Earlier this year, we sadly and shockingly lost one of the “Four Kings” as the very great Marvelous Marvin Hagler passed away, at far too young an 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, “The Hitman”, the multi-weight king, is 63 years old. Hearns, who STILL has ideas of returning to the ring (he would absolutely be there with Leonard, whether in an exhibition fight or in a real fight!), Is the youngest of “The Four Kings”, with Duran being 70 and Sugar Ray having turned 65 this year. Hearns is for millions of combat fans the most exciting fighter of this extraordinary group of fighters who illuminated the sport and the decade of the 1980s in such a huge and unforgettable way.
From welterweight to cruiserweight, Hearns fought the best and always tried to give his best. Super fast, terrifyingly powerful, and possessing the kind of gargantuan fighting heart that we rarely see or have ever seen, Hearns’ goal was to win of course, but the Detroit superstar was also extremely motivated by the fans, the fans. paying fans, and make them happy. âThey deserve a show, they pay their money,â Hearns said repeatedly. “I always made sure they had a show.”
That’s what he did, and now because of his courage and skill and power and because of his mindset, Hearns has a certain 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 epic first showdown with Leonard. Many pundits say the Battle of Hagler gave us the greatest single round in all of boxing, this of course being that sizzling, never-to-be-missed first round. While many boxing experts say the Leonard-Hearns classic from four years earlier has to be ranked as THE greatest welterweight title fight of all time.
Hearns lost both fights, but that doesn’t take anything away from him. Hearns was a guy who’d rather come out on his shield with a loss than win in a boring, boring way. And of course Hearns, 61-5-1 (48), had some superb wins in his long (too long) 29-year professional career. Pipino Cuevas was eliminated in two rounds, as was Duran. Juan Domingo Roldan was dropped prone in the fourth, while James Shuler came down in a flash, his hands still up at that point.
And Hearns could box with the best, his masterful victories over Wilfred Benitez, Virgil Hill and Leonard (in their long-awaited comeback fight, forget what the judges said) proving just as much.
Hearns was indeed a unique fighter. Each fan has their own special Hearns memory, their Hearns moment. There will be a lot of Thomas Hearns fights revisited today, via YouTube or the VCR. And as we all know, there are so many great choices to choose from.