Hearns hoping his comeback will lead to Holyfield match

August 25, 1991|By Earl Gustkey | Earl Gustkey,Los Angeles Times

How does this sound: Evander Holyfield vs. Thomas Hearns?

Far-fetched? Maybe, but that's the match light-heavyweight champion Hearns wants these days.

After Hearns' upset victory over light-heavyweight champion Virgil Hill on June 3, there was talk of a rematch with Hill, and also of Hearns moving up in weight again and trying for a cruiserweight championship.

A Hill rematch looks like a dead issue, but Hearns might still get a shot at a cruiserweight title, and a sixth championship. Word is that Hearns will challenge the winner of next month's James Pritchard-James Waring match for the vacant International Boxing Federation cruiserweight title.

But Hearns really wants a fight with Holyfield.

Believe it or not, the 32-year-old Hit Man, who as recently as 1988 looked like a washed-up middleweight when Iran Barkley knocked him out, wants to fight Holyfield, according to both his adviser and trainer.

"Tommy's ultimate goal is Evander Holyfield," said adviser Harold Smith. "When you think about it, it's not the mismatch, size-wise, many people think it is. Tommy walks around at 185, 190 pounds. He really thinks he can beat Holyfield."

Holyfield has another opponent on his mind these days. He is supposed to fight Mike Tyson Nov. 8 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, but Tyson has been accused of rape, and no one can say whether the fight will be held as scheduled.

Alex Sherer, the trainer who got a lot of the credit for Hearns' victory over Hill, says his fighter matches up favorably with Holyfield, less so against Tyson.

"I've been watching Holyfield since his amateur days, and he's had one problem throughout his career, upright guys who can box and who have quick right hands," he said.

"Look at his career. Holyfield has had problems with guys like Michael Dokes, Carlos DeLeon and Alex Stewart. Tommy can box, and everyone knows he's got one of the best right hands in boxing. On paper, no one in boxing right now matches up as well with Holyfield as Tommy does.

"Tommy right now is 185, 186 pounds. He'd come in at 190 for a heavyweight fight. . . . If Tommy wins a sixth world championship [at cruiserweight] and Holyfield is still the heavyweight champion, that's a very big fight."

And if Tyson beats Holyfield?

"Tyson would present a different set of problems for Tommy," Sherer said. "You'd better ask him."

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