Thomas Hearns

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Thomas Hearns
Thomas Hearns 2.jpg
Statistics
Real name Thomas Hearns
Nickname(s) The Hitman
Motor City Cobra
Rated at Welterweight
Light-middleweight
Middleweight
Super-middleweight
Light-heavyweight
Cruiserweight
Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Reach 80 in (203 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1958-10-18) October 18, 1958 (age 56)
Memphis, Tennessee, USA
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 67
Wins 61
Wins by KO 48
Losses 5
Draws 1

Thomas Hearns (born October 18, 1958) is a retired American professional boxer. Nicknamed the "Motor City Cobra" and more famously "The Hitman," Hearns became the first boxer in history to win world titles in four divisions. He would also become the first fighter in history to win five world titles in five different divisions. Hearns was named fighter of the year by The Ring magazine in 1980 and 1984.

Early life[edit]

Born in Grand Junction, Tennessee on October 18, 1958, Hearns was the youngest of three children in his mother's first marriage. With her second marriage, six children joined the first three. On her own, Mrs. Hearns raised Tommy and his siblings in Grand Junction until Tommy was five years old; then the family moved to Detroit, Michigan. Hearns had an amateur record of 155–8. In 1977, he won the National Amateur Athletic Union Light Welterweight Championship, defeating Bobby Joe Young of Steubenville, Ohio, in the finals. He also won the 1977 National Golden Gloves Light Welterweight Championship.

Professional career[edit]

Hearns began his professional boxing career in Detroit, Michigan, under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward in 1977. Steward had changed Hearns from a light hitting amateur boxer to one of the most devastating punchers in boxing history.

He won six world titles in five weight classes during his pro career, defeating future boxing hall of famers such as Pipino Cuevas, Wilfred Benítez, Virgil Hill and Roberto Durán. Hearns started his career by knocking out his first 17 opponents. In 1980, Hearns carried his 28-0 record into a world title match against Mexico's Pipino Cuevas. Hearns ended Cuevas's 4-year reign by beating him by TKO in the second round. Hearns was voted "Fighter of the Year" by Ring Magazine in 1980.

Hearns vs. Leonard[edit]

Hearns, center, in Detroit, December 1981

In 1981, Hearns the WBA Champion, with a 32-0 record (30 KOs), fought WBC Champion Sugar Ray Leonard (30-1) to unify the World Welterweight Championship in a bout dubbed "The Showdown." In this legendary fight, Hearns suffered his first professional defeat when Leonard stopped him in the 14th round. In the 13th round, Leonard, behind on points on all 3 judges scorecards, needed a knockout to win. He came on strong and put Hearns through the ropes at the end of the round. Hearns was dazed, totally out of gas and received a count but was saved by the bell. Leonard, with his left eye shut and time running out, resumed his attack in the 14th. Hearns started the round boxing and moving, but after staggering Hearns with an overhand right, Leonard pinned Hearns against the ropes. After another combination to the body and head, referee Davey Pearl stopped the fight. Hearns and Leonard banked a combined 17 million dollars for the fight, making it the largest purse in sports history. The following year, Leonard retired due to a detached retina caused by Hearns' jab and there would be no rematch until 1989. [1]

Light Middleweight Champion[edit]

Hearns moved up in weight and won the WBC Super Welterweight (154 lb) title from boxing legend and three-time world champion Wilfred Benítez (44-1-1) in New Orleans in December 1982, and defended that title against European Champion Luigi Minchillo (42-1) (W 12), Roberto Durán (KO 2), no.1 contender Fred Hutchings (29-1) (KO 3) and #1 contender Mark Medal (26-2) (TKO 8). During his reign at this weight, the 2 round destruction of the legendary Roberto Durán, in which he became the first boxer to KO Durán, is seen as his pinnacle achievement, earning him his second Ring Magazine "Fighter of the Year" award in 1984.

Hagler vs Hearns[edit]

While remaining super-welterweight (light-middleweight) champion, Hearns ventured into the middleweight division to challenge undisputed middleweight champion Marvin Hagler in 1985. Billed "The Fight" (later known as The War), this Superbout is often labeled as the three greatest rounds in boxing history. The legendary battle elevated both fighters to superstar status. Hearns was able to stun Hagler soon after the opening bell, but he subsequently broke his right hand in the first round. He did, however, manage to open a deep cut over Hagler's nose that caused the ring doctor to consider a stoppage. The fight, however, was allowed to continue at this point, with the ringside commentators remarking on the fact that, "the last thing Hagler wants or needs is for this fight to be stopped on a cut." The battle did go back and forth some, but Hearns was unable to capitalize on his early successes against Hagler. As a result of breaking his right hand, Hearns began to use lateral movement and a good jab to keep Hagler at bay as best he could. This tactic worked fairly well, but in the third round Hagler staggered Hearns and managed to catch him against the ropes, where a crushing right hand by Hagler knocked Hearns down. Hearns beat the count but was clearly unable to continue and the referee stopped the fight. Despite the loss, Hearns garnered a tremendous amount of respect from fans and boxing aficionados alike. Considering the popularity of the fight and the level of competition, a rematch seemed to be a foregone conclusion but never materialized.

