THOMAS HEARNS had the fight won; all he had to do was stick and move and be content to further batter his rival’s ruined face and await the timely intervention of the referee. Instead, The Upset Of The Decade unfolded.
It was three full decades ago today when the legendary “Hitman,” fresh off his history-making four-division coronation – belts won at 147, 154, 160 and 175 – signed to make the first defence of his recently acquired WBC middleweight crown against Iran Barkley.
Stung by the claims that has chin was a suspect one, one that had been close to being dented in his middleweight title fight win by Juan Domingo Roldan (interestingly Hearns would later say that was the single hardest puncher he ever faced), Tommy came out determined to stick it to “The Blade” from The Bronx. A more cautious approach would have served Hearns far better.