TOMMY: Some folks say you're just about the best boxer in the whole world.
SUGAR RAY: Too true, my man. I'm the boss boxer. As for you, you're just a puncher.
TOMMY: But the people haven't seen me really, I mean really, box.
SUGAR RAY: Well, when we fight, I'm going to take it right to you, man.
TOMMY: You do that. And every time you come to me, I'm going to give you a little something to take back.
SUGAR RAY: Oh, really? What's that?
TOMMY: Some hurt, man. A lot of pain, man.
—One of Tommy Hearns' imaginary dialogues with Sugar Ray Leonard, a sort of daydream while sparring.
The dreams have always been there, wonderful and elaborate, great curlicued structures of the mind that he built all alone, without any help from friends and certainly not from schoolteachers. Sometimes they were wryly funny dreams, but that was before he learned to control his puckish streak. After that they became more and more violent—as in let's pretend you're flat on your face. When you do this right, as Tommy Hearns has done, you emerge as a stony-faced grown-up, watching the world through hooded eyes so nobody knows what you're thinking.
One thing's for sure: Emanuel Steward, Hearns' manager and trainer, knows what his fighter is not thinking. "First time I saw this kid was in 1970," Steward says. "He was just 11 years old and he'd already been fighting for a year then. He was so scrawny it was awful; he weighed 55 pounds and his little old boxing pants were falling right off. I'd never seen anybody, ever, who had no fear of nobody. But Tommy didn't then, and he don't now."
And so here he is, at last, Hearns in maturity at 22, 6'2½", 147 pounds, his body all whipcorded and heavy-braided. He will never again be quite as untouched as you see him at this moment, because he's at that transitory stage in life in which dreams are still undented and intact. Hearns has been fighting most of his life: he went 155-8 as an amateur, developing his hard, flicking left jab and a devastating right; since turning pro in 1977, he has had a 30-0 record, with 28 knockouts. Last Aug. 2 he became Thomas Hearns, the WBA welterweight champ, by savagely cooling Jose (Pipino) Cuevas in two rounds and setting off the celebration pictured on pages 94-95. Now he finally will get to fight the elusive Sugar Ray Leonard, who holds the other 50% of the welter title, the WBC half. "I was afraid, man. I was afraid we were going to end up fighting in the lobby of some old folks home," Hearns says. But, with the championship bout just about set for sometime this autumn and a payday of $5 million to $8 million in prospect, it's a good time in his life.
Hearns expects to unify the title, as he puts it—but not too quickly. He wants to luxuriate in stretching the fight out over several violent and possibly bloody rounds to make Leonard suffer for being so insolent. He wants to clear up that business about who is going to give the boxing lesson. That accomplished, he intends to move up to take on Marvin Hagler and become Thomas Hearns, middleweight champion; and then, gaining in poundage and prestige as he goes, the world light-heavyweight champion and, umm—here he goes heavy-lidded and speaks with careful emphasis—"then maybe even the croooooser weight. Nobody has ever done that before."
The goals are set. Hearns' character is now established, but he's still working, and has a long way to go, on his personality. He's almost—well, it's about this close—at the stage where he can give a little more rein to that puckish streak. He strikes a proprietary pose, sitting on a polished fender of his new Rolls-Royce, for the picture on page 105. This is his idea of the suburban Detroit gentleman at his leisure. Those hooded eyes look out calmly, but at first there's a problem. It's that Tommy looks too sinister.
The photographer turns to Rick Evans, a bodyguard and friend of Hearns. "Do something to make him smile," he pleads. "Get him to say 'cheese' or something."
Evans shrugs grandly. "You want to see Thomas smile, man? I'll make him smile."
But Hearns locks his jawline, tightens the look on his face and narrows his eyes a bit more. No way, folks. This is a mean snapshot; people are going to see this picture and know that it's the portrait of one bad dude.
Then Evans leans over and croons in the champ's ear, "Don't say cheese, man. Just say body shot."