Comeback[edit]

Hearns quickly made amends by dispatching undefeated rising star James "Black Gold" Shuler with a devastating first round knockout in 1986. Two weeks after the fight, Shuler was killed in a motorcycle accident. Hearns presented the NABF championship belt to Shuler's family at his funeral, saying he deserved to keep the belt as he had held it longer than Hearns.

In March 1987, Hearns scored six knockdowns of Dennis Andries to win the WBC light-heavyweight title with a tenth round stoppage at Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan. Later that year, his four-round destruction of the Juan Roldán (63-2) to claim the vacant WBC middleweight title made Hearns a four-weight world champion.

In a huge upset, Hearns lost his WBC middleweight title to Iran Barkley via a third round TKO in June 1988 in a bout Ring Magazine named 1988 Upset of the Year. In November that year, Hearns returned to win another world title, defeating James Kinchen (44-3) via a majority decision to win the inaugural WBO super-middleweight title. Hearns became the first boxer to win a world title in five weight divisions.

Rematch with Leonard[edit]

Hearns had to wait until 1989 for a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard, this time for Leonard's WBC super-middleweight title and Hearns' WBO title. This was Hearns's sixth Superfight, a fight which much of the public believed Hearns won, flooring Leonard in both the 3rd and 11th rounds. However, the judges scored the fight a controversial draw. Leonard later admitted that he believed Hearns had beaten him and that he was gifted the draw, stating the fighters were 1-1 in his book.

Later career[edit]

Hearns had one last great performance in 1991, as he challenged the undefeated WBA light-heavyweight champion Virgil Hill. In Hill's eleventh defense of the title, Hearns returned to his amateur roots and outboxed the champion to win a convincing decision and add a sixth world title to his illustrious career. On March 20, 1992, Hearns lost this title on a split decision to old foe Iran Barkley but continued to compete and won his next 8 bouts.

On June 23, 1997, Hearns appeared on a WWE telecast, performing in a storyline where he was taunted and challenged by professional wrestler Bret "Hitman" Hart, who claimed that Hearns "stole" the "Hitman" nickname. Hearns ended up "attacking" Jim Neidhart and knocking him down with a series of punches before officials entered the ring and broke up the "confrontation."

On 10 April 1999, Hearns travelled to England and beat Nate Miller by unanimous decision in a cruiserweight bout. In his next fight in April 2000 he faced Uriah Grant. The first round was competitive, with Hearns appearing hurt by a solid right to the jaw. Both fighters traded blows in the second round until Hearns appeared to injure his right ankle. He was forced to retire injured at the end of the round. The crowd booed and Hearns took the microphone and promised his fans that he would be back. Hearns fought twice more, winning both fights by TKO. His final fight was on 4 February 2006 against Shannon Landberg.

Hearns signs autographs in Houston in January 2014.

Personal life[edit]

Hearns' family is a fixture on the Detroit sports scene. His mother, Lois Hearns, is a fight promoter. Their company, Hearns Entertainment, has promoted many cards, including the Mike Tyson-Andrew Golota bout in 2000. His son Ronald Hearns is also a boxer, and he fought on the undercard of his father's last couple of fights. Hearns lives in Southfield, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit). Hearns serves as a Reserve Police Officer with the Detroit Police Department.

Due to personal financial issues, Hearns was forced to auction off his possessions at The Auction Block of Detroit, Michigan on April 3, 2010. Items included were a 1957 Chevy, 47' Fountain boat, and a slew of collectors memorabilia. His debt to the IRS was $250,000. He took responsibility for repaying the entire debt, which he said was accrued from being overly generous toward his large extended family.[2]

Professional boxing record[edit]

