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Thomas "Hitman" Hearns (born October 18, 1958, in Memphismarker, raised in Detroitmarker), is an Americanmarker 8-time world champion professional boxer in six different categories or weights.

Hearns became the first ever quadruple world champion in boxing history.

He would also become the first ever quintuple and sextuple champion in history winning World titles at welterweight, super welter, middle, supermiddle, light heavy, cruiserweight.

He has scored many memorable knockouts in his career, and is widely considered as one of the greatest knockout artists of all time.

Hearns was voted the greatest Super Welterweight of all time by Ring Magazine and received the "Fighter of the year" award in 1980 and 1984.

Thomas Hearns fought 21 current, past or future world champions in 22 world title fights.

Blessed with exceptional height for a welterweight (6'1"), a broad back, and unusually long arms, Hearns had a unique build combined with destructive punching power. His promotional fight name was the Hit Man.

He is known best for his devastating right hand, his powerful left hook and for carrying his left hand low—a stance he used to lure foes into an exchange, as well as to maximize the speed and change the angle of his jab, a technique called the "flicker jab".

As a fighter, his aggression set him apart, controlling fights with his incredible reach, power and great boxing skills. He lost only one decision in his entire career, at the age of 35.

Amateur career

Hearns had an outstanding amateur record of 155–8. In 1977, Hearns won the National Amateur Athletic Union Light Welterweight Championship, defeating Bobby Joe Young of Steubenville, OH, in the finals. He also won the 1977 National Golden Gloves Light welterweight Championship.

Professional career

Hearns began his professional boxing career in Detroit, Michigan, under the tutelage of Emanuel Steward in 1977.

He won eight world championships in six weight classes during his pro career, defeating boxing hall of famers such as Pipino Cuevas, Wilfred Benitez, Roberto Duran, and Virgil Hill.Hearns started his career by knocking out his first 17 opponents and quickly became one of the most feared and respected young boxers emerging in the late 1970s. In 1980 Hearns carried his 28-0 record into a world title match against Mexico's dreaded Pipino Cuevas. Having 12 title defenses and hailed as the king of the welterweights Cuevas was a formidable opponent. Hearns ended Cuevas 4-year reign by knocking him out cold in 2 rounds. Hearns was voted "fighter of the year" by Ring Magazine in 1980.

He defended the WBA World Welterweight Championship three times against Luis Primera (KO 6), Randy Shields (KO 12), and Pablo Baez (KO 4).

In 1981 a dream match had been made, with a 32-0 record (30 KOs), he fought World Boxing Council champion Sugar Ray Leonard (30-1) to unify the World Welterweight Championship in a classic bout dubbed "The Showdown". In this legendary fight Hearns suffered his first professional defeat when Leonard stopped him in the 14th round. The stoppage by referee Davey Pearl remains controversial, as Hearns was ahead on all three scorecards and did not appear hurt. Hearns and Leonard banked a combined 17 million dollars for the fight making it the largest salary in sports history. 3 months after the fight Leonard retired due to a detached retina and there would be no rematch until 1989.

He won the WBC Super Welterweight World Title from boxing legend and 3-time world champion Wilfred Benitez (44-1-1) in New Orleans in December 1982 and defended that title against European champion Luigi Minchillo (42-1) (W 12), WBA world champion Roberto Duran (KO 2), no.1 contender Fred Hutchings (29-1) (KO 3), and no.1 contender Mark Medal (26-2) (TKO 8). During his reign at this weight, the 2nd round destruction of the legendary Roberto Duran, in which he became the first boxer to KO Duran, is seen as his pinnacle achievement earning him his second Ring Magazine's "fighter of the year" award in 1984.

During his time as Super Welterweight champion Hearns also ventured into the middleweight division, losing a legendary battle to World Champion Marvin Hagler in 1985. Billed "The Fight," (later known as The War), this superbout, hailed as the 3 greatest rounds in history, elevated both fighters to superstar status. Hearns broke his right hand in the first round of this fight and lost by TKO in round 3.

