Check out our Throwback Thursday video featuring Thomas Hearns vs James Shuler.
After Thomas Hearns was knocked out by Marvin Hagler (which you can hear all about on the Fabulous Four Podcast), he took 11 months off before coming back as a middleweight against James “Black Gold” Shuler.
Shuler was the NABF Middleweight Champion coming into the fight, though in six years of being a pro, he only fought 21 times prior. Hearns, only one year older, had 42 fights on his record.
Hearns destroyed Shuler in the first round, wobbling him and then knocking him completely out within a minute of the first round. Hearns had a reason to want to go for the knockout early; Bob Arum promised him an extra $500,000 on top of his $1,000,000 payday if he put him away within the first six rounds.
This fight was underneath the main event which was Marvin Hagler facing John “The Beast” Mugabi. The idea at the time was for both men to win their fights and set up a rematch for later in the year. Hagler won his fight by knockout in the 11th.
As we know, the rematch never happened because of a bigger fight that came up on Marvin’s radar with Sugar Ray Leonard (which is also the focus of our next podcast).
Tragically, Shuler died a week after his fight with Hearns because of a motorcycle accident.