The Showdown - Leonard vs Hearns Back & Forth Battle Explained - Fight Breakdown After avenging his one and only loss against Roberto Duran, Leonard set his eyes on a new competitor. A fighter who could box with skill and nuance, but also hit like a freight train. A man with a four inch reach advantage and an undefeated record at 32 wins, 30 by knockout. That man was the legendary Thomas the Hitman Hearns.

Hearns was imposing, but Leonard had something to prove. Many saw Ray as still untested, seeing his second fight with Duran not so much as a victory for Leonard, as a disgrace for Duran.

To quote Leonard, “Taking on Tommy Hearns was my chance to acquire the respect that I was being denied by a number of the veteran boxing writers who still saw me as a fighter created by television when yet to defeat a star opponent. “

There was no fighter more real than Thomas Hearns, with his crafty, flicking jab and tremendous chopping right. Leonard saw an opportunity to prove himself once and for all.

And Hearns saw an opportunity for an easy win over a big name. A knockout could propel him into the public eye and cement him as one of the most iconic boxers of the era, and he expected to make easy work of Sugar Ray.