Tommy Hearns KOs Pipino Cuevas This Day August 2, 1980
Tommy Hearns wins the welterweight crown
Thomas Hearns 146 lbs
Pipino Cuevas 146½ lbs
TKO at 2:39 in round 2 of 15
Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan, USA
Referee: Stanley Christodoulou 10-9
Judge: Roberto Ramirez Sr. 10-9
Judge: Yusaku Yoshida 10-9
WBA Welterweight Title (Cuevas’ 12th defense)
In this fight between the shorter, scrappy champion and the extremely tall, long-armed undefeated challenger, much was expected. However, it really wasn’t much of a contest. Cuevas could never penetrate Hearns’ relative force field, created by his lightening fast hands and very long arms. In the first round, Hearns battered Cuevas with both hands, while also keeping him at bay and measured with his left jab. Cuevas went careening off the ropes several times, but never went down. In the second round, it was more of the same, as every attempt by the champion to attack was quickly picked apart by super-quick and accurate punches from the challenger. Pipino’s illustrious four-year reign as champion came to a sudden and dramatic end when Hearns landed a monstrous right hand to Cuevas’ head. Cuevas stayed up for nearly two seconds on extremely wobbly legs before Hearns stepped in with another right that sent Cuevas face-first into the canvas. He somehow made it up before the ten count, but referee Christodoulou waved the bout off when Cuevas’s trainer came in to save him. It was one of the most memorable knockouts in boxing history.
This ended Pipino’s four-year reign as WBA Welterweight Champion.
Hearns would hold the title until his unification fight with WBC champion Sugar Ray Leonard on September 16, 1981.
Pipino’s career unraveled after this fight. He lost seven of his next twelve fights and never again fought for a championship.