The greatest first round in the history of boxing happened right here in this fight on April 15th 1985. The fight was for the World Middleweight championship boxing match between Undisputed Champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler and challenger Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns, who was himself the world’s junior middleweight champion. It was first called the ‘the fight’ but later dubbed ‘the war,’ and rightfully so! Many consider it the best fight of all time. I do not, but I think it is really, really close, and it does feature the greatest first round in boxing history. Here is my breakdown on the fight, and when scoring it I had Hearns winning the first round…Enjoy the read and make sure you take the 8 minutes out of your life to watch this fight in the video below. I still get mad that Sugar Ray ‘won’ that decision against Hagler in their fight because 1, I really think Hagler won, and 2. a rematch of this fight would have been a WWII! @CatfishHughes
Hearns and Hagler ran out of their corners like two rabid pit bulls. It was two boxer going for the kill, no time for sizing up, neither was trying to counter. It was vicious and awesome, boxing at it’s finest. It was Hearns with his over hand right, and the brawler Hagler with pure determination.
Hearns hits Hagler with his great punch within the first 15-20 seconds of the fight, and you can see Hagler’s whole leg move back. Then like he was holding a remote control of his life, Hagler stopped the leg mid-turn and said to himself, not today. It was a punch that would have knocked down many, but not Hagler. Hagler had been overlooked too long, he had been underpaid, and under appreciated for too long.
It was that punch that was going to make or break the fight. Hearns broke his right hand somewhere in that fight and I have to say it was probably right there on that punch although Tommy said it was a little bit later in the fight.
Hagler was a brawler. He wrapped up and didn’t fall. Hearns continued to blast Hagler with his long reach. Hagler’s top of his head above his nose started to gush blood in this round, but he stood tall.
Hearns continued to bounce and box, and land that overhand. It just seemed like Marvelous had a brick wall of a head. He ate one, two, three punches by Hearns.
Marvelous kept coming in for more until he landed his own hard right to Tommy’s chin that made his feet do the moonwalk as he flew back.
The round ends quickly after that, and the whole arena had to catch their hearts and hold them. Tommy has been quoted that during that fight he didn’t know what round it was or how long the fight went. The first round featured more hard punches than whole 2 year spans in some divisions.
As the bell sounded, Hearns and Hagler stare at each other as they walk back to their corner. It was two men saying to each other ‘great round’ and ‘F** You” without words.
The greatest 1st round in the history of boxing.
In the second round, the two came out with the caution that you usually see in the first round. Hagler landed a good left that Hearns shook off, and he also switch from his southpaw style. Hearns tripped early only because the Marvelous stepped on his foot.
The strategy was pretty clear at this point in the fight, Hagler was going to use his head to block Hearns giant right hand, and hope to land his own punches while doing so.
By mid round it was apparent that no matter how hard Hearns hit Hagler it wasn’t enough. It was a cause of two things, Hagler’s head and Hearns’ broken hand.
By one minute left, Hearns was out of gas. Hagler was landed solid punches to his face and he started to open up on Hearns face. Hagler’s switch back to his southpaw form allowed his jab to land solid blows.
At the ending of the 2nd round, Hagler cornered Hearns and unloaded on him.
As the bell sounded, the two were tired of each other. Tommy was punch drunk and looked at Hagler to see if the two would do a stare off like they had at the end of the fight. Hagler wasn’t in the mood, and headed back to his corner. A knockout was coming.
Hearns was able to regroup and he jumped out in the third ready to box, stick and move. Hagler wanted to keep the fight a brawl, and he chased Tommy around until he caught him in the corner. Tommy was quickly trying to hold Hagler’s arms. The ref called a time as Hagler’s head was shooting blood now.
The ring doctor came to look at Hagler’s head, and despite the blood, the fight was allowed to continue. Hearns was grateful for the break.
The short break wasn’t enough for Hearns. Hagler ran towards him, and landed jab punch after punch. Hearns smiled but his legs looked like jello, and he was quickly running away with Hagler in pursuit hitting his ear. Hagler moved in and as Tommy tried to throw a punch he collapsed. He got up at an 8 count and then collapsed into referees arms. It was over. Hearns was knocked out, and Hagler pouring blood out of the center of his forehead.
To his credit, Hearns fought back until his last moment even collapsing while swinging a punch. The heart of Tommy Hearns has in that fight is bettered by nobody, ever. He did this all with a broken hand.
Watch the fight below, this is one of the greatest fights ever. And I believe it is the greatest first round ever. It was a WAR!