NORWICH – Marvelous Marvin Hagler, one of the most renowned middle-weight boxing champions, has thrown his name back in the ring, this time co-authoring a children's book.
Hagler, now 61, lives in Italy; but after nearly 25 years of being out of the spotlight, he has emerged to work with his friend, Dustin Warburton (originally from McDonough and now a Vermont-based author) on his most recent book, “Lost Wings.”
“This book was really reshaped and remolded a lot. It was really cool and kind of like clay if you think about it. People often keep the first thing they make, but now you’ve got to mold it again and make it better,” said Warburton.
Hagler was most remembered for being the undisputed middle-weight boxing champion of the world from 1980 to 1987.
But Hagler is even more memorable for having his undisputed title stolen from him by the two ringside judges in front of thousands at Caesar’s Palace on April 6, 1987. That night, Hagler lost a split decision to Sugar Ray Leonard. Hagler would go on to be inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992 and the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1993.
Warburton explained how he has worked over the years with other celebrities such as Kostya Tszyu, Hector Camacho Jr., and Dennis Rodman – all of which resulted in a children's book hitting the stores.
“Lost Wings,” a 36-page paperback that is more than two years in the making, was officially published in October and is now being sold online on websites like Amazon, Ebay, and Barnes and Noble for around $14.99.
“It took us over two years to finish. We went back and forth with ideas. I’d take notes, type them up and send them to him. He’d print them out, make changes, then write his own notes,” said Warburton.
The book follows the story of Mario the race pigeon and looks to teach children about the importance of teamwork.
“Everybody always wanted me to do something with boxing. People are always busting me about writing my life story. I put this pigeon story together instead,” said Hagler in an interview with the Boston Herald. “It took me back to raising those birds up on those three-story buildings in Newark. You had to teach them to come back to your coop. I built the story around that. This pigeon is real cocky. He thinks he knows it all. In the fight game, you meet your competition one day. You meet your match. So does this pigeon, but he can’t believe it. The story is basically to show kids that working together is important. You have to listen. Every kid has to find that feeling that he’s not all by himself. There are people out there as good as you and there are people out there who can help you, if you listen.”
Warburton and Hagler met around five years ago at the annual International Boxing Hall of Fame induction. Thus the unlikely friendship began simply by a chance meeting.
“We exchanged info and he reached out to me and invited me to have lunch with him, and we just got talking and you know what happened is we just became friends. Every time he was in America once or twice a year we'd catch up for dinner,” Warburton explained, “Over the span of a few years, I had various books coming out, I would show him things I was working on. I originally wanted him to play a role in a movie I was working on, but that didn’t work out. I would show him different children's book though, and he honestly expressed an interest. The next thing you know, he was telling me a story about birds, pigeons, because he loved birds and would raise them.”..