And that does it. The eyes light up and a smile creases that baleful countenance.
These are indeed the times he dreamed about and always knew would come, even when the only one who believed in him was Steward. His life and his career so far have fallen into place, almost like the pieces of a puzzle. Fit them together and you get Tommy Hearns.
MAMA AND EMANUEL AND JACKIE
"To me, boxing was like one of those pictures in an old LIFE magazine," she says. "I mean, they never showed fighters looking nice, you know what I mean? They'd show pictures of them all bloody, ugh, with their eyes beat half shut. And when my baby came to me and said he wanted to be a boxer, well...my heart fell to my knees."
Lois Hearns is a bona tide suburbanite now, wearing a long red hostess gown, with her hair styled attractively in bangs and a modish sweep of sideburn. She lives in a new ranch-style house in northwest Detroit, in a neighborhood of well-kept homes that's solidly middle-class. Tommy bought the place for her and his eight brothers and sisters two years ago. The furnishings are all new and expensive: a color television set and a bookcase full of silver boxing trophies and an ornate, gold-finished coffee table and white sectional couches covered with clear plastic slipcovers. A Bouvier des Flandres watchdog and two pit bulldogs patrol the fenced-in backyard. A new cream-and-blue Cadillac sedan sits at the curb. Lois Hearns doesn't know how to drive, so Tommy has hired a man to drive her. Gold chains reflect a soft light at her throat.
"Mr. Hearns and I separated when Tommy was very young," she says. "He went off and I had to raise nine children all alone. This was over on Helen Street on the East Side; it was pretty bad over there. A lot of it is burned out now. I worked as both a clerk in a store and as a beautician, and it was hard. I'd come home and I'd sit down and say, 'Lord, I'm so died,' and little Tommy would come up to me and hug me and kiss me and say. 'I'm sorry, Mama.' He said some day he'd buy me all the things I never had—a house of my own and nice clothes. 'I'm going to fill your lap up with money,' he told me." She pauses and raises one hand to her throat; it is a familiar, age-old mother's gesture. "If only it wasn't boxing. Oh, I know he's in control, but I get so scared. I just don't like the idea of him getting hit."
Still, Lois Hearns now has, in effect, the promised lapful of money. She holds out her left arm. "See? He bought me this gold watch for Christmas. It cost $2,700. He just hits the ceiling if he ever sees me wearing anything less than the very best." But then she grows pensive again, and speaks softly. "Let me see if I can put this right. I don't want you to get the wrong idea. It's hard to make anybody but a mother understand, but while I don't want him to grow old—I don't want him to be an old man—I'll sure be glad when he can retire."
Across town, an hour or so later, Tommy reflects on his childhood. He's wheeling toward the gym in his new black Corvette. He drives much too fast and not too well, with the cool disdain of a 22-year-old who figures he's unbreakable.
"Mom told me no, I couldn't be a fighter," he says. "But I was the oldest boy—I got two sisters older than me—and I would holler and carry on something awful. And when that didn't work, I'd just stand around looking all sad-eyed until I got my way. But the thing is, man, what my mama didn't realize, what nobody felt but me, was that I always knew I would make it to the top. I knew it. It came to me in a dream while I was sitting on a playground swing."
Talking about lighting warms Hearns, and suddenly he hovers on the very edge of being animated—holding back only because he's wary of saying the wrong thing, and of sounding gauche or uneducated. Hearns dropped out of school a long time ago; it's hard to say at which grade because it just sort of happened. "But I learned to fight," he says. "I worked and studied it. If I got beat up or did something sloppy in the gym, I'd go home and work on it until I got it right. Man, it was hard work. It's got to become—um, something you do without thinking about it—instinct. And now people...someone said the other day, isn't it romantic." He shakes his head at what he feels is the wrongness of the word and then goes on to explain the rightness of his romance with the sport. "I love it," he says. "Man, I love to get in there and perform. I love the one-on-one feeling. You know, trying different shots on people.
