Hearns wants to go forward despite shaky comeback win
By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER, Associated Press Writer
July 31, 2005
DETROIT (AP) -- A number of people have urged the Hitman to stop
But Thomas Hearns, one of the greatest fighters of his generation,
said he's not quite ready to hang up the gloves.
``This is just a start. I'm planning to fight a long time,'' the
46-year-old cruiserweight said after his latest comeback fight --
Saturday night's eight-round win over lightly regarded John Long.
It was Hearns' first appearance in the ring since a forgettable loss
to Uriah Grant five years ago. In that bout, Hearns sprained his ankle
in the second round and couldn't answer the bell for the third round
against the Jamaican left-hander.
On Saturday, it was Long -- six inches shorter and 11 years younger
than Hearns -- who could not answer the bell for the ninth round.
It was far from an easy fight for Hearns, however. The seven-time
world champion looked tentative and slow in the first four rounds. The
partisan crowd at a half-filled Cobo Arena seemed anxious as the
hard-charging Long pounded Hearns against the ropes in the early
But in the fifth, Hearns (60-5-1, 47 knockouts) scored a knockdown,
using a right jab to set up a left cross that sent Long to his knees.
In the sixth, Hearns opened a cut over Long's left eye.
The bald, goateed Long (19-7-1) charged at Hearns for the majority of
the fight and scored some early shots to Hearns' head along the ropes,
but he appeared to tire after the fifth-round knockdown.
Hearns, wearing white shorts speckled with Long's ***, dominated
after that point, finally bringing the Detroit crowd to its feet with
chants of ``Tomm-y, Tomm-y.''
``I feel like I went eight rounds,'' Hearns said in his dressing room.
``I didn't know how long the fight was going to go. I thought John
might try to go 10.''
Hearns was ahead 79-72 on all three judges' cards when the referee
ended the fight on the recommendation of Long's corner.
After the decision was announced, Hearns knelt and prayed while
supporters -- including his son, Ronald -- stormed the ring and
The supporters did not include Emanuel Steward, the legendary trainer
who guided Hearns' career since his early days at Detroit's Kronk Gym.
Steward had advised Hearns not to enter the ring again.
But Hearns appears determined to fight on.
``The next three or four times I fight, I know they have to be better
than this,'' Hearns said.
Ronald Hearns, a promising middleweight, fought on Saturday's
undercard. He ran his professional record to 7-0 by knocking out
Donald Adams of Zanesville, Ohio. Ronald Hearns put Adams (1-2) on the
canvas with a series of overhand rights at 1:47 of the first round.
``I respect everyone's opinion, because they care about my father and
don't want to see him get hurt,'' said the younger Hearns, who led his
father into the ring. ``But he's worked hard. He came down from 200
pounds to 177. He's in great shape.''
Also on the undercard, Mary Jo Sanders -- the daughter of former
Detroit Lions standout Charlie Sanders -- won the WBC junior
welterweight title with a unanimous 10-round decision over Eliza Olson
of Fresno, Calif. The Auburn Hills-based Sanders improved to 17-0,
while Olson fell to 8-5-3.
Updated on Sunday, Jul 31, 2005 1:14 pm EDT