November 25th - A Significant Date In Two Boxing Legends' Careers

tommy hearnsBy James Slater: Today, November the 25th, in the years of 1977 and 1980, marks the anniversary of two very significant dates in the careers of two rival boxing legends. Thomas Hearns, the one and only "Hitman" from Detroit, boxed his very first pro fight on this very day of November, while his great adversary, Sugar Ray Leonard, won what was arguably his finest, and at the same time most controversial, victory on the 25th of the month we are now in.

Tommy defeated one Jerome Hill via a two round KO in his hometown of "The Motor City," while Ray made the great Roberto Duran quit in round eight of their historic rematch in New Orleans. Strange how a certain date on the calendar can prove to be so important in the lives of two fighters who proved to be so important to each other..

Both Ray and Tommy will forever be interlinked, such was the great rivalry the two legends engaged in with one another. No doubt both men can vividly recall what they were doing on this very day - 30 years ago in Tommy's case, and 27-years ago in Ray's. But at that time could either boxer have possibly known how the two of them would pretty much define their careers by going up against one another? Looking back, it does seem as though some path of destiny saw to it that the two greats would collide. And as a result of the Leonard-Hearns meetings boxing fans were the real winners. Both their fights, in 1981 and 1989, were super fights of the highest order, with both men giving their all in thrilling, boxing-at-its-best encounters - fight number one in particular.

Today, both men are friends. Ray respects Tommy, and Tommy respects Ray. Due to the fact that no third fight took place between them, both warriors are, as Ray once said, "One and one." They are indeed, and it remains debatable who the superior fighter of the two was. For example, Leonard, when he first met Duran, was defeated quite handily. While Hearns, when he met Roberto, scored an utterly frightening and devastatingly quick KO - something Leonard never looked close to achieving. Then again, when Tommy met Marvellous Marvin Hagler, though he made up half of what was one of the single greatest fights of all-time, he was KO'd in just three rounds. Ray, conversely, outthought and outscored Hagler to win on points over twelve rounds. So, the debate remains, who was the better fighter, Leonard or Hearns? When they matched up with each other such a question raged at its most intense, that's for sure.

Both men had other notable dates in their mega careers, but it is interesting that on this very day of November both super stars of the ring engaged in very prominent moments from their fighting lives. Time really does fly, and it does not seem possible that three decades have passed since a very young Thomas Hearns laced 'em up for the very first time as a pro. Nor does it seem possible that it was over a quarter of a century ago when Ray Leonard was forcing Roberto Duran to throw up his hands and cry out "No Mas!"

Certain dates live on in boxing history. For Leonard and Hearns, November 25th will forever be remembered, surely.

Article posted on 26.11.2007

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