Mention those two names and sports fans know exactly what you’re talking about: the greatest fight in boxing history. Three rounds of toe-to-toe action featuring two hall-of-famers, thirty years ago today.
I watched the fight with my dad, brothers, cousins, uncles, and friends at my uncle’s house. The room was abuzz with excitement and my most vivid memory was everybody screaming and shouting from the opening bell until Hearns finally crumpled to the canvas.
Everybody knew we had just seen history. I’ve watched my share of sports during my lifetime and this was one of the few, and definitely the best, examples of the event living up to the hype. It was exhilarating, the once-in-a-lifetime fight that thrilled during every second of the match.
The hype for the latest Fight of the Century has been building for years. Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are set to square off in less than a month and it’s relatively quiet right now on the media front. Thankfully, we’re not getting daily write-ups about the fight (although I’m sure that will change with about two weeks to go). There won’t be a 24/7 or Total Access reality series, since the event is basically selling itself, but you can follow each fighter on social media to see what they’re doing every day.
I’m not as excited about Pacquiao-Mayweather as I would’ve been a few years ago. As I wrote earlier this year, both fighters are past their primes and fans will need to temper their expectations for a war like Hagler-Hearns. We’re more likely to get another Hagler-Leonard, which means Floyd will use his better boxing skills to weasel his way to a decision. Just as Leonard did nearly three decades (!) ago, he’ll do just enough to win the match.
And this is exactly why I’ll always be a Pacquiao and Hagler fan rather than a Mayweather and Leonard fan. Pacquiao and Hagler are fighters. Mayweather and Leonard are boxers. You can argue that boxers understand the sweet science. You can also argue that it’s called a prizefight, not a prizebox.
I appreciate boxers. I root for fighters.