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Punch line was simple: Hearns countered Hill

Boxing post-mortems are usually about strange decisions, quick-triggered referees or money. But on Tuesday, the morning after Thomas Hearns upset previously unbeaten light-heavyweight champion Virgil Hill, the talk was about young trainer Alex Sherer's masterful game plan.

A former amateur boxing coach, Sherer planned a fight that resulted in the 32-year-old Hearns winning a sixth world championship.

Sherer, in a move that surprised almost everyone, turned one of the sport's best punchers into a counter-puncher against one of boxing's renowned counter-punchers. And he did it, he said, after an intense study of Hill's fights.

"I watched so much video on Virgil's fights that after several weeks of watching him all night long, I knew Virgil's face and his body movements better than my mother's," Sherer said.

"We decided that great boxers don't like to be boxed.

"We knew a classic boxer like Virgil couldn't become a brawler overnight, so we felt that we could take away a lot of what Virgil does well by beating him at his game. We wanted Thomas to not only counter on Virgil but to counter over (Hill's) counters."

An added benefit to the strategy was that the resulting slower pace of the fight worked greatly to Hearns' advantage. In previous major fights, his strength waned in the late rounds.

Hill's trainer, Freddie Roach, was as frustrated the morning after as he had been between the late rounds, when he pleaded for Hill to force the action against the deliberate Hearns.

"I don't know what it was, but he wasn't fired up," Roach said. "I got on him in the corner, but he kept saying: "I can't get going.' Maybe this will make him a better fighter.

"Virgil asked me late in the fight: "Am I losing?' When I told him yes, even then he didn't fight like a guy who was losing his championship."

Roach said Hill suffered a broken nose in training three weeks ago, but that the injury wasn't a factor in the fight. But Hill was bothered, he said, by a sore right elbow injured 10 days ago.

"I wanted to put pressure on Thomas, to bring his legs into play," Hill said. "But I let him take me out of my game plan."

Hill talked Tuesday of a rematch.

"If Virgil wants a rematch, it's something I'd have to consider," Hearns said.