Who is the greatest fighter alive? No. 5 revealed
The question was raised early this year as a group of knowledgeable boxing people – writers, publicists and others who have been around the sport for many years – had dinner the night before a big fight in Las Vegas:
Who is the greatest living fighter, pound for pound?
The first name out of almost everyone’s mouth was Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time and one of the best without regard to weight. “The Greatest” was truly the greatest.
Since that meeting, sadly, we lost Ali. So the answer to the question that was asked that evening in Las Vegas isn’t quite as cut and dry.
Who is it? Who is the greatest living fighter?
THE RING editors, with input from knowledgeable contributors, came up with a Top 10 list of best living fighters. We know our choices will spark debate – they did so among ourselves – but we feel they’re a good place to start.
Note: THE RING will release one result per day until Tuesday Aug. 9, when the greatest living fighter will be announced. On that same day, the November issue will be released in its digital format, within which this feature will appear in full.
For Nos. 6 through 10 click here
5. MARVIN HAGLER
Birthplace: Newark, N.J.
Record: 62-3-2 (52 KOs)
Major titles: RING/WBA/WBC middleweight (1980-1987), IBF middleweight (1983-87).
Key victories: Alan Minter (first titles) TKO 3, 1980; Vito Antuofermo (rematch of disputed draw) TKO 4, 1981; Roberto Duran (title defense) UD, 1983; Thomas Hearns (classic title defense) TKO 3, 1985; John Mugabi (final victory) KO 11, 1986.
Summary: It took Hagler a while to reach the pinnacle of the sport but he made quite an impression once he got there. “Marvelous” Marvin had it all – speed, ability, power and one of the greatest chins in history – but also had to endure some bad luck. He had been a pro for seven years and on the wrong end of more than one bad decision when he finally and emphatically stopped Alan Minter to win the middleweight championship in 1980. He would hold onto it for seven remarkable years, which included a narrow victory over Roberto Duran in 1983 and a classic three-round brawl with Thomas Hearns in 1985 that sealed his reputation as the greatest 160-pounder of the era. At that point, Hagler was as feared as any fighter in the world. Then, in an instant, he was gone. Sugar Ray Leonard stunned Hagler and the boxing world in 1987 by coming out of retirement to score a split-decision upset in the RING Fight of the Year. Hagler, disgusted with what he thought was another unjust decision, never fought again. But by that time everyone knew exactly how great Hagler was.