The joy of victory is underscored when an underdog scores an upset.
There is sadness, too, in seeing a dominant fighter beaten. So while a roar, fueled by the unexpected and the violence of a prize fight, erupted from some 8,000 throats, there had to be a tug at a lot of hearts when Thomas Hearns lost.The Hit Man from Detroit, one of the most exciting and successful fighters of the decade, fell Monday night before the sword he has wielded mightily so long.
A crashing right to the jaw thrown by 4-1 underdog Iran Barkley lifted the World Boxing Council middleweight title from Hearns' head in the third round.
It left him flat on his back, and although he got up, the fight was stopped a few moments later.
It was a flashback to Joe Louis lying on the ring apron, where he was deposited by Rocky Marciano; to Joe Frazier being lifted off his feet by the power of George Foreman; to Muhammad Ali quitting in his corner against Larry Holmes; and to Holmes falling before the fury of Mike Tyson.
It's a scene that can put a lump in your throat, but it is the way it must be in a sport in which men grow old while they are still young.
Hearns' head was high when he met the media after the fight.
"I have nothing to look down on, nothing to hold my head down for," said Hearns, whose only two losses in a 48-bout career were in fights destined to become part of boxing legend - losses to Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981 and Marvelous Marvin Hagler in 1985.
"It's like every dog having his day," Hearns said. "I've had many days and I'm proud of them."
Indeed he has. A champion in every year of this decade, he is the only fighter to win titles in four divisions - welterweight, junior middleweight, light heavyweight and middleweight.
Immediately after his loss, Hearns said,
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