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Hearns takes on undefeated Yorgey

Interview by David Finger
Photos by Emily Harney,

It’s been a long road since April of 2004 when a highly-touted fighter with one of the most famous last names in boxing made his professional debut in the city that made his father, Tommy “Hitman” Hearns, famous.

At the time, Ronald Hearns seemed like numerous other fighters who had famous fathers. He looked great in blowing out undefeated Alex Black, but boxing was awash with the children of famous fighters trying their hand in boxing . . . And after the disaster that Hector Camacho, Jr.’s  career had become, boxing fans were somewhat skeptical.

After all, it would have been too perfect for Ronald Hearns to be that good. He was personable, humble, and his father was about as popular a fighter to step in the ring in the 1980s. This was boxing, and a story that good just never seemed to come true in this sport.

But, here we are, five years later, and the younger, popular Hearns looks set to silence the few critics who are still out there.

This Saturday, on a Showtime-televised card in Oklahoma, Hearns is set to face fellow undefeated prospect Harry Joe Yorgey. It’s a fight many boxing insiders feel will establish Hearns not only as the best “son” in the sport, but as the best jr. middleweight prospect.

On the other hand, a loss could prove devastating for Hearns’ dreams of a world title, something that is not lost on the young Hearns, or boxing fans.

After all, just two weeks after he turned pro, another famous son—Roberto Duran, Jr.—saw his career brought to a disappointing end when he lost a tough decision to a fellow undefeated fighter.

Hearns took some time to talk to Fightnews about his career and about his upcoming fight with Yorgey.

How do you feel going into this fight?

I’m in great condition, going twelve rounds in the gym was nothing for me. I am very focused, mentally and physically for this fight.

What do you know about your opponent?

Harry’s is a good fighter. He’s a boxer, kind of a flashy fighter. He’s an undefeated fighter and like any undefeated fighter he’s not looking to lose, so we are going to get in there and go.

He is clearly a different type of fighter than you’ve fought in the past, a slicker boxer as opposed to the rugged brawler that you’ve fought before. How have you adapted for this opponent? What changes can we expect on Saturday night?

Because he is a more settled down boxer it’ll be different. More opportunities to work off a jab. He keeps his hands up so my job will be to get him to bring his hands down so I can work the combinations.

Yorgey is undoubtedly the best fighter you have faced so far. What do you envision a win over him to mean for you?

A win over Yorgey would let the world know I can really fight and I am ready to step up to the next level and do the things necessary to win the big fight. 

Although your career is still young, do you envision for your career as a prizefighter?

That’s a hard question. Just to be a world champion in a division loaded with talent is my first goal. Then to be an undisputed world champion at 154 pounds, and then move up. Some of my dad’s goals like winning four different belts in four different weight classes.

What is your timetable for a world title fight?

I am hoping this fight will put me in position for a fight for a world title.

Another famous son has made some noise in the junior middleweight division. Do you envision a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the future?

I‘d fight anyone as long as the money’s right. I think that would be an excellent fight, his father’s a legend, my fathers a legend, I think it would be great for the sport of boxing.

In the last ten years it seems like numerous sons of former great fighters have emerged, and you are one of the most highly touted of the bunch. Does having famous pedigree add any pressure to you as a fighter?

Of course, the added pressure comes with the territory. Just looking back at my daddy’s history in boxing. But I am my own fighter, I have different style. On March 28th they will see everything that Ronald Hearns brings to the table and has to offer.

Are there any other sons of famous fighters that you feel will win a world title in the future?

I really don’t know too many sons, except Chavez and Jorge Paez Jr. I think Chavez has a great shot, he has the right people behind him to reach that goal.

What is your earliest boxing memory involving your father?

Sitting back at home watching the first ray Leonard fight and watching tapes of the Cuevas fight.

Besides your father, what other fighters did you look up to as a youth?

I loved to watch old tapes of Ray Robinson. I was a die hard Trinidad fan. Bernard Hopkins. Shane Mosley.

Fighting out of Michigan generally means fighting in front of some of the most rabid boxing fans in the world, what memories do you have of fighting in Detroit earlier in your career?

Fighting down in the Palace of Auburn Hills when me an my dad did a fight, it was a crazy night. Just walking to that ring and hearing that crowd roar, it was an experience.

Any predictions for Saturday nights fight?

I’m not that type of person, just a win. I am a very humble person, I’m not predicting a knockout or nothing, but I just know I’m going to win the fight.


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