Happy Birthday Thomas Hearns! “The Hitman” Turns 63

Earlier this year, we sadly and shockingly lost one of “The Four Kings,” as the truly great Marvelous Marvin Hagler passed away, this at a far, far too young age. The sport and its followers were in a state of numbness; the death of this boxing icon hit people hard. We now have three of “The Four Kings” left, with fellow legends Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran all continuing to enjoy their status as boxing royalty.

Today sees “The Hitman,” the multi-weight king, turn 63. Hearns, who STILL harbours ideas of returning to the ring (he would absolutely get in there with Leonard, in either an exhibition bout or in a real fight!), is the youngest of “The Four Kings,” with Duran having hit 70, and Sugar Ray having turned 65 this year. Hearns is for many millions of fight fans the most exciting fighter of this extraordinary group of fighting men who lit up the sport, and the decade that was the 1980s, in such a huge and unforgettable way.

From welterweight all the way up to cruiserweight, Hearns fought the best and he always tried to give his best. Super-fast, wickedly powerful and possessing the kind of gargantuan fighting heart we seldom see or have ever seen, Hearns’ objective was to win of course, yet the Detroit superstar was also hugely motivated by the fans, the paying fans, and making them happy. “They deserve a show, they pay their money,” Hearns has said many times. “I always made sure they got a show.”

That he did, and now, as a result of his courage, his skills and power and due to his mindset, Hearns has SOME career to look back on. Hearns gave us two of the greatest fights the world has ever seen regardless of weight-class: the three-round war with Hagler and the first epic showdown with Leonard. Many experts say the Hagler battle gave us the greatest single round in all of boxing, this of course being that sizzling, never topped opening round. While plenty of boxing experts say the Leonard-Hearns classic from four years earlier has to be ranked as THE greatest welterweight title fight ever.

Hearns lost both fights, but this takes nothing away from him. Hearns was a guy who would rather go out on his shield with a loss than to win in a dull and boring fashion. And of course, Hearns, 61-5-1(48), scored some superb wins during his long (too long) 29 year pro career. Pipino Cuevas was taken out inside two-rounds, as was Duran. Juan Domingo Roldan was deposited flat on his face in the fourth, while James Shuler went down in a flash, his hands still up at the time.

And Hearns could box with the best, his masterful wins over Wilfred Benitez, Virgil Hill and Leonard (in their long-awaited return fight, forget what the judges said) proving as much.

Hearns was indeed a unique fighter. Every fan out there has his or her own special Hearns memory, their Hearns moment. There will be plenty of Thomas Hearns fights revisited today, via YouTube or the VCR. And as we all know, there are so many great ones to choose from.

1 thought on “Happy Birthday Thomas Hearns! “The Hitman” Turns 63”

  1. Tommy Hearns would knock out every welterweight in Boxing today, including Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto, Marquez, Dela Hoya, Mosley, if they had the nerve to climb in the ring with him. Those 4 Kings were a one of a kind, different breed. They stepped in against the best of the best, in their prime, multiple times, win, lose or draw, to see who was the best. Between Leonard, Hearns, Hagler and Duran, they had 9 FIGHTS between the four of them!! When Tommy & Co hurt you, they finished the deal.

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