It remains the benchmark all big fights are measured by: it is the epic, never to be forgotten three-round war between all-time greats Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas “Hitman” Hearns. And with expectations mighty high going into Saturday night’s huge middleweight showdown between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez – both warriors very possibly being all-time greats of the future – some people are even suggesting the 1985 classic could be topped in terms of mesmerising two-way action.
It is almost certainly asking too much, as Hagler-Hearns seems destined to be a fight that will forever stand on its own; due to the shockingly frenzied opening round alone, one that saw two experienced fighters with so much on the line open up and simply throw caution to the wind. Never since have we seen a world championship opening round like it at any weight.
And it would be truly shocking if GGG and Canelo came out in such a blitzkrieg manner on Saturday. But even if the September 16 fight (September 16 being the date of Hearns’ other classic battle, with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981, this epic taking place down at welterweight) does not top Hagler-Hearns for greatest short and sizzling slugfest, might it prove to be a better fight in other ways? Just maybe we will see a long, hard, gruelling battle that has sustained action in every round – even if it’s not as frenetic a pace that GGG and Canelo set from the opening bell. Saturday’s fight could well be one that builds and builds and builds, until the tension becomes quite overwhelming.
Hagler-Hearns seemed to be all over in a flash; this being the sole, minor complaint anyone could have had regarding the eight-minute shoot-out. The fight of 32 years ago never had a chance to develop, as Hearns, his right hand broken on Hagler’s freakishly granite-like skull, was all out of bullets by the third-round.
GGG-Canelo will be intense, it will be very hard for both men and it will, in the opinion of quite a few, go into the later rounds. It will be a wholly different fight to the middleweight war many have compared it to, but this doesn’t mean Saturday night’s 160 pound rumble will not be special in its own way.
Let’s face it, Hagler-Hearns was a one-off.