"You know what it is? Man, it's like life is one big chance. You know what I'm talking about? Look. You could get mugged, you could get cut or robbed today. So if you're going to do anything in life, you got to take the chance, man. You got to lake it, and if you're fighting, you got to put some hurl on him. I look forward to the, you know, to the combat. It's the chance."
"What it is," says Steward, "is something inside that kid that's always been there. I saw it when he was little, fighting for the King Solomon Baptist Church boxing team. Skinny little kid, like I said, with his butt hanging out. But he was so competitive. I didn't particularly want to handle him—but yet I couldn't turn away from him. It was like he had an eternal flame, or whatever you call it. I mean, listen: he's fighting out of the toughest gym in the country. You'll see it; it's like no other place in the world. Those guys at Kronk, they're not fighting just to get better, man. They're fighting for their very lives, and they've got to get better or they get out."
Steward is 36, a handsome, earnest man with a horizontal frown right at his browline, as if the doctor had given him a karate chop to the forehead at birth. More likely, it came from his days as a bantamweight—he was the national Golden Gloves champ in 1963. He's perfectly honest about his fight club; he merely nods in agreement as Prentiss Byrd, his No. 1 lieutenant, says, "Listen, around Kronk is where they take nickels off dead men's eyes. Emanuel says they're fighting for their lives. Well, sometimes you may have to fight for your life just getting from the parking lot to the front door."
"But let's look at what this did for Tommy," Steward says. "You take Sugar Ray Leonard. I guess it had got so he couldn't walk down the street without hearing it: 'When you going to fight Tommy Hearns?' His wife was probably asking him; all his friends and his kids were asking him; they got it from their playmates. He must have woke up in the middle of the night and screamed, Tommy!' And I'll tell you what the sad part is, man. This fight has been building for too long. And a strange thing has taken place. Pay attention now. As Sugar Ray moves along, his fights are getting tougher for him. And as Tommy moves along, his fights are getting easier. Now you tell me who is going to put the hurt on who.
"There was a time when I used to say it'd be a close fight between those two, but no more. Now I got to say to Sugar Ray, 'Forget it, man. If you were going to make a move, you should've done it a lot earlier. It's too late, buddy.' "
With the unified championship and those other titles firmly locked in his mind. Hearns is working hard to rise to his image of them culturally. He wants to be a well-liked champion, maybe even a bit of a boulevardier, like Ray Robinson in his heyday. Hearns wants desperately to be both gracious and glib, to rip off full, flowing sentences without saying 'man' every other word. He wants to be at ease on television, in front of crowds, at Kiwanis luncheons or award banquets—to react quickly and wittily. Byrd, Hearns and many of the other Kronk fighters watch Johnny Carson and do imitations of people on the show for each other the next day. Byrd claims he has memorized every show Carson ever did—and Byrd is smooth and urbane.
The reason Hearns speaks so softly now is that he's easing out the things he wants to say, mumbling the words with his head down, staring at his big hands. His impassive face masks the impish side of Tommy Hearns, and the dreams.
The person working hardest to bring Hearns out of his shell is the most unlikely member of the champ's entourage. A reporter for a suburban Detroit newspaper, Jackie Kallen came to do a story on Hearns in 1978 and just sort of stayed on. Now she's the staff publicist. Kallen is in her 30s, white, the mother of two; an expensively disheveled blonde with a fly-away hairstyle and an amazing wardrobe of what appear to be Phyllis Diller castoffs. She is an inveterate deal-maker on Hearns' behalf, even to his shirts and the smallest of items—and it seems safe to say the day that Tommy buys anything at retail, a giant thunderclap will wipe out Detroit.
It's Kallen who is patiently leading Hearns into the world of sophistication. More than anyone else around him, she appreciates the boxer's dilemma: society expects a fighter to be an unleashed savage in the ring and then, after showering, to become Cary Grant. In that regard Hearns is proving to be a quick study, taking in everything with those heavy eyes. "I've never seen anyone so eager to learn, anyone who wants so much to do the right thing socially at all times," Kallen says. On one recent trip to shop for formal wear, Hearns stood agonizing for a long time over a selection of tuxedos in midnight blue, in gray and in burgundy. "So he bought all three," Kallen says proudly.
