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The Hitman and Hearns



Thomas Hearns

The Hitman and Hearns

Throughout a truly remarkable career – spanning well-nigh three decades, he fought them all.

A veritable who’s who of the finest pound-for-pound pugilists of all-time, feature on his 67-Fight dance-card.

From Puerto-Rican Wilfred Benitez to ‘stone-hands’ Duran, Marvin Hagler to Sugar Ray Leonard; the ‘hitman’ was as good as his word.

Thomas Hearns (though born in Memphis), was raised in Detroit, Michigan. The ‘motor-city’, was the beating-heart of 1960’s America – both socially and culturally, albeit opportunity was hard earned.

From an early age, Boxing was viewed as a tangible solution to his shoe-string surroundings – the youngster capitalising on his rather ungainly physique.

Hearns’ impressive amateur record (culminating in Golden-Gloves glory in 1977), sparked interest within boxing circles, with the highly respected Emanuel Steward graciously aiding his transition into the paid ranks.

The Ring aficionado helped re-calibrate Hearns’ foremost attributes – namely reach and power, with instantaneous results.

In all of his opening 17 pro bouts, Hearns triumphed courtesy of knockout.

In August 1980, the then 21-Year-old defeated Mexican Jose Cuevas to lift the World Welterweight Title (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit).

The public were then treated to a Unification bout (subsequently voted Fight-of-the-year), in-which the highly marketable Sugar Ray Leonard opposed. Unanimously ahead after 12 Rounds, Hearns succumbed to a Leonard onslaught – resulting in a 14th Round stoppage.

The pair fought-out a highly-contested draw (eight years hence), whereby most observers believed a clear-cut Hearns victory, was denied him.

As his career evolved Tommy rose through the weight divisions – wrestling the middleweight crown from Wilfred Benitez in late ’82.

A year or so later he achieved further notoriety, as the first boxer to knockout Panamanian Roberto Duran – during a faultless display at Caesars Palace, Nevada. The victory was instrumental in him being awarded Fighter-of-the-Year 1984.

His most enduring bout (v Hagler 15 April 1985), is regarded as one of the greatest of all-time.

Unification is synonymous in the sport of boxing – as this clash demonstrated. For three momentous rounds – Hagler and Hearns traded blows with unerring accuracy. Power, guile, grace and courage were crystalised in seven savage minutes, before referee Richard Steele halted proceedings.

In the ensuing years; the incomparable Thomas Hearns held world titles at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavy and cruiserweight – before retiring in early 2006.

His final report card reads: 67 fights – 61 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw.

Respected and revered – Thomas Hearns was certainly no one-hit wonder.


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Born in 1963, Peter attended St Mary's Leith High School. Peter worked within the plumbing industry before studying a degree in journalism within the University of Stirling. Peter has been a lifelong sports fan and has volunteered within the Edinburgh Soccer School's programme on numerous occasions.


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