Thomas "Hitman" Hearns was born October 18, 1958 in Memphis, Tennessee. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Detroit, Michigan. He is a retired American boxer. He won 8 world titles in six different weight divisions.
Hearns became the first boxer in history to win world titles in four divisions. He would also become the first fighter in history to conquer 5 world titles in 5 different divisions.
He has scored many memorable knockouts in his career and is widely considered to be one of the greatest knockout artists of all time.
Hearns was voted the greatest Super Welterweight of all time by Ring Magazine and received the "Fighter of the Year" award in 1980 and 1984.
He fought 21 current, past or future world champions.
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. 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 used 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".
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.
Hearns had an outstanding 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.
Hearns began his professional boxing career in Detroit, Michigan, under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward in 1977.
He won eight titles in six weight classes during his pro career, defeating 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 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 (KO 6), Randy Shields (TKO 12), and Pablo Baez (TKO 4).
In 1981, Hearns the WBA champion, with a 32-0 record (30 KOs), fought World Boxing Council champion Sugar Ray Leonard (30-1) to unify the World Welterweight Championship in a classic 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 caused by Hearns jab, and there would be no rematch until 1989.
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