Thomas Hearns was born on October 18, 1958 in Tennessee and relocated to Michigan with his family at the age of 5. After she got divorced from his father, Hearns’ mother remarried and gave Hearns six more siblings from the second marriage, adding up to a total of eight siblings.
Even though he grew up in a big family, Hearns was a shy child and only came out of his nest when he first discovered his interest in boxing at the age of eight. A few years later, he started training at Detroit’s Kronk Gym. Hearns started boxing as an amateur for a 10 year stretch in 1967 and earned himself the merit of a knockout puncher with a record of 158 wins and 8 losses.
Hearns’ career as a professional boxer began in 1977. Despite winning 17 matches in a row by knockouts, Hearns’ efforts were not recognized by the public until he beat Jose Cuevas in two rounds and won himself the welterweight title of World Boxing Association in 1980.
The following year, Thomas Hearns lost his title to Sugar Ray Leonard but redeemed himself by winning eight different world titles in six different weight classes over the course of his career. He also became the first boxer to win world titles in four different divisions followed by his position as the first boxer to win five world titles in five divisions. These honors also won him the nicknames of Hitman and Motor City Cobra.
In 1985, Hearns lost his three year old World Boxing Council junior middle weight title to Marvin Hagler. However, two years later, the boxer rose again to win both WBC lightweight and WBC middleweight titles. In 1988, Hearns faced a similar victory after he robbed James Kinchen off the World Boxing Organizations super middleweight title.
During the 1990s, Hearns boxing career came to a slowdown and he played less frequently. However, he still managed to name various titles to himself including the International Boxing Organization cruiserweight title in 1990, the WBA light heavyweight title in 1991 and the World Boxing Union cruiserweight title in 1995.
The spring of 2000 witnessed the last match of Hearns as a professional boxer where an ankle injury caused him to lose the cruiserweight title and retire with a record of 59-5-1.
Even though he did not play anymore matches, Hearns remained involved in boxing even after retirement and soon set out to promote the game. Amongst the people he has been able to inspire is his own son, Ronald Hearns, who joined the field of boxing as a light middleweight as well. In 2012, another proud moment awaited for the former boxer as he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.