One would think that a sporting man of Thomas Hearns' stature would have countless books written about his conquest. Hearns is not only one of the most established professional boxers to ever grace the ring but one of the most accomplished professional athletes, period.
Any man that has been involved in not one but several of the sporting world's most famous events (Hearns vs. Leonard, Hearns vs. Duran and Hearns vs. Hagler) would almost certainly garner interest enough to pen countless pages by several authors but for some reason, it simply has not been true for Thomas Hearns until recently.
Boxing coach Brian Hughes and sports psychologist Damian Hughes are two men who found it to be the right time to tell the story of Hearns in the first full length biography written about the former eight time, six division world champion.
While the book itself includes many everyday notable facts that any or all boxing enthusiasts would know, it also takes a look into the behind the scenes events that helped make Hearns the "Motor City Cobra”.
The journey starts out in Detroit where Hearns was nothing more then any other kid looking for an outlet away from the street life that claims so many of our youth.
Explaining in detail how the relationship between Hearns and famed trainer Emmanuel Steward developed through the urging of another long time Kronk Gym assistant trainer Walt Smith, who had seen the potential in Hearns that Steward had not.
Readers learn of the early years as a professional when Tommy was promoted by allegedly one of the most notorious conmen in American history, Ross Fields, who went by the alias Harold Smith and headed up the Muhammad Ali Professional Sports company funded through money Fields reportedly embezzled through his employers at Wells Fargo.
At times, I became enthralled with the way promotional talks were described and great lengths that were taken to make the “Super Fights” of the 1980’s Tommy was involved in. The fights themselves were discussed it was almost impossible not to imagine myself in the corner with Emmanuel Steward waiting for a bell to signal rounds end to discuss strategy with our fighter.
When the book spoke of Hearns' high points, I would smile broadly. When tough times came upon the fighter, I often spoke unwillingly outloud in disappointment. What I truly found Thomas Hearns' most championship characteristic to be was how he handled not only success but adversity.
I personally found this to be one of the best biographies on a professional fighter since reading “Unforgivable Blackness”, based on the life and times of former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson.
Brian and Damian Hughes' biography “Hitman” delivers the story of an immortal ring legend that is second only to the fighter's famed straight right hand punch.
A must read for all boxing fans.