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Thomas Hearns

Thomas Hearns
Real name Thomas Hearns
Nickname(s) The Hitman
Motor City Cobra
Rated at Welterweight
Height 6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Reach 80 in (203 cm)
Nationality American
Born (1958-10-18) October 18, 1958
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 an American former professional boxer. Nicknamed the "Motor City Cobra" and more famously "The Hitman," Hearns' slender build allowed him to move up over fifty pounds in his career and he 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, the latter following his one punch knockout of Roberto Durán. Hearns was known as a devastating puncher throughout his career, even at Cruiserweight even though he had climbed up five weight classes.


  • Early life 1
  • Professional career 2
    • Hearns vs. Leonard 2.1
    • Light Middleweight Champion 2.2
    • Hagler vs Hearns 2.3
    • Comeback 2.4
    • Rematch with Leonard 2.5
    • Later career 2.6
  • Personal life 3
  • Professional boxing record 4
  • Titles in boxing 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

Titles in boxing

Major World Titles:

Minor World Titles:

The Ring/Lineal Championship Titles:

Regional/International Titles:

See also


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

External links

  • Thomas Hearns' Official Website
  • Professional boxing record for Thomas Hearns from BoxRec
  • Thomas Hearns' Amateur Boxing Record
  • Highlight Video
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
Title next held by
Duane Thomas
Title last held by
Sugar Ray Leonard
The Ring Light Middleweight Champion
May 1983 – September 1986
Title next held by
Oscar De La Hoya
Preceded by
Dennis Andries
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
March 7, 1987 – November 27, 1987
Title next held by
Donny Lalonde
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
Title next held by
Chris Eubank
Preceded by
Virgil Hill
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
June 3, 1991 – March 20, 1992
Succeeded by
Iran Barkley
Title last held by
Robert Daniels
IBO Cruiserweight Champion
April 10, 1999 – April 8, 2000
Succeeded by
Uriah Grant
Preceded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
& Salvador Sánchez
Preceded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
BWAA Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Sugar Ray Leonard
Preceded by
Marvin Hagler
Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Marvin Hagler
& Donald Curry
Preceded by
Marvin Hagler
BWAA Fighter of the Year
Succeeded by
Marvin Hagler
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