61 Wins (48 KOs), 5 Losses, 1 Draw[3]
Res. Record Opponent Type Round,
Time
Date Location Notes
Win 61-5-1 United States Shannon Landberg TKO 10 (10),
1:35
2006-02-04 United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win 60-5-1 United States John Long TKO 9 (10),
?
2005-07-30 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Loss 59-5-1 Jamaica Uriah Grant RTD 3 (12),
3:00
2000-04-08 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Win 59-4-1 United States Nate Miller UD 12 1999-04-10 England M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, Greater Manchester
Win 58-4-1 United States Jay Snyder KO 1 (10),
1:28
1998-11-06 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Win 57-4-1 United States Ed Dalton KO 5 (10),
2:47
1997-01-31 United States Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California
Win 56-4-1 United States Karl Willis KO 5 (10),
2:45
1996-11-29 United States Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke, Virginia
Win 55-4-1 United States Earl Butler UD 10 1995-09-26 United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Win 54-4-1 United States Lenny LaPaglia TKO 1 (12),
2:55
1995-03-31 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 53-4-1 Puerto Rico Freddie Delgado UD 12 1994-02-19 United States Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina Retained NABF cruiserweight title.
Win 52-4-1 United States Dan Ward TKO 1 (12),
2:09
1994-01-29 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada Won vacant NABF cruiserweight title.
Win 51-4-1 United States Andrew Maynard TKO 1 (10),
2:34
1993-11-06 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Loss 50-4-1 United States Iran Barkley SD 12 1992-03-20 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Lost WBA light-heavyweight title.
Win 50-3-1 United States Virgil Hill UD 12 1991-06-03 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Won WBA light-heavyweight title.
Win 49-3-1 United States Ken Atkins TKO 3 (10),
2:08
1991-06-03 United States Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
Win 48-3-1 United States Kemper Morton KO 2 (10),
2:02
1991-02-11 United States Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California
Win 47-3-1 Canada Michael Olajide UD 12 1990-04-28 United States Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Draw 46-3-1 United States Sugar Ray Leonard PTS 12 1989-06-12 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
For WBC super-middleweight title.
Win 46-3 United States James Kinchen UD 12 1988-11-04 United States Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada Won vacant WBO super-middleweight title.
Won NABF super-middleweight title.
Loss 45-3 United States Iran Barkley TKO 3 (12),
2:39
1988-06-06 United States Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada Lost WBC middleweight title.
Win 45-2 Argentina Juan Roldán KO 4 (12),
2:01
1987-10-29 United States Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada Won vacant WBC middleweight title.
Win 44-2 England Dennis Andries TKO 10 (12),
1:26
1987-03-07 United States Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan Won WBC light-heavyweight title.
Win 43-2 United States Doug DeWitt UD 12 1986-10-17 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan Retained NABF middleweight title.
Win 42-2 United States Mark Medal TKO 8 (12),
2:20
1986-06-23 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained WBC/The Ring
light-middleweight titles.
Win 41-2 United States James Shuler KO 1 (12),
1:13
1986-03-10 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Won NABF middleweight title.
Loss 40-2 United States Marvelous Marvin Hagler TKO 3 (12),
1:52
1985-04-15 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada For WBC/WBA/IBF/The Ring
middleweight titles.
Win 40-1 United States Fred Hutchings TKO 3 (15),
2:56
1984-09-15 United States Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan Retained WBC/The Ring
light-middleweight titles.
Win 39-1 Panama Roberto Durán KO 2 (12),
1:55
1984-06-15 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Retained WBC/The Ring
light-middleweight titles.
Win 38-1 Italy Luigi Minchillo UD 12 1984-02-11 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan Retained WBC/The Ring
light-middleweight titles.
Win 37-1 Scotland Murray Sutherland UD 10 1983-07-10 United States Caesars Atlantic City, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 36-1 Puerto Rico Wilfred Benítez UD 15 1982-12-03 United States Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana Won WBC & vacant The Ring light-middleweight titles.
Win 35-1 United States Jeff McCracken TKO 8 (10),
1:29
1982-07-25 United States Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan
Win 34-1 Mexico Marcos Geraldo KO 1 (10),
1:48
1982-02-27 United States The Aladdin, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 33-1 United States Ernie Singletary UD 10 1981-12-11 The Bahamas Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, Nassau
Loss 32-1 United States Sugar Ray Leonard TKO 14 (15),
1:45
1981-09-16 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada Lost WBA welterweight title.
For WBC/The Ring welterweight titles.
Win 32-0 Dominican Republic Pablo Baez TKO 4 (15),
2:10
1981-06-25 United States Astrodome, Houston, Texas Retained WBA welterweight title.
Win 31-0 United States Randy Shields TKO 12 (15),
3:00
1981-04-25 United States Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona Retained WBA welterweight title.
Win 30-0 Venezuela Luis Primera KO 6 (15),
2:00
1980-12-06 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan Retained WBA welterweight title.
Win 29-0 Mexico José Cuevas TKO 2 (15),
2:39
1980-08-02 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan Won WBA welterweight title.
Win 28-0 Nicaragua Eddie Gazo KO 1 (10),
2:41
1980-05-03 United States Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan
Win 27-0 United States Santiago Valdez TKO 1 (10),
2:56
1980-03-31 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 26-0 Puerto Rico Ángel Espada TKO 4 (12),
?
1980-03-02 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan Won vacant USBA welterweight title.
Win 25-0 Netherlands Jim Richards KO 3 (10),
?
1980-02-03 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 24-0 United States Mike Colbert UD 10 1979-11-30 United States Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Win 23-0 Thailand Saensak Muangsurin TKO 3 (10),
2:31
1979-10-18 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win 22-0 Mexico Jose Figueroa KO 3 (10),
1:17
1979-09-22 United States Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California
Win 21-0 Dominican Republic Inocencio Mao De la Rosa RTD 2 (10),
-
1979-08-23 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Win 20-0 United States Bruce Curry RTD 3 (10),
2:59
1979-06-28 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win 19-0 United States Harold Weston RTD 6 (12),
-
1979-05-20 United States Dunes Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 18-0 United States Alfonso Hayman UD 10 1979-04-03 United States The Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Win 17-0 Ecuador Segundo Murillo TKO 8 (10),
2:25
1979-03-03 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win 16-0 United States Sammy Ruckard TKO 8 (?),
?
1979-01-31 United States Saginaw, Michigan
Win 15-0 Canada Clyde Gray TKO 10 (10),
2:03
1979-01-11 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win 14-0 Philippines Rudy Barro TKO 4 (10),
?
1978-12-09 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Win 13-0 Venezuela Pedro Rojas TKO 1 (10),
1:09
1978-10-26 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win 12-0 United States Bruce Finch TKO 3 (10),
2:01
1978-09-07 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 11-0 Trinidad and Tobago Eddie Marcelle KO 2 (?),
2:59
1978-08-03 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 10-0 Mexico Raul Aguirre KO 3 (?),
?
1978-07-20 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 9-0 United States Jimmy Rothwell KO 1 (10),
?
1978-06-08 United States Olympia Stadium, Detroit, Michigan
Win 8-0 United States Tyrone Phelps KO 3 (?),
?
1978-03-31 United States Saginaw, Michigan
Win 7-0 United States Ray Fields TKO 2 (?),
?
1978-03-17 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 6-0 United States Billy Goodwin TKO 2 (?),
?
1978-02-17 United States Saginaw, Michigan
Win 5-0 United States Robert Adams KO 3 (?),
?
1978-02-10 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 4-0 United States Anthony House KO 2 (?),
?
1978-01-29 United States Knoxville, Tennessee
Win 3-0 United States Willie Wren KO 3 (6),
?
1977-12-16 United States Detroit, Michigan
Win 2-0 United States Jerry Strickland KO 3 (6),
?
1977-12-07 United States Mount Clemens, Michigan
Win 1-0 United States Jerome Hill KO 2 (4),
?
1977-11-25 United States Detroit, Michigan Professional debut.

