• Harry Twort

Hagler Vs Hearns: Remembering a true Boxing legend

Updated: Mar 15

Heartbreaking news arose yesterday and sent shockwaves through the boxing world, as it was announced that ‘Marvellous’ Marvin Hagler had unexpectedly died at the age of 66. Hagler was one of the greatest to ever step inside a boxing ring and dominated the middleweight scene from 1979 till the late 80’s. He picked up his first world titles at Wembley stadium against Brit, Ross Minter in 1980 and carried on picking up more titles until he fell short controversially to fellow great ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard in their bout in 1987. This also turned out to be Hagler’s last bout as he decided to hang the gloves up with an astonishing record of 62-3-2 with 52 KO’s.

However, one Hagler fight that sticks out in the memory of boxing fans the most, is his war with Tommy ‘Hitman’ Hearns.

‘The fight’ was staged in none other than the boxing mecca in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. The bout was previously scheduled for May 24th 1982 at Windsor arena, Ontario, Canada but unfortunately had to be postponed due to Hearns injuring his finger. It was then moved to July 25th 1982 with Hearns wanting to fight in the Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan. Hagler refused to fight Hearns in the Detroit area and as a result the fight was cancelled. Hagler tormented Hearns by saying “Hearns is afraid to fight me. He always was, and always will be.” Third time lucky and the new date was April 15th 1985 for the two warriors to step into the ring with it being Hagler’s 10th defence of his WBA and WBC Middleweight titles and his 5th defence of his IBF belt. Tommy Hearns was coming off a TKO 3rd round win against Fred Hutchings as Hearns was successful in the 3rd defence of his WBC super-welterweight crown. Hagler also ended his previous fight with a 3rd round TKO win against Syrian challenger Mustafa Hamsho. Prior to the bout, both fighters had very impressive records, with Hagler being 60-2-2 with 50 KO’s it was clear he carried power. Hearns boasted a record of 40-1 ending 34 wins with a KO, so it was clear Hearns also had power in his hands too. Hagler was guaranteed a purse of $5.6 million with Hearns earning a guaranteed $5.4 million.

Both men were in the ring and ready to give it their all. You could feel a real animosity and hatred as both fighters looked over at each other from the opposing corners as the American national anthem was being played. The Judges scoring the bout at ringside were Herb Santos, Harry Gibbs and Dick Young and the referee who overlooked the contest was Richard Steele.

The stage was set and everyone was ready as round 1 got underway and Hagler came charging out at Hearns, trying to make it an early nights work and then BANG! Hagler came at Hearns with a flush right hook to the head but Hearns returned with a right of his own, stopping Hagler in his tracks. Hearns, still landing vicious shots on a hurt and wobbly Hagler, chased him down looking for a big shot to finish, but then Hagler came back with another pinpoint right hook to the chin of Hearns to then slow him down. With only 1 minute into the fight, fans and pundits were ecstatic and questioning of what more is to come?! Hagler then landed a nice right hand pinning Hearns on the ropes. You could already hear the roars from the upstanding crowd. Nearing the end of the 1st round, it appeared Hagler was cut on his right eye and in the last seconds a bloodied Hagler had Hearns in the corner and against the ropes teeing off all sorts of shots to the body and head of ‘Hitman’. But Hearns was chucking out shots of his own, catching Hagler on the chin on occasions and had viewers around the globe being treated with first class boxing entertainment.

One of the commentators described the 1st round’s action as “an entire fight in itself” as Hagler’s cutman tried to clear up Marvin’s cut up face. The bell sounded for round 2 with fans and pundits hoping for more of what they had just witnessed and they got their wish, as Hearns started the round by slipping off the ropes, catching Hagler with punches as Hagler was trying to cut off the ring and get him within firing range to unload. Hagler continued to land right and left hooks to the head and body of Hearns, but Hearns had answers of his own having his own success, but as the round went on Hagler was being the successor landing the more powerful and accurate barrages of the fighters. It then appeared another cut had opened on the forehead of Marvin Hagler as he continued to step forward and hurt Hearns with a left hook to the head followed by two more rights and another left as round 2 came to a close.

Round 3 began with Hagler again chasing Hearns around the ring throwing overhand rights and lefts which shaved Hearns’s head. The referee then called time out for the doctor to check over the cuts of Hagler but thankfully the doctor deemed Hagler as fine. The doctor questioned “Can you see all right?” Hagler responded, “I ain’t missing him, am I?”. The fight continued as Hagler connected with a lovely right to the chin of Hearns which made his legs very rubbery, as he continued to try and move away from Hagler’s arsenal of shots. But Hagler’s power proved to be all too much for Hearns as Hagler hit him with an explosive right hand causing him to stumble towards the ropes and eventually hitting the canvas. Was the brawl all over? Would Hearns be able to get up? Hearns and his jelly-like legs managed to beat the count but it was clear this fight needed to be stopped, as Hearns was extremely wobbly and that is exactly what happened. Referee Richard Steele waved his arms in the air to call it and Hagler walked past Hearns raising both arms towards the crowd being victorious and being successful in yet another title defence.

This fight was Hagler’s 10th knockout in 11 successful title defences. This achievement is regarded as his best of his legendary boxing career. Boxing magazine “The Ring” named this all out war the fight of the year in 1985 and their first round battle was named round of the year.

Tommy “Hitman” Hearns put out a post on his Instagram yesterday telling everyone Marvin Hagler was fighting for his life.

Everyone at HF Media is saddened to hear the devastating news and send condolences to the Hagler family at such a sad time. Boxing has certainly lost a legend but his legacy will forever be remembered. May he rest in peace.

Written by Harry Twort