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Hearns Is Back, and so Is His Knockout Punch

November 07, 1993|TIM KAWAKAMI

LAS VEGAS — Thomas Hearns may talk like a 35-year-old and walk like a 35-year-old, but for one, skull-jarring round Saturday night, he revisited the knockout glory of his prime in the night's main undercard bout.

Emerging from a 1 1/2-year layoff and surgery on his right hand, Hearns lashed Andrew Maynard with hard right hands before a looping right to the side of his head put Maynard down for the 10-count. The knockout came at 2:34 of the first round.

Hearns (51-4-1, 41 knockouts) is trying for an unprecedented sixth world championship, this time as a cruiserweight. He hadn't recorded a knockout in a major appearance in almost five years after being known as one of boxing's most devastating hitters.

Hearns staggered Maynard, a 1988 Olympic gold medalist whose pro career has been disappointing, in the first minute with a straight right followed by another. A minute later, Hearns scored the knockout, catching Maynard as he was twisting away.

"This was a major surprise to a lot of people," Hearns said. "It wasn't expected of me. Everyone was saying, 'Hey, he's 35 years old, he can't do what he used to do.'

"But I had the surgery on my hand and I'm back to show that I can do it."

In an earlier fight, Jorge Luis Gonzalez did nothing to erase his reputation as a crude fighter who brings out boos with the greatest of ease. Gonzalez, who engaged in a couple of verbal exchanges and near-fights with Riddick Bowe this week, boxed through nine bland rounds before knocking journeyman Renaldo Snipes out in the 10th and final round.

The former Cuban national champion, Gonzalez (16-0, 15 knockouts) at times taunted Snipes (39-8-1), the Caesars Palace crowd and anybody else he gazed at.

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