fb-pixel Skip to main content

‘A fitting tribute to a Brockton icon’: Street to be named for late boxing middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler

FILE—In this April 15, 1985 file photo, Marvin Hagler celebrates after knocking out Thomas Hearns in Las Vegas to win the world middleweight championship. Hagler is being celebrated in his Massachusetts hometown with a street named in his honor to be named "Marvin Hagler Drive." The Brockton City Council on Monday, April 26, 2021, approved a proposal by two councilors to name a currently under-construction street Marvin Hagler Drive.(AP Photo, File)
FILE—In this April 15, 1985 file photo, Marvin Hagler celebrates after knocking out Thomas Hearns in Las Vegas to win the world middleweight championship. Hagler is being celebrated in his Massachusetts hometown with a street named in his honor to be named "Marvin Hagler Drive." The Brockton City Council on Monday, April 26, 2021, approved a proposal by two councilors to name a currently under-construction street Marvin Hagler Drive.(AP Photo, File)Anonymous/Associated Press

The Brockton City Council has voted to name a local street after the late boxing legend Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who called the City of Champions home for many years and who died in March at the age of 66.

The council unanimously voted April 26 to name the street, to be constructed as part of the Trinity Development project, between Main and Montello streets as “Marvin Hagler Drive,” according to meeting minutes posted to the city’s official website.

Councilor Jeffrey Thompson and Council President Winthrop Farwell Jr. had co-sponsored the order.

Hagler was 62-3-2 with 52 knockouts. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.

Advertisement



“We are actually correcting our previous order so the name will reflect his legal name (which he changed) of ‘Marvelous Marvin Hagler Drive,’ ” Farwell said Tuesday via e-mail. He said a naming ceremony will be held at a later date.

Hagler reigned as undisputed middleweight world champion from 1980-87 and had resided in Brockton, where he was trained and managed by the Petronelli brothers, Goody and Pat, both Brockton natives. Hagler, born in Newark, was their star student.

The street being named for Hagler will intersect with Petronelli Way, according to the council minutes.

Thompson said shortly after the council vote via Facebook that he was honored to sponsor the order, calling it a “fitting Tribute to a Brockton icon.”

According to the minutes of the council meeting, Thompson told his colleagues that when he grew up in Brockton, “Marvin Hagler was a legend. He never had the pleasure to meet the champ, but he watched his legendary fights and spoke to people who knew him. The lesson that he took, was that Marvin Hagler had an obsession with sharing his talent and his determination with the world. He literally got punched in the face and kept moving forward. Marvin Hagler from Dover St., had a God given talent, as does every kid from Brockton. He hopes Marvin Hagler Drive inspires all of us to be obsessed with sharing our talents with each other and with the world.”

Advertisement



A natural southpaw, Hagler was a fixture on the New England boxing scene in the late 1970s, honing his craft on fight cards from the Brockton High School gymnasium to the old Boston Garden. He lost two of three fights in 1976 at the Spectrum to Philadelphia natives Bobby Watts and Willie Monroe. As he often did, Hagler avenged both losses convincingly. He didn’t lose again until 1987 when he was defeated by Sugar Ray Leonard in a split decision.

His signature victory — and arguably the greatest three rounds in boxing history — came in 1985, when he stopped Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns at Las Vegas to retain his crown. An historically slow starter, Hagler came out swinging and was stunned early by a huge right hand; Hearns was perhaps pound-for-pound the hardest puncher of his era.

Hagler refused to back up, charging in to overcome Hearns’s reach advantage and switching his stance — he was a natural southpaw — to block Hearns’s devastating right hands. By the third round, The Hitman, his legs like rubber, was out of gas. Hagler, bloodied but unbowed, ended it with a looping right hand that sent Hearns sprawling to the canvas. The bout was stopped.

Advertisement



Hagler later in life moved to Italy and appeared in films there. He died in March at his New Hampshire residence. A cause of death wasn’t released at the time, but shortly after his passing, his widow, Kay Hagler, took to Facebook to dispel rumors that he died from a severe reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.

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

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.