Hearns' evening wear in hand, Kallen came up with an inspired gift—a present she brought back from a New York trip. Hearns is now probably the only boxer in any weight class who carries his gear—dirty socks, cups, jock, tape and trunks—in a Gucci gym bag. Of such things are sophisticates made.
Nobody in Detroit knows this, but Kallen also found a private tutor for Hearns, though she is quick to point out that this isn't a welterweight road show of Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday. "The tutor isn't for the basic stuff like reading and writing," she says, "but for the niceties in life; those little things that you don't learn when you're fighting your way out of the ghetto. Like maintaining steady eye-contact with someone when you're talking. And smiling a lot. Or always remembering to say an interviewer's name over and over again on television. You know, 'I'm glad to be here on your show, Bryant Gumbel,' or Thank you very much. Mister Schenkel.' It always makes the interviewer feel important, and you get asked back. And Tommy desperately wants to talk right."
Kallen concedes that until she got full control recently, things had not always been done so classily. Hearns posed for the December 1980 cover of The Ring magazine in a gangster rig, complete with slouch hat and machine gun, that played off his Motor City Hit Man image, a nickname that Hearns is now trying to put behind him. After the second Leonard-Roberto Duran fight, Hearns appeared uninvited at the press conference and, on cue from Steward, threw a rubber chicken on the floor at Leonard's feet. It was supposed to draw delighted chuckles from the press—but didn't. "We don't want to look that gauche again," Kallen says.
As Hearns has progressed fistically, sartorially and socially, so has his financial standing. He received a $500,000 purse for the championship bout with Cuevas and has another $500,000 payday coming up on the 25th of this month, when he meets fifth-ranked Randy Shields in Phoenix. Not too long ago Kallen accompanied Hearns to a Chevy dealership to buy his first Corvette. He enjoyed the experience so much that he went back and bought another one; so now he has a black one and a white one. And on a shopping trip for a new Mercedes—Hearns and Kallen had a $60,000 model in mind—there on the showroom floor, there in all its quiet black-and-silver elegance, they saw a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II.
"Tommy's eyes just sort of lit up when he saw it," Kallen says, "and then he sat down in it and gently ran his fingertips over the upholstery. That did it." The Rolls was priced at about $85,000, Kallen says—but, typically, she talked to the salesman a bit until "we determined that we were in the same area." But perhaps the clincher came when the salesman asked Hearns, as discreetly as possible. "Can you afford this car?"
It's to Tommy's credit that he took the guy-out with a look, not a right.
The sight of the building startles a visitor conditioned by war movies. My God, this place is under attack! Which is true in a not entirely metaphorical way: generations of good and bad guys have chipped away at the reddish brick and sandstone. The building has been shot up and hammered upon, and the floors and walls have been gouged. This was once a school, but the kids fled long ago when the neighborhood turned upon itself. The building is bordered by vacant lots strewn with broken glass. Some of the windows are boarded up and slabs of sheet metal cover the doors; over all is a splash of graffiti. Inside the main entrance, when the door swings open, marijuana smoke hangs in dense layers, stacked according to its age and quality.
This is Kronk Recreation Center. Kronk. What a strange name. It rings like a hit on the head. Yet there really was a Kronk, a fellow named John F. Kronk, a councilman of some yesterday, whose name is now hung on this structure on Detroit's upper southwest side. This building is the home of the Kronk gym, and it will make the councilman more famous than any civic deed he might have accomplished.
The gym is in the basement. You go down a set of scarred stairs to doors whose knobs have long since disappeared; you put your fingers into the hole and pull the door open. The room is low-ceilinged, and Steward, who operates the gym as coordinator of amateur boxing for the city, keeps it at 95°—partly because he wants his fighters to sweat heavily and partly because there's really nothing he can do about it, with the ventilation the way it is.
