclaimed "More professional and amateur hockey players in the U.S. use Stall and Dean equipment than all other makes combined". They supplied the U.S. Olympic hockey teams with uniforms from 1960-1984. 


In the '70s Stall & Dean discontinued their football and basketball lines to focus on baseball, softball, and hockey goods. 

After 97 years and four generations of family leadership, Stall & Dean closed their doors in 1996. In 2013 the Brockton facility that once produced America's most innovative athletic goods was converted into modern apartments…

During the summer of 1972,  at the age of 16, I got my motorcycle permit which allowed me to find a better job. I got a job working for Carola Furniture on Montello Street in Brockton. I rode my 350 Yamaha there every morning from Sharon and parked it out front on the sidewalk, just under the large glass showroom windows. My responsibilities included rearranging furniture in the showroom, vacuuming the entire store using an old-school Hoover, and going on deliveries that were mostly in the city. I learned the secrets of moving heavy furniture without hurting myself. It was a great summer job.

Brockton is the city where heavy-weight boxing champion Rocky Marciano grew up, trained, and became the only heavy-weight boxer to retire undefeated, compiling a 49-0 record, with 43 by way of knockout. The city was overflowing with pride, a daily reminder that Brockton was the home of Rocky Marciano and the "City of Champions". 

Rocky was born Rocco Francis Marchegiano on September 1, 1923, but after a ring announcer had trouble pronouncing his last name, Rocky's trainer suggested the pseudo name "Marciano". It sounded Italian and it was easier to pronounce.

Rocky was raised on the south side of Brockton and dropped out of Brockton High School after the tenth grade. He worked as a chute man on delivery trucks for the Brockton Ice and Coal Company, then as a ditch digger, railroad layer, and shoemaker before he was drafted into the army in March of 1943. He was stationed in Wales and later won the 1946 Amateur Armed Forces boxing tournament before completing his service in March of '46 in Fort Lewis, Washington. 

After some amateur fights he competed in the Olympic trials at the Boston Garden, but during his first fight, which he won, he injured his hand he couldn't continue. He then attempted a baseball career, trying out with the Fayetteville Cubs, but he was a catcher who didn't have the best throw to second base and he was slow on the base paths. He was cut after three weeks.

He returned to Brockton where he began training with his long-time friend and next-door neighbor, and "one of Brockton's most beloved sons", Allie Colombo, who went on to train Marciano throughout his entire undefeated career. On July 12th, 1948, Rocky scored a TKO over Harry Bilazarian, and including a win in 1947, he won his first 16 professional fights by way of knockout. 

In his first big test on May 24, 1950, fighting at 185 pounds, Rocky (25-0) fought Roland LaStarza (37-0). Under the rules governing the fight, Rocky's knockdown of LaStarza in the 4th round didn't count as a point, and when Rocky landed one below the belt the referee took away the round. When the fight ended after ten rounds it was even. The referee's vote decided the fight in favor of Marciano, who had been the aggressor and harder puncher. In the rematch with LaStarza on September 24, 1953, Marciano won by TKO in the 11th.

Bettmann. Getty Images.


Looks like the right hook that dropped "Jersey Joe" in the 13th…

Marciano won the heavyweight title on September 23, 1952, at the age of 29, defeating 38-year-old Jersey Joe Walcott by knockout 43 seconds into the 13th round. It was a right hook that dropped the former champion who was ahead on all three scorecards (8-5, 7-5, 7-4). Rocky's next fight was on May 15, 1953, a rematch with "Jersey Joe" and he knocked him out at 2:25 of the first round.

Marciano's last fight was a title bout on September 21, 1955, against 38-year-old Archie Moore. Moore knocked Marciano down in the second round and Rocky rose to his feet after a four-count and then went on to knock Moore out at 1:19 of the ninth round, retaining his title and preserving his undefeated record.

Rocky officially retired on April 27, 1956, at the age of 32.

