Pats get Marvelous inspiration
After the Patriots 31-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons Sunday it was revealed that Bill Belichick showed the Pats the 1985 fight between "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler and Thomas "The Hit Man" Hearns as motivation. Belichick said the goal of the fight was to show the Pats the importance of coming out swinging. He also wanted to emphasize how well the Falcons started games (a 28-3 margin in points in the first quarter) and that the Patriots couldn't afford a slow start. Something jarred the team and they ran out to a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter. The game turned out to be a similar slugfest, however, as the Falcons and Patriots went back and forth until the Patriots hit the knock out punch in the closing seconds. In the form of an Adam Viniateri field goal. (It's not the first time Belichick has used a Boston legend to inspire his club, in 2002 the Patriots watched a film on the career of Celtics Hall of Famer Bill Russell who lead his team to 11 titles in 13 years including 8 in a row. Following the film Russell appeared and talked to the players about what it took to repeat as champion. So far the Patriots are on track, winning their first 3 titles in four years, just like Russell and the Celtics.) Here are the highlights from that epic fight:
"Marvelous" (60-2-2, 50 KOs) was the defending World Middleweight Champion. "The Hit Man" (40-1, 36KOs) was the reigning Junior Middleweight Champion, moving up a weight class. Tensions were high before the fight as Hagler called Hearns a loudmouth and Hearns called Hagler a midget. Experts weren't sure what to expect. Most pointed to a common opponent in Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran. Hagler had gone 15 grueling rounds with Duran in an ugly boring fight, while Hearns KO'd Duran in two rounds, with one of the most vicious punches ever seen.
The first round has been called the greatest round of all time by most experts. In your Uncle Buck's opinion it is the only round UB has ever seen that looked like a real life portrayal of a Rocky movie. There were 160 punches in the round that appeared to be almost dead even, maybe slightly favoring Hearns, who had opened a cut above Hagler's eye. Hearns caught Hagler early with a cross that staggered the champion, but Hagler battled back with power shots. You could say the second round slowed down, but only compared to the intensity of the first round. Hagler began to take control, but Hearns opened up his cut to the point where blood was pouring out, all over his face. Referee Richard Steele asked Hagler if he could see, to which Hagler replied, "I ain't missin' him, am I?" As the cut got worse in the third round Steele called for time and the ringside doctor took a look at Hagler. Since Marvin said he could see the doctor allowed the fight to continue. The Hearns corner had told Tommy to jab at the cut to try and get Steele to stop the fight and award Tommy the victory by TKO. The blood, however, seemed to charge up Hagler who landed devastatinging punches, including a right hook that sent Hearns across the ring. Tommy's legs were gone and Marvin landed one more cross that finished the job, knocking Hearns on his back. Tommy beat the 10 count, but Steele decided he could not continue.
Since the fight there has not been equal. Hagler went on to lose to "Sugar" Ray Leonard two years later in a controversial decision. He then went on to do cocaine and Italian films. Hearns made a good comeback that included a 12 round draw against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1989 for WBC Super Middleweight Title. Hearns was robbed. He beat Leonard's brains in and knocked him down twice. It was almost as big a robbery by the judges as the Hagler-Leonard fight.
It was only 3 rounds but UB says it was the best fight of all times...