It's no contest—this is the toughest gym in the country. It survives on its own tension and the meanest sort of camaraderie. The Kronk amateurs, about 40 of them, have won the Detroit Golden Gloves as a team for seven years in a row. You survive the Kronk; indeed, you become a Kronk; you turn pro, and maybe Steward will get you fights, man. This is mathematics of the most elementary kind: you get fights, you get money, you get out of that part of town. You could become a Hearns or a Hilmer Kenty, the WBA lightweight champion until last Sunday, when he lost his title on a decision to Sean O'Grady in Atlantic City. Joe Frazier's or Gleason's or Dundee's Fifth Street Gym, they're all tough, heaven knows. But compared with Kronk, they are gentlemen's sporting clubs.
You'll note that we don't have any sparring partners," Steward says. "A luxury we can't afford, and I don't believe in them anyway." He slouches to one side of the grimy 18-foot ring. He's wearing black velvet jeans and a black velvet pullover shirt, and a single gold chain gleams at his throat. He is drenched with sweat. "Look," Steward says, "why get a guy whose job is to spar, a guy who'll take punches all day, and then you give him his $150 or whatever it is, and he goes out and gets drunk? Listen, we make our guys fight each other; it's not their job, it's their mission. Friendliness vanishes inside this ring. You jive around, they drive you out. Man, they would literally kill a sparring partner."
Here is the Gospel According to Emanuel. Whatever your weight class, you work out with somebody bigger. Well, it starts as a workout and most always ends as a fight; this is the Kronk style. The gym rats skipping rope or shadowboxing around the edges of the room stop to watch and yell, "Get it on, man!" After three regulation rounds, more or less, since the clock isn't quite right, the man being worked out stays in the ring and Steward sends in someone fresh and possibly bigger. Three more rounds, and in comes yet another big guy. "Even the champs fight for their tails in there," Steward says. Nine rounds of that sort of thing and the trainee is looking forward to his next fight, if only because it'll be with someone his own size and surely a hell of a lot easier than this routine.
On this sweaty afternoon Hearns is working out with Kenty, or possibly it is the other way around. Anyway, they are belting each other. Both men are tall for their weight classes—Kenty is 5'11"—and both fight in what might be called the Kronk style. Steward stresses the left hand carried a bit lower than looks safe—the better to counter quickly, he says—and the right hand cocked in a manner that is reminiscent of Joe Louis. When the right is thrown, the body comes around with it.
But Hearns is beyond being merely stylish. He's silky in his moves, stunningly fluid; he weaves a bit from the waist in a cobralike pattern. "I do a lot of tricking" he says, "a lot of feints. I'm pretty good at making the other person think the opposite of what I'm going to do. It always throws him off. He tries to regroup—and I'm on him." Hearns gets on his man in several ways, all of them aided considerably by his 78½-inch reach and the leverage it provides. An unwary opponent will see Hearns feint to his left, as Alfonso Hayman did in their April 3, 1979 fight, but will not see the overhand right coming from out of the sky. Hearns dropped rights in on Hayman throughout the 10-round bout which Hearns won on a decision. It was Hearns' 18th pro fight, and he had wanted to stretch it out for practice, his first 13 fights having averaged just 2.2 rounds as he scored knockout after knockout with that heavy right hand. In the third round of the Hayman fight, Hearns had indulged himself in a little disco-pump, a thing he does occasionally when a clownish mood seizes him, and between the fifth and sixth he turned to Steward in the corner, perfectly relaxed, and said conversationally, "Y'know, I wonder why the ref doesn't come in and stop all this."
Hearns' growing public has been so mesmerized by his ferocious punch and string of knockouts that it has paid little heed to his considerable boxing skill. "I'm basically straight-up and moving," Hearns says. "What you'd call a boxer-puncher. Man, I love it when someone decides to come to me; that's just made for me. I can pop in jab after jab with this long left and kill 'im with the right."
