Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns (2nd meeting)

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1989-06-12 : Sugar Ray Leonard 160 lbs drew with Thomas Hearns 162½ lbs by PTS in round 12 of 12


  • At Leonard's insistence, Hearns agreed to a catchweight of 164 pounds. Hearns would have had to pay Leonard $500,000 if he came in over 164 pounds.
  • The fight was shown live on closed circuit television in 1,600 locations and on pay-per-view.
  • Leonard was guaranteed $13 million, and Hearns was guaranteed $11 million. Leonard also got 40% of the promotional gross over $30 million, and Hearns got 35%.
  • Two days before the fight, Henry Hearns, the younger brother of Thomas Hearns, shot his 19-year-old fiance after she threatened to leave him. He shot her in his brother's Detroit home and used his brother' gun. Henry was arraigned on a first-degree murder charge the day of the fight. He was later convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to twenty years in prison. In 1992, Thomas agreed to pay the woman's family $685,000 to settle a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Leonard was a 3 to 1 favorite.
  • A capacity crowd of 15,300 watched the fight at Caesars Palace.
  • Leonard wore red and white striped trunks with the word AMANDLA on the waistband. Amandla means "power" in Zulu and was commonly used in anti-apartheid demonstrations. The day of the fight marked the 25th anniversary of Nelson Mandela being sentenced to life in prison by the South African government for committing sabotage.
  • Hearns dropped Leonard with a right cross in the third round and knocked him down again in the eleventh round with a series of right hands. Each time, Leonard came back strong. In the fifth round, Leonard staggered Hearns with a left hook and battered him for the remainder of the round. In the twelfth round, knowing he needed a big finish, Leonard hurt the exhausted Hearns and dominated the final two minutes of the fight.
  • Leonard landed 232 of 652 punches (36%), and Hearns connected on 221 of 560 (40%).
  • The result was controversial, as most felt Hearns won the fight. Even Leonard has said that he feels Hearns deserved the decision.
  • There were discussions regarding a third fight, but the two fighters couldn't agree on a weight limit. Leonard wanted the same weight limit as the second fight, but Hearns said he could no longer make that weight.