In 1980, Thomas Hearns, the Motor City Cobra, won his first major world title.
It wasn’t even a month and a half after Roberto Duran beat Sugar Ray Leonard. On August 2, 1980, a full year before he’d face Leonard himself, Hearns beat Pipino Cuevas for the WBA Welterweight title. Cuevas held the title for four years until Hearns beat him. It also synched Ring Magazine’s “Fighter Of The Year” award for him.
As I mentioned before, Duan and I are embarking on a podcast project that will start later this year. Our inspiration is the fantastic George Kimball book, “Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing.
What we’re going to do is record podcasts around all the fights between the four men. We’ll discuss what was going on at the time of the fight, the fight in general, and the aftermath. We’ll do the first two Leonard and Duran fights and then the Tommy Hearns’ fight with Leonard third.
I looked up this specific fight after reading about how Hearns quickly disposed of Cuevas and in watching it, it was even more impressive on video. His straight-right was like a jackhammer and he was setting it up all night. Cuevas was slick enough to slip a lot of the punches, but there was a sense of impending doom before he got rocked late in the second round. What an amazing performance by Hearns.
If you haven’t read Kimball’s book, it’s a must-read for boxing fans.