On August 31, 1969,  just one day before his 46th birthday, Rocky was on a small passenger plane heading to Des Moines, Iowa. Experiencing bad weather that night, the pilot attempted an emergency landing in a small airfield just outside of Newton, Iowa. The pilot only had 35 hours of night flying experience, and the plane hit a tree two miles short of the runway. No one survived the crash…

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

Marvin had the look early on…

Marvin Nathaniel Hagler was the oldest of six children. His father left when he was young and he was raised in Newark, New Jersey by his mother, Ida Mae Hagler, who Marvin later joked was "his toughest fight". After the Newark Riots destroyed their tenement in 1967, the Haglers relocated to Brockton. After losing a street fight, one he later avenged, Hagler went to the gym where brothers Pat and Goody Petronelli trained fighters. In order to start fighting in tournaments Marvin had to be 16, so he said his birthday was May 23, 1952, instead of 1954. Boxing Illustrated and Sports Illustrated list Hagler's amateur record as 52-2 with 43 KOs. He outpointed Marine Corps Champion Terry Dobbs of Atlanta, Georgia, to win the 1973 National AAU Middleweight Championship and was named the Most Outstanding Fighter of the 1973 National AAU Tournament. 

Contrary to the belief that a Lowell Sports writer first called Marvin "Marvelous Marvin Hagler", it was actually a Greater Fall River businessman known as “Low Price” Lenny Kaplan, who for four decades was the public address announcer at the old Lincoln Park Ballroom in Dartmouth where Marvin competed in the Southern New England Golden Gloves tournaments. Kaplan said he frequently gave young fighters nicknames when he introduced them and before one fight he introduced Marvin as "Marvelous Marvin Hagler". Kaplan's son Alan said that "after Hagler scored a 50-second knockout the name stuck". 

Paul Morrissette of Westport, who succeeded his late father, Joe Morrissette, as promoter of the Southern New England Golden Gloves said “I was with Marvin at a dinner for Goody and Pat (Petronelli) and Marvin said to me, ‘Hey, how’s that announcer who gave me the nickname?’”

Morrissette went on to say that in his last year competing in the Southern New England Golden Gloves (1973), just before he turned pro, Marvin told him, “I don’t have a nickel to my name, but I will be the world champion middleweight". 

In 1980 a story appearing in the Boston Globe, Hagler recalled his early days when the Petronelli's took him under their wings. “I didn’t trust anybody. I had a dollar in my pocket and I kept it to myself. Goody and Pat amazed me. We’d go out to lunch and they’d say ‘Keep your dollar. This is on us.’ I’d think they were going to take it out of my paycheck at the end of the week. But they didn’t. They said, ‘Marvin when you make it big you can pay us back.’ ’’


Boston Globe. Getty Images.

Pat and Goody Petronelli trained Marvin his entire career

Pat and Goody Petronelli treated their fighters like family. They made sure they had money in their pockets, food in their stomachs, and a roof over their heads. It's been said that Pat and Marvin were like father and son. Marvin worked for the Petronellis’ construction company while coming up through the amateur ranks. 

Petronelli's Gym was THE place to train in Brockton. Pat's son Tony was a Super Lightweight who finished his career with 47 professional fights with a record of 42-4-1, 22 by way of knockout. He became the NABF, United States, and New England Light-Welterweight Champion during his seven-year professional career (1972-79). In addition to Tony and Marvin, the Petronelli's also trained and managed Hagler’s half-brother, Robbie Sims, who won the USBA Middleweight Crown in 1986 and had an impressive 10 round split decision win over Roberto Duran the same year. He finished his career 38-10-2 with 26 knockouts. 

Other fighters who were trained in Brockton by the Petronelli's include Former New England Super Featherweight Champ Mike Cappiello, former Massachusetts Middleweight and Regional Super-Middleweight Champ Mike Culbert, former WBO Super Middleweight Champ Steve Collins, former New England Welterweight Champ Brian Powers, and heavyweight Kevin McBride, who ended Mike Tyson’s career in 2005 with a six-round TKO.

Hagler's first professional fight was in the Brockton High School Gymnasium on May 18, 1973, and Marvin didn't disappoint with a 2nd round KO of Terry Ryan. 

Marvin went on to win 17 straight,14 by way of knockout, including a 10 round unanimous decision win over 1972 Olympic Gold Medal winner Sugar Ray Seales who was 21-0 at the time. Their rematch on November 26, 1974, was declared a majority draw. (Hagler would avenge that draw with a TKO at 1:26 of the first round on February 3, 1979)

Hagler lost two fights in 1976, a 10 round Majority Decision to Bobby "Boogaloo" Watts and a 10 round Unanimous Decision to Willie "The Worm" Monroe. He avenged them both. In the first rematch with Monroe, Hagler won by TKO at 1:20 of the 12th and then in their third fight, Hagler made short work of it, winning by TKO at 1:46 of the 2nd round. In his rematch on April 19, 1980, with Watts, Hagler won by TKO in two rounds.