Bruce Curry, a welterweight of modest renown, was such an attacker. Hearns counterpunched him so savagely that Curry was gone in three. That was in June 1979. In March 1980, Angel Espada, a boxer vaguely remindful of Leonard, also tried aggression. Hearns dropped him twice in three rounds, and Steward's own tape of the fight shows Espada talking passionately to his corner-men before going out for No. 4. It was obvious that he definitely disliked the way the fight was going. And with good reason. Early in the next round—Kronk!—Hearns decisively dropped Espada again. Espada rose shakily to his knees somewhere in midcount and looked knowingly back at his corner. End of fight, and end of career; not long after that Espada retired from boxing.
There's no question that Hearns can dish it out. but can he take a good belt? The veteran trainer Cus d'Amato once opined that Hearns "keeps his chin up too high, like a lantern in a storm," and other critics have noted that it seems eminently possible to come winging in over Hearns' low left hand. Still, Hearns' head has been tested from time to time—on one trying occasion by Mike Colbert, who is a heavily muscled middleweight. In this over-the-weight fight—Hearns weighed 152 to Colbert's 158—on Nov. 30, 1979 in New Orleans, Colbert alternately lifted, pushed, punched, belted and bear-hugged Hearns around the ring. Normally, Hearns is expressionless during a bout, weighing his man with that hooded look. But each time Colbert hit him, he would nod appreciatively, as an opponent might acknowledge a clean, driving layup scored against him by Magic Johnson. Nice bucket, man, you caught me flat-footed. But Colbert was to suffer for his temerity. "I turn into another person when I get hit," Hearns says. "I get all full of revenge and I want to take the guy's head off." Hearns knocked Colbert down four times and broke his jaw en route to a 10-round decision.
It also should be noted that before last August's title match with Cuevas, Angelo Dundee had dire warnings for Hearns. Dundee's sentiments clearly lay with Cuevas, known to be a hard puncher with a particularly vicious hook. Said Dundee on national television, "One should never hook with a hooker." Hearns was anxious to test that old maxim. First thing, Cuevas hooked and Hearns hooked back. Then Hearns pumped in three quick jabs and proceeded to hook Cuevas silly. That was before the stunning knockout right hands, but it was on seeing Hearns outhook Cuevas that the experts realized there would be a new champion.
"Last night this guy got shot. It's getting bad out there. Man, he was shot with a .45, and he got himself up and he run away before the police got there. I mean, he was the victim, you see? He wasn't the shooter—nobody ever saw the shooter—but he got up and run off before we got there. Now is that real or what? You got to wonder if he's lying up somewhere, all dead."
Officer Thomas Hearns, Badge No. 1220, Detroit reserve policeman, is leaning against the wall at Kronk, talking to his pals about the previous night's tour of duty. His partner, a regular, full-time cop, stands near the door. In spite of the fact that he's armed, he looks apprehensively at the gym rats, many of whom are shuffling toward him menacingly, intently shadowboxing, winging punches into the air.
It's all part of the Kronk atmosphere. Looking even more menacing is Hearns' bodyguard, Evans, who is never far from his boss' side. Personal bodyguards are fairly common in boxing, ironic as it seems, offering protection from overzealous fans as well as troublemakers—and the sight of Evans would stop anyone who fit either description. He's an obvious pumper-of-iron whose body is highlighted by 19-inch biceps, and he wears a mean look embellished with a two- or three-day stubble of beard. Evans is training for the next edition of ESPN's Tough Man competition, a little number for staying in shape while protecting the champ.
