OriginDetroit, Michigan, USA
Blessed with exceptional height for a welterweight (6'1"), a broad back, and unusually long arms, Hearns had a unique build combined with destructive punching power. He is known best for his devastating right hand and a stinging 'flicker jab.'
As a fighter, his aggression set him apart, controlling fights with his incredible reach, power and great boxing skills. He lost only one decision in his entire career, at the age of 33, to Iran "The Blade" Barkley.
Early Pro Career
Hearns began his professional boxing career in Detroit, Michigan, under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward in 1977.
Hearns started his career by knocking out his first 17 opponents and quickly became one of the most feared and respected young boxers emerging in the late 1970s. In 1980, Hearns carried his 28-0 record into a world title match against Mexico's dreaded Pipino Cuevas. With 11 title defenses, Cuevas was a formidable opponent. Hearns ended Cuevas's 4-year reign by beating him by a TKO in 2 rounds. Hearns was voted "Fighter of the Year" by Ring Magazine in 1980.
He defended the WBA World Welterweight Championship three times, defeating Luis Primera, Randy Shields, and Pablo Baez.
First Showdown with Leonard
Promoted as "The Showdown", Leonard fought Thomas Hearns (32-0, 30 KOs) on September 16, 1981 to unify the World Welterweight Championship in a scheduled fifteen-rounder. In round fourteen of a grueling fight Leonard, after staggering Hearns with an overhand right, pinned Hearns against the ropes where he unleashed another furious combination, prompting referee Davey Pearl to stop the contest and award Sugar Ray Leonard the Unified World Welterweight Championship. Hearns was leading by scores of 124–122, 125–122, and 125–121.
Hearns Moves Up, KOs Duran
Hearns moved up in weight and won the WBC Super Welterweight World Title from boxing legend and 3-time world champion Wilfred Benítez (44-1-1) in New Orleans in December 1982 and successfully defended that title against European champion Luigi Minchillo (42-1). During his reign at this weight, the 2nd Round destruction of the legendary Roberto Durán is seen as his pinnacle achievement, earning him his second Ring Magazine "Fighter of the Year" award in 1984.
Hagler vs Hearns - A Classic
On April 15, 1985, Thomas Hearns - in what many consider the best championship fight of the era - lost via a 3rd Round TKO to then-undisputed middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler. The first round of this fight is also considered one the best championship rounds of the era. And 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 would seem to be a foregone conclusion but it never happened.
Hearns Continues to Win
Hearns quickly made amends after losing to Hagler by dispatching undefeated rising star James "Black Gold" Shuler with a devastating 1st Round knockout in 1986. Hearns defeated Dennis Andries to win the WBC Light Heavyweight World Title in March 1987, and KO'd the rough and tough Juan Roldán (63-2) later that year to claim the WBC Middleweight World Title.
In Ring Magazine's 1988 Upset of the Year, Hearns was stunned by Iran Barkley. After pummeling Barkley the first two rounds Hearns, seemingly on the verge of a TKO win, was floored by a monstrous righthand in the 3rd Round and was eventually stopped moments later.
Hearns had to wait until 1989 for a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard, this time for Leonard's WBC Super Middleweight title. On June 12 of that year, Leonard and Hearns fought another classic. Hearns dropped Leonard twice but Leonard came back and badly hurt Hearns in Rounds 5 and 12. The bout was scored a draw although most at ringside had Hearns winning a decision.
In his last superfight, the aging Hitman challenged the undefeated WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Virgil Hill (30-0). Hearns would return to his amateur roots and outbox the champion to win a convincing decision and add a 6th world title to his illustrious career.
Later in his career, Hearns also won two Cruiserweight titles, the WBU and the IBO, making him the only man in history to have won world titles at Welterweight, Super Welterweight, Middleweight, Super Middleweight, Light Heavyweight and Cruiserweight.
- Explosive and powerful
- Wicked power in right hand
- Stinging jab
- Height and reach
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 8 world titles in 6 different divisions.
The Hearns right cross was one of the most devastating punches in boxing history
"Fighter of the Year" in 1980 and 1984.
Fought 21 current, past or future world champions.
Major World Titles
WBC Light Middleweight
WBC Light Heavyweight
WBO Super Middleweight
WBA Light Heavyweight
UD 12 Nate Miller - 1999
UD 12 Virgil Hill- 1991
UD 12 Michael Olajide-1990
Draw 12 Sugar Ray Leonard-1989
MD 12 James Kinchen - 1988
KO 4 Juan Roldan - 1987
KO 2 Roberto Duran - 1984
MD 12 Wilfred Benitez - 1982
TKO 2 Pipino Cuevas - 1980
SD 12 Iran Barkley-1992
TKO 3 Iran Barkley-1988
TKO 3 Marvin Hagler-1985
TKO 14 Sugar Ray Leonard-1981
Won the 1977 National Golden Gloves Light Welterweight Championship.