CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. - Before going into the same profession as the Rolling Stones, Paul Thorn shared the spotlight with the man known as "Hands of Stone," Roberto Duran.
Thorn, who brings his band to the Crystal Bay Casino for a Jan. 31 Crown Room show, in 1988 fought Duran, who won four world championships in four weight divisions. Thorn was stopped after the sixth round because of a cut, giving Duran the 83rd win of his career. Panama's "Manos de Piedra" went on to win 20 more fights.
But Thorn fought just three more times, winning them all, then leaving the sport with a 14-4 record.
"I had the physical tools," Thorn said. "I was in good shape. I had a good punch, but I did not have the mental confidence that it takes.
"Those guys can go in there and completely relax in the ring under this high-stress situation, those are the ones who become champions. It's not so much physical as it's being able to mentally relax and focus on your game plan, and that was the one thing I thing I lacked."
Thorn said he knew he would never become a world champion, but he has plenty of other things to say. He has released six studio albums and is generally considered a singer-songwriter. However, if genres were a boxing ring, Thorn could have camps in all four corners: Americana, blues, country and southern rock.
A native of Tupelo, Miss., Thorn said his greatest influence is that town's most famous singer, Elvis Presley.
And like music's undisputed "King," Thorn on a stage is just as much an entertainer as he is a musician. He may not be known as being the best "pound for pound," but note for note, Thorn is indeed a champion.
"The biggest difference is that when I was in the ring, every time I felt fear but every time I get on stage I don't feel fear," he said. "I feel that gives me an edge in my music. That mental ability to relax is needed in equal measure on stage."