Brockton – Joe Angelo recalls barnstorming across the country with hometown hero Marvin Hagler. This was the culmination of an unrivalled and iconic career at the pinnacle competitive legacy boxing.
He and a group from Brockton that Hagler called home chased their star around the country, placing huge bets on his fights and sitting front row as his opponents collapsed under his weight.
Angelo stated, “We took the ride along Marvin.” Angelo said, “That was a great ride…It was the greatest legacy boxing you’ve ever witnessed in your life.”
Hagler fought but his boxing career was a continuation of a local legacy boxing that saw fellow Brockton fighter Rocky Marciano dominate the fight world throughout the 1950s.
Marciano was killed in a plane accident in 1969. Hagler’s sudden death last month continues a grim legacy of sports heros who died relatively young.
Local bar Owner keeps Legacy Boxing Memorabilia
Angelo is now a historian. Angelo owns a bar in downtown Brockton, which is always bustling with customers.
He decorated the interior with old photos, news clippings framed and painted portraits to tell Marciano’s stories.
A massive mural covering the floor shows Marciano smiling through a ruffled eyebrow in the middle of a fight.
Angelo pulled the screen back to take a picture, but recently the projector was still in use and flashed bright footage showing Bruins hockey players on Marciano’s large red 1950s gloves.
Boxers are driven by pain and seek out a way to get out.
Angelo looks at the records of Marciano and Hagler and sees two stories about hunger.
Marciano was born during the Great Depression. Marciano grew up in the Great Depression. He saw his parents struggling and felt his anxieties as a teenager.
Hagler was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up Black during the 1960s era of racial strife. His family first hid from gunfire under their beds when police brutality caused a series of violent riots in his neighbourhood. They then moved to Brockton.
Legacy Boxing Continues for Many Decades
Although Hagler has left the ring, legacy boxing role in Brockton has remained unchanged for decades.
Marciano’s community was devastated when he died in a plane accident in 1969, two years after Hagler arrived to Brockton. It does so to this day.
- A statue has been dedicated to him.
- His name is the local post office.
- Marciano Way is the town’s name.
- Marciano’s son, his son, has been selling wines for the past three years.
- Brockton’s role models are the boxers
In the end, Brockton’s boxers brought this often-struggling city to all of humanity, making legacies feel more local in 2021.
These legacies continue to live even after Marciano and Hagler are gone.
Angelo stated, “Everyone aspires [to be] like them.” People want to surround success when they see you succeed.”