Boxing legend Marvelous Marvin Hagler died on Saturday, March 13, at age 66 according to a post made by Hagler’s wife Kay on the boxing champ’s official Facebook fan club page. The news was later confirmed by the Associated Press.
Hagler was one of the most celebrated fighters in boxing history, but a post on Instagram made by one of Hagler’s biggest boxing rivals has caused a major controversy to rage across the internet about the former middleweight champion’s death.
About an hour before Hagler’s death was announced, Thomas “Hitman” Hearns posted, “A real true warrior Pray for the king and his family. He’s in ICU fighting the after effects of the vaccine! He’ll be just fine but we could use the positive energy and Prayer for his Full Recovery!”
Speculation Runs Rampant
Hearns’ post led some to speculate about Hagler’s cause of death, and even about the motives of journalists reporting what Hearns had posted before Hagler died.
For example, boxing journalist Michelle Joy Phelps reposted what Hearns put on Instagram, and some on social media immediately erupted against her.
Phelps posted, “Just before Marvin Hagler’s Passing, Tommy Hearns said this is why he was in the ICU.”
Some users claimed the report was “shameful” and part of some kind of “anti-vax agenda.”
Hearns never claimed to be sharing the cause of death. His post didn’t mention that Hagler had died, and Hearns didn’t reveal what “vaccine” he was talking about.
But a rash of speculative posts has sprung up across the internet.
Retired boxer Mark Prince posted his concerns about the vaccine after seeing Hearns’ post.
Prince even claimed people are “being used as the guinea pigs.”
No cause of death has been announced by the family or anyone else.
Most of the theories around the former champ’s death are based on a limited amount of information gleaned from one social media post made by Hearns before Hagler’s death.
Hearns later posted about the issue himself. He said, “Allow us to have our peace…this is not an anti-vaccine campaign…it’s outrageous to have that in mind…”
You can read his full statement below.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
Many People Celebrated Hagler’s Life on Social Media
Most of the reactions about Hagler’s death on social media have celebrated his life. After his death was announced, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani tweeted that Hagler was an “icon.”
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix shared what “Sugar” Ray Leonard had to say after hearing of his rival’s death.
Mannix posted, “Talked to @SugarRayLeonard tonight about Marvin Hagler, his middleweight rival who passed away on Saturday at age 66. Said Leonard of their epic 1987 war, ‘it was the closest I’ve been to death.'”
UFC president Dana White shared his thoughts, too.
Retired champ Oscar De La Hoya called Hagler “one of the greatest to ever step in the ring.”
The Boxing Writers Association of America shared its condolences also.
Hagler was one of the most decorated and beloved champions in boxing history.
ESPN’s Max Kellerman might have said it best though.
Kellerman posted, “Hard to explain what a big deal #MarvelousMarvinHagler was in the 1980s. He was Mike Tyson before there was a Mike Tyson. The best AND the baddest. For people in my generation, this one hits hard. RIP champ.”
Whatever online controversy exists right now about the boxing legend’s sudden death over the weekend, the combat sports world is sure to unite over one idea in particular: Hagler was one of its greatest champions, and he will be sorely missed.
YouTube: Real Talk with Kelsey and Rachel