The Ring Magazine. Getty Images.


Marvin lands a right hand on Antuofermo's chin in his first world title fight in 1979 at Caesars Palace 

In 1979, after winning three in a row by way of knockout, with 49 professional fights (46-2-1), Hagler got his first world title fight, challenging Vito Antuofermo for the WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles on November 30th. At the end of 15 rounds, it was declared a "Split Draw" and Antuofermo retained his title. Most ringside observers had Hagler winning the fight. According to Marvin he "definitely won that fight" and they gave the reigning champ the "benefit of the doubt". 

After Antuofermo lost his title to Alan Minter in a 15 round split decision on March 16, 1980, at Caesar's Palace, he demanded an immediate rematch.  Antuofermo lost to Minter again on June 28, 1980, in Wembley Arena on a Referee Technical Decision (RTD) in the 8th round.

This set Marvin up for a title fight with Minter. Marvin traveled to London where there were reports of racial slurs and taunting aimed at Marvin prior to the fight, some of it credited to Minter, though he denied it. By the third round, Hagler had already administered a brutal beating and there were deep cuts over both of Minter's eyes, and at 1:35 of the round, it was declared a TKO. Marvin became the WBA, WBC, and The Ring Middleweight Champion. The angry crowd of 10,000 started throwing cans and other debris in the ring aimed at Hagler and he was lucky he didn't get hurt. He was hurried out of the arena by police and never got the chance to hold the championship belt up in the ring, something that bothered him his entire life. Marvin never fought in Wembley Arena again…

In 1982, Marvin was upset he wasn't being introduced as "Marvelous Marvin Hagler" so he had his name legally changed and when he did, he had to use his actual birthday, 5/23/1954. He was two years younger than anybody thought, not good news for his would-be challengers.

Sugar Ray Leonard successfully defended his WBA, WBC, and The Ring welterweight titles on February 15, 1982, against WBC 4th ranked  Bruce Finch, and while training for his next fight with Roger Stafford on May 14th, Leonard started to see floaters. He went to a doctor and discovered that he had a detached retina. The fight was canceled, and Leonard had surgery to repair the retina on May 9, 1982.

Then on November 9, 1982, Leonard invited Marvin Hagler and other boxing dignitaries to a charity event in Baltimore to hear him announce whether or not he would continue fighting. Standing inside a boxing ring with master of ceremonies Howard Cosell, Leonard announced his eye had fully healed but was retiring and that a fight with Hagler would never happen. Hagler left the event in a hurry, feeling Leonard had used him to publicize the event.

In December of 1983, Leonard announced he was coming out of retirement, and after a couple of 10 round fights he planned to fight top contenders McCrory, Curry, Duran, Hearns, and then Hagler.

Leonard had his first 10 rounder against Kevin Howard (20-4-1) in Worcester, MA on May 11, 1984. Howard dropped Leonard in the 4th round, the first time Leonard was knocked down in his professional career. Leonard beat the 10 count and won the fight by TKO at 2:27 of the 9th, but many in attendance thought the referee stopped the fight prematurely to protect Leonard. In his post-fight interview, Leonard announced his 2nd retirement, admitting he was no longer the fighter he once was.

It was certainly a "Golden Age of Boxing" and Marvin was willing to take on all comers. He knew to be the best you have to beat the best, and he was determined to prove it in the ring.


Best Round 1 in boxing history! No "paddy cake" punches or "empty flurries" in this one…

Marvin's next twelve fights were all title defenses and against some of the best middleweights in the world. Vito "The Mosquito" Antuofermo (RTD at 3:00 of the 4th), Mustafa "The Syrian Slugger" Hamsho twice (TKOs at 2:09 of the 11th and then in the rematch at 2:31 of the 3rd), Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran (Marvin won the final two rounds and got a 15 round Unanimous Decision), Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns (TKO at 1:52 of the 3rd) which Marvin said was the "highlight" of his career, and John "The Beast" Mugabi (KO at 1:29 of the 11th).  

