1988-11-04 Thomas Hearns w pts 12 James Kinchen, Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBO
1988-11-04 Thomas Hearns w pts 12 James Kinchen, Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - WBO. Referee: Mills Lane. Scorecards: 115-112, 114-112, 113-114. Having appointed Hearns (165½) as their champion when the organisation was formed, his defence against Kinchen (166) would be the first championship fight at the weight for the WBO.
Hearns started as he said he would, throwing big punches, but Kinchen took them and started hitting back with some of his own and in the fourth round a heavy right-left hook had the ‘Hitman’ over. Somehow beating the count, Hearns looked to be all over the place and after holding on for dear life to get through the rest of the session, for which he was deducted a point, he began to jab and move from thereon. Hearns was still at risk though and after being hurt in the sixth, seventh and eighth by big rights to the head, he boxed cagily before giving Kinchen a bit of a hammering towards the end of the eighth. From thereon, despite carrying a swollen eye and always having to be continually on his guard against Kinchen’s right hand, Hearns took the last four rounds to make sure of the win. Following the contest, Hearns claimed that his right hand had gone early on and that he had been unable land power punches after that.