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Tommy Hearns vs. José Cuevas 

August 2, 1980

José Cuevas had been the WBA welterweight champion of the world for four years. From his short, title-winning upset of Ángel Espada in 1976 to his five-round demolition of Harold Volbrecht, Cuevas had won twelve consecutive title fights (eleven of them defenses), winning all but one by KO or TKO. Six of those knockouts ended in the second round. Despite a very weak professional start (Cuevas’s record stood at an unconvincing 15-6 when he first fought for the title), Cuevas had a great punch and soon established himself as a worthy champion, improving to a respectable 27-6.

But Tommy Hearns was a threat the likes of which Cuevas had never faced. Hearns was a freak, standing at 6’2” at 147lbs. Even with six years less experience, Hearns already had more wins under his belt than the reigning champion, standing undefeated at 28-0. In the face of Cuevas’ impressive power, Hearns stood unfazed, and with good reason. Twenty-six of his twenty-eight victories had come by stoppage, and Hearns intended to add Cuevas to the list.

They arranged to meet in battle at Joe Louis Arena (named, of course, after the legendary heavyweight champion). Before Cuevas left for his clash with the future legend, his mother told him “bless you. Get it over with as soon as possible.” As Sugar Ray Leonard would later say, Hearns must have been listening. Cuevas never made it to the third round.

Tags: boxing Tommy Hearns Jose Cuevas August 2 1980 martial arts sports
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    Duck and weave.
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    My brother was named after Tommy.
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