April 7, 2010, - 2:15 am

What Happened to My Neighbor, Tommy “Hitman” Hearns?

By Debbie Schlussel

Tommy Hearns is broke.  But it wasn’t always that way.  I know from personal experience because he used to be my neighbor.


One Thanksgiving in the ’80s, when I was a kid, a story was on the local newscast about boxer Thomas “Hitman” Hearns’ Thanksgiving Day present to his mother.  Hearns bought a home–which I recognized as one in our neighborhood (just a couple of blocks away from our house)–and was moving his single mother and multiple siblings into the house.  I thought it was cool that we had a famous champion boxer living in the neighborhood.  And, of course, who could beat a menacing nickname like “Hitman”?  (Plus, I’ve always been a boxing fan.)

In the ensuing years, you couldn’t miss the Hearns house.  It was an average ’70s era middle class colonial which looked like most other homes in the subdivision.  But it had a mauve Excalibur, an old Cadillac stretch limo and other gaudy cars consistently decorating the driveway.  Some of Hearns’ siblings went to high school with me, and one (Henry) was later convicted of murdering his girlfriend in the house.  The murder happened just two nights before Hearns’ 1989 title fight against  “Sugar” Ray Leonard in Las Vegas (which ended in a draw).

Ultimately, the Hearns home in a mostly Black and Orthodox Jewish neighborhood went into foreclosure, was repossessed by the bank, and finally purchased by a childhood friend of mine and his wife.  The home had a lot of serious physical damage to it thanks to the Hearnses, and a lot of intense repair work had to be done. I remember my friends saying there were gaping holes in ceilings and floors (and I doubt that was from the Hitman’s punches).  After it was all cleaned out and set up, my friends had a strange visit from one of the Hearns brothers.  He was apparently out of prison (or something like that) after drug dealing and insisted on entering the home to “find something” he “left” there.  My friend’s wife insisted the house was long ago cleaned out from top to bottom.  But he demanded to be and was let into the home by my friend’s scared wife.  He went into the basement and, under some floorboard in the basement, recovered a large brick of cash.

This was the family that Tommy the “Hitman” had to take care of, a family rife with hangers-on who sucked out of him a lot of his bankroll.  And after earning $40 million in his career (and that was when a million was still a million), he’s now broke–a shell of what he once was.

Over the years, I’ve seen the Hitman around town . . . at the gas station, at the supermarket, and various other places.  Always friendly, he’s said “Hi.”  But it’s tragic.  At such a young age, his walk and talk are stilted and slow. And, once when I saw him in jean shorts, you could see the scars, probably from operations or stitches for boxing related injuries and cuts.  You can tell he was a famous boxer who took a lot of concussive hits and is now paying the delayed physical price.

It saddens me.  The man I thought was cool as a kid, the tough guy in the ring who had the cool nickname and the ostentatious cars–the man who took care of his family above taking care of himself–is now completely broke.  Over the weekend, Hearns had to auction off his stuff to pay his tax debt, and the IRS was on hand to collect.


Boxer Tommy Hearns Signs a Poster @ Saturday’s IRS Auction of His Property

He watched from a balcony as his robes from fights with Leonard,  “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, and Roberto Duran, were auctioned off along with many other prized mementos of his career (watch a slideshow of the auction and items here).  I can’t imagine what it must be like to sign autographs on posters and fight programs you just auctioned off to save your hide.  And that doesn’t even cover his Detroit-area home (not far from where I live), on which he owes nearly half a million dollars. And, yet, despite it all, he’s got a pretty good attitude about it all . . . but for the comeback fight, for which every washed up boxer in his 50s who needs the money makes a mistaken bid.

Hearns, who never ducked a war in the ring, wasn’t about to buckle Saturday as he watched many of his most cherished boxing and personal possessions offered at the Auction Block on Greenfield in Detroit to help pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes to the IRS.An eight-time world champion, Hearns (61-5-1 with 48 knockouts) also is in danger of losing his house in Southfield, reportedly owing about
$500,000 to the bank.

