Editor’s note: The Union Leader is bringing back some of the late Joe Sullivan’s Union Leader sports columns. This one was originally published on May 3, 2005.

IT HAPPENS to sports fans all the time. They get themselves revved up for what figures to be a great sporting event — and it fizzles. Quickly and entirely.

Ask the Indiana Pacers’ fans who made it to Game 4 of their team’s playoff series against the Boston Celtics Saturday. Their team was up, two games to one, and playing at home.

So much hope, so much disappointment. Celtics 110, Pacers 79.

One of the great things about sports, though, is that it also works the opposite way. Fans show up for what figures to be just another game, another night, another event — and it becomes a magical show.

I’ve been treated to a lot of such special nights. None was better, though, than the one I witnessed back in the 1970s. It was called the Leather Gloves.

The boxing card, featuring students from West High in Manchester, was held to raise money for the school’s newly opened, poorly stocked weight room. Two of West’s teachers, Dave Gosselin (still there) and Bill Benson (now at Alvirne in Hudson) applied for, paid for and received promoter licenses from the state. The New Hampshire Boxing Commission, after verifying that there would be a rigorous training program and top-flight physicals for all the participants, sanctioned the show.

Gosselin and Benson were joined by Jack Amero and Dave Schricker, two other teacher-coaches at the school, for a professional-style (read choreographed) tag-team wrestling match to be staged during intermission.

Gosselin and Benson were the bad guys, Amero and Schricker, the good guys. My colleague here at the paper and at West, Mark Labore, volunteered to stoke the crowd by becoming the evil-doing manager to the dastardly Gosselin-Benson duo. Using the brilliant Grand Wizard as his model, Labore sported a silver-plated walking stick and wore a fierce-looking plastic University of Arkansas hog hat. He infuriated the crowd with his antics and brought students and adults to their feet. They pointed at him and his flagitious boys, Gosselin and Benson.

He carried the role off superbly and outdid the Wizard with a bravura performance.

In the end, the angelic duo of Amero and Schricker overcame the villainous trio of Labore-Gosselin-Benson. The crowd went berserk. I knew I had seen something special, something I would never forget. I had no idea what was coming.

The crowd quieted for the second half of the boxing program.

The first half of the fight card had passed without incident. Every match had gone the same way: lots of off-target haymakers in the first round, fewer but more-off-target haymakers in the second round, and then a lot of clutching and grabbing by both fighters in the third round. For veteran referee Bobby Johnston, who worked the card that night, picking winners was more difficult than keeping order.

Then Bob Beausoleil and Steve Therrien entered the ring for their three-round go. Expecting a carbon copy of each bout they had seen that night, the crowd sat back.

But not for long.

The magical show was about to continue.

Those two neophyte boxers put on the greatest fight I’ve ever witnessed in person. The first round belonged to Beausoleil. He pounded Therrien, staggered him, bloodied his nose. Johnston and the ringside doctor examined Therrien after the round.

He said he was fine. His two evaluators agreed.

The second round belonged to Therrien. He pounded Beausoleil, staggered him, bloodied his nose. Johnston and the ringside doctor examined Beausoleil after the round.

He said he was fine. His two evaluators agreed.

The two boxers went toe-to-toe in the third round, and the noise from the crowd was extraordinary.

Therrien was awarded the decision.

Then he and Beausoleil touched gloves and smiled at one another. Like everyone else in the gym, they knew they had been part of something special.

More than 30 years later, the sights and sounds from that night are still vivid in my mind. Sometimes, there’s magic out there.

Go see.