We look back at Marvin Hagler’s first major championship.
Duan and I are doing research for our next Fabulous Four Podcast which is on Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s fight with Roberto Duran from November of 1983. That podcast should be ready to go in a few weeks.
In a career built out of having to earn respect at every step, Marvin Hagler’s first title win should’ve been a celebration. After all, it was a redemption of sorts after his 1979 draw with then champion Vito Antuofermo; a fight that just about everyone said should’ve gone his way. Instead, it was chaos.
Hagler stopped Minter, who won the belt from Antuofermo and then beat him in an immediate rematch, on cuts at Wembley Arena in just three rounds. And then all hell broke loose.
Racial tension started before the fight even happened with quotes from both Hagler and Minter that didn’t seem to come from building a fight.
From the Guardian in 2013:
It had been claimed that Hagler had once said to Kevin Finnegan that “I don’t touch white flesh”, although Hagler strongly refuted this accusation. “I make a point of never shaking hands with future opponents,” commented Hagler, adding that he didn’t feel it appropriate to do so with someone he intended to inflict damage upon, and also indicating that he always shook hands with his opponent, including Finnegan on two separate occasions, after a fight.
Minter did not exactly help matters though. Talking about the challenge ahead, his proclamation that he had worked 17 years to get to the top and that he “did not intend to lose his title to a black man”, was unhelpful to put it mildly, Hagler understandably responding in a furious manner: “He will pay for saying that when we meet at Wembley.”
After Hagler dropped to his knees to take in what he’d just done, bottles and cans started to be hurled into the ring and Hagler’s team surrounded him like a shield to protect him from being hit.