“I’m very sad today, but I’m going to fulfill my obligations to the IRS,” said Hearns, 51, the once-skinny kid from the Kronk Gym. . . . “Some of my robes were from my fights with Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler. I have to do what I can. They (the IRS) have been very good to me. This will turn out all right. . . .

“If you have debt, you pay it off,” he said. “You have to confront the problem head on. I’m not going to run or dodge this. It is most important to straighten out this situation. Get past this position. I’m very appreciative of all the people who have shown me love.” . . .

Hearns, who said he would like to meet former light-heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, 41, in a comeback fight, agreed he made a fortune.

“I made a lot of money in boxing,” said Hearns, whose last fight was Feb. 4, 2006, at the Palace, when he beat Shannon Landsberg by TKO. “But as a man who had a large family, people looked at you as their savior. You tried to help them by giving. It doesn’t stop. I’m the big brother — I give and I give.”

Hearns said, sooner of later, the money dries up.

“I learned my lesson,” said Hearns. “Of course, when it is time for some people to give back to you, they’re long gone.”

Hearns had only appreciation for his fans here, however. . . .

“Many of my fans have reached out, trying to do what they can. I’ve turned some help down. I learned from a young age that you got to go out and earn what you want yourself.”

Even though it’s the same old story:  pro athlete from an inner city family blows tens of millions of dollars and is now broke in middle age, I can’t help feeling sorry for the guy, who is decent and likable.  He’s owning up to it and facing his problems, and he admits that he felt he had to support his family.  It’s unfortunate that he took care of them and spent at his own expense.  For some pro athletes who come from the killing fields of America, they can’t escape the demands of multiple siblings raised by single mothers in a welfare and hip-hop culture . . . until it’s too late.  And while I’m sure that doesn’t account for the entire $40 million he blew, I’m sure that’s part of it.

I usually refuse to commiserate with someone who had more money than most would ever dream of and blew it all through out-of-control spending.  But this time I do, and I can’t explain it.  The guy looks like he has Parkinson’s, even if he doesn’t.  He took blows to the head and now he’s in the poorhouse. And that’s the tragedy here.  He had a lot going on outside the ring throughout his boxing career.  Imagine fighting a big title fight, while your brother is in jail and charged with murder.

That house in my childhood neighborhood, those fancy cars . . . maybe they weren’t such a great idea, Thanksgiving gift or not.  For all of it, the Hitman is now taking some hits for which he never trained at Detroit’s Kronk Gym.

Ironically, one of the robes Hearns auctioned off on Saturday was a silk robe with “Winner Take All” emblazoned on the back.  Hearns lost the 1981 fight against Leonard, to which he wore that robe, in a 14th round TKO.

After it all, I hope my former neighbor, the Hitman, comes out the winner in this Fight of His Life.

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57 Responses

DS, a good story and very typical of the slime that grow among black Americans. This guy did his best to bring his family into the real world. They refused to go. Preferring the easy route of drugs drink, and crime. Unfortunately it is a contagious disease, infecting all of America.

P: I want to make clear that this is about a culture, not a race. While it’s true that this is rife in urban, inner city culture which is overwhelmingly Black, I also saw the same thing, for example, when I was a tutor of a White football player at the University of Wisconsin. This player’s family was on welfare in Northern Wisconsin, and his parents were drug addicts. I’ll bet he has no money left from his pro football career, either. (Plus he stiffed me for legal fees, after I represented him in court.) DS

pat on April 7, 2010 at 2:28 am

Debbie, excellent article on your former neighbor. I thoroughly enjoyed Hearns’ fights with Leonard, Hagler, Duran, et.al. Sad to see what he’s going through, but am glad he has a positive attitude and recognizes that it was due to the decisions he made and is owning up to his debts and responsibilities to the IRS. God speed to the Hitman in his dealings with the IRS.

