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Boxing legend Marvin Hagler’s widow says he didn’t die from reaction to COVID-19 vaccine

Marvin Hagler shadowboxed in the mirror at Tocco's Ringside Gym in Las Vegas, Nev. in preparation for his upcoming fight against Thomas Hearns on April 11, 1985.
Marvin Hagler shadowboxed in the mirror at Tocco's Ringside Gym in Las Vegas, Nev. in preparation for his upcoming fight against Thomas Hearns on April 11, 1985.Jim Wilson/Globe Staff/file

The widow of boxing legend Marvin Hagler denied rumors that the former middleweight champion had died from a severe reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“For sure wasn’t the vaccine that caused his death,” Kay G. Hagler, his wife of three decades, wrote Monday on Facebook. “My baby left in peace with his [usual] smile and now is not the time to talk nonsense.”

Kay Hagler didn’t say what caused her husband’s death Saturday in New Hampshire, where the couple lived. He was 66. Hagler’s official website said he died of natural causes.

Marvin Hagler, a New Jersey native who fought out of Brockton during a dominant career, cut an imposing figure in his prime as a muscular southpaw with a shaved head. From 1980 to 1987, he was the undisputed world middleweight champ. Hagler retired at the age of 34 having won 62 of his 67 professional matches, 52 by knockout.

“I would like to speak with my heart to all of you,” Kay Hagler wrote. “After 31 years the love of my life is gone and my life without him no longer makes sense‚ but I can feel him next to me even now and he’s telling me not to give up and be strong for him.”


She thanked supporters for their love and described her late husband as “the most beautiful person” she had ever met.

“I was the only person close to him until the last minute, and I am the only person that [knows] how things went not even his family [knows] all the details and I do NOT accept to read some [person’s] stupid comment without [that person] knowing really what happen[ed],” Kay Hagler wrote in an apparent reference to the vaccine rumors.

Online, many boxing luminaries posted tributes to Hagler. “Condolences and loving thoughts to Kay Hagler and all who loved Marvin, as countless as they number,” boxing promoter Lou DiBella posted on Twitter. Former heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko also paid homage to the great fighter.


“I just heard the heartbreaking news of the passing of another legend, Marvelous Marvin Hagler,” Klitschko tweeted. “[Late trainer Emanuel] Steward would use Marvin’s fights as a motivator for me before my fights, and let me tell you it worked.”

In recent years, Hagler was a regular at the Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub in Glen, N.H., near his home. Missi Nelson, a bartender at the pub, said Hagler was a “sweetheart” to customers and staff.

“We’ve all known him forever,” she said in a telephone interview. “He was a local staple here in the valley.”

Nelson said Hagler was very careful about dining out during the pandemic.

“He didn’t take his mask off for anything,” she said. “He was just in last week. We’re all shocked ... He had a great following. Everyone loved him.”

Hagler, who lived in Italy for years, would say goodbye in Italian, she recalled.

“I will always miss him saying ‘ciao, ciao’ to me whenever he left,” Nelson said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Emily Sweeney can be reached at emily.sweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.