On Saturday, a sports world great left us way too soon. Longtime, middleweight boxing champion “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler passed away at the age of 66.
As CBS News reported:
“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, one of the greatest middleweight fighters of all time and part of the legendary “Four Kings” of the 1980s, died Saturday. Hagler’s death sent shockwaves through the boxing world, but also brought out a slew of tributes from fans who watched him dominate the middleweight ranks as undisputed champion from 1980 to 1987, an incredible feat given the depth of the division at the time.
The report added that only a much-contested, ’87 loss to the great Sugar Ray Leonard “ended his reign as champion and snapped a 37-fight unbeaten streak.”
Here’s just one of the tributes that poured in on social media, from a later generation’s boxing luminary:
— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) March 14, 2021
And in the obituary CNN published, a key element was how his widow, Kay G. Hagler, made the “announcement” to his legion of fans — also via social media:
Former undisputed middleweight champion “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler died on Saturday at the age of 66, according to his wife Kay G. Hagler.
“I am sorry to make a very sad announcement,” his wife posted on Facebook. “Today unfortunately my beloved husband Marvelous Marvin passed away unexpectedly at his home here in New Hampshire. Our family requests that you respect our privacy during this difficult time. With love.”
Hagler became the undisputed middleweight champion in 1980. He famously defended his title against Tommy Hearns in 1985 in a brutal three round fight billed as “The War.”
But, as Jeff Dunetz of The Lid blog points out, the grieving family’s time of mourning was rudely interrupted — even before his death was made public:
Before the death of boxing legend Marvelous Marvin Hagler was announced on Saturday, Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, loser to Hagler in one of the greatest battles in the squared circle ever, posted on Instagram that Marvin Hagler was in the hospital because of the COVID vaccine. Anti-Vaxxers jumped on Hitman Hearns’ post as their latest weapon to warn people against the vaccine.
Luckily, Hearns, it seems, realized he made a mistake right away, and tried to walk it back.
Later on Saturday, Hearns took a half step away from his previous statement posting on Instagram, “Our love and respect to Marvin and his family, this is not an anti-vaccine campaign… it’s outrageous to have that in mind during the passing of a King, Legend, Father, Husband and so much more.”
But the damage was done. On Monday morning, Mrs. Hagler again took to the late boxer’s official homepage on Facebook, “Marvelous Marvin Hagler FAN CLUB,” and wrote a love-filled letter — while addressing the spread of Hearns’ misinformation in the classiest way possible. (Note: I have left the post as written.)
I would like to speak with my heart to all of you. I apologize if my English is not written correctly but I hope everyone understands me in this difficult moment .
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 .
Thank you for your love , he loved people so much, he loved you all he was happy when he read your comments he was a special person the most beautiful person i had ever met in all my life .
I was the only person close to him until the last minute , and I am the only person that know how things went not even his family know all the details and I do NOT accept to read some stupid comment without knowing really what happen . For sure wasn’t the vaccine that caused his death . My baby left in peace with his usually smile and now is not the time to talk nonsense .
Marvin hated funerals and therefore there will be no funerals or church celebrations he wants to be remembered with a happy smile but I would be happy if each of you can light a candle for him .However there is something special that I will do because it was his wishes and you will be informed at the right time by me I just need time .
Thank you all for your loveKay G. Hagler
No family, whether their loved one was famous or not, should be burdened with this kind of attention after the person has died. It’s unconscionable, even if it happened through a mistaken or unthinking retweet.
Here’s the way Marvin should be remembered instead; a brief clip from Round One of the famous “War” versus Hearns, from April 15, 1985:
H/T The Lid