Nearly 30 years after it took place, Marvin Hagler's April 1985 defense of the undisputed middleweight championship of the world against Thomas Hearns remains the greatest short fight in history. The opening round is perhaps the greatest round in the history of the middleweight division.
Hearns was a crafty boxer but also among the hardest pound-for-pound sluggers of all time. Hagler was an extremely powerful and skilled boxer-puncher.
Hagler stalked Hearns aggressively as the fight began, but Hearns landed a huge right hand about a minute into the round that opened a gruesome cut on Hagler's forehead. Still, by the end of the round, Hagler had Hearns trapped, and he rocked him with a brutal combination at the very end of the round.
It turned out that Hearns had broken his hand in the first round, and he tried to jab and move in Round 2, as Hagler continued to swarm. Early in Round 3, referee Richard Steele stopped the action so Hagler's cut could be assessed.
With the fight at risk, Hagler ratcheted up the intensity. He hit Hearns with a thunderous combination that left the challenger flat on his back.
Somehow Hearns actually made it back to his feet, but Steele could see he was clearly detached from his consciousness and actually had to support him to prevent him from falling back down after the fight was stopped.