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Hagler stops Hearns in 3; Champion bloodied, but remains unbowed

Thomas Hearns, left, avoided this punch by Marvin Hagler, right, but would later hit the canvas in the third round./Boston Globe Archive/The Boston Globe

The following story ran in The Boston Globe on April 16, 1985.

Marvelous Marvin Hagler had promised a war, but he was guilty of understatement. Hagler’s third-round knockout of Thomas Hearns last night was closer to apocalypse.

Hearns could not continue at 2:01 of the third round after being dropped flat on his back by three of Hagler's most numbing right hooks and struggling shakily to his feet at the count of nine. Referee Richard Steele stopped the bout.

"I told my trainers I felt good in the dressing room," said Hagler. "And when I feel good, somebody has to fall."


Steele said that Hearns' eyes were glazed and that his legs were wobbly after the knockdown.

"I wasn't asking questions," said Steele. "I knew he'd had enough. I haven't seen that much action in three rounds in my life."

Both fighters loaded up on both hands from the opening bell and proceeded to land flurries of heavy blows that carried the action back and forth across the ring.

Hearns opened a cut on Hagler's forehead in the first round, a gash that flowed heavily until the end and caused a momentary stoppage in the third when Dr. Donald Romeo examined it. Hagler told him the blood was not blocking hisvision and Romeo allowed him to continue.

Sensing then that his time was running out, Hagler leaped at Hearns and rammed home a thundering right hook. Hearns reeled across the ring, went to the ropes and turned to face an onrushing Hagler. Another right closed Hearns' eyes, and a third unnecessary right encouraged his descent.

Later, Hearns said, "I'm not hurt - thank God I'm not damaged in any way."

Marvin Hagler celebrated after his win against Thomas Hearns.Jim Wilson/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Midway through the first round it was clear Hagler could stand up to Hearns' strongest punch - the straight right - and it may have been there that the fight actually swung. Hagler began to force Hearns backward, step by step, taking him to the ropes, which was the last place he wanted to be. In the process, Hagler paid heavy dues in the form of blurring right hands that clubbed him about the head.


But Hagler wobbled Hearns near the end of the first with a right, taking the round on two judges' scorecards.

The pressure continued in the second - nonstop punching by both fighters with Hagler conrolling the ring by the slightest margin of strength. Hagler worked both to Hearns' body and head, while Hearns pumped most of his punches to Hagler's head, working on the cut forehead and another cut under the champion's right eye.

Hearns changed tactics as the third started and was on his toes, movingfrom side to side. Hagler got on his chest and worked both hands down and up, jarring Hearns with stiff uppercuts.

The knockout punches, however, were from a distance.

"It was a tomahawk followed by an ax," said matchmaker Teddy Brenner, describing the denoucement.

Hearns came to Hagler's dressing room 30 minutes after the bout and congratulated him. The two fighters, who professed mortal hatred during the buildup, hugged and kissed, according to Jim Resnick, a supervisor who was present.

"The better man won," Hearns told Hagler.

"Thanks for coming," said Hagler. "I would have done the same thing if I had lost."

"Nobody deserves this money more than the two of us," said Hearns.


Cubanito Perez, a junior welterweight from Los Angeles, scored a unanimous 10-round decision over Pat Jefferson of Eugene, Ore., in the top match on a budget-priced undercard.

Perez, whose claim to fame is a narrow 10-round loss to Hector Camacho, dominated Jefferson with a quick, stiff left jab that brought forth a steady flow of blood.

Heayvweight Willie DeWit, a 1984 Olympic silver medalist from Canada, was knocked down once and cut badly over his left eye but emerged somehow with adraw against Alex Williamson of Miami in a six- round preliminary.

Williamson dropped DeWit with a short left to the temple in the first. In the sixth, Williamson opened a gash over DeWit's left eye. Dewit got a four- point nod from one judge, Williamson got a one- point edge from another, and the third judge called it three rounds apiece, failing to give Williamson a two-point margin for the knockdown. DeWit dropped to 3-0-1 as a pro, while Williamson, who is managed by Angelo Dundee, went to 5-1-2.

In other prelims, welterweight Daryl Chambers of Detroit, was hospitalized and underwent brain examination after being stopped by Luis Santana of Hawthorne, Calif., at 1:28 of the third round; Andy Minsker of Milwaukie, Ore., TKO’d John Watkins at 0:45 of the fourth in a feathweight matchup; and light heavyweight Rickey Womack, another Kronk fighter, took a six-round decision from David Vedder of San Jose.