History

On This Day: Was Thomas Hearns really robbed in the Sugar Ray Leonard rematch?

Sugar Ray Leonard Tommy Hearns
Accusations of drug use, a murder charge and a rematch to remember between Hearns and Leonard

SUGAR RAY LEONARD draw pts 12 THOMAS HEARNS
June 12, 1989; Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV
HEARNS spent most of the eighties chasing this rematch with Sugar Ray Leonard and it’s cruel that he was denied the victory he craved. Yet watching this two-way thriller again it’s not quite the outrageous robbery that some now label it. Indisputable, though, was Hearns’ excellent performance. Coming into the bout after an unimpressive display against James Kinchen and, on fight day, hearing the news that his younger brother had been charged with murder, the “Hit Man” went about business like a man possessed. He scored two knockdowns, in rounds three and 11, and survived under severe Leonard pressure in the fifth and 12th. The crowd chanted “Bulls**t” after the draw was announced.

DID YOU KNOW? The day before the fight, Hearns accused Leonard of using steroids. The claims were laughed off by Sugar Ray and his team. At the time, the Nevada State Athletic Commission tested both fighters for ‘other drugs’ but did not test for PED use.

WATCH OUT FOR: Co-commentator Marvin Hagler saying that he’d told Bob Arum he’d come out of retirement for $20m and fight the winner just before the decision is announced.

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