Marvelous Marvin Hagler hoped "everyone got their money's worth" after he stopped Thomas Hearns in the third round of a fight that packed a lifetime of action into 8 minutes 1 second tonight.
"I felt every fight I had I pooled and put together in this fight," said Hagler, 30. He called on all the savvy and savagery built up in remaining undefeated in his last 36 fights over the last nine years to remain undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
"The better man won," said Hagler.
But for a fleeting moment in the third round, it looked as if Hagler might lose. Blood was pouring from cuts above and below the right eye, which had been opened in the first round. Referee Richard Steele halted the action and summoned Dr. Donald Romeo onto the ring apron to examine Hagler's wounds.
The crowd voiced its displeasure as Hearns' corner rose up in hope and Hagler's corner looked on anxiously.
Romeo quickly indicated to Steele that the fight could continue and Hagler wasted little time making sure the cuts would no longer be a problem.
A right hand by Hagler moments later in the third round sent Hearns reeling toward defeat. Hagler, with blood streaming down his face, pounced on the World Boxing Council super welterweight champion and sent him to the floor with a volley of blows.
Hearns struggled up to beat the count of Steele, who took one look at the challenger's glazed eyes and said the action had come to an end at 2:01 of the third round as a sellout crowd of 15,008 in an outdoor stadium at Caesars Palace roared itself hoarse.
Hagler, who was guaranteed $5.7 millions to $5.4 million for Hearns, said that the second round was the turning point of the bout.
"I knew I had him in the third round after he went back slow after the second round," Hagler said.
"He hit me with some good rights, but I showed I could take them," said Hagler. "He didn't bother me."