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July 10, 1987 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly Summer Weekly, 1987-07-10

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SPORTS
Page 8 Friday, July 10, 1987 The Michigan Daily
Sports heroes not always Marvelous

BOSTON -."Destruct and
destroy.' Role models in sports are
--falling the way of former middle -
weight boxing champion Marv -
elous Marvin Hagler's battlecry.
They are destructing and destroying
themselves through greed and drugs.
Hagler is a prime example. Last
week, charges of drug and alcohol
abuse surfaced in the wake of his
marital problems. Sources close to
Hagler say that he has used cocaine
for the last ten years. Now his
image is shattered. The inuendo

will dog Hagler more than any
opponent he faced in the squared
circle. His fate could have been dif -
ferent. It should have been different.
HAGLER lived the American
dream - a poor kid from the
wrong side of town made his name
and fortune in the toughest of
sports. Unlike many of today's
fighters who take the Leon Spinks'
route (fifteen fights before a title
bout), Hagler earned his title
chance. He fought over 70 pro
fights before battling Vito

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Antuofuermo to a draw in a world
championship match.
Though Hagler felt cheated by
the decision, it inspired even harder
work. In his next title shot Hagler
answered critics by knocking out
Alan Minter. All the hours spent
toiling in the gym finally paid off.
The drug charges will over -
shadow what should have been
Hagler's lasting legacy - his work
ethic. Hagler literally put himself
in boot camp to prepare for fights.
His training center, located in a se -
cluded section of Cape Cod, isolated
him from the outside world and its
vices. Few ever trained with such
dedication to a singular purpose.
Destruct and destroy. Hagler
lived a life of the movie character

Rocky. He forsook bigger money
to remain loyal to his original man -
agers. Before a fight he always pre -
pared atla dilapidated gym. He never
wanted to forget his humble
beginnings. Yet somehow his for -
tunes started to turn for the worse.
HIS WIFE, Bertha, pleaded
with him to retire after his
showdown with Thomas Hearns.
But that victory did not assure
Hagler the lofty status in the
history books he so desired. He had
to fight Sugar Ray Leonard.
Destiny demanded it.
Destruct and destroy. The loss to
Leonard completed Hagler's
personal destruction. He became
despondent. Fearing bodily harm,
Hagler's wife had him legally barred

from their home. Stories
concerning drug use appeared.
The downfall of Hagler and other
athletes at the pinnacle of their
professions is too common.
Success corrupts. Lucrative careers 4
that should lead to financial security
instead lead to tragedy. With the
proliferation of sports in society
these sad stories affect not only
athletes but also fans.
ATHLETES serve as role
models. They are glorified by our
society, and it is easy to see why.
When watching a sporting event,
who doesn't fantasize about scoring
the winning touchdown or the last-
second basket?
It is time athletes be viewed as
people and not heroes. Sports are
entertainment, and athletes the
entertainers. Athletes have the same
problems as everyone else. They
may fall even faster from the top
because of their arrogance.
Ironically, that kind of attitude is
necessary to be a successful athlete
Look at Hagler's legal furst name4
- Marvelous. Only one with a
strong sense of superiority would
adopt that moniker. Hagler needed
that confidence to be an effective
fighter. But once athletes believe
they are above the law, they're
likely to fall.
Hagler's demise could be an
effective means for fans to learn the
problems associated*with success.
Unfortunately, most sports fans
will turn to another hero. The same
sad stories will continue to surface.
Many will follow in Hagler's path
of ruin - a path of self-destruction.
Michigan Daily
SPORTS

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