Jon on April 7, 2010 at 3:23 am

I guess that’s why Obama doesn’t send any of his family money.

Pinandpuller on April 7, 2010 at 5:05 am


    esther on April 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Tommy Hearns’ life is a metaphor for our nations future. Our federal government just keeps giving away our fortune, expecting the recipients to change their negative ways. Eventually our country will end up like Mr. Hearns; bankrupt, punch drunk and barely able to survive.

Dan on April 7, 2010 at 6:11 am

Its always the same when you’re on top everyone wants to be your friend and they have their hand out. Its very difficult for the savior to say no to his friends and family and eventually it all dries up. Hearns fought when boxing was still exciting to watch and he was one of the best. Hagler really swept the floor with him though. Since Obama wants to fleeece the country for all its worth to support his agenda the IRS has to work overtime grabbing Americans by the ankles stealing all that they can get away with and that means the famous and not so famous alike. So Im sure there will be more stories like this in the coming year.

ARISHEM on April 7, 2010 at 6:47 am

Very touching post. I share your view on this, Debbie. I pray the hitman to rise again, but not in boxing. He wiill do more for everyone by leading a changed life that gives glory to God (not sure he is a man of faith though). Thanks for this perspective.

BB on April 7, 2010 at 8:11 am

It’s hard for people to realize how parasitic one’s own family members can be. I’m sure Hearns’ relatives didn’t want to hear that he would pay for their college tuition; they wanted to hear that he’d buy them a BMW. It’s easy to tell someone to get off our doorstep if it’s a stranger who wants our money for some cause. But telling your family that the free stops now is very difficult. Lesson learned, the hard way.

Don Kenner on April 7, 2010 at 9:21 am

The situation is sad but at least he seems to have learned a lesson, and it is never too late to change your life.

The truth is that many people who are poor are usually poor for a reason: their behavior and culture. You see this all the time with people who win the lottery: those who gamble, buy lottery tickets, don’t save money, don’t have good work ethic, don’t care about education are the types who will blow it all when they come upon a large sum of money.

JM on April 7, 2010 at 9:29 am

Unfortunately, this happens too often in sports. Over 40% of NBA players (highest paid pro athletes) are broke within 6 years of retirement. If most of us were given $1 million dollars it would make a huge difference for the rest of our life (through investments). Most pro athletes at the highest level make millions in a single year yet because of their lifestyle & mismanagement this happens. The vast majority of NFL players actually make much less than NBA & MLB players and have much shorter careers. I would guess their post career failure rate is even higher.

Well written piece as usually , DS.

Bonzer Wolf on April 7, 2010 at 9:44 am


Thank you for writing that column. It was excellent.

For the information of your readers, the Michigan Golden Gloves (amateur) state championships are this Saturday night at their traditional venue: the National Guard Armory in Wyoming, MI. I encourage people to attend.

Thomas Hearns fought in an era when professional boxing still had some integrity left. Today, many young boxers are staying in the amateur ranks as long as they can because there’s so little to fight for in the pros: no money, no cohesive sanctioning bodies, no nuthin’. There’s the WBO, WBC, IBF, WBA… who’s on first?

Hearns fought in an era where there were serious competitors. They HAD to fight one another to keep on or near the top. Today, when there’s someone like Manny Pacquaio out there, “the champ” can duck and dodge a fight for a long time. The sport languishes while a few big names milk it for all they can. As time goes on, professional boxing continues to erode here in America while it grows overseas. Ask Dmitry Salita about it some time!

Don’t be surprised to see that just below “the champ” and his immediate challenger, most professional boxers have “day jobs” because the sport just doesn’t pay; even for many of the better boxers. Maybe that’s a good thing. Having a marketable skill can be very valuable for retired pro athletes.

I like the fact that Thomas seeks to salvage what’s left of his net worth and start over. I wonder if hooking Thomas Hearns up with Dave Ramsey might make for an interesting reality story.

