BIG NIGHT IN DETROIT 18,453 Watch Hearns Retain Title Oer Minchillo
Thomas Hearns made the first defense of his WBC junior middleweight belt, beating Italy’s Luigi Minchillo for a unanimous 12 round decision before a sellout crowd at the Joe Louis Arena. It was a special evening for Motor City boxing and the largest indoor audience in Detroit since Jake Lamotta and Sugar Ray Robinson drew 19,000 to the Olympia nearly 40 years ago.
Despite the fact that Hearns won the fight in a lopsided style by scores of 120-109, 120-110 and 118-109, he failed to stop, or even drop, his resilient rival. Tommy connected with a vast assortment of blows, but Luigi never faltered from his dogged attack and almost never took a backwards step.
“I landed all kinds of shots,” said Hearns. “He took them all. Minchillo is just a strong fighter. He took a lot of punishment. Some guys just have hard heads.”
Since his loss to Sugar Ray Leonard in June of 1981, Hearns has won six straight, but only two via knockout, promoting many to ask: What happened to the “hit” in “Hitman”? Has his power been affected by the repeated hand injures that kept Tommy idle for most of the past year?
“He threw a million right hands at Minchillo,” said Hearns’ manager and trainer, Emanuel Steward, the day after the fight. “If he’d never had a problem with the hand, I’d expect it to be a mess today. But there’s no problem.”
Regardless of the mysterious disappearance of Hearns’ once pulverizing power, he has big plans for the future. A unification bout with WBA 154 pound boss Roberto Duran is the most likely at this point. There are, however, some problems in making this attractive match. Hearns’ Kronk stablemate, Mike McCallum, is rated number one by both sanctioning bodies and the WBA is threatening to strip Duran if he fails to defend against McCallum. An even bigger fight against marvelous Marvin Hagler is another tantalizing possibility. But whatever comes next, Hearns is back and apparently raring to go.