Even Better Than You Think

The sudden death of Marvelous Marvin Hagler has shocked the sports world and triggered a wave of grief and remembrance for a champion taken from us far too soon. Marvelous Marvin was that rare thing, a genuine all-time great, a universally admired boxer who could have held his own in any era of pugilism. For more than a full decade Hagler was the finest 160 pound fighter on the planet, and for a good chunk of that time he was also the best boxer bar none, pound-for-pound, so good that many of the top talents, including Sugar Ray Leonard, wanted nothing to do with him.

Marvelous Marvin vs Vito
Hagler slams Antuofermo in 1979.

Of course part of why so many feared and avoided Hagler was the image that developed of Marvelous Marvin as a ruthless destroyer in the ring. The shaved head, the menacing scowl, the “Destruct and Destroy” mentality, all bolstered his reputation as a brute of a fighter who relied on ferocity and power above all else. And of course his vicious thrashings on national television of Loucif Hamani, Alan Minter, Mustafa Hamsho, Tony Sibson, and others, also had much to do with this.

But the truth of the matter was anyone who regarded Marvelous Marvin Hagler as a face-first slugger or mere seek-and-destroy knockout puncher was completely short-changing “The Marvelous One.” He was a student of the game, a crafty southpaw as cunning as he was naturally gifted. The man could box and he brought into the ring a skill-set as sophisticated and complete as anyone’s. Indeed, it was his dedication to the craft of boxing, along with his conditioning and natural power, that made Marvin truly “marvelous.”

Marvelous Marvin vs Scypion
Hagler dominates Wilford Scypion in 1983.

And no doubt the rare skill that was a key implement in Hagler’s boxing tool-box was his sophisticated footwork and ability to so smoothly switch stances from southpaw to orthodox, and then back again. Imagine facing an opponent who already threatened you with awesome power, speed, aggressiveness and unsurpassed conditioning, only to realize it was impossible to anticipate from which angle the big power shots were coming from as he dazzled you with his deft switches and shifts. And despite all the “destruct and destroy” talk, the man wasn’t there to be hit either.

Truly appreciating Hagler’s impressive skills gives us all the more reason to revisit another masterpiece of video analysis from Lee Wylie. Here Wylie breaks down for us this key element in the ring performances of Marvelous Marvin Hagler, namely his outstanding and sophisticated footwork.¬†Suffice to say, Hagler brought much more to the ring than power, aggression, excellent conditioning, and a chin of granite. He was a complete fighter in every sense of the term. Rest in peace, Marvelous Marvin. The boxing world will never forget your greatness. Check it out:

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