Boxing's Fab Four Part Seven: WAR!!

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

15th April 1985, Caesars Palace Outdoor Arena, Las Vegas

Undisputed Middleweight Title

Marvelous Marvin Hagler Vs Thomas Hearns

Marvin Hagler was widely criticised for his safety-first approach against Roberto Duran in their 1983 bout. In March 1984 he faced his WBA mandatory contender Juan Domingo Roldan. The Argentinian was credited with a first-round knockdown of the champion, who had never been off his feet before. Roldan caught Hagler with a glancing left hook to the back of the head and referee Tony Perez counted it as a knockdown. "That was no knockdown in the first round," Hagler said later. "I slipped and I told the ref." Hagler went on to stop Roldan in the tenth round.

In the October Hagler made the tenth successful defence of his undisputed middleweight championship with a third round TKO victory against Mustafa Hamsho. It was the second meeting between the two. They last fought in October 1981, with the challenger taking the champion into the eleventh round, before losing by a stoppage.

These two combatants were originally scheduled to face each other at the Windsor Arena in Windsor, Ontario, Canada on 24th May 1982. That original date was scrapped as Hearns had injured one of his fingers. The bout was rescheduled for 15th July, but the 'Hit Man' wanted the venue changed to the Silverstone in Pontiac, Michigan. Hagler refused to face Hearns in the Detroit area and the contest never materialised. Each fighter blamed the other for ducking out, with the middleweight champion stating: "Hearns is afraid to fight me. He always was, and he always will be."

As interest between these two facing off against each other was at an all-time high, they agreed once again to sign the contracts. Hearns was looking to become a three-weight world champion and his long-range boxing ability and phenomenal punching power had many experts believe he had the tools to overcome Hagler's all-round southpaw skills. "But he ain't never hit Marvin Hagler,"sneered the champion. "I've taken the best shots of the biggest hitters in the middleweight division, and I've never been off my feet (Hagler considers his knockdown by Juan Roldan a slip). And this guy isn't even a middleweight. Hit Man, my ass."

Billed simply as 'The Fight', the 15,088-seat outdoor stadium at Caesars Palace was sold out, with tickets going for as much as $600. The contest generated more than $30 million dollars, thanks to closed-circuit television in six-hundred locations, offering three-million seats.

The champion was a notorious slow starter but. as he was being announced to the crowd, Hagler banged his head with his gloves, a sign that he was pumped up for action. He raced across the ring, no jab, no feeling out process, he just had destruction on his mind. He fired out a right hook and sank a left to Hearns' torso.

He banged the challenger to the ropes, but Hearns let his hands go, otherwise Hagler would just walk right through him, and hurt the champion with a right uppercut. The punch stunned Hagler as he shakily retreated to the ropes as Hearns looked to impose his will.

The champion responded straight away with some big swinging lefts and both men traded in the centre of the ring. The challenger reverted to boxing on the back-foot, getting some daylight between them. He landed some good right hands, but unlike the opening exchanges they didn't hurt the undisputed champion who was landing with lefts and rights.

First blood went to the challenger as Hagler was cut, but he just wiped the blood angrily away and continued to pursue the taller man, looking to detonate that knockout blow.