Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns on October 29,1987, made history as when he stopped Juan Domingo “Martillo” Roldan at the Las Vegas Hilton, Outdoor Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hearns was coming off a hometown victory in Detroit against Denis Andres. That poorly refereed contest saw Andres was in no condition to fight in several parts of his four counted knockdowns with many more being ruled slips in the sixth round for the WBC Light Heavyweight title. Hearns would later stop Andres in the tenth to claim that title.
Hearns would move down in weight for the vacant WBC middleweight title for this contest in taking on Juan Roldan. The title was up for grabs as previous titleholder Sugar Ray Leonard had retired in May after defeating Marvin Hagler in April of 1987. For Roldan, this was his second chance at the middleweight title, having lost his only chance at it against Hagler back in 1984.
The closed-circuit pay-per-view event, which had Marvin Hagler on commentary, was a fun one as both fighters went at it from the opening bell.
However, Roldan got caught with a substantial right that sent him down midway through the opening round. Roldan beat the count by referee Mills Lane and continue to keep pressing Hearns. This aggression by Roldan led to him having to get caught with shots as he kept lunging in. Ultimately this led to the second knockdown of the round by Hearns as the round ended with a right that landed square on the temple. Roldan was able to beat the count, and the contest would continue.
That also would continue to be a slugfest with Roldan being on the wrong end of it. Hearns dropped him again early in the second round. Roldan only knew one way to come at Hearns, and that was forward, and Hearns throughout this was able to stick and move his way through it.
The fourth round was the last one in this contest. Hearns, with almost a minute left in the round, placed a right square on the chin of Roldan, and once he was down, he doesn’t beat the ten count, and history was made.
Hearns, with the victory, became boxing’s first four-division world champion at the time. Hearns mentioned this moment in his post-fight interview.
”One thing’s for sure,” Hearns said after the fight, ”I have something Ray Leonard doesn’t have. I have something Marvin doesn’t have. I have something no other man in history has. I’m No. 1.”
Hearns would later go on to be upset with one punch by Iran Barkley on June 6, 1988. T.J. Rives looked back at that contest for us here. Roldan would fight three more times, the last one being to Michael Nunn before retiring in 1988.
But this day belonged to Hearn. Check out below this historic fight, which Hearns stood victorious under the Las Vegas spotlights.