By: Thomas Hearns as told to Tom Leyden
They wouldn't let me box at first. I was too skinny, too little . I got mad once and started crying and they said, “Come on you can train.”
They let me train and I showed them that I really, really wanted this thing . Constantly, every day I would come. I would catch the bus crosstown from the east side to the west side to train.
I had in my heart and my mind that I was going to do great things in the boxing world and it materialized. It came to fruition that it happened for me.
Why did I succeed? I think the desire, the want, the will, the hope I had in my heart to really achieve something. You gotta really want it . They say good things come to those who wait, but if you wait too long? Uh-uh.
I grew up idolizing Muhammad Ali . Seeing all the accolades that he got and all the things that he did. And now look at me, following in Muhammad Ali's footsteps - not achieving all the things that he achieved, but ending up in the International Hall-Of-Fame like he did.
When I talk about Emanuel Steward it's like chills run through my body because Emanuel helped me change my life. Emanuel Steward was there from day one – when I walked into the Kronk the first day, and has never left my side. He's shared the good times and the bad times with me. I'm just a blessed person to have a guy like Emanuel Steward with me.
I'm always looking back and trying to jog the memory and I think, "How can I improve on the things I've done?" Sometimes it's hard. It's hard for me to improve on what I've already done because when I did it the first time, I broke the mold.
Being on top of the world in the ring – I’ve got some great memories of things that I've done out there that people often dream they can do. My favorite was winning my first title against Pipino Quevas in 1980. That's going to stay with me for a long time. And then beating the “Hands of Stone,” the man that nobody could beat - Roberto Duran.
Me and Sugar Ray Leonard , we've done a lot of great things for each other. We helped make each other a lot of money.
The state of boxing is kind of sad because you're not seeing the fight that you want to see . The fight that really makes a difference - that the fan wants to see.
I know the people want to see Pacquiao and Mayweather - I think the people are going to get that. I think Floyd's gonna give it to him and they're going to be surprised at what they're going to see because Floyd's going to go out there and do the job that he normally do. He gonna take care of business.
The legacy of the Kronk gym is awesome. Now that Thomas Hearns is moving away from this place, there's other kids who are going to fill my shoes. It hasn’t happened yet - not yet, not yet - but it's coming. Trust me, it's coming. History has a way of repeating itself. If it's not through my children, it will be somebody else in here. Somebody's going to come along and do the same thing.
I don't get in the ring anymore. I did it for many, many years - climbing in and out of these ropes. I miss it a little bit , I'm not gonna lie, a little bit, I do.
They say when you hang it up, the thrill is gone. Well I think the thrill lasts even longer once you hang the gloves up because, for me, there's so much stuff coming at me at one time, it can't be gone.
When I take the podium on Sunday night, first I'm going to say, "Hey Mom! We did it, Mom!" And then I'm just going to tell the people if you have a dream, stick to it. Live it out to its fullest. Go and do what you want to do and enjoy it while you're doing it.
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