Breaking down The WAR: Hagler vs Hearns


Tomas “The Hitman/The Motor City Cobra” Hearns

Thomas Hearns is an incredible fighter. Easily one of the biggest punchers of all time with knockout victories from 147lbs all the way up through the weight classes finishing his career at 175lbs. He is very tall for his weight and had freakishly long reach even for his height. Trained by the late, great Emmanuel Steward this guy could be either the smoothest boxer you’ve ever watched or the most horrifying knockout artist of his generation. See for yourself http://i.imgur.com/C2qezMv.mp4. The two nick names he aquired over his storied career have become synonymous with how he chose to fight. The seek and destroy “Hitman” or the slick, speedy Cobra.

“Marvelous” Marvin Hagler

This older, wiser version of the Marvelous one is 5 undefeated years removed from the Alan Minter fight, where he got his first taste of gold. The only person to even hear the final bell in those 5 years was the cagey, Iron-chinned Roberto Duran. Hagler knew Tommy Hearns was no Alan Minter. He knew that to stay at range and jab with him would be borderline suicidal. He knew the only way he was going to win this fight was to get up close and personal with the hardest puncher of his generation.

For those that have never seen this fight, The first round is seriously one of the greatest moments in the history of the sport. No range finding, no getting comfortable, no time to think. This was as much a street fight as a boxing match. It’s brutality, frantic pace and utter disregard for what many would call textbook boxing is something very rare and very special. Accordingly I have Gifed the first round more or less in it’s entirety.

Right from the get go

Hagler opens up with an overhand right from the southpaw stance, Tommy turns him as he throws a left hook to the body. Tommy backs away and throws a jab trying to establish his distance, Hagler tries to go to the body with a straight left but eats two jabs for his troubles. Tommy jabs again but Hagler slips it and cracks him with another left to the body. He is creating a pattern by throwing the left to the body so when he does it again Tommy never expects the right hook to the head to follow it and the fight begins in earnest as Hagler pushes Hearns back to the ropes.

Cracking Granite

Hearns opens up with a powerful combination of uppercuts as Hagler comes in low, opening up a cut n Hagler forehead and stunning the incredibly tough Hagler for a moment, forcing him to tie up. Hagler hesitates a moment before stepping in with a huge left hand as he establishes lead foot dominance on the taller fighter. Hearns quickly answers back with an uppercut to the body before unleashing his own combination, catching Hagler with a solid left hook at the end.

“When you are going through hell, Keep going”

Hagler is utterly determined to walk Hearns down and press him against the ropes where he can nullify his massive reach advantage. He is using the old Joe Frazier method of trying to duck his head down every time the taller opponent tried to launch his punches at him, finally after taking an uppercut and several hard left hooks from the lanky Hearns he gets him where he wants him and opens up and cracks him with a straight right hand. Also watch Hagler’s feet here, he is doing what is called “shifting” which is switching stances as he comes forward with his own punches, not many fighters do it these days (with the exception of GGG and Andre Ward) and it can be incredibly valuable as it allows you to cover more distance then staying in just one stance.

Chasing down a Cobra

The ref seperates the two men and the chase is back on as Hearns retakes the center of the ring. Hagler is back in his southpaw stance and Hearns is able to establish lead foot dominance in order to land his right hand before using his excellent lateral movement to stay out of the way of the tenacious little pit bull known as Marvin Hagler.

The Cobra strikes back

Hearns displays his excellent knowledge of timing and distance here cracking Hagler multiple times as he is trying to walk him down. Hagler starts lunging in with a long jab just trying to get a glove on Hearns who uses his excellent lateral movement to stay off the ropes. Hagler corners him but Hearns pushes his way out and circles to his right before cricking him again with his hard right hand.

This is disgusting

The fact that Hagler can walk through the huge punches is nothing less than astonishing. There is maybe one other fighter at his weight ever who could do this. “The Raging Bull” Jake Lamotta. Anybody else would be more than convinced after this barrage that maybe they should take a step back. After taking and walking through this horrible beating he finally gets the slick, hard hitting Hearns to the ropes where he can do his best work against the taller fighter. Hagler has also switched stances again.

Getting down and dirty in the phone booth

The first thing Hagler does is enter the dirty game of the inside fight with a left hook. Then he focuses on trying to push Tommy’s hands down to open up the head. Because he is the shorter fighter he can launch his hooks from much closer than Hearns can. Notice how the only time Hearns can really punch is after he pushes Hagler back. Those long arms of his become a liability on the inside and Hagler batters him with shorter harder punches as Hearns tries to make distance to throw back.

Hearns gets rocked

He knows fighting like this is suicide so hearns starts to move his head to try and take the sting off some of Hagler’s punches. Hearns lands a hard right hook that forces Hagler to his side, he then uses his forearm to maintain the distance between them but Hagler just keeps walking with his hooks and Hearns gets wobbled by them.

No give in Hearns

Hearns has no intention of giving an inch to Hagler and goes out swinging as the 1st round comes to an end.

Two very important things happen between rounds

The first one is Hagler’s corner gets to work on the huge and badly placed cut Tommy created with that uppercut. The other is Tommy told his corner that he broke his right hand on that boulder Marvin Hagler calls a head.

Hearns comes out dancing

He knows he can’t bang it out in the trenches with Hagler anymore. He needs to keep the distance if he’s got any shot to win, but Hagler comes out punching again.

Jabbing moving and courage

Hearns is trying to stay the hell away from Hagler using his jab to keep distance and continually changges direction trying to keep his back off the ropes. The crazy thing is Hearns doesn’t stop throwing his broken right hand.

I cringe just watching this

Hearns keeps throwing his right hand with reckless abandon cracking Hagler a few times with it here. If Hagler knows he broke it he is going to go in for the kill. He is throwing broken bones as hard as he can, anybody who has ever broken his hand can tell you how much this hurts without punching someone. This is torture.

Hagler’s grappling

The men exchange before Hearns backs away from Hagler’s hook to the body. Hearns let’s go of a three punch combo before trying to push Hagler away, but Hagler grabs a hold of one of Hearns arms and pulls him into a left hook of his own forcing Hearns towards the ropes before stepping in with a a combo of his own and pushing Hearns back into the ropes.

Hagler pours it on

Hearns tries to push his way away from the ropes but Hagler meets him with a hook before pulling down on Hearns right arm to land 3 left hooks to the head. Hagler starts taking him apart with punches ducking underneath Hearns return fire and overwhelming the taller man with his sheer volume of punches.

The ref checks Haglers cut

The blood from the cut on his forehead is leaking down towards his eyes, obscuring his vision. The ringside doctor comes in and asks “Can you see ok, Marvin” and Hagler being the bad motherfucker he is replies “I’m not missing him am I?” The doctor allows the fight to continue but Hagler knows he is on borrowed time. He is determined to finish this fight.

The Ko

Hargler catches Hearns with a right hand and his legs finally give out. Hearns tries to get away but Hagler runs him down like a Tiger chasing it’s prey. He finally puts the lights out with a right hook he left his feet to land.

The fight is over

Hearns is up before the count but his legs are totally shot. The referee wisely stop the fight and Hagler is declared the winner.

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6 thoughts on “Breaking down The WAR: Hagler vs Hearns

  1. This was a fantastic breakdown, fine work as always. I loved the quote ““When you are going through hell, Keep going” I needed that for motivation today. Thanks.

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