To add insult to actual injury, Thomas Hearns lost a technical knockout in the round he predicted he would dispose of Marvelous Marvin Hagler.

But Hearns, who took about 30 minutes to be checked by doctors before talking to the media, said the fight would not be his last.

And the thought of a rematch popped into his mind.

"The man showed his greatness and he's one good fighter," Hearns said. "But it doesn't stop here -- if it happened once, let's do it again."

Hearns, who had promised to knock out Hagler in the third round, was stopped at 2:01 of the third after Hagler unleashed a series of crushing right hands to put the challenger on the canvas.

Dazed and battered, Hearns was carried back to his corner, the loser of one of the most action-packed, if brief, fights in recent history.

"I haven't seen that much action in three rounds ever," said referee Richard Steele, who has officiated bouts for 15 years.

Steele said he knew Hearns was hurt late in the second round after Hagler hit him with several left hooks. After Hearns was knocked down in the third round, Steele counted to nine before waving the fight over as Hearns struggled to his feet.

"I knew he'd had enough," Steele said. "His eyes were glazed and his legs were very wobbly."

Hearns credited his rigorous training with helping him come out of the fight with no permanent injury.

"I'm just glad I'm in great physical shape. I thank the Lord for letting me come out without any damage," he said.

A computer analysis of the bout showed both fighters landing about equal numbers of punches, Hagler connecting on 96 of 173 and Hearns finding the mark with 94 of 166.

It was only the second loss of Hearns' career, the other one being another TKO on this very spot, against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981.

To go for a third title, Hearns stepped up in weight class, from the 154-pound class to the 160. On Friday, he weighed 165, well over the limit, but this morning he weighed in at 159 3/4. Hagler weighed 159 1/4.