2012 Hall Of Famer Thomas Hearns: His Five Greatest KO Wins
By James Slater: As fans have surely read by now, former multi-weight world champion Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns has been elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame and will be inducted at The Hall in Canastota next June.
Article posted on 07.12.2011
A truly exceptional talent, Hearns had many gifts. Far from being a puncher and nothing more, Tommy could also box superbly (see his fights with Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfredo Benitez and Virgil Hill), he had limitless courage and heart (see his wars with Marvin Hagler and his second encounter with Iran Barkley, and, at the end of Tommy’s career, when practically everything but his heart and courage had deserted him, his gruelling battle with Freddie Delgado), and Hearns was exciting just about every single time he fought.
It was when displaying his ability as a pure puncher, however - one that could at any second turn the lights out - that Hearns became such a fan favourite. All boxing fans love to see a dramatic, memorable KO, and Hearns was a master at providing them.
Here, by way of a tribute to Tommy’s deserved entrance into The Hall of Fame, I list his five best KO wins. In reverse order:
5: KO1 James Schuler. March 1986, Las Vegas.
We will never know how great Schuler could have gone on to become. A fine amateur, “Black Gold” was tragically killed in a freak car accident a mere seven days after his loss to Hearns; the only loss of his promising career. Hearns was truly explosive and blindingly fast the night he put Schuler away in little over a minute, though. In his first fight back after the loss to Hagler, Tommy showed he had lost none of his sharpness or his ruthlessness.
4: TKO10 Denis Andries. March 1987, Detroit.
Britain’s Andries was as tough as they come, yet he was crude and easy to hit. The defending WBC light-heavyweight champ was all that stood in the way of Hearns winning his third world crown. Fighting before an adoring hometown crowd, Hearns unleashed his famous right hand in the 6th and turned the overwhelmed Andries into a yoyo. Scoring multiple knockdowns and hurting Andries many times along the way, “The Hitman” was the winner after nine-and-a-half brutal rounds.
3: KO4 Juan Domingo Roldan. October 1987, Las Vegas.
Tough Argentine Roldan was all that stood in the way of Tommy making boxing history! If Hearns could take the vacant WBC middleweight title, he would become the first man ever to have won world titles at four different weights. Hearns came out blazing, putting Roldan down in the 1st and 2nd-rounds. The bullish Roldan came back to wobble Hearns temporarily, before the Detroit legend put his rival face-first on the mat in an electrifying 4th-round.
2: TKO2 Pipino Cuveas. August 1980, Detroit.
Cuevas of Mexico was a feared puncher who had made 11 retentions of his WBA welterweight crown. Many experts felt the 21-year-old Hearns was a little too green for the hard-hitter. Instead, in his very first world title challenge, Hearns absolutely destroyed a very good fighter. Looking intimidated by Hearns right from the start, Cuevas was knocked senseless by Hearns’ right hand in the 2nd. A new superstar was born!
1: TKO2 Roberto Duran. June 1984, Las Vegas.
Duran, then sporting an amazing 77-5 record, was a genuine legend. Hearns wanted to become one, and the crushing win he scored in the Nevada desert that June evening is, for most experts, Tommy’s ultimate moment. Duran was simply no match for the defending WBC 154-pound title (154 being a weight Hearns never lost at), and in less than six minutes, after suffering three knockdowns, Duran was left face-down on the mat. An unforgettable sight, an unforgettable KO!
The final right hand Tommy cracked Duran with might have been the best he ever threw.
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