There’s gotta be a future for the older fighters. They can be trainers, consultants or something; anything to get the pro sport back to growth and cohesion. It can happen for Thomas, but it helps if the sport is in a growth mode. Unfortunately, boxing is in a recession mode. MMA/UFC is growing here in America and that’s a real shame.

There is NO Santa Claus on April 7, 2010 at 9:59 am

Good story Debbie. It is at least refreshing to hear that this man does not have an entitlement complex so many stars and and athletes have and wants to pay what he owes. A shame that he was sucked dry financially by friends and family. Financial planning classes really need to be offered as part of contracts for athletes when they are signed in my opinion.

C on April 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

Seems everyone these days are trying to get back into the garden of Eden despite the fact that G-d told them to get their butts to work and earn their living through sweat and toil. I know very well what Hearnes was up against when he became successful and put out his heart to take those he loved into that success as well. Those same people who shared in his success will be the first to abandon him when the troubles come. It certainly isn’t about color; its about the heart and the heart is desperately wicked. Who can know it?

Mewize on April 7, 2010 at 10:37 am

Great stuff, Debbie. I hadn’t heard anything about Tommy
for years, and I have lost interest in boxing, but he was
one of my favorites. Sad story, but he sounds like he has
a good attitude. I hope he doesn’t fight again and I wish
the IRS would cut him some slack.

Daniel K on April 7, 2010 at 10:47 am

Sports Illustrated had an excellent feature about athletes and financial problems, and according to the article, it often boils down to entrusting financial management to the wrong people and going into business ventures with family and friends instead of competent professionals.

I’m not the biggest Shaquille O’Neal fan, but his fiscal “paranoia” sounds good: he trusts nobody outside his small circle of family and close friends and he not only has one man watch his money but also has several people watching that one man.

Richard on April 7, 2010 at 11:09 am

If you use your heart and not your brain for financial purposes you won’t be wealthy for very long. A fool and his money soon part ways.

Bob on April 7, 2010 at 11:17 am

I’ve been a big Tommy Hearns fan since he came onto the scene in the late ’70s, and I’m still pulling for him. Tommy is a good man; if he had been just another spoiled millionaire I wouldn’t have paid much attention. Considering his tragic family situation, his accomplishments are even more remarkable.

Other than a few brief playoff appearances, the Detroit sports scene during the ’70s was mostly void of any success amongst the Tigers, Wings, Pistons, and of course our sad sack Lions. Tommy finally brought a winner to the Motor City in 1980 when he defeated a superb welterweight, Pipino Cuevas, to win his first title – I still remember being at the Tiger game that night when they flashed the news on the scoreboard.

I’ll also never forget the Hearns/Hagler fight, that I saw on closed circuit broadcast, before the days of PPV. Best fight I ever saw, bar none – a 3 round alley fight. I still think Hearns would have won had the moron ref not stopped the fight to have Hagler’s cut inspected, when he was seconds away from going down.

I find it commendable that Hearns intends to make good on his debt (not that the IRS gives you much choice), and he even said that the IRS has treated him well – you don’t hear that often!

I wish Tommy all the best; I’m sure he will get back on track; and I sure hope he hires a competent financial manager. And please, no more fights Tommy!

Ace on April 7, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Actually as much as i love thomas hearns,and one of the most bravest explosive fighters of any generation,i have to correct you on the thomas hearns hagler fight,Hagler may have had a cut but I’ve never heard anyone thats seen that fight honestly say hagler was about to lose previous to the ref stop for a cut inspection,Hagler may have been slightly rocked a bit at the opening exchange but he took every single punch hearns could throw at him,and was victorious as usual because of his bravery and resilience,hagler won like a solider…There are no ifs or buts……It happened on the night..and hagler never took a backward step….

    Danny on August 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      True that !
      Hagler won that fight…perhaps his most exciting victory….but Hearns sure didn’t make it easy for him.

