In fact, the fight has come about at Leonard's whim. Over the years, Hearns's appetite for a rematch has been well documented. "Tommy was wondering why some things weren't happening for him," says Steward. "He had these watches made up with his picture on them, stuff like that, which didn't do all that well. I told him, 'Let's be realistic. None of this stuff will ever happen unless you knock out Ray Leonard.' Then Ray called up. I went to D.C. on January 2. We had dinner at a seafood restaurant. I knew something was on Ray's mind. We shot pool at his house until three o'clock in the morning. Then he said, 'We have to do it, Emanuel.' So he figured he had Tommy at the proper time. And Tommy, when he heard, he was as overjoyed as Tommy Hearns gets. He has no fear. Sometimes I wish he was a little scared."
A fearless fighter is most dangerous to himself "I can admit fear to myself," says Hearns. "Not of a man. Not of boxing. Anything that walks or moves, I don't fear. But I have a great fear of flying. I'm terrified of it. But I know it's something I have to control so other things can happen. Old age? No, I don't fear that. That's what we live for, to get old. I just want to see where boxing takes me. If I win in June, of course I won't retire. If I lose, I don't know. Losing isn't something I dwell on."
After being knocked out by Hagler in the 10th round in 1985, Hearns went to Hagler's dressing room to offer congratulations. As Hagler held ice to the bloody split between his eyes, Hearns suggested they do it again sometime. Hagler said, "They'll have to pay us a lot more money." When Barkley knocked out Hearns last June, it was Barkley who ended up in the hospital. Hearns shrugged and said, "I just got hit." Eight months later, Barkley showed nothing against a shadow of Duran. Hearns had taken it all. How did Ray Leonard get to be Sugar Ray Leonard, anyway? By stopping Hearns in 1981. And, oh yes, after Leonard TKO'd Hearns, it was Leonard who thought he might retire. Leonard is the best boxer alive. Hearns is only a phenomenon. That's what Leonard knows better than anyone.
"Train hard, Ray," advises Hearns. Then he falls silent.
Hawk: Should I fear, Old Man?
Old Man: Fear is what keeps most men safe. You are not most men.