After Tommy Hearns lost to Sugar Ray Leonard, he went up to middleweight, even though he was no bigger than a junior middleweight. The reason was mostly because he and Leonard had seemingly cleaned out the division and he could chase Marvin Hagler with the idea that beating Hagler would get him a rematch with Leonard.
Leonard didn’t necessarily seem all that interested in an immediate rematch. After the war with Hearns, he faced and knocked out Bruce Finch. But it was after the Finch fight, which was two weeks before Hearns’ fight with Marcos Geraldo, that Leonard had to leave boxing because of a detached retina.
At the time, Hearns didn’t know Leonard would be out, and that he would have to be full steam ahead against two of the other Four Kings, Robert Duran and Hagler.
The interesting thing about Geraldo is that he faced three of the four kings. In 1979, he took Sugar Ray Leonard the distance in losing and one year later by the same against Hagler. Tommy didn’t wait that long.
Hearns disposed of Geraldo quite easily, which was 10 months prior to him beating Wilfred Benitez for the junior middleweight titles.