Nearly 36 years ago, Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard came together at Caesars Palace for one of the most memorable nights in boxing history. On Sept. 16, 1981, in a WBA-WBC welterweight title unification bout, Leonard stopped Hearns in the 14th round of an incredible bout filled with pulsating action.
On Saturday, August 12, the rivals will come together once again when Leonard presents Hearns for induction into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame at its fifth annual gala at Caesars Palace.
“We’re very excited about adding Thomas Hearns to our Hall of Fame and who better to induct him than Sugar Ray Leonard?” said Michelle Corrales-Lewis, the Hall of Fame’s President and CEO. “We’ve had a tradition of having legends come together at our previous events and this made so much sense. They’re among the most popular fighters in the modern era of the sport and fans are going to love the chance to see them in person.”
Known both as “The Hitman” and the “Motor City Cobra,” Hearns had a 61-5-1 record with 48 knockouts, and won recognized world titles at welterweight, super welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight.
His 1982 bout with Leonard was one of his most memorable. Hearns used a stiff jab to keep Leonard at bay and build a solid lead on the scorecards. Dramatically, Leonard hurt Hearns near the end of the 13th round and finished him in the 14th.
“So many boxing fans love that fight so much and it’s appropriate to have them together at Caesars one more time,” Corrales-Lewis said.
Hearns headlines another stellar class for the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. He’ll be joined in the non-Nevada boxer category by Salvador Sanchez, Michael Spinks, Michael Carbajal and Lucia Rijker. Chosen in the Nevada resident boxing category was Leon Spinks, Ken Norton and Richie Sandoval.
Non-participants who will be inducted are referee Davey Pearl; public relations expert Debbie Munch; promoter Mel Greb; trainer/cut man Rafael Garcia and ex-Nevada Athletic Commission chairman Dr. Elias Ghanem.
Norton, Pearl, Sanchez, Greb and Ghanem will be inducted posthumously.
Remaining tickets for all events of the two-day NVBHOF induction weekend, August 11-12, including the gala dinner on Aug. 12, may be purchased at nvbhof.com. They can be purchased separately or as part of a Super VIP ticket, which gains access to all weekend events.
The Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame was founded in 2012 by sportscaster Rich Marotta. It is an IRS 501-c-3 charitable organization with proceeds going to boxing-related causes. Ticket purchases, raffle and silent auction purchases are tax-deductible.
Follow the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame on Twitter: @nvbhof