Hearns quickly made amends by dispatching undefeated rising star James "Black Gold" Schuler with a devastating first round knockout in 1986. Sadly, 2 weeks after the fight Schuler was killed in a motorcycle accident. Hearns presented the NABF Championship belt to Shulers family at his funeral saying he deserved to keep the belt as he had held it longer than Hearns.

Other notable World Title fights included his 7 knockdowns of 3-time world champion Dennis Andries to win the WBC Light Heavyweight World Title in March 1987, his four-round destruction of the feared Juan Roldan (63-2) later that year to claim the WBC Middleweight World Title, his TKO "Ring Magazine 1988 upset of the year" loss to Iran Barkley in his first defense of that same title and his win against James "the Heat" Kinchen (44-3) for the WBO Super Middleweight Title.

Hearns had to wait until 1989 for a rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard, this time for the WBC and WBO Super Middleweight titles. This was Hearns 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 books".

1991 would see a last great performance of the ageing Hitman as he challenged the undefeated WBA Champion Virgil Hill for the light heavyweight crown. In Hill's 11th defense of the title Hearns would return to his amateur roots and outbox the champion to win a convincing decision and add a 6th World Title to his illustrious career.

Later in his career Hearns also won 2 World Cruiserweight titles, making him the only man in history to have won the World Welterweight, Super Welter, Middle, Super Middle, Light Heavy and Cruiserweight World Titles.


  1. The first man ever to win four world titles in four weight classes (1987-10-29): from 147 to 154 to 175 to 160 to be the first ever Quadruple Champion in boxing.
  2. The first man ever to win five world titles in five different boxing divisions: (1988-11-04): from 147 to 154 to 175 to 160 to 168. The first ever Quintuple Champion in boxing.
  3. The first man to win a world title at welterweight (147) and then later win a world title at super middleweight (1988-11-04).
  4. The first man to win a world title at welterweight (147) and then later win a world title at light-heavyweight (1987-03-07).
  5. The first man to win a world title at super welterweight (154) and then later win a world title at super middleweight (1988-11-04).
  6. The first man to win a world title at super welterweight (154) and then later win a world title at light-heavyweight (1987-03-07).
  7. The first man to win a world title at middleweight (160) and then later win a world title at super middleweight (1988-11-04).
  8. The first man to win a world title at super middleweight (168) and then later win a world title at light heavyweight title (1991-06-03).
  9. The first man to win a world title at light heavyweight (175) and then later win a world title at middleweight (1987-10-29).
  10. The first man to win a world title at light heavyweight (175), win a world title at middleweight and later win another light heavyweight title (1991-06-03).
  11. The 11th man to win three different titles in three different weight divisions (1987-03-07): 147 to 154 to 175 to be a Triple Champion.
  12. The 42nd WBA world welterweight (147) champion.
  13. The 18th WBC world super welterweight (154) champion.
  14. The 11th The Ring super welterweight (154) champion.
  15. The 19th WBC world middleweight (160) champion.
  16. The 14th WBC world light heavyweight (175) champion.
  17. The 36th WBA world light heavyweight (175) champion.
  18. The 8th WBU world cruiserweight (190) champion.
  19. The 7th IBO world cruiserweight champion.


Hearns' family is a fixture on the Detroit sports scene. His mother, Lois Hearns, is a fight promoter. Their company, "Hearns Entertainment," has promoted many cards, including the Mike Tyson-Andrew Golota bout in 2000. His son Ronald Hearns is a rising boxer, and has fought on the undercard of his father's recent fights. Hearns retains much of the millions of dollars he has made throughout his career, he currently lives in Southfield, Michiganmarker (a suburb of Detroitmarker) where he has a house with 10 acres of land and buys a new Bentley every year.

See also


Ryo Mashiba, a fictitious character from the Japanese manga Hajime no Ippo, is known for using Thomas Hearns' boxing style (which he refers to as the Hitman style, after Hearns' popular nickname), specifically the flicker jab. Mashiba, like Hearns, also possesses exceptional height, reach and power.

Masanori Morita named his manga studio after him, Studio Hitman, which is referenced throughout the boxing manga Rokudenashi Blues

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