In my opinion, Hagler is one of the most underrated boxers ever. He is, perhaps the least known amongst the “4 kings”. Hagler’s epic fights with Sugar Ray Leonard , Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran should be watched by all fans of the sweet science . He made his debut in 1973 and retired in 1987 . He was a terrifying Middleweight. Hagler has an impressive record of 62 wins, 3 losses and 2 draws. He had one of the longest reigns as the undisputed champion in middleweight history. In his 62 wins , he knocked out almost 78% of his opponents and to add to this impressive feat, he wasn’t knocked down even once! These facts make the case for how great of a boxer he was, but Hagler’s genius can never be expressed in numbers or percentages. What he brought into the ring, was something unique.
As narrated by coach Teddy Atlas in his podcast ,when Marvin Hagler was an upcoming middleweight, he wanted to fight the best middleweights in the country, most of them were in Philadelphia. He sought them out and beat most of them. He accumulated 2 out of his 3 total losses during this time . The fact that he considered them learning experiences and avenged both of those losses, is a huge testament to his mentality as a fighter .
Hagler, was what we call a switch- fighter. He was a right-handed southpaw, but was comfortable with having either hand forward. There are 3 advantages, to being a switch fighter. The first one being, that the fighter doesn’t have to pivot or readjust his stance , after his opponent evades a punch.. The second advantage, is that having the dominant foot forward , gives increased maneuverability to a fighter , which helps him cut off the ring efficiently and putting more pressure on his opponents without giving them a chance to recover. The third advantage is that both the hands have knockout power. When Hagler had his dominant hand forward, he had a naturally powerful jab and a powerful lead hook . Even if the non-dominant hand is used for the cross, the power in that punch largely depends on technique, which Hagler had already mastered in his amateur days. This made him very dangerous. This unique fighting style, gave his opponents a very tough time. Hagler was truly one of a kind .
In this age ,the advantage of being ambidextrous is more evident in mixed martial arts , as we see fighters like Kamaru Usman and Tony Ferguson implementing it successfully.
Marvin Hagler passed away on the 13th of March 2021. Thank you Marvin Hagler, for your contribution to the Sweet Science .
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