Thomas Hearns

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Thomas Hearns
Thomas Hearns 2.jpg
Hearn at Planet Hollywood, 2009
Statistics
Nickname(s)
  • The Hitman
  • Motor City Cobra
Rated at
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Reach 80 in (203 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1958-10-18) October 18, 1958 (age 57)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 67
Wins 61
Wins by KO 48
Losses 5
Draws 1

Thomas "Tommy" Hearns (born October 18, 1958) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1977 to 2006. Nicknamed the "Motor City Cobra", and more famously "The Hitman", Hearns' tall and slender build allowed him to move up over fifty pounds in his career and become the first boxer in history to win world titles in four weight divisions: welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight. By later winning a super middleweight title, he also became the first to win world titles in five weight divisions.

Hearns was named Fighter of the Year by The Ring magazine in 1980 and 1984; the latter following his one-punch knockout of Roberto Durán. Hearns was known as a devastating puncher throughout his career, even at cruiserweight, despite having climbed up five weight classes.

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, 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 on Hagler's forehead 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. One week 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 TysonAndrew 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]

No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
67 Win 61–5–1 United States Shannon Landberg TKO 10 (10), 1:35 Feb 4, 2006 United States The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
66 Win 60–5–1 United States John Long TKO 9 (10) Jul 30, 2005 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
65 Loss 59–5–1 Jamaica Uriah Grant RTD 3 (12), 3:00 Apr 8, 2000 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Lost IBO cruiserweight title
64 Win 59–4–1 United States Nate Miller UD 12 Apr 10, 1999 United Kingdom MEN Arena, Manchester, England Won vacant IBO cruiserweight title
63 Win 58–4–1 United States Jay Snyder KO 1 (10), 1:28 Nov 6, 1998 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
62 Win 57–4–1 United States Ed Dalton KO 5 (10), 2:47 Jan 31, 1997 United States Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.
61 Win 56–4–1 United States Karl Willis KO 5 (10), 2:45 Nov 29, 1996 United States Civic Center, Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.
60 Win 55–4–1 United States Earl Butler UD 10 Sep 26, 1995 United States The Palace, Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S.
59 Win 54–4–1 United States Lenny LaPaglia TKO 1 (12), 2:55 Mar 31, 1995 United States Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won vacant WBU cruiserweight title
58 Win 53–4–1 Puerto Rico Freddie Delgado UD 12 Feb 19, 1994 United States Coliseum, Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S. Retained NABF cruiserweight title
57 Win 52–4–1 United States Dan Ward TKO 1 (12), 2:09 Jan 29, 1994 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Won vacant NABF cruiserweight title
56 Win 51–4–1 United States Andrew Maynard TKO 1 (10), 2:34 Nov 6, 1993 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
55 Loss 50–4–1 United States Iran Barkley SD 12 Mar 20, 1992 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBA light heavyweight title
54 Win 50–3–1 United States Virgil Hill UD 12 Jun 3, 1991 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Won WBA light heavyweight title
53 Win 49–3–1 United States Ken Atkins TKO 3 (10), 2:08 Apr 6, 1991 United States Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.
52 Win 48–3–1 United States Kemper Morton KO 2 (10), 2:02 Feb 11, 1991 United States Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.
51 Win 47–3–1 Canada Michael Olajide UD 12 Apr 28, 1990 United States Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S. Retained WBO super middleweight title
50 Draw 46–3–1 United States Sugar Ray Leonard SD 12 Jun 12, 1989 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBO super middleweight title;
For WBC super middleweight title
49 Win 46–3 United States James Kinchen UD 12 Nov 4, 1988 United States Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Won NABF and vacant WBO super middleweight titles
48 Loss 45–3 United States Iran Barkley TKO 3 (12), 2:39 Jun 6, 1988 United States Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBC middleweight title
47 Win 45–2 Argentina Juan Roldán KO 4 (12), 2:01 Oct 29, 1987 United States Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Won vacant WBC middleweight title
46 Win 44–2 United Kingdom Dennis Andries TKO 10 (12), 1:26 Mar 7, 1987 United States Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won WBC light heavyweight title
45 Win 43–2 United States Doug DeWitt UD 12 Oct 17, 1986 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Retained NABF middleweight title
44 Win 42–2 United States Mark Medal TKO 8 (12), 2:20 Jun 23, 1986 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light middleweight titles
43 Win 41–2 United States James Shuler KO 1 (12), 1:13 Mar 10, 1986 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Won NABF middleweight title
42 Loss 40–2 United States Marvin Hagler TKO 3 (12), 1:52 Apr 15, 1985 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. For WBA, WBC, IBF, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles
