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Boxing – Middleweight Bout – Thomas Hearns VS Ernie Singletary

DOG COMMENTARY:

Thomas “Hitman” Hearns rates as one of my “super great boxers” of the golden age of boxing from 1964 – 1995…..and his opponent Ernie Singletary was a good enough boxer to get shot at the IBF super middleweight title against Champ Murray Sutherland…..as he was no pushover for Hitman in this his 1st fight in the middleweight division…..having moved after his final welterweight fight against Sugar Ray Leonard.  Had Hearns boxed in any other era of boxing…..he might have become a “legendary boxer”….rather than a “super great boxer” in this golden age…..cuz Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler were the legends in his weight classes….but Hitman was a good as they come…..and any way you cut the pie….this fight between Thomas Hearns and Ernie Singletary was a great fight that went to decision.

Hearns began his professional boxing career in Detroit, Michigan under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward in 1977. Steward had changed Hearns from a light hitting amateur boxer to one of the most devastating punchers in boxing history….as he won six world titles in five weight classes during his pro career….defeating future boxing hall of fame members 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. Hearns was voted “Fighter of the Year” by Ring Magazine in 1980.  This set the stage for the world welterweight title fight to unify the crown…..as WBA champ Thomas Hearns with a 32-0 record (30 KOs) fought WBC champ Sugar Ray Leonard (30-1) in a bout dubbed “The Showdown”….for this was a legendary fight where Hearns suffered his first professional defeat when Leonard stopped him in the 14th round.  In the 13th round, Leonard was behind on points on all 3 judges scorecards….needing a knockout to win. He came on strong and put Hearns through the ropes at the end of the round. Hearns was dazed, totally out of gas and received a count but was saved by the bell. Leonard, with his left eye shut and time running out, resumed his attack in the 14th….when Hearns started the round boxing and moving….but after staggering Hearns with an overhand right….Leonard pinned Hearns against the ropes….and after another combination to the body and head….referee Davey Pearl stopped the fight. Hearns and Leonard banked a combined 17 million dollars for the fight, making it the largest purse in sports history. The following year, Leonard retired due to a detached retina, and there would be no rematch until 1989.

Both Leonard and Hearns would find themselves in the ring fighting for multiple titles in heavier weight divisions over the next 16 – 21 years….as Sugar Ray would fight his last fight in 1997….while Hearns last appearance in the ring as a pugilist was in 2006….as any fight with either of these two boxers is well worth the watch.

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