Perhaps one of the most intense struggles between two men in the professional world of combative sport occurred on April 15, 1985, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns fought for the undisputed world middleweight championship, but as soon as the first round finally came to a close, all who were watching knew that this wasn’t a contest anymore: It was a brutal struggle for something worth more than any title.
The first round of their fight is still (and rightly, in my opinion) considered one of the very best in the history of boxing, and in 1985 the bout was awarded “Fight of the year” honors by the bible of boxing, Ring Magazine, which dubbed the fight as “the most electrifying eight minutes ever.”
And they couldn’t have been more accurate.
Hagler vs. Hearns had it all—drama, aggression, courage, skill and blood—all mined under the shadow of a violent ending that loomed above all like a taskmaster that would accept nothing less than total war.
There was something about this fight that was bigger than both men, and they fought like everything in the world depended on it.
But the world of combative sport does not belong to boxing alone.
Mixed Martial Arts has been a presence in the fight game of America (and the world) for many years now. During that time, some excellent fights have been won and lost in the first round.
But is that good enough? Does MMA have any fights that produced a first round worthy of consideration alongside the first frame of “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns?
I say “yes,” and in doing so offer 10 candidates from the world of MMA (in no specific order) that had first rounds just as good as that seen on April 15, 1985.
And if they’re not “just as good,” they’re real damn close.