41 Win 40–1 United States Fred Hutchings TKO 3 (15), 2:56 Sep 15, 1984 United States Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S. Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light middleweight titles
40 Win 39–1 Panama Roberto Durán KO 2 (12), 1:05 Jun 15, 1984 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light middleweight titles
39 Win 38–1 Italy Luigi Minchillo UD 12 Feb 11, 1984 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light middleweight titles
38 Win 37–1 United Kingdom Murray Sutherland UD 10 Jul 10, 1983 United States Caesars Boardwalk Regency, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
37 Win 36–1 Puerto Rico Wilfred Benítez UD 15 Dec 3, 1982 United States Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. Won WBC, vacant The Ring and lineal light middleweight titles
36 Win 35–1 United States Jeff McCracken TKO 8 (10), 1:29 Jul 25, 1982 United States Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
35 Win 34–1 Mexico Marcos Geraldo KO 1 (10), 1:48 Feb 27, 1982 United States The Aladdin, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
34 Win 33–1 United States Ernie Singletary UD 10 Dec 11, 1981 The Bahamas Queen Elizabeth's Sports Centre, Nassau, Bahamas
33 Loss 32–1 United States Sugar Ray Leonard TKO 14 (15), 1:45 Sep 16, 1981 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBA welterweight title;
For WBC, The Ring, and lineal welterweight titles
32 Win 32–0 Dominican Republic Pablo Baez TKO 4 (15), 2:10 Jun 25, 1981 United States Astrodome, Houston, Texas, U.S. Retained WBA welterweight title
31 Win 31–0 United States Randy Shields TKO 12 (15), 3:00 Apr 25, 1981 United States Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. Retained WBA welterweight title
30 Win 30–0 Venezuela Luis Primera KO 6 (15), 2:00 Dec 6, 1980 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Retained WBA welterweight title
29 Win 29–0 Mexico José Cuevas TKO 2 (15), 2:39 Aug 2, 1980 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won WBA welterweight title
28 Win 28–0 Nicaragua Eddie Gazo KO 1 (10), 2:41 May 3, 1980 United States Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
27 Win 27–0 United States Santiago Valdez TKO 1 (10), 2:56 Mar 31, 1980 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
26 Win 26–0 Puerto Rico Ángel Espada TKO 4 (12), 0:47 Mar 2, 1980 United States Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won vacant USBA welterweight title
25 Win 25–0 Netherlands Jim Richards KO 3 (10), 2:27 Feb 3, 1980 United States Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
24 Win 24–0 United States Mike Colbert UD 10 Nov 30, 1979 United States Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
23 Win 23–0 Thailand Saensak Muangsurin TKO 3 (10), 2:31 Oct 18, 1979 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
22 Win 22–0 Mexico José Figueroa KO 3 (10), 1:17 Sep 22, 1979 United States Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
21 Win 21–0 Dominican Republic Inocencio De la Rosa RTD 2 (10) Aug 23, 1979 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
20 Win 20–0 United States Bruce Curry KO 3 (10), 2:59 Jun 28, 1979 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
19 Win 19–0 United States Harold Weston RTD 6 (12) May 20, 1979 United States Dunes, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
18 Win 18–0 United States Alfonso Hayman UD 10 Apr 3, 1979 United States Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
17 Win 17–0 Ecuador Segundo Murillo TKO 8 (10), 2:25 Mar 3, 1979 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
16 Win 16–0 United States Sammy Ruckard TKO 8 Jan 31, 1979 United States Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
15 Win 15–0 Canada Clyde Gray TKO 10 (10), 2:03 Jan 11, 1979 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
14 Win 14–0 Philippines Rudy Barro KO 4 (10) Dec 9, 1978 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
13 Win 13–0 Venezuela Pedro Rojas TKO 1 (10), 1:09 Oct 26, 1978 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 United States Bruce Finch KO 3 (10), 2:01 Sep 7, 1978 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 Trinidad and Tobago Eddie Marcelle KO 2, 2:59 Aug 3, 1978 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 Mexico Raul Aguirre KO 2 (10, 2:08 Jul 20, 1978 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 United States Jimmy Rothwell KO 1 (10), 1:49 Jun 8, 1978 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Tyrone Phelps TKO 3 (10), 2:08 Mar 31, 1978 United States Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 United States Ray Fields TKO 2, 2:15 Mar 17, 1978 United States Cobo Arena, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Billy Goodwin TKO 2, 1:18 Feb 17, 1978 United States Civic Center, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Robert Adams TKO 3 (6), 2:45 Feb 10, 1978 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 United States Anthony House KO 2, 2:00 Jan 29, 1978 United States Hyatt Regency, Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Willie Wren TKO 3 (6), 2:41 Dec 16, 1977 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Jerry Strickland KO 3 (6), 1:27 Dec 7, 1977 United States Hillcrest Country Club, Mount Clemens, Michigan, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Jerome Hill KO 2 (4), 1:59 Nov 25, 1977 United States Olympia, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Professional debut