Here's how it ended…

When I was in my late 20s and took a job working for UPS out of Brockton, the "City of Champions" was alive and well with a new pugilist, "Marvelous Marvin Hagler", pumping the city full of pride through the 70s and 80s  just as Rocky Marciano had done in the 40s and 50s. Marciano retired two months before I was born and I never saw him fight live, but I did get to see Hagler's fights live on TV and I became a huge fan. Hagler had a lot of the same traits that made Marciano popular; he was strong, courageous, determined, and people-friendly, but a prizefighter needs to be fearless, and they both epitomized that, in and out of the ring.

My friend David Delea met Marvin during a Pro-Am Tournament at Thorny Lea Golf Club in Brockton (1978) 

It was after sitting ringside at Hagler-Mugabi, that Ray Leonard saw something that made him believe he could come out of retirement, again, and beat Marvin. Since moving to the United States from Uganda, John "The Beast" Mugabi was 25-0, 24 coming by knockout. He was a legitimate knockout artist and for most of the fight he out-boxed Marvin, hitting him at will, and it appeared to Leonard that Marvin had slowed considerably. Or, maybe the Mugabi 11 round battle was such a physically demanding fight for Marvin, one that came 11 months after the Hearns 3 round punch fest, Leonard thought he could catch Marvin when he was all punched-out…


Mugabi was a "Beast" and Round 6 was brutal…

The Hagler-Leonard fight almost didn't happen. When negotiations began late summer 1986, Hagler had already contemplated retirement. But Marvin had a change of heart and the fight was set for April 6, 1987, outdoors at Caesars Palace, and was billed as the "Super Fight". There was a lot of excitement, especially in Brockton where Marvin was highly visible. He was seen all over the city, gladly signing autographs, taking pictures with fans, and most of all, instilling a great deal of pride in a city that had grown accustomed to it during Marciano's reign as heavyweight champion. Marvin "carried the torch" and there was no one more capable of doing it, especially in a city that was experiencing a change in demographics. 

I watched the fight at a friend's house in Brockton, with a room full of fight fans from Brockton. The fight became the most-ordered boxing pay-per-view at the time, with an estimated 150,000 paying customers.  Everyone was amped up to watch 33-year-old Marvelous Marvin Hagler finally square off with 31-year-old Sugar Ray Leonard and go toe-to-toe. 

Leonard was coming off a three-year retirement and only fought once in five years. During those five years, Marvin won eight title fights, seven coming by knockout. Hagler had been the Undisputed Middleweight Champion for 6 1/2 years, the only thing left on his to-do list was Ray Leonard. 

After winning a gold medal in the 1976 Olympics as a light welterweight, Leonard seemed to get more publicity, better opportunities and had a quicker rise to wealth and fame than Marvin. Marvin thought Leonard stole Ali's style and Sugar Ray Robinson's name, and that Leonard had been ducking him. “He is a phony,” Hagler told The New York Times in 1987. “He’s been protected all his life. Besides, if he hadn’t become a boxer, he could have done other things. Me? I had nowhere else to go.” There was no love lost between the two fighters.

Coming into the fight Hagler had 52 knockouts and with his granite chin, he had never been knocked out. Leonard had 24 knockouts and he had only one loss, a unanimous decision to Roberto Duran on June 20, 1980. Beyond his flashy showmanship and incredible boxing skills, Leonard was given little credit for having a killer instinct, which he definitely had. But, could he handle the constant pressure of an aggressive opponent and big puncher like Hagler?

Leonard was very demanding in wanting a 22' ring and not the standard 20', 10-ounce gloves rather than 8, and a 12 round fight instead of a 15. Hagler agreed to the terms which all seemed to favor Leonard, and in accepting those terms, the reigning champ received a larger purse. Marvin's only want was to remove the British Judge he thought might not score the fight fairly because of the events surrounding the Minter title fight in Wembley. 

When they entered the ring, Leonard looked muscled up and ready for the fight. He had some fights in the gym behind closed doors to shake off any ring rust and even had a spy in the Hagler camp to help with strategies. Hagler looked like he was chiseled from stone, wearing an expression that matched. 

"Styles make fights" and the two fighters couldn't have been more different. I always believed Hagler was expected to knock out Leonard and that anything short of that would mean he was unsuccessful. If it was a boxing match and not a slugfest, Leonard had more finesse, knew how to play to the crowd and the judges, and whether he actually punched harder wouldn't matter, he would still have a good chance of winning a decision, especially in Caesars Palace where prizefighting was all about celebrity, glitter, and gambling.

