Wednesday, March 22, 2023  |


The best of all time A to Z: Hagler


This is the eighth in a 26-part series in which endeavors to name the best boxers of all time based on last name – A to Z. We’ll post one letter each day for 26 days. Our criteria in making the selections were fairly simple: Accomplishments in the ring, with heavy emphasis on strength of opposition, as well as impact on the sport. This wasn’t easy, as our first installment — the letter “A” (Armstrong vs. Ali) — demonstrates. However, we’re confident that our choices are arguably the best. We also are including five more fighters for each letter to indicate others that were considered. Also, noted author and boxing historian Bert Sugar — who provided input — tells us where he ranks our choices among the greatest fighters pound-for-pound and gives us a thought on each selection. And, finally, we’d love to get your thoughts on the project. Here goes ÔǪ today’s letter: “H.”

Lifespan: 1954-
Hometown: Brockton, Mass.
Record: 62-3-2 (52 KOs)
Active: 1973-87
Weight class: Middleweight
Titles: Undisputed middleweight
Sugar’s ranking: No. 47
The thought process:Marvin Hagler had to earn his glory. The intimidating, bald-headed southpaw, one of the most-avoided fighters of his time, plowed his way through the best middleweights for seven years with a frightening combination of skill, athleticism, power and resilience before he finally received an opportunity to fight for a world title. And even then he didn’t get his due. He drew with Vito Antuofermo in his first title shot, in 1979, even though he appeared to have won convincingly. He finally won the 160-pound belt when he beat Alan Minter of England, who was cut in the first round and couldn’t go on after the third. He successfully defended the title 12 times, which ran an unbeaten streak to 36 fights (35-0-1). Among those victories was perhaps the most-exciting fight ever, a third-round knockout of Thomas Hearns that was packed with wild action, and a victory over Roberto Duran. Hagler finally met his match in Sugar Ray Leonard in 1987, losing a controversial decision in one of the great comeback performances ever. Hagler, disgusted, never fought again.
Five more (alphabetical order): Fighting Harada, Thomas Hearns, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins.
Sugar quote: “Nobody would fight him. When he started, someone said: “You have three stirkes against you. You’re black, you’re left-handed and you’re good.” Two out of three isn’t bad. He wasn’t just good. He was great.”

A: Armstrong:

B: Burley:

C: Charles:

D: Duran:

E: Elorde:

F: Foreman:

G: Greb: