A case of wrong fight strategy is how I saw it. Hearns punched himself out within the first two rounds, thinking he can wear Hagler out that soon. Hagler took all his hardest punches and went on to knock him out.
What should Tommy have done to reverse the outcome?
It was an epic, brutal, short fight but it is forever printed in my mind.
Certainly Hearns could’ve won it as his punching power, even coming up in weight, was good enough to hurt anyone. What he did was allow himself to get into that first round brawl. He took big shots he didn’t need to and broke his hand. From then on he was pretty much doomed.
A better strategy would have been to purposefully quieten down the first few rounds, spoil it a bit and take a little of the sting from Hagler, then go to work. That doesn’t guarantee a win of course (Hagler was at his brutal best) but a dust-up of that nature definitely favoured Hagler more than Hearns. I bet it that was his plan anyway but, as Tyson said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”
It’s a while since I’ve seen it. Wow, superb stuff. An absolute war.
As for your assessment? I think a long fight conducted at range gives Hearns his best chance, picking him off and wearing him down.
I also think Hagler was in peak shape and fighting brilliantly. As such he was a tough man to take down whatever the tactics but certainly giving him the fight-style he wanted was a huge risk.
Run the fight again 10 times with a variety of tactics and I think Hagler wins regardless 7 out of 10.
An inside battle with fire and fury as we saw from Hearns sees him win one of the ten, a carefully constructed, rangey and evasive boxing performance sees him win two of the ten.
YMMV of course. (and if we can’t have a good old pub-style debate over such an iconic fight then all hope is lost)
Regardless, I really miss the big matches on free TV. At school the day after this fight there was only one topic of conversation whereas now I suspect there is zero recognition of the top boxers. Absolutely no way I’m ever paying the silly money for the big fights though.
Hearns was superbly talented but can’t see him taking the Marvelous one at 160 at that point in time. Hagler too relentless, too powerful - hugely durable fighter who would walk him down. I think he also had enormous will to win this fight - Hagler had to wait a long time to get the world title shot he deserved (first against Antuofermo and then when he won against Minter) and reckon he saw this fight as the one that would cement his legacy as an all time great.
SRL did show you could get on your bike against Hagler and have success, but that was a few years later when Hagler had lost a step and was slowing down [plus the result of that fight is argued over to this day]. Marvin was quite a patient fighter, IIRC, and could be drawn into a cagey fight - he didn’t usually come out brawling, so that was the only way Hearns could have won IMHO but I still don’t see it happening. Instead the opposite happened and Hagler made Hearns fight his fight.
Hearn’s strategy really was foolish, in hindsight - try and blast out one of the hardest fighters to have ever laced them up in a couple of rounds? Hearns had recently blitzed Roberto Duran in short order so perhaps was buying into his Hitman moniker a little too much. Duran is obv an ATG but physically a much smaller man than Hagler in boxing terms.
No I’m not convinced that was a smart move, doesn’t make sense to me. Hearns was far better at range, measuring for that right. Sure that’s risky against Hagler because he’ll step into you at the drop of a hat but to be honest, anything was risky against Hagler at that point in his career because he was that darn good.
But mixing it up in the hope of an early KO? First rule of boxing must be to fight the fight that your opponent doesn’t want.
Watching the fight back it was noticeable to me that Hearns reverts to type in the second half of R1 and beyond and I think he realises that plan B had gone down the shitter already and his natural plan A was needed. Of course by that time his hand was probably broken and he’d sustained good shots early on. The game was up.
ah, what a golden age of boxing though. I know nostalgia isn’t what it used to be but I’m right in thinking it was better then aren’t I?
Plus, from a purely aesthetic point of view Hearns looked *fantastic *, incredibly athletic and more like an 800 runner than a boxer.
Thomas “Hitman” Hearns was a formidable fighter but, unfortunately, from the historic footage I’ve seen about his career, he could of also been called Thomas “Glassjaw” Hearns. One solid punch to the head was enough to put him on “Queer Street”.
He was a blown-up welterweight - thirteen pounds makes a big difference.
Hearns’ best chance would have been to box and move and try to set up the right, but Hagler was not going to give him that chance. Hearns landed the right, but Hagler’s chin was granite (he was never legitimately knocked down - he slipped and Roldan hooked an arm around his neck and pulled him down). Hagler was just too good at that stage of their respective careers. Hearns was fast, but Hagler had that long southpaw right that even Hearns couldn’t get away from.
For some reason, boxing judges didn’t like Hagler, so the Marvelous One wasn’t going to let it go the distance. For heaven’s sake, they gave Antuofermo a draw in their first fight, not to mention the royal screw-job of the Leonard fight.
Hagler-Hearns is up there with the Zale-Graziano fights - the purest essence of two guys fighting for something only one guy can have. Plus that perfect exchange between Hagler and the ringside doc after he was cut -
Agreed - beautiful fighter to watch. His earlier nickname was extremely apt - the Motor City Cobra.
Don’t know if you follow the boxing these days [I do but only on a casual basis] but Callum Smith looked world class putting George Groves away the other week. 6’ 3 supermiddle weight (168 lb) with an engine and skills. We’re not talking Thomas Hearns here, nothing like the flair, but if he can continue to make that weight he could dominate.
I just a little kid when this fight took place. I’ve seen the fight in the past, but just watched again on youtube and although Hearns fought his ass off, I don’t think he could have done anything differently to win. He delivered his best shots and Hagler shook them off. When Hearns did try to box and use his reach, Haggler was able to close the distance and fight his fight. Too bad these guys never had a rematch, but I’m afraid Hearns probably would have lost again.