      He bounced more than a few big blows off Hagler….smashed his hand (again) in the early part of the match. What made this one of the most memorable fights of modern day Boxing Championship Matches …was that BOTH Hagler and Hearns were ‘going for it’ …nothing cute about this one….If this were a dual….it would be ‘sledge hammers at one and one half feet !!)

      bikermike on February 20, 2015 at 7:32 am

During the OJ Simpson civil trial it was mentioned that NFL players have annuity retirements that pay them money each year of their life. OJ could not relinquish his retirement inspite of a court judgment against him. Wouldn’t this work for many of the sports stars to prevent their banruptcy in later years?

Tim on April 7, 2010 at 11:52 am

DS- have you submitted this great piece to a sport or boxing magazine yet?

esther on April 7, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Met the “HITMAN” at a Lennox Lewis fight. He was a most gracious man. Very kind and spent alot of time with the fans. It hits the heart heavy to see such a good person give so much, surrounded by takers. GOD BLESS you Tommy.

Mark on April 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm

So sad. This reminds me of what happened to MC Hammer.

A man came from the Hood and tried to help out and be good to his friends and family. When the money ran out, those same people instead of being grateful were full of ridicule and scorn.

This is why if you don’t earn something (and work hard for it), you don’t value it.

jimmyPx on April 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    No kidding!
    I interviewed a guy once who won money on Wheel of Fortune. He told me how much he won but asked me not to put it in the article…seems like he already was getting phone calls and e-mails from relatives he never knew he had asking for a handout.

    Richard on April 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Anyone notice that the auction poster misspelled Jet Skis?

Allen on April 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

“After it was all cleaned out and set up, my friends had a strange visit from one of the Hearns brothers. He was apparently out of prison (or something like that) after drug dealing and insisted on entering the home to “find something” he “left” there. My friend’s wife insisted the house was long ago cleaned out from top to bottom. But he demanded to be and was let into the home by my friend’s scared wife. He went into the basement and, under some floorboard in the basement, recovered a large brick of cash.”

Your friend should’ve called 911 immediately. It’s her house, her money.

What’s the legal interpretation of this?

Broo on April 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Very sad. He IS a good man.

The Canadien on April 7, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Shut up, we’ve seen this a million times, go talk about Tiger Woods or something, he’s making all the money now, Tramp.

    DEDE on April 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

      Actually, Debbie has discussed the Tiger Woods situation. Try looking in the archives before mouthing off. Also, the Hearns case is quite instructive. Boxing is a dangerous sport that often leaves its participants debilitated after retirement, unlike golf. Mr. Woods could drop golf permanently, and not have a worry in the world. It is estimated that he is worth nearly a billion. Mr. Hearns, but contrast, only earned $40 million, and that was quite some time ago.

      Also, what in this article warrants your calling Debbie a tramp? Have you mentally graduated from middle school?

      sorrow01 on April 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Sad situation, we wish him well.

bobbie on April 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I actually feel that Mr. Hearns is facing up to things, and not ducking out. Even if such actions are bit late, it is very good that he is not grudging, but forthright in admitting his mistakes. Far too many people avoid taking genuine responsibility for their actions. I hope that things look up for Mr. Hearns.

sorrow01 on April 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I just saw another boxer on intervention. He was broke and pan handling for a crack addiction. It was weird because people were giving him money and calling him champ.

tyler on April 7, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Who cares about what happened to some jive ass black guy. Just your typical black.

Christopher Nelson on April 7, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I always liked Hitman Hearns. He was always courteous and polite in all the interviews that I saw, and it is well known that Leonard ducked him for a long time.

On a broader level though, considering his family, this type of behavior is repeated on a mass scale. It makes you wonder about all these nitwits who talk about what should be done to improve education, i.e. by throwing money at it, or subsidize jobs. Without mass cultural changes, all these socialistic schemes are doomed to failure. Pseudo-savants like Diane Ravitch drift from scheme to scheme without being able to recognize the basic failure of all of these schemes; the need for basic cultural change.

