By: Sean Crose
There is no doubt he was one of the greatest middleweights to ever slip on a pair of gloves. Some knowledgeable fans might conclude that he was THE greatest middleweight to ever slip on a pair of gloves. If you know something about boxing’s middleweight division, that’s really saying something. It’s little surprise then that the fight world is still mourning the loss of Marvellous Marvin Hagler, who passed rather suddenly last month at only 66 years of age. Now, though, Hagler fans have news to celebrate the memory of their hero. For the legendary fighter now has a street named in his honor.
Hagler was always associated with his gritty hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts. Along with fellow great, Rocky Marciano, he has long stood as one of the city’s favorite sons. Now the city council of Brockton has honored his memory with “Marvin Hagler Drive,” a currently under construction street which officially bears his name. Once completed, drivers, riders and pedestrians will see the name of Hagler whenever they pass by through. Not that the man would be easily forgotten otherwise. Fittingly, “Marvin Hagler Drive” will cross paths with “Petronelli Way,” named after Hagler’s famed trainers, Pat and Goody Petronelli.
“Marvin Hagler Drive” was proposed by City Councilor Jeffery Thompson. “Growing up as a kid in Brockton, Marvin Hagler was a legend,” Thompson said. “I never had the pleasure to meet the champ, but I watched his legendary fights and spoke to people who knew him. The lesson that I took was that Marvin Hagler had an obsession with sharing his boxing talent and his determination with the world. He literally got punched in the face and kept moving forward.” Although he was born in New Jersey, Hagler moved with his family to Brockton before the 1970s.
As a young man, Hagler reportedly went to the Petronelli’s Gym after getting beat up one day. The rest, as they say, is history. After an impressive amateur career, Hagler became pro in 1973. Although he became a top contender, it took until 1980 for the man to become middleweight champ. Hagler went on, however, to defend his crown 13 times, becoming one of the most popular and wealthy fighters on earth. Notably enough, the man legally changed his name from Marvin Hagler to “Marvelous Marvin Hagler” in 1982. He fought classic battles with Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, John Mugabi, and Ray Leonard before retiring form the ring in 1987.