VERONA, N.Y. -- Old rivalries die hard in the Sweet Science.
That was the takeaway for many boxing fans who attended the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s annual banquet for inductees Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino, where Brockton’s own “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler learned that a certain Hitman was still smarting from their epic clash in 1985.
“I’m callin’ you out, Marvin,” said Tommy “The Hitman,” Hearns, who was stopped by Hagler in the third round of their seismic middleweight title fight in April 1985, regarded by pundits as the most thrillingly violent bout in the modern history of the sport. “I want you, and I want you bad.”
A public callout for a rematch is nothing new in the fight game, though many in the crowd of more than 800 at Saturday night’s banquet hooted at the notion of Hearns, 59, stepping into the ring for a second act with Hagler, 64. Hagler reigned as middleweight champion from 1980 to 1987.
Hearns, though, repeatedly pressed his case from the lectern, to the delight of attendees who included Lowell pugilist “Irish” Micky Ward, Mike Tyson, legendary promoter Don King, and Jim Gray, a Showtime boxing commentator and frequent Tom Brady interlocutor who was inducted Sunday into the Boxing Hall of Fame in nearby Canastota, N.Y.
“Marvin, you’re right, we made history together,” Hearns said. “But it ain’t over. We can write history a second time. . . . I know I can do it.” The question remains, Hearns added, “can you?”
“Tommy, you know you’re too old right now to be thinking like that,” Hagler said, prompting laughter from the crowd.
He later suggested, “Why don’t we make a movie together? I think that would be a great idea. . . . I would title it, ‘The War.’ ”
Hearns seemed open to the possibility, but no plans for a film or rematch were immediately confirmed.
Ward, whose life and career were immortalized by Mark Wahlberg in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” also addressed the crowd at the banquet.
“I want to thank you for supporting the boxers, the fighters of the past generation and this generation and the next generation and so on,” Ward said. “I want to thank you and I want to congratulate the inductees.”
In addition to Gray, the inductees for the 2018 class included former champions Vitali Klitschko, Erik Morales, and Winky Wright, broadcaster Steve Albert, and promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl. Posthumous inductees included the fighter Sid Terris, ring announcer Johnny Addie, and promoter Lorraine Chargin.Travis Andersen can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.