Little Al on April 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm

“I usually refuse to commiserate with someone who had more money than most would ever dream of and blew it all through out-of-control spending. But this time I do, and I can’t explain it.”

It’s called compassion. We are all sinners in need of grace. I never heard of the Hitman but your article made him sound like an old friend that we all know and love.
This is quite a contrast to your comments about Brett Favre and Sarah Palin.
I like you better when you are not a hater.

S: Sarah Palin is a complete fraud with no apologies. Ditto for Brett Favre. I’d take Tommy Hearns over either of them in a heartbeat, any day of the week. The comparison is ridiculous. Hearns is where he is because he’s a nice guy and very generous. Both Favre and Palin are where they are because they are selfish cretins and complete phonies. DS

Sarah on April 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm

This is sad to see an athlete of Thomas Hearn’s caliber go out like this. Thomas Hearn’s situation is similar to how the government want the public to be dependant on one entity for support. Too bad Hearn’s could not tell his relatives to go earn a living and quit mooching off him. His heart was in the right but everyone around him were not. When a large amount of money and the publicity that comes with it, suddenly you have “friends” that you did not know you had. This reminds me of what happen to MC Hammer when he blew away his millions in trying to be everybodies friend.

Mario on April 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm

P.S. This is no way excusing the IRS for their greed and zelotry in going after the “big fish”. Knowing first hand how the IRS is quick to shoot first and ask questions later, its possible Hearns could have gotten a tax attorney to get the due down, but most likely not.

Mario on April 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm

these guys could have been living off dividends for the rest of 3 lifetimes but
no one ever teaches them about money look at hammer,tyson, ………the list is long

he was a warrior !!!!

drew299 on April 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm

In my teenage years, we moved to NJ near the Pennsylvania border. The town just over the border is Easton, Pennsylvania where Larry Holmes lives. Holmes has 11 siblings and I know anything about them or what they are doing now. (Not too far from Nazareth, PA where Mario Andretti lives).

Holmes purchased the Best Western hotel in Phillipsburg, NJ as a business venture and Easton had a new building named after him as well as a Street named Larry Holmes Drive. He built a restaurant in the Best Western and named it after his mom, Flossie’s and another located in the Easton Building that has his name on it called “The Ringside.”

The Best Western in Phillipsburg barely had any patrons, it was used mostly by the hookers that work the streets between the local “free” bridge that connects Easton and Phillipsburg together; which is right next to the strip club and all the hookers that walk down Northampton Street (a main thoroughfare in Easton). Every now and then, they would host a starving artist show or a bedding show. He took a fairly nice hotel and turned it into a dump that no one wanted to stay in. We all hear people say there was cockroaches the size of rats and rats the size of cats wandering about in the rooms. There was a rape there as well, a drifter who was a truck driver was eventually caught and convicted, but he murdered a number of hookers who hung out at the truck stop in Bloomsbury (small town close to P’Burg). So these things didn’t help his business.

There was a fire in Flossie’s restaurant. That fire was under investigation and Holmes business manager wanted to collect the insurance on it immediately. The NJ State police conducted the investigation and eventually he was arrested for the fire. He never was tried or convicted for this crime because Larry paid his bail, who eventually stole millions from him and took off to parts unknown. I don’t recall all the bad investments that that jerk got Holmes involved in. He lost tens of millions on these bad investments to the community. Holmes wasn’t a bad man, maybe naïve or clueless because he trusted this person. I don’t think Holmes was well educated so this fraud used and abused him.

During the height of his fame, he was a philander and cheated on his wife with every blonde skank with long legs that walked down Northampton Street. He’d wave wads of cash in front of them and they took it.

