Malice at the Palace: Thomas Hearn knocks out Roberto Duran in spectacular style

The fight was a dominant performance by the "Hitman", who later called out Marvelous Marvin for a middleweight showdown.

Moving into 1984, the next bout from the Fabulous Four rivalry saw Thomas Hearns defend his WBC junior middleweight crown against Roberto Duran.

Both fighters were at different phases in their career.

At 25, "Hitman" was regarded as one of boxing's hottest properties having rebuilt his reputation from a sole defeat to Sugar Ray Leonard.

Going into April 1985, "Motor City Cobra" had won just two of his five previous bouts inside the distance.

Hearns - known for his punching prowess - cited hand injuries for the lack of knockouts.

One of his wins that had gone the distance was against Wilfred Benitez - boxing's youngest world champion at 17 - via majority decision to become a two-division world champion at junior middleweight.

With Leonard retired, speculation mounted as to who would be the next fighter to feel the force of the Emanuel Steward fighter.

Up stepped none other than Roberto Duran. The Panamanian's stock was considerably high following a courageous defeat at the hands of Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1983.

It was a rare case where the loser gained more respect than the victor. Duran was on a different trajectory to Hearns, though.

After his impressive but unexpected win over Davey Moore to become WBA junior middleweight champion, Duran had to defend the belt against mandatory challenger Mike McCallum - that was until he was given $250,000 on the spot to face Hearns.

With his world title thrown in the bin and money to burn, Duran partied in classic Duran style alongside two women.

In later years, Duran admitted in his autobiography that he went on top of 'the wrong woman.'

His lavish lifestyle would continue for three weeks, and once the whiskey had finally left his system, an overweight Duran was left with the hangover of facing hard-hitting Hearns.

Hearns lives up to nickname

Originally set to take place in the Bahamas, Hearns-Duran would happen at Caesars Palace on June 15, 1984.

Duran - who had been knocked down just twice in 81 previous fights - hit the deck just as many times in the opening round with Hearns unloading a flurry of heavy punches.

Cut above the left eye, referee Carlos Padilla saw behind the smile of "El Cholo" and halted proceedings 67 seconds into round two.

Duran missed out on becoming the first fighter to win four world titles and now his career was left in tatters - not that he cared. "Hands of Stone" revealed why he was smiling on his way to the canvas.

"When I hit the canvas in the middle of that first round, what came into my mind was those two lesbians in Miami," Duran said looking back at his defeat. "I don't know why but it made me laugh."

For Hearns meanwhile, it was a devastating performance which saw his damaged reputation repaired as one of the deadliest punchers in boxing.

More than 14,000 fans witnessed the demise of Duran who had previously beaten Leonard and took middleweight king Hagler to the wire.

"I can see him [Hagler] in my mind now, shaking like a leaf on a tree," said Hearn, who moved to 39 wins from 40 bouts.

Hagler vs Hearns would take place the following year in 1985.

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