Sammy Hagar’s Dad Taught Him ‘What Not to Do’
Sammy Hagar wrote a tribute to his late father, professional boxer Bobby Hagar, saying he learned “what not do to” via the older man’s struggles in life.
The former Van Halen singer marked Father’s Day with a social media post including a photo of his dad in the ring during a fight.
“I look at this badass young man in his 20s in this photo," he wrote. "Fighting to make a living for his family, and maybe make a name for himself in one of the toughest sports ever. Bobby Hagar would be 100 years old if he were alive today. He died way too young, but he taught me a lot, like what not to do. The meaning of #unconditionallove #tofight #bestrong #nevergiveup. ... I am determined to live a long, healthy, loving life with my children, grandchildren and hopefully great-great-grandchildren. Happy Father's Day. #100orbust.”
Hagar offered more thoughts about his dad in a foreword to a book about boxer Johnny Tapia that was published in 2019. “He was always taking fights at the last minute, getting in trouble for being drunk in the ring and getting banned,” he wrote. “When he started, he was really good and had a strong punch, but he kept going downhill because he was an alcoholic.”
Hagar himself assumed he’d end up a boxer, too, although he noted: “I do remember seeing Elvis Presley on TV and watching my older teenage sisters going crazy over him and thinking, ‘Maybe I’m going to be that.’”
His ambitions changed after Bobby arranged a sparring session for his son with a Mexican man who’d already had “about 30 pro fights.” The singer recalled, “Moments later, this guy hit me. The moment it landed, I thought, ‘Man. I have never been hit like that in my life, and I don’t ever wanna be hit like that again!’”
Later, Hagar's mom cried as he filled in the forms for a professional boxing license and told him: “You’re not going to do that. You’re not going to be like your father.” ”I stopped and said, ‘You know what. You’re right,'" Hagar recalled. "My head was still ringing from that freakin’ left hook I took from this Mexican dude. That was it. I don’t think I ever put on a set of gloves again.”