Titles in boxing[edit]

Regional titles
New title USBA welterweight champion
March 2, 1980 – August 1980
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Kevin Morgan
Preceded by
James Shuler
NABF middleweight champion
March 10, 1986 – October 1987
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Michael Nunn
Preceded by
James Kinchen
NABF super middleweight champion
November 4, 1988 – April 1989
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Don Lee
Vacant
Title last held by
Orlin Norris
NABF cruiserweight champion
January 29, 1994 – February 23, 1994
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Adolpho Washington
Minor world titles
New title WBU cruiserweight champion
March 31, 1995 – September 1995
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
James Toney
Vacant
Title last held by
Robert Daniels
IBO cruiserweight champion
April 10, 1999 – April 8, 2000
Succeeded by
Uriah Grant
Major world titles
Preceded by
José 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 – October 1986
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Duane Thomas
Vacant
Title last held by
Sugar Ray Leonard
The Ring light middleweight champion
December 3, 1982 – September 1986
Vacated
Vacant
Title next held by
Oscar De La Hoya
Lineal light middleweight champion
December 3, 1982 – September 1986
Vacated
Succeeded by
Terry Norris
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
New title 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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [Harry Mullan: "The Pictorial History of Boxing" p.295]
  2. ^ Detroit Free Press April 4, 2010

External links[edit]

Awards
Previous:
Sugar Ray Leonard
The Ring Fighter of the Year
1980
Next:
Sugar Ray Leonard
and
Salvador Sánchez
BWAA Fighter of the Year
1980
Next:
Sugar Ray Leonard
Previous:
Matthew Saad Muhammad vs. Yaqui López II
The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Sugar Ray Leonard

1981
Next:
Bobby Chacon vs. Rafael Limón IV
Previous:
Marvin Hagler
The Ring Fighter of the Year
1984
Next:
Marvin Hagler
and
Donald Curry
BWAA Fighter of the Year
1984
Next:
Marvin Hagler
Previous:
José Luis Ramírez vs. Edwin Rosario II
The Ring Fight of the Year
vs. Marvin Hagler

1985
Next:
Steve Cruz vs. Barry McGuigan
Previous:
Juan Meza vs. Jaime Garza
Round 1
The Ring Round of the Year
Round 1 vs. Marvin Hagler

1985
Next:
Steve Cruz vs. Barry McGuigan
Round 15