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1987 article from The Worm Monroe talking about Hagler
Hagler Would Be
The Last Fighter To Beat Marvin Hagler doesn't make
news anymore, he delivers it.
"Weekends, I drive a truck for the Inquirer," said Willie
Monroe, The Last Fighter To Beat Marvin Hagler. "The rest
of the week I work for Philadelphia Gas Works.
"Gotta pull two jobs. Got a daughter graduating from high
school this year, gonna go to college."
Willie "The Worm" Monroe decisioned plain old Marvin
Hagler on March 9, 1976, in Philadelphia.
That's 11 years ago, that's 37 fights ago, that's incredible.
"I always thought he was a good fighter," Monroe
said."After he came back and defeated me twice, I knew
this guy was gonna make it.
"Lots of people ducked him, they didn't want to give him a
shot. He just kept winning.
"And what I liked most about him was his attitude. He
wanted to win. He was determined. There are not too
many guys like that around, who don't get discouraged."
There are not too many guys around who go 11 years
without a loss. There are not too many guys who can get a
$12 million guarantee to fight a beefed-up welterweight
coming out of retirement.
Hagler fights Sugar Ray Leonard in Las Vegas Monday
night. Monroe, TLFTBMH, would be stunned if Leonard
wipes his name out of the Trivia Hall of Fame.
"If Hagler is anything like he was the last time I saw him,"
Monroe said, ''he will knock Leonard out between the third
and fifth round.
"Leonard came back the first time against Kevin Howard, a
club fighter, looked so bad, got knocked down.
"He's just a blowed-up welterweight. He can't beat Hagler.
I did it. Once. And I was considered an old man.
"Leonard is not the boxer I was. He isn't as strong. And he
don't have the left jab I had.
"He's a little older, too. Sure, he put on weight, but it's not
natural weight. I don't think Leonard is strong enough. I
don't think his legs are gonna carry him. He's been away
Hagler has been away a year himself. And there are people
who think Hagler is a lot older than the listed 32.
"I don't know about that," Monroe hedged. "I know fighters
have a tendency to lie. I lied about my age for a lot of
"I was 23 when I first came to Philly (from Rochester).
Yank Durham told me to put it back 2 years. I'm 40 now.
"If Hagler is 34, you couldn't tell it. He just seems to get
better and better.
"I know I was 31 at the time I fought him. He was a lot
younger than I was.
"I didn't know that much about him. I knew he had beaten
Sugar Ray Seales, but that's all. His name didn't ring a
"I saw him fight Boogaloo Watts and he beat Boogaloo all
the way around the ring, but they gave the fight to
"Years later, when Boogaloo was sparring with Hagler he
finally admitted to him, 'Hey, you beat me.' "
Hagler was 26-0 before he lost that tainted decision to
Watts in Philadelphia. He never had fought outside of New
England before that night and the opponents were guys
named Lamont Lovelady and Don Wigfall and D.C. Walker.
Promoter J. Russell Peltz brought Hagler back two
months later to fight
"I had George Benton in my corner," Monroe recalled."I
controlled Hagler with the jab. Threw the uppercut from
time to time.
"I cut him over the eye. He bled so much that night. I found
out later, Goody Petronelli told me, I had busted a blood
vessel in his nose.
"I closed both his eyes. I remember that fight real good."
Monroe has only his memories, no film, no videotape.
"It snowed like crazy that night," Monroe sighed. "The
television crews never got to the arena. All I've got is some
photos, action shots.
"He had never fought a fighter like me. He didn't know
what to do with me. I must have done him some good, he
hasn't lost since.
"I like to think I sent him back to school."
"I look at myself," he said,"and I'm healthy, I'm in pretty
"Sure, I didn't make the kind of money fighters are making
today. I could have done more. I was capable of being a
"I just never got the opportunity. But there's life after
boxing. I had a good record. I came in clean and I left
And for 11 years he has had a glint of fame, The Last
Fighter To Beat Marvin Hagler. He thinks he will hang onto
it, a little bit longer.
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