Boxing Book Review: Hit Man, The Thomas Hearns Story
Boxing Book Review: Hit Man, The Thomas Hearns Story
By Antonio Santiago, Doghouse Boxing (July 16, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
The Thomas Hearns Story
Recently, you read a review by me of a book about Josie, the fictional penguin and boxing champion. Many of the books that I have reviewed and that I will review, however, have to do with real life champion and non-champion boxers, such as Tony De Marco, Manny Pacquiao, Kostya Tszyu, George Foreman, Roberto Duran, Alexis Arguello, Binnie Klein, Tony Galento, Joe Gans and etc. Today’s book, Hit Man, The Thomas Hearns Story (ISBN 9781903854907, Milo Books,, all rights reserved, 2009) is about another real life world champion, one of the greatest: Kronk gym’s one and only Thomas “The Hit Man” Hearns. Hearns was recently inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and deservedly so, as he was the one last missing link of what really are “Five Kings” of his era as a Welterweight to Light Heavyweight boxer.

The book is written by Brian Hughes, MBE, and his son Damian. Now I know in England they give you an MBE for writing! (The book was written in England) Hey Che and Anthony (my editors): we should all move to Great Britain so we can all be famous and have all the chicks and titles, ah!!! Ok, ok, now, on to the serious stuff: “Hit Man” is a well-intentioned biography by the two Mr. Hughes, about one of their favorite fighters during the 1980’s.

The book is well detailed about “Tommy”’ s life, manners and career. We learn that Tommy preferred to be more of a quiet person-this despite his alleged resentment for Sugar Ray Leonard and the attention Leonard got from sponsors like Golden Skillet, 7UP and Franklin Sporting Goods. We also learn about when Tommy went to the offices of Ring Magazine in New York and posed for that iconic cover in which he was shown carrying a machine gun-which the book’s writers consider an unfortunate moment given Detroit’s “notoriety” as a “murder capital” during that era. And we learn that the fight between Hearns and my friend Wilfred Benitez, along with the all-time classic between Wilfredo Gomez and Lupe Pintor (one of the top 5 fights of all time if you ask me) were to take place in Venezuela instead of New Orleans! Bits like these make the book more enjoyable, because they make Hearns and the other fighters he confronted more real, and the fights an even bigger event, specially when we realize that most of these events took place more than 20 years ago (time sure flies faster than Concorde!)

With blue and red titling on the cover, “Hit Man” reminds us from the onset that Hearns was a fighter who could operate as cool as ice, and also as red hot as fire. Just like in 1984, the year in which he patiently outpointed Luigi Minchillo and then brutalized Roberto Duran and Freddie Hutchings. The blue on the cover’s background, grazed with lights-type white, reminds us that Hearns was a blue-collar worker’s champion who reached the spotlight. Hearns is shown on the cover hitting Marvelous Marvin Hagler with an uppercut to the chin.

The one gripe that I will have to talk about, really is not about this production, but about the exclusion of one or two of the “Five Kings” of Hearns’ era when it comes down to consideration for inclusion in things like these: I have Sugar Ray Leonard’s autobiography as well as biographies about Hearns and Roberto Duran, and a book about the fight between Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Plus I know about a book named “Four Kings”…..when in reality the kings were five, not four. And, also I know about the upcoming biopic about Duran, “Hands of Stone” (based on the book by my friend Christian Guidice). Someone, somebody out there, needs to step up and write biographies of Wilfred Benitez and of Marvelous Marvin Hagler!

Overall, for a suggested price of $17.95, a very enjoyable book and a good read!.

Please send all Questions and comments to Antonio at

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