Best Known For
African-American boxer James "The Heat" Kinchen lost a controversial championship fight to Thomas "Hitman" Hearns in November 1988.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born in Texas on March 1, 1958, James "The Heat" Kinchen won several amateur boxing tournaments before turning professional in 1980. He recovered from a mid-career swoon to earn a WBO middleweight championship bout against Thomas Hearns, which ended with a close loss. Kinchen eventually became a pastor after ending his boxing career, and was elected to the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012.
"The first fight I had as an amateur was in the Golden Gloves tournament, and I won five straight fights to take the light heavyweight title. I really had little in the way of actual training at the time, but I guess that my street ability paid off."
James "The Heat" Kinchen was born on March 1, 1958, in Texas. He began boxing at age 15, with the goal of having his picture featured in his hometown newspaper, The McKinney Gazette. Kinney won his first Golden Gloves title as a light heavyweight, and won the prestigious amateur tournament a total of five times across four separate weight classes.
Kinchen went on to win the National Police Athletic League light heavyweight title in 1978. Although he lost in semifinals of the National Amateur Athletic Union championships in 1980, his performance caught the eye of manager Bobby DePhilippis and trainer Wes Wambold, and he moved to San Diego to be close to their base of operations.
After embarking on his professional career in 1980, Kinchen proved a formidable presence in the ring. His knockout of Alex Ramos in November 1984 landed him the United States Boxing Association middleweight championship, and with a gaudy 34-0-2 record, he expected to have a shot at world champion "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler.
But Kinchen's career took a sudden, surprising downtown. He suffered his first loss to James Shuler in February 1985, and was saddled with back-to-back defeats by Iran Barkley and Juan Roldan soon afterward. A third loss in the span of four fights, to Larry Musgrove in August 1987, seemingly left him headed for boxing oblivion.
Kinchen not only managed to salvage his career by moving up a weight class, he earned himself another shot at a major title. Following the formation of the World Boxing Organization sanctioning body, Kinchen met ring legend Thomas "Hitman" Hearns for its vacant super middleweight belt in November 1988. Despite dropping Hearns in the fourth with a powerful right, Kinchen wound up on the losing end of a controversial judges' decision.
Kinchen remained among the top contenders, but the Hearns fight would be the closest he came to that elusive title. He was quickly knocked out by Virgil Hill in their World Boxing Association light heavyweight title matchup in October 1989, and another championship bout against "Prince" Charles Williams in April 1991 ended in similar fashion. Kinchen fought just twice more professionally, finishing with a loss to Ernesto Magdaleno in April 1992 that left him with a career record of 49-9-2.
Like many boxers, Kinchen endured financial difficulties following his retirement. Reportedly broke within a year of leaving the ring, he was forced to move into a one-bedroom apartment with his wife and two children, and removed asbestos for a living.
The man known as The Heat eventually found his footing as a pastor in the San Diego area. Although he fell just short of big-time boxing fame, his still-impressive career earned its due recognition with his induction to the California Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012.
© 2014 A+E Networks. All rights reserved.
profile name: James "The Heat" Kinchen profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
They've sprinted, served, batted, slam-dunked and TKO'd their way into sports history. Sprinter Jesse Owens's Olympic triumphs put Hitler to shame. Basketball star Michael Jordan taught kids that they could fly. Gymnast Gabby Douglas showed that champions can come in pint-size packages, and Tiger Woods brought the game of golf to another level. Explore biographies of famous black athletes who broke records and barriers and, ultimately, captured our imaginations.
Famous Black Athletes 163 people in this group
Famous Pisceans 559 people in this group
Find out more about some of the world's boxing legends, including Muhammad Ali, Rubin Carter, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jake LaMotta, Joe Frazier and Vincent Gigante. Examine the lives of some of the most talented boxers to step foot in the ring in recent years, including Laila Ali, Mike Tyson, Claressa Shields and Floyd Mayweather. Find all of this, and more, in Biography.com's famous boxers group.
Famous Boxers 47 people in this group