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Returning to his corner, Hearns wore the drained expression of a man who had already fought for 36 minutes.
"What are you doing?" Steward screamed. "You've got to stick and move. Jab. Don't fight with him."
In the champ's corner, Dr. Donald Romeo, the chief physician of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, was examining the cut on Hagler's forehead. Another abrasion had begun to form under the eye. Satisfied that the cut on the forehead was harmless, Romeo returned to his seat.
"Don't change," Hagler's trainer, Goody Petronelli, told the champion. "Just keep your hands up a little higher. Don't worry about the cut. Just keep charging and keep the pressure up."
"O.K.," said Hagler. "I won't worry about the cut. If you go to war, you're going to get wounded."
Hagler's pace in the second round was only slightly less relentless. "When I see blood," said the champion, "I become a bull." He came out ready to gore whatever was in his path, and although Hearns rocked him midway through the round with a strong right cross, Hagler never for an instant eased the pressure. "All that right hand did," said Hagler, "was make me even madder."
A veteran of 64 professional fights (all but two of them victories), Hagler could sense the strength seeping away from Hearns's body. As he went back to his corner after the second round, the champion knew the fight was just about over.
"This cut isn't bad, but it's bleeding a lot," said Petronelli, as he worked on Hagler's forehead. "Let's not take any chances. Take him out this round."
"He's ready to go," said Hagler, spitting a mouthful of water into a pail. "He's not going to hurt me with that right hand. I took his best, and now I'm going to knock him out."
As in the first two rounds, Hagler came out at full fury. Forcing himself up on his toes, Hearns tried to hold him off with jabs, but he had little left. Hagler waded through the challenger's jabs, pressing forward, always punching. Hearns was not backing down, but he was backing up. One of Hearns's jabs widened the cut on Hagler's forehead, and as blood came roaring down the champion's face, Steele signaled time-out and stepped in. He led Hagler back to his corner to be reexamined by Romeo.