By Lindy Lindell
Photos: Bob Ryder
Intended as a back-on-track fight for Ronnie “The Chosen One” Hearns, import Derrick Findley upset Hearns’ plans and may well have concluded it with a controversy-shrouded ending that left many in the crowd at the Taylor Sportsplex confused as to what they had seen in round two of a scheduled eight.
With middleweight Hearns flat on the deck and being tended to by EMS personnel, the crowd stood in silence for two or three minutes, until referee Frank Garza finally raised the hand of the exuberant Findley, now 20-8.
After some 15 minutes, Hearns, who had collapsed after going halfway through the ropes, was wheeled away on a gurney that was getting full use on this evening. Lightheavyweight Rubin Williams, a spectator, had been transported out of the building after apparently collapsing, and action between Hearns and Findley had to be suspended after the first round until the gurney could be returned.
The Hearns-Findley main go looked to be a kind of Mutt-and-Jeff match up, with the plus-six-foot Hearns towering over Findley, who made the trip in from Gary, Indiana. Findley pursued Hearns without success in the first, but in round two, he backed the son of co-promoter Thomas Hearns (this was a co-promotion between Hearns’ Hitman Entertainment and George Kaltsas) against the ropes and landed heavily to both sides of Ronald Hearns’ head with a left and right amid a left hook to the belt line and Hearns seemed to wilt. Hearns clutched his man in an attempt to right himself and having nothing to do with this tactic, Findley wrestled Hearns to the opposite side of the ring and pushed him through the ropes; Hearns did not land on the ring apron, but he was bent over with his head coming to about six inches of the apron when the referee interceded, pushing Findley away.
Hearns then seemed to gather himself as he pulled himself back into the ring, but then he appeared to be in great distress with an action betokening a head injury; suddenly, he pitched backward onto the canvas and lay inert until the busy medical crew jumped in and adjusted him to a spine-straightened position. Hearns could be seen moving his arms before he was taken away.
For Hearns (26-4), it was his fourth loss by stoppage and his third in a row by that route. After two big (money) fights, the fight against Findley had been intended to have been little more than a walk through on the way to another payday. But Hearns does not seem to have the constitution to absorb punishment, even from boxers not known to have reputations to deliver heavy blows.
After checking the replay three times via benefit of a local cable company, I was approached by Jackie Kallen, who asked me how I saw it. After reporting to her what I said in so many words above, she said, “I don’t think Ronnie should be fighting any more,” and then as she began to walk away, she turned and added, “I didn’t think he should have been fighting after his last fight.”
Former light heavyweight and now a trainer with his own gym, David Lester, said, “Ronnie ought to get an Academy Award for that performance.” Former junior-welterweight John Johnson, wearing the a yellow suit so bright that he had me reaching for my shades, said, “We tell ourselves that we have to keep fighting when we really don’t. Ronnie isn’t in that boat. The man has a college education.”
After being transported to local Heritage Hospital for treatment, Hearns was released early Saturday morning diagnosed with a strained neck.
In a terrific welterweight scrap, Lanardo Tyner outgunned a very determined Angel Rios (9-14), winning by 58-55 on all three cards. The two whaled away at each other, particularly at the ends of most rounds in easily one of the best fights in the Detroit area in many years. After being dropped in the first, fringe contender Tyner, 27-8-2, outscored Rios almost at will, but his flurries which included head-sticking shots, did not deter Rios, who made “bring-it” gestures, and fired back. Tyner admitted after the fight that he had landed more solid punches than in any other fight in his career, but “That Rios—he can’t be knocked out.”
In other action, matchmaker Dennis Turner pitted a durable Marqus Jackson, Atlanta, who went the route against undefeated (10-0) Detroiter Tony Harrison in a contest of middleweights; pro-debuting super-middleweight Anthony Barnes, Huntington Woods, stopped Delvery Wofford, Toledo, in three; Anthony Gallerani, Livonia, also a pro-debuter, bested Guadalupe Bueno, South Bend, in a bantamweight contest, and Kronk welterweight Leandre White, 3-0, decisioned Anthony Woods, Columbus, OH 0-2.