Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns : 35th Year Anniversary

By Wilmar Patino:


On a sensational Wednesday Night, of September 16, 1981, two all-time greats fought one of the best fights that I have seen in my life. It was an unforgettable night of an unforgettable decade of great fights. Sugar Ray Leonard, the WBC World Welterweight Champion faced the great Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, the WBA World Welterweight King in a see-saw battle that went for 14 unforgettable rounds. Sugar Ray Leonard had already avenged his lost to Roberto Duran as he stepped in the ring as WBC champion with a record of 30-1 21KO’s. Opposite to Leonard was Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns who was the WBA champion and had an incredible undefeated record of 32-0 30KO’s. What would ensue next was a fight for the ages.

The crowd seemed hyped and ready for the fight from the opening bell. Thomas Hearns came out Boxing on his toes planting his feet every now and then and throwing some quick combinations. Leonard seemed to be playing a chess match and taking his time while finding his range. Hearns was jabbing Sugar Ray Leonard all night and tried to hurt Leonard any chance he had. Leonard would dance around, evade punches and counter up top. As the fight progressed Thomas Hearns seemed to be separating himself on the scorecards as Leonard’s eye began to swell. Hearns used his height and reach to his advantage while still managing to viciously attack Ray Leonard to the body. Punishing Leonard to the head and body and gradually slowing him down just a tad bit. It was a beautiful thing to watch.

Yet as the rounds progressed, Ray Leonard began to figure out Thomas Hearns, and started landing damaging blows often and repeatedly. Still Hearns would fight back, but the tide seemed to turn as Leonard was resilient and relentless in his attacks. Thomas Hearns started to grow tired and didn’t seem to have his legs under him after taking a massive shot from Leonard in the 13th round. You could get a sense that this gave Leonard a 2nd wind and newly found energy as he began pouncing on Hearns and putting on the pressure. Thomas Hearns did all he could to box on the outside and avoid Leonard’s punches but eventually Sugar Ray Leonard landed an overhand left and threw a flurry of combination punches that brought the fight to a hault as Thomas Hearns was seen uncharacteristically dangling from the ring ropes. It was a magnificent fight that displayed one of the highest levels of Boxing skills, athleticism, determintation, strength and conditioning. This fight was before my time, but when I first saw this fight I was amazed by both fighters and intrigued in the style match up. Sugar Ray Leonard showed the heart of a champion and came back to win it. This month marks the 35th year anniversary of that legendary night and I thought It would be worth mentioning to you. If you have never seen the fight or want to take a trip down memory lane, I have compiled highlights of Leonard vs Hearns 1 remastered below in high quality. So enjoy and comeback to SMACKHISFACE.COM for more!