Hagler came out orthodox in Round 1 in an attempt to catch Leonard off guard, but Leonard dominated the round with jabs and movement. By the end of the round, Hagler returned to Southpaw and had an easier time landing, but the round belonged to Leonard. (10-9)

Hagler came out orthodox again in Round 2 and Leonard used the whole  22' ring and threw jabs to set up right hands. Hagler threw some hard body shots, but it was Leonard's round. (10-9) 

The Petronelli's persuaded Marvin to fight southpaw in Round 3 and his leaping jab was landing and setting up his damaging left hand. Leonard threw some big right hands off the clinches, but it wasn't enough. Hagler (10-9) 

In Round 4 Hagler closed the distance and started doing damage inside with left hooks and uppercuts. Leonard spun out of trouble and it was his slick defense that prevented Marvin from landing more shots. Leonard wound up and landed a low bolo punch that infuriated Hagler and there was one more low blow in the round, but no point deductions. Leonard wanted Hagler pissed off so he would chase and make it easier for him to counterpunch. Hagler continued to work Leonard's body with tight uppercuts and hooks to the body. Hagler threw the harder more damaging punches. Hagler. (10-9)    


Round 5 was a jab-fest with both fighters landing. Hagler effectively switched between Orthodox and Southpaw and hit Leonard with some big shots, almost taking him out with a big uppercut. Leonard had to lay on the ropes at the end of the round, cover his body and move his head to keep from getting knocked out. Big round for Hagler. (10-9)

In Round 6 Leonard's trainer Angelo Dundee instructed Leonard to "Stay off the ropes" and Leonard began using the whole ring, setting up combinations with double and triple jabs, following them with crosses and uppercuts that had bad intension. With Leonard's slick head movement Hagler missed often. Big round for Leonard. (10-9)

In Round 7 Hagler's corner realized that Leonard's head movement made it difficult to land headshots, so Hagler worked his jab and threw hard body shots forcing Leonard to clinch and hold. With 30 seconds left in the round, Leonard threw several combinations in an attempt to steal the round, but Marvin landed some hard body shots inside and then one devastating uppercut to end the round. Leonard raised both arms when the bell rang but it was all Hagler. (10-9)

In Round 8 Hagler's output dropped, but he continued to land some hard body shots and Leonard was very effective with counter right hands, but he looked tired as well. Even round. (10-10)

In Round 9 Hagler took it Leonard, body and head. At one point he had Leonard pinned up against the ropes and just pounded Leonard's body relentlessly. Leonard was exhausted, but he covered and moved his head enough to stay upright. Leonard put together a 13 punch flurry that had Hagler moving back and then another 9 punch combination, but then Hagler pressed him up against the ropes again, throwing two devastating hooks to his body. Hagler. (10-9)

In Round 10 Hagler abandoned his jab that had been so effective setting up his power punches and thinking he could knock Leonard out, began throwing lead punches that were wide and missing their mark. Meanwhile, Leonard continued jabbing to set up hard combinations and using a double hook, first to the body and then to the head and was the more effective puncher. At the end of the round, Leonard threw a big right hand with bad intention but missed wildly, and Hagler countered off that miss with a wild right hand of his own, which also missed. Leonard. (10-9)

In Round 11 Hagler came out punching. He flurried and then went inside with hard body shots. Leonard picked his spots, and although he didn't match Hagler's output, he was landing combinations and moving away, an effective hit 'n run strategy. He had won over the crowd with his amazing hand speed, and even though a lot of the punches missed or were blocked, it didn't seem to matter, the Palace crowd loved it and began chanting his name. Leonard's showmanship and empty flurries at the end of the round may have won over the Palace crowd, but the round was Hagler's. (10-9)


Final round of Hagler's career. He went out punching.

Leonard stood in his corner, arms raised before the bell for Round 12 signaling to the crowd and the judges that he believed he had already won the fight. Hagler came out of his corner ready to fight, but after he had Leonard cornered and started to land, Leonard ducked out of the corner, danced away, and started circling the 22' ring, unwilling to exchange punches. Leonard did the Ali shuffle, raised his right-hand signaling he was confident he had won, while Hagler chased him down. While a very tired Leonard clinched, Hagler continued pounding him to the body. When Leonard's corner yelled out "30 seconds" he responded by digging deep and throwing one more combination before stepping away and dancing around the ring. Hagler chased him down again and pinned him against the ropes and after two uppercuts, Hagler threw a big left cross that buckled Leonard's knees and as he stumbled, Hagler doubled up the punch. Had there been 30 seconds left it may have ended before the final bell. But Leonard remained upright and after throwing and missing with a wild left, Hagler moved in and threw two hard straight lefts to Leonard's body just before the bell rang ending the fight. It was a big round for Hagler, who came very close to knocking Leonard out. Hagler. (10-9)

