Talking Legends: Tommy Hearns

The ‘Motor City’ Cobra…or the ‘Hitman’, whichever you knew him by most, Thomas Hearns (61-5-1, 48KO) was one of the most uniquely devastating talents that the boxing landscape has ever seen in its long history. Hearns was a tall fighter, with skinny legs, a wide back and a long reach, which automatically made him a difficult boxer for anyone to deal with just off of the physical dimensions alone.

To pair with these natural gifts, he was very quick, had incredibly underrated fast hands, and he was one of the most dominant power punchers in boxing, who possessed the most devastating right cross in the sports history, without much argument stating otherwise.

He had every punch in the arsenal, and he was an incredible outside boxer, something that sometimes gets overshadowed by his highlight reel knockouts. He fought the best of the best, and was a part of the famous ‘Fab-Four’ (or Fab-5 if you will, adding Wilfred Benitez), finding some victorious moments, and holding his own in respectable losses.

Hearns was born in Tennessee, but was raised in Detroit, Michigan. He teamed up with legendary Trainer Emmanuel Steward and joined his Kronk Gym in 1977, the same year in which Tommy ventured up to start his professional career. The next 4 years, he rose up the ranks, showcasing impressive displays of both boxing, and raw punching power, working his way up to a world title shot against future Hall-of-Famer Pipino Cuevas for the WBA Welterweight Championship.

Cuevas had a lengthy run as a Champion, and established himself as one of the most feared Champions in a snapshot of time. Hearns with minimal resistance knocked the Champion out in cold-blooded fashion. From that point forward, Hearns pressed his foot on the gas pedal and blazed through the competition, authoring up many memorable moments, from his iconic 1st fight against Ray Leonard in which he came up a little short in, his strong performance in the rematch against Ray, his all-around masterpiece against Benitez in New Orleans and him starching Duran with one of the most devastating knockouts of all time.

Who could forget his incomparable war with Marvelous Marvin Hagler, a fight that is universally recognized as one of the 5 greatest fights of all-time, despite it only running 8 minutes officially, but it was 8 minutes of armageddon. Hearns was able to hurt the virtually indestructible machine known as Hagler early, however Marvin wouldn’t budge. Hagler stayed on him, kept chipping away at Tommy, wearing him down and got to him, knocking him out in the 3rd round. Despite the loss, Hearns effort, as well as Marvin’s will forever be remembered, and respected for setting the standard..

Hearns bounced back with a vengeance, winning Middleweight and Super-Middleweight titles. His kryptonite however was Iran ‘The Blade’ Barkley, who had a style that Tommy never solved in either of their 2 fights, but that didn’t stop him. Hearns ventured up to Light-Heavyweight to take on the excellent Virgil Hill, who was as consistent as they come. In an improbable turn of events, Hearns managed to defeat Hill, making him a 5-division World Champion. That was the last great moment that Hearns gave to boxing, but he continued fighting, officially capping his professional career in 2006.

Hearns was as rare as they came, as there have been very few fighters historically who offensively could mimic what he was able to do, and no one reminiscent has existed in boxing since his departure from the sport. Tommy Hearns in many ways was a peoples Champion, and was certainly one of the public’s favorite fighters during the 1980’s, and contributed heavily to that golden era of boxing. Here are a list of his accomplishments.

– 155-8-0 Amateur Record
– 1X Lineal World Champion (154)
– 6X Champion (WBA, WBC, LINEAL)
– 5-Division Champion (147, 154, 160, 168, 175)
– Defeated 13 Fighters Who Were Champions
– Defeated 4 Undefeated Boxers
– First Fighter to Become 4-Division Champion
– First Fighter to Become 5-Division Champion
– Defeated 4 Hall-of-Famer’s (Duran, Benitez, Hill, Cuevas)
– Ring-Magazine Fighter of the Year – 1980
– Ring-Magazine Fighter of the Year – 1984
– Ring-Magazine 1985 Fight of the Year (Hearns/Hagler)
– Ring-Mag 1985 Round of the Year (1st RD, Hearns/Hagler)
– Considered By Many to be the Greatest Super-Welterweight
– International Boxing Hall-of-Fame (Inducted in 2012)

SIGNATURE MOMENT – When he surgically ran through Roberto Duran and cold-cocked him with a devastating right hand, knocking him out on impact.

NOTABLE WINS – Roberto Duran, Wilfred Benitez, Virgil Hill, Pipino Cuevas, Bruce Curry, Dennis Andries, James Shuler…..disputed draw to Sugar Ray Leonard in their second fight.

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