DETROIT - Thomas Hearns has landed some huge punches in his career.
Just ask knockout victims Roberto Duran or Pipino Cuevas.
But Hearns never remembers landing a punch as nice as the one that he used to knock out journeyman Jay Snyder Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.
"It felt like an explosion," Hearns said. "I don't ever remember landing a punch that felt like that."
Hearns dropped a right hand lead over a Snyder jab, catching him on the temple and flooring him for the count. The power of the swing, combined with Snyder's lazy jab, also sent Hearns to the canvas, but he bounced right back up. Referee Mills Lane said after the fight that he ruled it a slip, although replays showed that Snyder did land a weak punch.
"That looks like a double knockdown to me," said a disappointed Snyder after viewing the tape. "I knew that if I jumped right on him, I had the power to take him out. But I never got a chance - he broke my nose early on, then he knocked me out."
Snyder was on the mat for nearly two minutes, then seated on the stool in mid-ring for another five before groggilly making his way to the back.
"That was a great shot he hit me with," he said. "I never saw it coming."
For Snyder, it was his third first-round knockout loss of 1998, and his sixth loss in seven fights. While he wasn't much of a test, it was enough to convince Hearns and Emanuel Steward to continue their quest for a cruiserweight title shot. Next up, in what promises to be a farce, and which they actually want to put on PPV, will be a January date with Donny Lalonde.
The undercard was a disaster that included three delays when the ring floor broke - a problem that caused the eventual cancellation of the night's final fight, involving local favorite Scotty Buck.
Darrell Coley (KO 1) and Tom "Boom Boom" Johnson (KO 8) both took easy victories over .500 opponents, and IWBF featherweight champ Beverly Szymanski blew out Gena Davis in just 55 seconds.
Kronk youngster Pepe Reilly won a gutsy eight-round decision over limited Mark Anderson despite breaking both hands in the first three rounds.
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