Could Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto recreate 8 minutes of ring mayhem as Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns did 24 years ago ?
Promoter Bob Arum thinks it is possible.
Hagler v Hearns, at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, in April 1985, is regarded by many as the most exciting eight minutes in fight history, with Hagler the winner by a technical knockout in the third round. It was Fight of the Year after both men went at it from the opening bell like men possessed.
Miguel Cotto against Manny Pacquiao brings together two fighters who are sporting icons in Puerto Rico and the Philippines respectively, and who are regarded as boxing’s No 3 and No 1 pound-for-pound, respectively, at present.
Cotto, 29, a two-weight world champion, has fought at welterweight for three years, and has been beaten only once in 35 contests, while Pacquiao, 30, attempts to win a seventh world title in a seventh weight division, which has seen him come up over eight years from flyweight to welterweight. He has been beaten twice in his 55-fight career, with two draws.
Although this contest is taking place at 145lbs, Cotto’s World Boxing Organisation welterweight (147lb) crown is on the table.
When Hagler and Hearns met in 1985, for the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight titles, Hagler was 30, and had lost only twice, much earlier in his career, while Hearns was 26 and had been beaten just once, stopped in the 14th round by Sugar Ray Leonard.
Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Cotto, visited both training camps – in Baguio City in the Philippines and Tampa, Florida.
“The way Manny and Miguel are talking about it, it could be like the three-round war between Hagler and Hearns,” the veteran promoter Arum told Telegraph Sport. “The conventional wisdom is that Cotto is best when he’s aggressive, but I don’t know if he feels he can be aggressive with this guy from the get-go. But if Cotto is aggressive, though, it could be a Hagler v Hearns all over again.”