Titles in boxing[edit]

Major World Titles:

Minor World Titles:

The Ring/Lineal Championship Titles:

Regional/International Titles:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [Harry Mullan: "The Pictorial History of Boxing" p.295]
  2. ^ Detroit Free Press April 4, 2010
  3. ^ Thomas Hearns – Boxer. Boxrec.com. Retrieved on 2011-07-26.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Pipino Cuevas
WBA Welterweight Champion
August 2, 1980 – September 16, 1981
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Preceded by
Wilfred Benítez
WBC Light Middleweight Champion
December 3, 1982 – 1986
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Duane Thomas
Vacant
Title last held by
Sugar Ray Leonard
The Ring Light Middleweight Champion
May 1983 – September 1986
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Oscar De La Hoya
Preceded by
Dennis Andries
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
March 7, 1987 – November 27, 1987
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Donny Lalonde
Vacant
Title last held by
Sugar Ray Leonard
WBC Middleweight Champion
October 29, 1987 – June 6, 1988
Succeeded by
Iran Barkley
Inaugural Champion WBO Super Middleweight Champion
November 4, 1988 – April 28, 1990
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Chris Eubank
Preceded by
Virgil Hill
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
June 3, 1991 – March 20, 1992
Succeeded by
Iran Barkley
Vacant
Title last held by
Robert Daniels
IBO Cruiserweight Champion
April 10, 1999 – April 8, 2000
Succeeded by
Uriah Grant
Awards
Preceded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
1980
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
& Salvador Sánchez
Preceded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
BWAA Fighter of the Year
1980
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Preceded by
Marvin Hagler
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
1984
Succeeded by
Marvin Hagler
& Donald Curry
Preceded by
Marvin Hagler
BWAA Fighter of the Year
1984
Succeeded by
Marvin Hagler