Like most coaches, I spend a lot of time encouraging fighters to live clean lives. Hard work and talent aren’t enough if you make poor decisions outside the gym. I’m sure we’ve all known someone who was extremely talented yet failed to reach even a fraction of their potential. Whether because of alcohol, drugs, or other distractions, plenty of athletes have struggled to make the sacrifices necessary to excel at the highest level.
Unfortunately, when a boxer fails to prepare properly, it’s not just his performance that suffers. He literally puts his health and well-being on the line. Failure to prepare yourself 100 percent is a recipe for disaster. It’s inevitable that you’ll eventually face an opponent who was willing to make the sacrifices that you weren’t.
If you or a fighter you know has struggled with dedication, one name that you should familiarize yourself with is Marvelous Marvin Hagler.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Marvin Hagler will forever be known as one of the best middleweight boxers to ever live. He reigned as the undisputed champion from 1980 to 1987. Hagler wasn’t just good at winning though. He also brought excitement to the sport. Hagler’s style was relentless and he wasn’t shy about looking for the knockout (52 of his 62 wins came via stoppage).
Yet, despite Hagler’s tremendous talent and Hall of Fame résumé, what I enjoy most about him was his dedication to the sport. Hagler gave everything he had to boxing. Very few fighters in history could say that they outworked Marvin Hagler in the gym.
“If they cut my bald head open, they will find one big boxing glove. That’s all I am. I live it.” – Marvin Hagler
Marvin Hagler’s lengthy career was filled with exciting bouts, but none are as memorable as his fight with Thomas Hearns. The Hagler-Hearns war remains just as exciting today as it was when it happened live on April 15th, 1985. I’ve watched the fight so many times that I’ve literally memorized the commentary. It’s that fun to watch.
This entry isn’t just about Hagler vs. Hearns though. More importantly, we can use that fight to highlight Hagler’s intense dedication. Refer to the 11:11 mark within the video below for a brief summary. The entire video is also worthy of a look, but the 11:11 mark is where Hagler’s work ethic is discussed.
As for the results of his work, the full fight can be seen below. If you haven’t seen it before, you’ll quickly realize why it is one of the best fights in the history of boxing.
If you are familiar with my material, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard me discuss dedication and sacrifice before. Although I might sound like a broken record, there’s a reason why I continually discuss the topic.
In short, it’s a topic that hits home for me. As I’ve said before, there was a time in my life as a youngster when I didn’t always make the best decisions. I wish I could go back and change the past, but as we all know, that isn’t possible. With that in mind, I hope that I can help some young fighters to make better decisions before it’s too late for them as well.
As any fighter will tell, boxing is an extremely difficult sport. Don’t make it more difficult than it already is by making poor decisions outside of the gym. If you aren’t fully dedicated, you essentially become an opponent to yourself. On fight night, you won’t just be fighting the man in front of you, but also the mistakes that you’ve made on your own.
Boxing can be a cruel sport. If you aren’t fully dedicated, it’s only a matter of time before someone knocks you on your ass. Don’t make that mistake. Instead, look up to past legends like Marvin Hagler and try to model your training and worth ethic around their example.
Dedicating yourself to the sport doesn’t mean that you won’t have regrets in life, but I doubt anyone will regret working too hard towards something they love. I didn’t always know that when I was younger, but that’s how I live my life now. Having walked on both sides of the street, I wouldn’t have it any other way.