Sugar Ray Leonard vs Thomas Hearns II – Highlights (Classic REMATCH)

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June 12th, 1989. Billed as “The War”, two boxing legends collide in one of the most exciting rematches in history; Thomas “Hitman” Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. This rematch takes place 8 years after their classic first battle in 1981 billed as “The Showdown”. This time, their fight is contested at Super Middleweight, where Leonard makes the first defense of his WBC title. A title which he won after knocking out Donny LaLonde in 1988.

In September 1981, both fighters fought one of the most memorable and exciting title fights in history to crown an Undisputed Welterweight Champion, a fight which Leonard rallied from behind the scorecards to garner a well deserved TKO14 victory.

After their epic first encounter, Hearns would move up to Light Middleweight and beat Puerto Rican legend, “El Radar” Wilfred Benitez via MD to become a 2 weight world champion in 1982. Hearns won the WBC, vacant The Ring and Lineal Light Middleweight titles. After 4 successful title defenses (including a brutal KO over Duran in the 2nd round), Hearns would move up to face Hagler in perhaps the best three rounds of boxing ever fought. Hearns rocked Hagler in the 1st round, and broke his right hand and continues to box Hagler, and despite a tremendous effort Hearns is knocked out in the 3rd round by Hagler. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest title fights ever fought in the history of the sport.

In 1987, Hearns became world champion in four weight divisions; bagging the WBC Light Heavyweight and WBC Middleweight straps with victories over Dennies Andries and Juan Roldan respectively. Hearns made history, by becoming the first boxer to win world titles in 4 weight divisions.

In his next fight, Hearns is upset by hard hitting Iran “The Blade” Barkley and loses his WBC Middleweight title, but came back from the defeat with a UD win over James Kinchen; winning the NABF and WBO Super Middleweight title.

After their 1981 encounter, Ray Leonard on the other hand successfully defends his WBA, WBC, The Ring, and Lineal Welterweight straps against Bruce Finch. And spent the next 2 years in hiatus due to a damaged retina. He would come back in 1984, with a lackluster performance over Kevin Howard. Leonard retired after the fight, citing his unsatisfactory performance.

However, Leonard would come back from retirement later on to take on Marvelous Marvin Hagler; a fight which Leonard won by SD. The verdict of this fight remains one of the most debated in history. Leonard won the WBC, The Ring, and Lineal Middleweight titles. Leonard would retire from the sport once again after this victory.

Just a year later on November 1988, Leonard takes on Donny Lalonde for Lalonde’s WBC Light Heavyweight title and the vacant WBC Super Middleweight title was also for the taking. Leonard recovered from an early Lalonde knockdown, rallying towards a hard fought TKO9 victory. With that win, Leonard became world champion in 5 different weight classes.

In June 1989, Leonard-Hearns II finally happened. This fight lived up to expectation, as both fighters take turns to turn the tide against each othe and giving their absolute bests in every moment, reminiscent of their unforgettable first encounter. However, the outcome of their rematch remain one of the most questionable and debated in the sport.

Let me know who do you think should have won the fight.

The Ring named both their fights as Fight of the Year 1981 and Fight of the Year 1989.

Please enjoy this highlight video, and don’t forget to watch my highlight of their very first fight here;

I hope I will be able to upload more frequently now! Thanks guys and keep punching!

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