Thomas Hearns is not finished yet

Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran have been reunited in Wolverhampton 26 years after the fight that shook the world – but one of them isn’t hanging his gloves up yet.


Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran have been reunited in Wolverhampton 26 years after the fight that shook the world – but one of them isn’t hanging his gloves up yet.

These two former world champions famously met at the peak of their powers for the WBC light middleweight title under the bright lights of Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, in June 1984.

What was expected to be a fight for the ages ended inside two rounds, with Hearns smashing to bits the much-fancied challenger in a result that sent shockwaves through the boxing world.

Neither man retired until well in the 2000’s but last night, at Wolverhampton’s Park Hotel, emotions of a man who was born a fighter, and will always be one, boiled to the surface.

Hearns doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone after winning titles at seven different weights – going up, not down.

But ‘the Hitman’ – who turns 52 next month – has not accepted that his long days in the sun are over.

He said: “I can’t lie to you, it’s deep in my blood, I can’t get it out of me and I can’t be happy until I have done what I want to do.

“My fitness, even at my age, is fine – I am in pretty good condition. As long my health is good, I can step up.

“Time out of boxing is not a problem, because I have been in the ring so many times.”

The two couldn’t resist a pop at each other during last night’s sportsman’s dinner, although Duran has no intention of ever fighting again after suffering a serious car crash at the age of 50 in 2001.

Not that he would admit it, though.

Duran said: “I would fight him again, tomorrow, but it’s never going to happen.”

Hearns still regards as one of his career best his demolition job on Panama’s favourite son, only the second boxer to have fought in five different decades.

Every fighter wants the chance to do it again, especially when you think you have your opponent’s number.

He said: “Roberto wants a rematch but, at our age, are the public going to pay for that? If they would buy it, I would do it.

“It was one of my best fights when I beat him - I knew if he would fall for the first one, he would fall for another one.

“And I would return the favour, if it came down to it.”

Duran, to this day, is philosophical of the night his hard-man reputation fell apart, the shortest distance he ever lost a professional fight in 119 outings.

Most fight fans of that vintage agree that if the fight happened another 119 times the same result would never be recorded and, as a famous hell-raiser of the time, Duran agrees he let himself down.

He said: “Me and Thomas get on very well, at the end of it all. What happened, happened and, other than that, we are very good friends.

“Of course, it was a very unexpected result at the time, but I got careless and I didn’t properly train for the fight and he beat me – that’s boxing.

“Why was there never a rematch? Ask him!”

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