"Can you see all right?" the physician asked over the screams of 15,088 outraged fans.
"No problem," said Hagler. "I ain't missing him, am I?"
Romeo again motioned to Steele that the fight could continue.
Deciding that he didn't want the outcome determined by anyone but himself, Hagler moved in, first firing a short left and then a smashing right to the side of Hearns's head. Dazed, the challenger floundered backward across the ring.
The pursuing Hagler unloaded a right and a left, and then leaped in with an overhand right that thundered against Hearns's head. On instinct alone, the challenger tried to clinch, but then he went down.
As Steele picked up the count, Hearns lay on his back, arms outstretched, eyes open but unseeing. With great will, Hearns rolled over and brought himself to his feet at the count of nine. But Steele, after studying the challenger's glazed eyes, wisely signaled a cease-fire. The time was 2:01 of the third round.
With blood still streaming down his face and onto his chest, Hagler leaped into the air, at least $5.7 million richer. It was his 11th title defense, leaving him on track in his drive to surpass Carlos Monzon's middleweight record of 14.
Hearns had to be carried back to his corner, and it was several minutes before he could stand on his own two feet. Later, Hearns, who is still WBC junior middleweight champ and who stands to bank at least $5.4 million from the fight, went into Hagler's dressing room. "We made a lot of money, but we gave them a good show," Hearns said. "Tell you what. You move up and fight the light heavies, and I'll take care of the middleweights."
Hagler laughed. "You move up," he said.
After receiving four stitches for the cut in his forehead, Hagler went to a party in the Augustus Room at Caesars. He spoke briefly to the celebrators. Then, with his wife, Bertha, he watched a video replay of the fight. After seeing the knockout for the fourth time, Hagler smiled and applauded. He looked at his watch. It was midnight. "Let's go," he said to Bertha. His work was done.