I scored the fight 115-114, for Hagler. I really can't see it any other way. High praise to Leonard and Dundee for their fight plan, but the Petronelli's prepared Marvin well and although he didn't knock Leonard out, he was the more effective power puncher and had him in trouble several times. Forget CompuBox stats which had Leonard 306-629 and Hagler 291-792. If you watch Atorias Boxings' slow-motion video they carefully dissect every punch, and they don't count slaps, misses, low blows, paddy cake punches, or empty flurries, only real punches that land. They had Hagler landing 198 punches to 163 for Leonard. That's the fight that I watched and I had Hagler winning 6 rounds with one even (8th).

Atorias Boxings Slo-Mo video is the most accurate in tallying punch stat numbers (forget CompuBox)

Of the three judges scoring the fight, Lou Fillipo had it 115-113 for Hagler, JoJo Guerra had it 118-110 for Leonard, and Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for Leonard. Guerra's 118-110 was not even close. And the Judge from England who Hagler dismissed? He scored the fight at home for Hagler. 

Later, Hagler said that because he had dominated the middleweight division for so long, those in power wanted him out. He also said that 15 round fights "separate the men from the boys" and that only the best-conditioned fighters can go that distance. A15 round fight would have favored Hagler. Hagler ended up earning in the vicinity of $20 million for the fight, about half of his total career earnings. Leonard made around $12 million.

Hagler wanted an immediate rematch like he gave so many fighters he beat, but Leonard didn't. Fourteen months after the "Super Fight", in June of '88, Hagler retired from boxing, declaring that he was "tired of waiting" for Leonard to grant him a rematch. 

It was at a tribute honoring fighters who fought at Caesars Palace, that Leonard coaxed Bob Arum into approaching Marvin about a rematch. Arum recalls, “So of course, I did. I went over and said, ‘Marvin, I’ve been talking to Ray, and Ray said you’ve gotta do the rematch, there’s a fortune to be made.’ And Marvin looked at me in that cold way he could look at somebody, and he says, ‘Bob, tell Ray to get a life.’ And that was the end, and I knew from that point on there would be no rematch.”


In 2014, Hagler told Ring Magazine, "After I had nothing to prove to myself, it was the best thing to walk away."

Shortly after Marvin walked away from boxing, in 1990 he divorced his first wife Bertha who was the mother of his five children, and left Brockton and the U.S. for a career as an actor in Italy. He had the lead role in the movie Indio and Indio II.

Not exactly De Niro, but pretty good…

In 1993Hagler was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and in 2015 the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame

Marvelous Marvin Hagler had a lot of memorable moments in the ring and he'll always be remembered as one of the famed "Four Kings" of the 1980s -- a celebrated group of Hall of Fame middleweights that included Tommy Hearns, Ray Leonard, and Roberto Duran.

Marvin spent the last 31 years of his life married to Kay G. Hagler who announced Marvin's passing on March 13, 2021, at the age of 66. “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.”. She explained that she was the only person around her husband when he died and denied it was caused by the vaccine. "For sure wasn't the vaccine that caused his death." 

Marvelous Marvin Hagler accomplished his goal of becoming Middleweight Champion of the World, a title he held for 6 1/2 years. In order to get the title, he worked hard to prove himself, earning the respect of his opponents and boxing fans everywhere. Marvin came to a city heavily steeped in boxing tradition and named for undefeated Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano and went on to become a boxing legend and an important part of Brockton's famed boxing history.

There's only one gym in Brockton currently dedicated to the sweet science, Cappiello Boxing Gym located at 162 Main Street. Brothers Rich and Mike Cappiello, cousins of Rocky Marciano, opened the gym in 1995 in memory of Rocky. Although the tradition of boxing in Brockton is not what it once was, the Cappiello brothers are keeping it alive by continuing to train young fighters who have dreams of becoming champions. I can't think of a better place to do it than in Brockton, Massachusetts, the undisputed "City of Champions".  

R.I.P. Marvelous Marvin Hagler