Hearns is in full blues, with his buttons and badges all agleam, and the tools of the lawman hang loosely around his waist—his radio, flashlight, handcuffs and the black leather holster with its .357 Magnum service revolver. He's very good with the gun, he says, and it was more than just the required 32 hours of police-academy training that made him that way. Probably the lightning reflexes of a boxer in top shape, he figures. "Like, you got to be able to unsnap your holster and pull this gun and be right on target," he says. "Most people got to take the time to aim, but in the police department you got to be there first." Not that the reserve officers are expected to do any shooting; indeed, the rules specify that reservists are to observe and are not to initiate any contact with the public. But that's not the point anyway; the point lies in what the gun and the badge and the uniform stand for; it's the sense of legitimacy and citizenship that's so important. The rites and ceremonies of belonging to a community are among the things Hearns dreamed about when he was a child. "Every little kid wants to grow up to be a cop at one time or another," he says. "And understand, this is unpaid volunteer work. I give 'em as much time as I can spare from training. Well, this makes me a part of the city, see?"
The important thing for certain tinderbox precincts of Detroit is that Hearns can defuse potentially riotous situations merely by stepping out of the car and showing himself. "Right now, they're all saying, 'Hey, man, it's Tommy Hearns!' " he says. "And they come around to talk and jive, and there's a whole lot of hand-slapping. But...." His voice trails off, and he smooths out an Eisenhower-style police jacket, trying to figure out how to explain and yet not sound like he's speaking against his own people. "But see, it's still cool out now, and the kids aren't as bad when the weather's cool. It'll be getting hot out there pretty soon, and then the kids come outdoors and there's nothing to do—and it can get very mean in certain parts of town. So I want to talk to as many as I can, you know, like try to cool them down and tell them to keep trying."
Steward shakes his head in wonder at it. "Tommy could be laying up there in that fancy bedroom of his big, fancy house, with his bodyguard and all, and be perfectly safe," he says. "This way, as a volunteer cop, he could just accidentally run upside somebody on the street—some wild man—and get himself shot up. But, like I said, Tommy isn't scared of nobody, and he knows what he's got to do as a citizen."
So it seems. And it would be tempting at that to lay up there, as Steward puts it, in that big, fancy new house in suburban Detroit, with the bodyguard and the houseman. Not to mention the two Corvettes, the Caddie, the Chevy Nova street racer and the Rolls-Royce in the driveway. "Don't forget," says Hearns, "that all them other vehicles are just cars. Just cars. But the Rolls! Man, the Rolls is an auto-mo-bile."
The house was acquired just a few weeks ago: a big, low, rambling modern place on three acres of land. A swimming pool will be installed in a wing of the house—Hearns is considering a $100,000 design that would be shaped like a boxing glove.
The house is expensively, if sparsely, furnished at the moment; Hearns prefers to do these things slowly, after much thought. But there are big, poufy spreads on the beds—and a nickel-plated automatic pistol within easy reach atop Tommy's nightstand. In the game room there are a pool table, a pinball machine, an electronic space-war game and a beer cooler. Another reason the decorating goes slowly, possibly, is that there's no Mrs. Hearns. Tommy is still holding try-outs, as they say.
This is, as noted earlier, the good time in the life of the dreamer. Even if things get worse later, they'll never be able to take these times away. The Leonard fight will leave Hearns a multimillionaire—but he already has the Gucci gear bag. A prediction about the fight here might be gratuitous, but to take the Kronk gym outlook and clean it up slightly: Sugar Ray had better watch his tail. It seems entirely possible that this tall, sinewy young man will unify the title, just as it seems possible that he'll go on to dominate progessively heavier divisions.
So, let's see a smile, dreamer. Say—body shot.
At the Kronk gym, Steward puts Hearns through the same survival-of-the-fittest training regimen that all the other fighters Steward manages must endure.
Lois Hearns gets a hug from her devoted son, who in turn receives an affectionate pat from his pit bulldog Whitey. The other? Blackie.
Kallen, once a reporter, is part Henry Higgins, part Emily Post and part Swifty Lazer to Hearns.
In winning the title from Cuevas, Hearns showed he could out-hook even a highly regarded hooker.
Auxiliary policeman Hearns doesn't go lightly armed into the night.
The champ recently added a Rolls-Royce to his stable of cars, which includes two Corvettes.
Hearns shows his pinball wizardry to Prentiss Byrd (center) and Rick Evans, his bodyguard.