Thomas Hearns is a retired American boxer, nicknamed the “Motor City Cobra” and more famously “Hitman.” Hearns became the first boxer in history to win world titles in four divisions. He would also become the first fighter in history to win five world titles in five different divisions. He is best known for his fights with Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.
He won six world titles in five weight classes during his pro career, defeating future boxing hall of famers such as Pipino Cuevas, Wilfred Benítez, Virgil Hill and Roberto Durán. Hearns started his career by knocking out his first 17 opponents. In 1980, Hearns carried his 28-0 record into a world title match against Mexico’s Pipino Cuevas. Hearns ended Cuevas’s 4-year reign by beating him by TKO in the second round.
In 1981, Hearns the WBA champion, with a 32-0 record (30 KOs), fought WBC champion Sugar Ray Leonard (30-1) to unify the World welterweight championship in a bout dubbed “The Showdown.” Hearns and Leonard banked a combined 17 million dollars for the fight, making it the largest purse in sports history.
During his time as super welterweight champion, Hearns also ventured into the middleweight division, losing a legendary battle to undisputed champion Marvin Hagler in 1985. Billed “The Fight”, (later known as The War), this Superbout is commonly known as the three greatest rounds in history. The legendary battle elevated both fighters to superstar status.
After losing "The Fight," Hearns quickly made amends by dispatching undefeated rising star James “Black Gold” Shuler with a devastating first round knockout in 1986.
Hearns had to wait until 1989 for a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard, this time for Leonard’s WBC super middleweight title. This was Hearns’s sixth Superfight, a fight which much of the public believed Hearns won, flooring Leonard in both the 3rd and 11th rounds. However, the judges scored the fight a controversial draw. Leonard later admitted that Hearns had beat him and that he was gifted the draw, stating the fighters were 1-1 in his book.
1991 would see one last great performance by the aging Hitman as he challenged the undefeated WBA light heavyweight champion Virgil Hill. Hearns outboxed the champion and added a sixth world title to his illustrious career.
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