Greatest Three Rounds in Boxing History: Hearns vs Hagler

by Tom Reynolds on March 14, 2011

If you want to learn how to fight, one thing you need to do is watch and learn from the greats. Known as The War, this world middleweight championship fight featuring Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns is one of the greatest fights in history. It is easily one of the most aggressive back and forth fights ever recorded.

Marvin Hagler– Black Shorts
Thomas Hearns– Yellow Shorts

Some Highlights

Round 1

  • Hagler normally starts slow, but he came in aggressive off the bat, taking Hearns off guard.
  • At 1:36, Hearns broke his hand on Hagler’s jaw.
  • Throughout, Hearns will try initially to slow the pace, but Hagler continues to keep the tempo high, stay in tight, and hit Hearns with big punches.
  • Hagler had a nasty cut opened on his forehead.
  • Considered by many to be the best round in boxing history.

Round 2

  • Hearns came out with rubbery legs.
  • Hagler continued to control the center of the ring and pin Hearns to the ropes.

Round 3

  • The cut on Hagler’s face started to gush.  Concerned that the fight would be ended, he threw some bombs at Hearns and caught him with a nasty overhand left and followed with a cross that dropped him.
  • Hearns fell with a smile on his face and willed himself up by the ten count, but the ref wasn’t having it.


This fight was no doubt one of the best I’ve ever seen. The closest thing to it that I can think of is Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar.

There were a few things in my mind that swayed this fight in Hagler’s direction:

  1. From the start, Hagler’s aggression and pressure forced Hearns to fight a close war.  Hearns was left fighting off the ropes where Hagler was able to beat him up and tire him out.
  2. As basic as it is, Hagler kept his hands up and Hearns didn’t. Hearns caught a lot of damage just by leaving his hands down at his chest, while Hagler was absorbing much of the damage with his arms.
  3. Hearns’ legs were like jello so he had less power and mobility. Hearns’ legendary trainer, Emanuel Steward, blamed the massage that Hearns demanded before the fight.  I blame the fact that Hearn’s was backpedaling and circling the whole fight because of Hagler’s ring control.

Hope you guys enjoyed this fight as much as I did.

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  • Stefan Palmer

    How can these guys take so many punches?

    • Eric

      Combination of a lot of sparring, keeping their chin down and mouth closed, and good genetics.

  • vince anila

    Remember it like it was yesterday! (Saw it with my dad on closed-circuit television.) I miss that whole era of boxing.

    • Eric

      These old school boxing matches are great. That’s when boxing was boxing. It had it’s problems, but it wasn’t the mess that it is today.

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