Lethally Poised, Sleek And Savage: Could Any Of Today’s Welterweights Have Lived With Thomas Hearns?

Whether your preference is the “Hitman” moniker or the “Motor City Cobra” handle, we all know how proficient Thomas Hearns was at getting the job done; of picking up the win and going home victorious. Hearns did it so many times as a welterweight, and as a light-middleweight. Heck, Hearns was so great, so physically gifted, he was able to rule the world at middleweight, at super-middleweight – even at light-heavyweight.

But this article asks one big question: could ANY of today’s prime, elite and celebrated 147 pounders have lived with the 1980/1981 version of Hearns, much less have had a chance of defeating him? Yes, Hearns had his dose of Kryptonite – if he was matched with the right fighter, the great fighter (and back then, well, fighters from all weights were far less inclined to duck and dodge the real challenges; you know, the ones that would define them, win or lose).

Hearns, as special as he was, never had a granite chin (yet I refuse to accept Hearns had what could be described as a “glass” chin – 14 rounds with Leonard? Three hellish rounds with Hagler? 12, 175-pound rounds of warfare with Barkley? Is this really the stuff of a glass chin?) But would any of today’s best welterweights have been able to take advantage?

How would Errol Spence, Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter and, dare I ask it, Manny Pacquiao, have coped with Hearn’s almost insane reach, with his savage, as accurate as a snake and just as lethal as it’s bite, right hand, with his speed and with his underrated body punching? Not too well, I dare to suggest. Remember, as great as Sugar Ray Leonard was, it took a gargantuan effort from Leonard (and Angelo Dundee) to be able to defeat Hearns. Could any of today’s best at 147 have reached in, have dug down to the depths and have come up with as much when swollen, when half-blinded, when so hopelessly behind on points as Leonard was? Again, I dare to say no. And don’t try and tell me any of today’s best at 147 would have had an easy time with Hearns!

Hearns – who left the division sporting a 32-1(30) record – was a true monster at welterweight: fast, incredibly powerful, full of heart and courage and also a smooth, classy boxer. As good as today’s welters are, none would beat Hearns. Maybe one or two of them would have lived with him, in as much as being able to give him a good, honest duel. Maybe.

Want proof? See Hearns’ utter destruction of the feared Pipino Cuevas, his winning rounds against Leonard, and his long, prolonged beating of Randy Shields, and also his do-away wins over capable fighters, Harold Weston, Bruce Curry and Bruce Finch.

Hearns would be the undisputed king of the welterweights today. Agree or disagree?

49 thoughts on “Lethally Poised, Sleek And Savage: Could Any Of Today’s Welterweights Have Lived With Thomas Hearns?”

  1. Hearns, Duran, Sugar Ray, Hagler, and the top fighters who lost to them would destroy all of today’s fighters except Spence. Spence could have competed, but only him .The era of Hearns was much like the Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton era. The boxers a step below them, like Ernie Shavers, Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Young,, etc. Would destroy most of today’s heavyweights. Wilder might get lucky with his punching power, but the rest would not have a chance!

  2. Thomas Hearns Era were world boxer’s, exciting to watch professional, and talented boxer’s, today’s boxer’s are media house, and YouTube, boxer’s Gimme a break, boxer’s today’s ain’t, the same sport. Its killed by wimps. Real boxer’s was the 70’s and 80’s @ the best .

  3. Any of these fighters today would NEVER stand a chance. De La Hoya maybe one of the better but he’d get knocked out in the 70’s and 80’s. Marvin Hagler THE best in my opinion.

  4. Not to change the subject BUT ray leonard stands along side ALI as greatest of all time. Ali-heavies, ray-all others.

  5. One thing about them old school fighters – they got it on with one another and each has their legacy. These fighters of today – just needs to get it on and bring the days back of when men were men

  6. If Tommy Hearns can break down and catch Wilfred “El Radar” Benitez who was fleet of foot defensively, I don’t imagine Mayweather being much of an issue for him..

