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Classic
Date Jun 12, 1989
Time 9PM ET
Broadcast HBO PPV
Title WBC, WBO
Division Super Middleweight
Rounds 12
Venue Caesars Palace
Promotions Top Rank
Favorite Leonard

  Profile  

After almost eight years, the Leonard-Hearns rematch finally happened. It was promoted as "The War." Leonard defended the WBC Super Middleweight Championship against Hearns, the WBO Super Middleweight king on June 12, 1989 at Caesar's Palace in a scheduled twelve-rounder.

Leonard's Game Plan
In training, Leonard had repeatedly practiced putting everything into one punch, loading up and scoring with power. His game plan, judging by his start to the fight, was to get a spectacular KO win. These tactics, if they didn't get the desired result, would surely see him fall behind on points.

The Fight
Both fighters came out more aggressive than in the first fight. Instead of Leonard doing his best to avoid Hearns, he now came charging at the Hit Man hoping to end the fight early but Hearns took Leonard's punches and landed his own. But Hearns's left jab was serving him well as usual. Leonard looked much slower than he did in previous fights as he fought in a flat-footed style. 

Hearns dropped Leonard with a right cross in the third round, but Leonard came back and battered Hearns around the ring in the fifth round. Early in the seventh round, Hearns hurt Leonard but punched himself out going for the knockout. With Hearns fatigued, Leonard came back and had a strong finish to the round.

Rounds nine and ten were good rounds for Leonard, but he ran into trouble in the eleventh round. Three booming rights from Hearns sent Leonard down for the second time in the fight. Knowing he needed a big finish, Leonard fought furiously and had a big final round.

The judges scored the fight a draw. Judge Jerry Roth scored the fight 113-112 for Hearns, Judge Tom Kazmarek scored it 113-112 for Leonard, and Judge Dalby Shirley scored it 112-112. Shirley was the only judge to give Leonard a 10-8 margin in the twelfth. If he had scored it 10-9, as his two colleagues did, Hearns would have won by a split decision. The decision was soundly booed, as most felt that Hearns had won. Eventually, Leonard admitted that Hearns deserved the decision.

Six months later, Leonard successfully defended the WBC Super Middleweight Championship with a one-sided decision win over Roberto Duran, who had defeated Iran Barkley in his previous fight to win the WBC Middleweight Championship.

  Scoring  

113-112 - Leonard
112-112 - (Even)
112-113 - Hearns

  Knockdowns  

Leonard was down in rounds three and eleven.

  Stats  

This fight was a remtach of their classic 1981 Welterweight unification fight won by Leonard via 14th Round TKO.

The result was controversial. Many felt that Hearns deserved the decision.

Although Hearns scored two knockdowns, Leonard (argueably) had two 10-8 rounds himself, Rounds 5 and 12

Both men were unusually small for super middleweights 

  Purses  

Hearns was guaranteed $11 million and Leonard was guaranteed $14 million.

  News & Views  

Judge Dalby Shirley was the only judge to give Leonard a 10-8 margin in the twelfth. If he had scored it 10-9, as his two colleagues did, Hearns would have won by a split decision.

  Fight Video  

Thomas Hearns -vs- Ray Leonard II - Rounds 11-12; June 12, 1989

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