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    Brockton to unveil statue honoring boxing champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler

    By Maria Papadopoulos,


    Brockton will unveil a $150,000 statue honoring late boxing champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler on Thursday.

    The unveiling will take place at 11 a.m. at a new park and street bearing Hagler’s name, at the corner of Petronelli Way and Hagler Way in downtown Brockton, city officials said.

    The statue site is the former location of the Petronelli Brothers’ Gym, where Hagler, a middleweight whose 1985 defeat of Tommy Hearns capped a dominant career, trained during his boxing career. Hagler died in 2021 at the age of 66 .

    “Brockton is known worldwide as the ‘City of Champions,’ largely because of the incredible and historic athletic achievements of Marvelous Marvin Hagler,” Brockton Mayor Robert F. Sullivan said in a statement. “Marvelous Marvin was a global boxing icon who embodied all the best attributes of our great city: toughness, perseverance, community and dedication. This statute will stand as a symbol of his spirit for generations, and inspire people to always strive to be the best that they can be.”

    The bronze statue, commissioned by Brodin Studios, a sculpture company based in Minnesota, was funded through a $150,000 state grant secured by state Rep. Gerry Cassidy, D-Brockton, officials said.

    “I have fond memories of attending Hagler’s first fight in 1973 with my dad. I followed his career until his retirement. He embodied Brockton’s heart and soul,” said Cassidy.

    Hagler’s statue is the second erected in Brockton to memorialize a boxing champ from the city.

    In 2012, the World Boxing Council gifted a $250,000, 22-foot-tall statue of boxing legend Rocky Marciano to the city. The statue honoring Marciano, the only undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, towers outside of Brockton High School, off Forest Avenue.

    Hagler and Marciano, known as the “Brockton Blockbuster,” are the reasons why Brockton is known as the “City of Champions.”

    Hagler, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993, went 62-3-2 with 53 knockouts during his boxing career, which spanned from 1973 through 1987. He was the undisputed middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987 and made 12 title defenses.

    Hagler also was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993. He was named the 1980s Fighter of the Decade by Boxing Illustrated. The magazine tapped him as Fighter of the Year twice.

    Hagler won the middleweight title by knocking out Alan Minter in 1980. He went on to defeat challengers such as Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, Vito Antuofermo, Mustafa Hamsho, Roberto Duran, Juan Roldan, and John “The Beast” Mugabi.

    Hagler’s third-round knockout victory against Hearns is regarded as one of the best fights of all time. He was a huge box office draw widely credited with helping launch HBO boxing and the pay-per-view fight era.

    Hagler’s last fight was in 1987 when Sugar Ray Leonard came out of retirement and won a controversial 12-round split decision for the WBC middleweight title. Hagler retired after Leonard would not give him a rematch.

    Born in Newark, New Jersey, Hagler moved to Brockton in 1969, where he trained with Brockton brothers Goody and Pat Petronelli for years during his historic boxing career.

    He legally changed his name in 1982 to Marvelous Marvin Hagler. After retiring from boxing in 1987, Hagler became an actor in Italy.

    In 2012, Hagler did not attend the unveiling of the Rocky Marciano statue, which drew several dignitaries from the boxing world, including champion Larry Holmes, Micky Ward, Vito Antuofermo and promoter Don King.

    A city committee earlier finalized the design, sculptor and location for Hagler’s statue. The committee included Hagler’s mother, Ida Mae Lang, who died in 2023.

    A post-unveiling celebration will be held at noon on Thursday at the nearby Brockton Beer Company at 121 Main St. Both sites are a short walk from the Downtown Brockton MBTA commuter rail stop.

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