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Sunday Punch: Thomas Hearns faceplant KOs Roberto Duran

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A look back at one of the greatest knockouts of Thomas Hearns’ legendary career.

When you think of boxing’s all-time greatest punchers, Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns is one of the names that instantly springs to mind. With a lanky frame at 6’2”, Hearns began his career at 147 lbs (welterweight) and ended it at cruiserweight. Needless to say, he had the special type of power that translated well across several weight classes.

One of Hearns’ finest knockouts came at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on June 15th, 1984. His opponent was none other than another boxing legend, Roberto Duran. At stake was Hearns’ WBC junior middleweight title (154 lbs). Duran, who won his first world title at lightweight (135 lbs), was at an obvious reach and height disadvantage.

What transpired was a total blowout. Duran was dropped in round one, then the onslaught continued into round two. The speed, accuracy, and power of Hearns completely overwhelmed Roberto until he got drilled with a right hand from hell. Duran fell face-first to the canvas and that was a wrap.

Duran retired for good in 2001, with a record of 103-16 (70 KOs). Four of those 16 losses were by stoppage, and he quit against Sugar Ray Leonard and Pat Lawlor. He was dominated and TKO’d by William Joppy when he was 47 years old, so in effect, Thomas Hearns was the only man to ever knockout a prime Roberto Duran.

Hearns would defend his title against Fred Hutchings only three months later, then lost by TKO in his unforgettable middleweight title classic with Marvin Hagler in April of 1985. He retired for good in 2006 with a record of 61-5-1 (48 KOs), and his final world title was won at light heavyweight against Virgil Hill in 1991.

You can watch the full video at the top of the page, with the KO shown at 8:42. There’s some bonus CBS footage of Hagler and Hearns engaging in trash talk, months before their epic encounter.