BOSTON – There are few family names in boxing, especially in New England, as universally revered as Hagler and Roach.
They are part of boxing royalty.
There is a new connection as James Hagler, Jr., the grandson of the late Hall of Famer Marvelous Marvin Hagler, has signed an exclusive managerial contract with Fighter Locker, owned and operated by the nephew of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Boston-based Ryan Roach.
The plan is for Roach to have Hagler fight in Massachusetts, ideally in Brockton, the City of Champions in which Hagler as well as another Hall of Famer, Rocky Marciano, fought out of during their professional careers.
“I was looking for a manager and read about Ryan,” Hagler said. “I looked him up online, talked with him, and met him last weekend for the first time. He is not a greedy person. By far, he offered me the best deal I have ever received. He really wants to help me. Ryan’s a cool dude. I feel good about signing with him.
“Fighting someday in Brockton and Boston means a lot to me, because of my grandfather’s background, and that’s one of the reasons I signed with Ryan. My mother and father are from that area, and I still have a lot of family living on both sides living there. I’ll be the third member of the Hagler family to fight in New England, joining my grandfather and uncle (Robbie Simms).”
Hagler and Roach.jpg
(L-R) – Ryan Roach & James Hagler, Jr.
“I’m excited to be managing James,” Roach commented. “Right away, I was interested in a fighter with the Hagler name. I spoke with James and he’s good kid who is all in. He wants to prove himself on his own and I get that, because I want to make it on my own terms, not my last name.
“We’re excited to get him fighting in New England. We’re going to do great things together. We plan on having him fight in Brockton, hopefully this summer, to bring boxing back to Brockton.”
The 31-year-old Hagler, who fights out of Atlanta, didn’t start boxing until he was 24. Why did he start so late?
“My grandfather didn’t want any of us (in the Hagler family) to box,” James explained. “I wanted to be a boxer since I was 3 or 4. He didn’t want anybody in his family to go through what he did in the Sugar Ray Leonard fight. My father (a boxing promoter in Atlanta) was an amateur boxer who fought in the Olympic Trials. He stopped boxing because my grandfather wouldn’t watch him fight. My father didn’t want to continue fighting.
“There’s a lot of pressure on me fighting because people expect me to be like my grandfather or want me to live up to the Hagler name. I feel good following in my grandfather’s footsteps. When guys fight me, it’s like their championship fight, because they want to say they beat a Hagler for bragging rights. I know that they will always have their best fight against me.”
James (2-1, 1 KO) had a relatively brief amateur career, fighting in Alabama and Georgia, and the southpaw made his pro debut December 14, 2019, in Ohio, when he stopped Michael Widmer in round one. He’s only had two fights since, winning one and losing the other, the latest this past November.
Hagler will fight as a super middleweight for now, but he intends to campaign as a middleweight in the same division his legendary grandfather owned for so many years. He does have a dream fight in mind, saying, “I met Muhammad Ali’s grandson (Nico Walsh). I’d love to fight him someday.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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