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Thomas Hearns

Thomas Hearns (born October 18, 1958, in Memphis, raised in Detroit), is an American 8-time world champion professional boxer. Hearns is considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time. He became the first ever Quadruple, Quintuple and Sextuple Champion in history.

 1980-81 WBA world welterweight (147) champion.
 1982-86 WBC world super welterweight (154) champion.
 1982-86 The Ring super welterweight (154) champion.
 1987-88 WBC world middleweight (160) champion.
 1987-88 WBC world light heavyweight (175) champion.
 1988-91 WBO world super middleweight (168) champion.
 1991-93 WBA world light heavyweight (175) champion.
 1995    WBU world cruiserweight (200) champion.
 1995    IBO world cruiserweight champion.

Blessed with exceptional height for a welterweight (6'1"), a broad back, and unusually long arms, Hearns was known for his destructive punching power. His promotional fight name was the Hit Man.

He is known best for his devastating right hand, his powerful left hook and for carrying his left hand low — a stance he uses to lure foes into an exchange, as well as to maximize the speed and change the angle of his jab, a technique called the "flicker jab".

Hearns was always commanding in the ring, controling fights with his incredible reach and superb boxing skills always delivering his crunching jab-right hand cross with pinpoint accuracy. He has scored many memorable knockouts in his career, and is widely considered as one of the greatest knockout artists of all time.

Amateur career

Hearns had an outstanding amateur record of 155–8. In 1977, Hearns won the National Amateur Athletic Union Light Welterweight Championship, defeating Bobby Joe Young of Steubenville, OH, 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.

He won 8 world championships in 6 weight classes during his pro career, defeating boxing greats such as Pipino Cuevas, Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, and Virgil Hill. 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 1970´s. In 1980 Hearns carried his 28-0 record into a world title match against Mexico´s dreaded Pipino Cuevas, knocking the champion out cold in two rounds. Hearns was voted "fighter of the year" by Ring Magazine in 1980.

He defended the WBA World Welterweight Championship three times against Luis Primera (KO 6), Randy Shields (KO 12), and Pablo Baez (KO 4).

In 1981, with a 32-0 record (30 KO´s), he fought World Boxing Council champion Sugar Ray Leonard to unify the World Welterweight Championship in a classic bout dubbed "The Showdown". In this fight Hearns suffered his first professional defeat when Leonard stopped him in the 14th round. Still today a much debated stoppage by referee Dave Pearl,as Hearns was ahead on all three scorecards. Hearns and Leonard banked a combined 17 million dollars for the fight making it the largest salary in sports history.

He won the WBC Super Welterweight Championship from Wilfred Benitez in New Orleans in December 1982 and defended that title against Luigi Minchillo (W 12), Roberto Duran (KO 2), Fred Hutchings (KO 3), and Mark Medal (TKO 8). During his reign at this weight, the 2nd round destruction of the legendary Roberto Duran is seen as his pinnacle achievement earning him Ring Magazine´s "fighter of the year" award in 1984.

During his time as Super Welterweight champion Hearns also ventured into the middleweight division, losing a legendary battle to World Champion Marvin Hagler in 1985. Billed "The War" this superbout, hailed as the 3 greatest rounds in history, elevated both fighters to superstar status.

Hearns quickly made amends by dispatching undefeated James "Black Gold" Schuler with a devastating first round knockout in 1986.

Other notable World Title fights included his seven knockdowns of champion Dennis Andries to win the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship in March 1987, his four-round destruction of the feared Juan Roldan later that year to claim the WBC Middleweight Championship, his TKO "upset of the year" loss to Iran Barkley in his first defense of that same title, his win against James "the Heat" Kinchen for the WBO Super Middleweight Title and his convincing decision against undefeated Virgil Hill to win Hill's WBA Light Heavyweight Championship in 1991.

Hearns had to wait until 1989 for a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard,this time for the WBC and WBO Super Middleweight titles, a fight which much of the public believed Hearns won clearly, flooring Leonard in both the 3rd and 11th rounds. However, the judges scored the fight a controversial draw.

Later in his career Hearns also won the World Cruiserweight title, making him the only man in history to have won the World Welterweight Title and the World Cruiserweight Title.

Accomplishments

  1. The first man ever to win four world titles in four weight classes (1987-10-29): from 147 to 154 to 175 to 160 to be the first ever Quadruple Champion in boxing.
  2. The first man ever to win five world titles in five different boxing divisions: (1988-11-04): from 147 to 154 to 175 to 160 to 168. The first ever Quintuple Champion in boxing.
  3. The first man to win a world title at welterweight (147) and then later win a world title at super middleweight (1988-11-04).
  4. The first man to win a world title at welterweight (147) and then later win a world title at light-heavyweight (1987-03-07).
  5. The first man to win a world title at super welterweight (154) and then later win a world title at super middleweight (1988-11-04).
  6. The first man to win a world title at super welterweight (154) and then later win a world title at light-heavyweight (1987-03-07).
  7. The first man to win a world title at middleweight (160) and then later win a world title at super middleweight (1988-11-04).
  8. The first man to win a world title at super middleweight (168) and then later win a world title at light heavyweight title (1991-06-03).
  9. The first man to win a world title at light heavyweight (175) and then later win a world title at middleweight (1987-10-29).
  10. The first man to win a world title at light heavyweight (175), win a world title at middleweight and later win another light heavyweight title (1991-06-03).
  11. The 11th man to win three different titles in three different weight divisions (1987-03-07): 147 to 154 to 175 to be a Triple Champion.
  12. The 42th WBA world welterweight (147) champion.
  13. The 18th WBC world super welterweight (154) champion.
  14. The 11th The Ring super welterweight (154) champion.
  15. The 19th WBC world middleweight (160) champion.
  16. The first ever WBO world super middleweight (168) champion.
  17. The 14th WBC world light heavyweight (175) champion.
  18. The 36th WBA world light heavyweight (175) champion.
  19. The 8th WBU world cruiserweight (200) champion.
  20. The 7th IBO world cruiserweight champion.

Personal

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 a rising boxer, and has fought on the undercard of his father's recent fights. He currently lives in Southfield, Michigan a suburb of Detroit.

References

Ryo Mashiba, a fictitious character from the Japanese manga Hajime no Ippo, is known for using Thomas Hearns' boxing style (which he refers to as the Hitman style, after Hearns' popular nickname), specifically the flicker jab. Mashiba, like Hearns, also possesses exceptional height, reach and power.

Trivia

See also

External links

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