  7. I was at a lot of Tommy’s early fights and he would brutally beat them, even the ones who went rounds with him, the body shots he thru could be heard in the cheap seats at the Olympia and Cobo

  8. Thomas Hearns beats ALL of today’s top welterweights by KO, including my favorite since Ali retired, Manny Pacquiao. Too much, speed, one-punch KO power, a wicked, blinding jab, a lethal left hook and a devastating body puncher, although his head shots got all the attention.

    I’m 70 years of age and saw the live television or closed circuit broadcasts of Tommy’s fights with Cuevas, both fights with Leonard (he won the second fight, IMO), the Duran fight, plus his fights with Finch, Barkley and Hill.

    Although Tommy has been defined more by his losses than his wins in some eyes, he was VERY tough. He fought the the very best and defeated all but a very few. None of the current crop would survive The Motor City Cobra.

    • I agree with most of your comment. The greatness of these fightes are with out question. They simply aren’t making men like these now.with that said I respectfully submit to you the great hearnes would not have defeated Mayweather, he just would have been out boxed he just didn’t have the abilty to break the Mayweather defense. I have been breaking down fighters trying to find other fighters in this era and to be honest there just aren’t any. Thats no small thing because this 147 pound era can compete in any time in history, any of the young folks that say different or the old folks whom feel that the young fighters are nothing but hype, well both are wrong. The last twenty years have prodced greatness. Will we ever see tha late 70s and 80s we had certainly not! The sport of boxing will never let us down when it comes to greatness!

    • I totally agree…..Hearns was a beast…..and I would never say that about Mayweather….Look at opponents Hearns fought……top notch…..but no defensive boxers would ever beat Hearns…….the man would be king at 147 today…….

  9. Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leanard,Roberto Duran all in their prime. would easily have beaten all of todays
    welterweights , to include Spence.

  10. Hearns would have knocked out all of the current guys,but he wouldn’t be fighting most of them because they don’t really want smoke with the best of the best with the exception of Pacquaio,but he would have gotten the same thing Roberto Duran got,a devastating KO.

  11. Hearns would knock out Crawford no problem! This dude is a fake wanna be !Manny to short would be picked apart from the outside he would knock out porter ! Spence ? Not sure ? Maybe in the late rounds

  12. How could the hit man beat them none in this day and age starting with floyd would even fight him lol

  13. Thomas hearns will knock out all these current fighters except maybe Spence other than that it will be a field day alright I put in what I want to say nobody

  14. Am not a fan of Delahoya but he would have beaten Tommy
    Tommy has problems with boxers and counter punchers that can take a punch

  15. Totalmente de acuerdo!!!
    Tuve la fortuna de ver esas grandes peleas de los 4 fantásticos:
    Leonard vs Duran
    Hearns vs Leonard
    Hagler va Hearns
    Hagler va Leonard
    Hearns vs Duran
    Duran vs Hagler

    • Hearns would have beaten all the best welterweight. Sugar Ray Leonard was as good as you could get and he had trouble. Mayweather, Pacquio. Dela Hoya, Quartey, Mosley would have all went timber. You saw what he did to Duran and Cuevas. Only man to knock out Duran for the count. His long educated jab, big right hand and stinging left hook woulda sent them all to never never land!

    • The Hitman would knock out Mayweather, Dela Hoya, Crawford and Pacman before the 5th round. If you don’t believe me, go back and watch Hearns’ knockout of Duran after going 12 rounds with Hagler. Hearns would have been too tall, too powerful and too fast for all of them.

  16. We like to our generation was the best but this maybe so we the current crop. It seems the conditions must be perfect I order to fight a worthy opponent. This mentality leads to less effective and tested fighters. So yes, nearly all 1970/80’s fighters would have a field day with the current stock save a few.

  17. A PRIME Hearns, Leonard and Duran would destroyall todays todays welters. As well as a PRIME Hoya and Sugar Shane would destroy them too. Pac only beat these guys because they were both easily10 to 12 years past their primes. But Hearns, Leonard, and Duran were the ultimate. Tok me PRIME Duran was the best fighter ever.

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