Hagler vs Hearns: The Eight Minute War
By Simon Graham
As a young boy during the 70’s the only outlet to view boxing in my life was the Saturday afternoon sports show World of Sport, it was my first introduction to Muhammed Ali.
Hooked on boxing I craved the chance to watch great fights and learn about the boxers involved, I even dabbled in the art for several years such was my obsession.
The 80’s era of boxing to me is the greatest decade in boxing history, one particular fight stands out from that era as one the greatest boxing moments, period!!
The bout was between two great champions, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns 15 April 1985, the venue Ceasers Palace in Las Vegas those in attendance witnessed a full-scale war, and that was just the first round.
Hearns was coming off a sensational two round blitzing of Roberto Duran, but was moving up in weight to challenge the long-reigning middleweight king.
Armed with incredible knockout punching power and a pinpoint stiff jab Hearns was immediately put on the backfoot as Hagler the hard battling brawler waded in with vicious intent from the opening bell, to the amazement of those watching ringside.
Hearns returned blows trading with Hagler, and appeared to even hurt Hagler in those savage early exchanges. A raging battle ensued as first one boxer had the advantage and then the other, after a blistering first 3 minutes Hagler returned to his corner with a cut, Hearns returned to his, exhausted, his legs seemingly betraying him. A pre-fight massage was later blamed for the weakness in his legs.
Round 2 began with Hearns adopting his usual jab and move style, visibly tired he tried in vain to avoid the relentless marauding Hagler who at every opportunity pinned Hearns and unleashed a barrage of punches, countering Hearns’s piston like jab.
Round 3 began with Hearns trying to set the pace jabbing and moving and keeping Hagler at arm’s length when suddenly the fight is halted, referee Richard Steele escorted Hagler to the ringside Dr to view a deep cut bleeding profusely from his forehead:
“He’s fine to carry on” the Dr exclaims, with added urgency, Hagler attacked Hearns with the same vicious intent from round one, fearing the cut would stop the fight in his opponents favour.
A clubbing overhand right sent Hearns flying into the corner, a smiling Hearns tried to regain composure as Hagler rushed in landing another brutal right hand to the chin of Hearns dropping him face first to the canvas.
Hearns bravely scrambled to his feet but the fight was waved off by Steele with Hearns out on his feet. A bloodied Hagler arms aloft prowled the ring like a conquering Gladiator from the Roman Coliseum.