We always hear these stories in the news. A dumb sports guy worth millions gets taken by a money grubbing jerk who steals from the sports legend who doesn’t have a clue that he is being taken by this guy. In the mid 1990’s Best Western purchased the hotel back, instead of trying to repair the major damage, which was pretty bad, they knocked it down and started from scratch. The Hotel was so much better and even some tourist use it and it started making money again.

Larry, his wife and children live in a beautiful home in Easton. He took great care of his mother, who lived an extravagant lifestyle. She wore Harry Winston diamonds, fur coats in the summer, fancy car and a driver, trips galore paid for by Larry. He was once worth about $100 million, but from the bad investments, his former business manager stolen stash, his need to constantly buy everything in site all took a big toll on his finances. He still has his beautiful home but it certainly not worth what was spent to build it and maintain it. Two swimming pools one inside the house and the other outside. The sports bar/restaurant didn’t pan out too well. It was busy when it first opened up but the novelty wore off. I think the last I heard he was only worth about a third of what he earned from the ring.

He must be close to his late 60’s or early 70’s and he has major issues in his motor skills and walks as if he had a stroke. I don’t know if he did or not but it kind of looks that way. He’s political now, fights racism from what I hear, most likely voted, and campaigned for Obama. I’m sure he’ll notice he’ll lose what left of his fortune to the federal government through all the taxes that have been put in place by the Democrats. He did try to give back to his community and I give him props for trying. Andretti did absolutely nothing to the Nazareth community even though they spend millions on a racetrack and named it after him, he put up nothing towards it. His son Michael is a jerk and not well liked either.

Eileen on April 7, 2010 at 8:24 pm

A very touching story and saddening – as a teenager in the 70’s tommy the Hitman Hearns was the ultimate as far a Boxing was concerned – I did some amateur boxing and could aprreciate the guys skill class and uts – and man he could bang better than anyone – seems like a real nice guy and sad to see what has happened – he displays his fighting spirit – is seeing it through and isnt backing away from doing the hard think – I would expect nothing less from the man – he’s a legend and I really hope he conquers this fight – power to the hitman!!

john from New Zealand on May 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Sad story. Not easy to relate when we never made that kinda money. I just wish the up-and-coming stars wud learn a thing or two from these old-timers. But such is life! Nothing is new on this earth. 50years from now, we’ll have these same stories about the current crop of stars. Nothing changes.

davyd on April 27, 2011 at 11:35 am

Not surprised!1! Just look back into the lives of our cherised and World Boxing Champions – Joe Louis, Ray Robinson, M C Hammer (not a boxer), Mike Tyson, Pryor , The list is endless!!!!. How did they end up? Broke!!!!!

Is there something they are doing that is NOT right? How is it that the IRS is the last to chase them. Are they so STUPID they do not check their TAX RETURNS?

I have to say this!!!! They all happen to be BLACK!!! I am BLACK. Are we that STUPID? A friend said that a BOXER is not a brain surgeon and certainly a BLACK boxer is NORMALLY from the gheto and we happen to expect too much from them!!!!

Ekue Gidigazo on November 13, 2011 at 8:02 am

I am not a boxing fan per se,I don t watch it,but this is a great post Debbie,but the subjest sounds like he is a great human being and in this case generous to a fault,thank you Debbie.

Juan on February 24, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I came across this article by accident while looking up someother information. This just shows what many have suspected all along; journalism is basically lies with some instance of truth. Debbie S. took a real incident and characterized, lied and exaggerated for the benfit of sensationalism. Thomas’ mom lived in a house he bought her. Siblings visited and majority were married and lived elsewhere. There is no brother selling drugs or haave been convicted of such. Yes there is a brother in jail for alleged killing a white girl (evidence showed he was trying to prevent her from committing suicide) thomas spent mone on legal fees, lawyers , etc, but you don’t accidently harm a white women in oakland county. And she was from Shelby TWP. KKK neighborhood. If you want to know the truth, do not assume. Like Debbie did. She should be fired from writing lies and innuendos. If you want to know the truth, go to the horses mouth. Thomas is a very nice man, giving and kind to a fault. The IRS preys on rich people without the backing of financial savvy people. The IRS has ruined and killed a many entertainer. PS, I frequented the house Thomas bought for his mom on many many occasions. NO HOLes, carpeting throughout, clean and neat. The new owners did do someupgrades because i went by the house to see. That is it!

