28 Petronelli Way, Brockton - 2019
Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s gym transformed in Brockton
His mom: ‘I wish he was able to be physically here, not just in here spirit’
“I wish he was able to be physically here, not just here in spirit,” Mae Lang, Hagler’s mother, said after the groundbreaking ceremony. Her son died just over a year ago.
“I’m excited,” she said. “It sure is something to see.”
Lang was joined at the ceremony by Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan on Monday, when she was presented with pieces of boxing memorabilia recovered from the building during interior renovations and stemming from Hagler’s many years as the reigning champion of middleweight boxing.
“Brockton is in the midst of an urban renaissance and it is precisely because of collaborative, innovative projects such as this,” Sullivan said in a release.
The Petronelli’s Gym closed in 2011 and both brothers passed shortly after, but for over a decade after it opened in 1969 it was the training home of Hagler, a man who dominated the middleweight world of boxing during the seven years he defended his title as champion.
Hagler, who went 63-3-2 over a 14-year career in boxing, was known for a vicious fighting style coupled with a quiet demeanor, a feared southpaw stance, and his gleaming bald head.
At his death the Associated Press said his historic 1985 title defense against Thomas Hearns, though it lasted just 8 minutes, now stands as a piece of boxing lore and that it includes what many consider to be the greatest opening round in the history of boxing.
Hagler’s 52-knockout career ended suddenly in 1987, when a split scoring decision sent his title to Sugar Ray Leonard. Hagler would never box again, claiming that the belt had been stolen from him by the judges.
Hagler passed away on March 13, 2021, at his home in Bartlett, N.H. He was 66 years old.
Plans for the building at 28 Petronelli Way include the construction of an 18-unit apartment complex, a state-of-the-art fitness center complete with a boxing theme — and an outdoor memorial to Hagler.
The building where the Petronelli brothers once trained boxers has sat idle for over a decade. Despite that, Lang says she can still feel Hagler there.
“When you walk in you can feel all them years rolling out the door,” Lang said. “I tell you it’s amazing what they are going to be doing here.”
Article Credit: Boston Herald