After losing an agonizingly close split decision at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to Sugar Ray Leonard on April 6, 1987. Judge JoJo Guerra scored it 118-110 for Leonard, a score which even the most hardcore Leonard fans found ridiculous. Dave Moretti scored it 115-113 for Leonard, while Lou Filippo saw it 115-113 for Hagler.
Unlike any other U.S. boxer in history, after leaving the ring, Hagler moved to Milan and became an actor, yes an actor. He mostly played bad guys in action movies. He still had the bulk of his money, the better part of $40 million, his health and his memories intact.
“I saw Joe Louis at the door at Caesars Palace, just shaking hands, and that left a bad taste in my mouth,” he told an ESPN reporter. “Then I saw Jersey Joe Walcott doing the same thing in Atlantic City.”
Earlier that year, Hagler traveled back to the States to see his daughter graduate from high school. He ran into boxing trainer, Pat Petronelli.
“For the first time in my life I’m happy with myself,” he told Petronelli. “I’m retired.”
The celebrated boxer is an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He was named Fighter of the Decade (1980s) by Boxing Illustrated magazine, and twice named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
In 2001 and 2004, The Ring named him the fourth greatest middleweight of all time and in 2002 named him the 17th greatest fighter of the past 69 years. The International Boxing Research Organization rates Hagler as the 6th greatest middleweight of all time.
Hagler leaves his wife and five children with his first wife, Bertha: Charelle, Celeste, James, Marvin Jr., and Gentry.