K. C. on March 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I believe you..Thx for the courage to speak up and OUT!!! I felt there was more to the story..and the photo they chose with Tommy head down is emplying shame..although his strength of character shows otherwise

    maddam J on February 19, 2013 at 7:12 am

    Actually said women was going to break up with said brother of tommy hearns. You call us racists. I knew the women murdered very well. I have great respect for Tommy Hearns. You are the racist not me or mine. The victim was on track to have a great life. She was cut down in the prime of her life. I like how you blame her for her own death. Like you I had a lot of insight and personal knowledge about her. I have lived in Shelby Township since 1971 and have never seen or heard of the KKK being here. I am sure there is racism here . But it is fairly nonexistent. Y our comments maligned a whole community. I knew Nancy she was a good person but a little naive. I have lived with this for 25 years. You will not destroy her memory. Not on my watch.

    Mr. Shelby twp. on November 26, 2014 at 3:34 am

Tommy Hearns was the man in Detroit!! I Pray that the IRS will cut him some slack!!! The Hitman lives on!!!!! you are the man!!!

E.B. on January 23, 2013 at 10:16 pm

Let’s hope he gets the help he needs, he’s such a good man.

George on July 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Enjoyed reading about the boxers of my college days. It was the
most exciting thing on TV in those days. Thomas Hearns was just
an incredible force.His stare was intimidating, but now I read
of his big heart and solid character. Tragic of his financial
situation, but all his work in his craft paid off in victories
and a life that no one can take from him. He’ll be a champion till the day he passes and people will never forget him.

Old Story on November 10, 2013 at 2:46 am

I had the pleasure of watching Hearns fight more then a few times. The guy was insanely good. The problem he had was with his handlers. The last few fights he took a terrible beating. His paid handlers should have prevented him from fighting. Its hard to take care of your money when you have to be reminded to brush your teeth etc etch/ Sad sad story

alan on March 7, 2014 at 11:14 am

I don’t feel sorry for him. He was a millionaire, ask the parents of the girl who got killed how they feel about the Hearns family tax problems, the old saying holds true, “you can take the animal out of the wild but you can’t take the wild out of the animal!”

Louis on July 13, 2014 at 9:53 am

Its weird reading this while I was talking to my boyfriend about the Hearn’s family. I too, personally knew Thomas brothers, both Jessie and Henry. My best friend dated Jessie in high school and I could tell you that this boy had serious problems. I recall one day Jessie smacking her and I went up to him trying to talk to him that you don’t hit girls! I too got smacked, but I was never timid and tried to hit him back. It landed in discipline and he was advised to not touch other people. I personally, feel sorry for Tommy because he did have a giving heart, it was his greedy, arrogant family that sunk this poor mans life and future.
Henry had asked me to date him at one point and I am glad that my inner being said “NO Way!” If I was in it for the fame I too could have been shot.
Thomas, don’t look back on your past rather your future. You may have lost millions but you have time to make a simple life for yourself. Take one day at a time and continue to stay positive because you had too much negative influences around you that broke your dreams. Dreams can’t be broken unless you chose for them to be. Follow your heart, and you will find true happiness and fulfilment within.
Signed: Southfield Blue Jay

annamarie on January 4, 2015 at 6:43 pm

some good posts here….
Boxing needs a Commission. Financial and physical health have not been addressed…Hearns..Frazier….Pryor…not to mention the thousands who made them famous

bikermike on February 20, 2015 at 7:54 am

Tommy is livin in a tent in my backyard and mowin muh lawn.

Sugar Ray Lenard on April 15, 2015 at 10:15 pm

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