“I wanted to jump right on top of him, not give him any time to think, or give him time to use his reach or his right hand.” — Marvelous Marvin Hagler
“Everything was in fast motion. It was so quick that I forgot how many rounds it went.” — Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns
Thirty-five years ago today, nothing else mattered in the boxing world except this fight, this match-up, a clash of the two best warriors in the game for the undisputed middleweight championship of the world. It was another “superfight” in a decade of amazing spectacles that captivated the attention of not only boxing enthusiasts, but of sports fans from around the world.
The timing was perfect: Hagler had been a dominant force in the fight game for years, while Hearns was coming off a shocking second round annihilation of Roberto Duran, the same man who had been the only one of Marvin’s title challengers to take him the fifteen round distance. Both were champions, both in their primes, and both with a seething hatred of the other. And by the time they entered the ring on that Monday night in Las Vegas, the suspense and the anticipation could not have been more electrifying.
And when the battle was done and the smoke had cleared, Hagler stood alone, lord of all he surveyed. With Sugar Ray Leonard retired, with the Mike Tyson era still to come, Marvelous Marvin was now the king of boxing. But this was so not only because Hagler had prevailed in a match billed simply as “The Fight,” but more because of how he had won it. Because of the guts and determination Thomas Hearns brought to the ring that night, because of how both men had fought. Simply put, it was fury and ferocity on a scale rarely seen, two primed professionals putting it all on the line from the very start, no quarter given or taken as they battled with astounding intensity.
It’s an historic fight and an historic opening round, without question one of the most unforgettable rounds in boxing history. And with today being the 35th anniversary of that legendary clash, Lee Wylie rises to the occasion and offers us something new and special, his personal tribute to the courage of Hagler and Hearns and the three action-packed minutes that are forever etched in boxing lore. Relive it now and be amazed again at what Marvelous Marvin and Hitman Hearns gave us on that Vegas night three-and-a-half decades ago. Welcome, once again, to “The War.”
“He came to fight. He showed me great skills and a lot of courage.” — Marvelous Marvin Hagler
“The man showed his greatness.” — Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns