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Marvellous: the Marvin Hagler Story By Damien & Brian Hughes

Release date: 01st January, 2014
Publisher: Pitch Publishing

List Price: £16.99
Our Price: £11.55
You Save: £5.44 (32%)
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Harry Carpenter, Britain’s finest boxing commentator, described the aftermath of the fiercesome contest between the then world middleweight champion Alan Minter and his challenger, Marvin Hagler, as a low-point in his commentating career.

The pair staged a short, but savage contest at Wembley Arena in September 1980 following a clutch of injudicious comments – by both men – which fanned ugly racial feeling amongst a small group of spectators. When the referee stopped the fight in the third round (Minter was by then blinded by his own blood), beer cans and bottles rained down on the ring and chaos ensued.

Hagler had won the world title, which he believed was his destiny. Unlike many of those who would follow him, Hagler had achieved success the hard way: it took him 50 fights to claim the world crown.

Nor did he take his foot off the gas following the disgraceful scenes in London, successfully defending his world middleweight title twelve times. Before he stepped into the ring against Minter, ‘Marvellous Marvin’ had not lost a fight since September 1976; he would remain undefeated until April 1987.

Marvellous is a compelling story, one which wastes little time on flowery introductions before transporting the reader back to 1980 and the build-up to the Wembley bout.

As Marvellous points out on numerous occasions, Hagler’s pugilistic style was not what anyone could describe as classical, but was he supremely effective.

His appearance was probably enough to sow doubts into the mind of several opponents. He could punch with incredible power, but, as his fight in Las Vegas in 1985 against Tommy Hearns showed, he much preferred to mix-it inside where he could rough up opponents, throw low blows, use his elbows and, ideally, rub his shaven skull into their freshly-opened wounds.

Boxing was a dirty game, especially at professional level, and particularly during the seventies and eighties. Hagler understood this and preferred not to talk with, nor shake the hands of opponents before a fight, ostensibly because he had his sights set on destroying them in the ring.

This well-written biography propels the reader through Hagler’s career in double-quick time, up to the point where he lost, in extremely controversial circumstances, to Sugar Ray Leonard. At a shade over 250 pages, it leaves the reader wanting more of the same from the brothers who have authored an engrossing read.


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