Hearns Broke Right Hand in 1st Round : An Uppercut to Head Stunned Hagler but Hurt the Hit Man

Times Staff Writer

Thomas Hearns’ biggest bomb was apparently defused in the first round of Monday night’s middleweight title fight against Marvelous Marvin Hagler when he broke his previously injured right hand. Hearns, who was stopped in the third round of the Las Vegas fight, apparently suffered the injury when he hit Hagler’s head with a right uppercut early in the round. The punch stunned Hagler but apparently hurt Hearns even more.

According to a statement by Bob Arum, promoter of the fight, Hearns was diagnosed in Detroit by Dr. Thomas Magnell as having metacarpal fractures of his ring and little fingers. Hearns had injured that same little finger three years ago, forcing postponement of a proposed fight with Hagler. Promoters later canceled the fight.

Since then Hearns has not been the knockout puncher he had been as a welterweight. After winning 30 of his first 32 fights by knockout, earning the nickname of Hit Man with his fierce right hand, Hearns became more of a boxer. After losing his welterweight title to Sugar Ray Leonard in his only other loss, Hearns scored only four knockouts in his next eight fights-- mostly as a middleweight.

However last year’s successive knockouts of Roberto Duran and Fred Hutchings seemed to prove that the World Boxing Council super-welterweight champion’s hand was healed and that he could knock down middleweights.

Hearns will have his hand in a cast for six weeks and won’t be allowed light punching for about eight weeks. At that time, according to Hearns’ manager and trainer, Emanuel Steward, Hearns will prepare to defend his title against undefeated John Mugabi in November.