Professional boxing is one of the most prestigious and respected sports in the world, and with the electric interest in the sport is as strong as ever; we thought it was only fitting to pay tribute to the real greatest fights in boxing history.
5. Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns — 15 April, 1985
Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns put on a dazzling display of boxing in 1985 in what many believe to be one of the greatest first rounds ever. Both Hagler and Hearns emerged from their corners and began throwing a litany of punches into each other’s heads. Early on Hearns had the upper-hand, bloodying Hagler and keeping him off-balance with his long reach and right hand jabs. Hagler was able to weather the storm, and about half-way through the first, he came back with his own barrage of hooks and body shots. By the time the second round began it was clear Hagler had figured Hearns out, but that didn’t stop either fighter from continuing to throw everything they had at each other. Wobbly, Hearns would valiantly fight on until the third when Hagler would finally knock him out.
4. Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns — 16 September, 1981
Billed as “The Showdown”, this fight would unify the WBC and WBA welterweight titles and it lived up to all the pre-match hype surrounding it. The fight ebbed and flowed as first Hearns, then Leonard and then Hearns again held the lead. Told after the 12th by cornerman Angelo Dundee that he was blowing it, Leonard exploded in the 13th, knocking Hearns through the ropes. Leonard finished him off in the 14th.
3. Mike Tyson vs Lennox Lewis — 8 June, 2002
The long-awaited final meeting between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson was not the fight of the decade, yet it was the defining fight of a generation. The build-up was as dramatic as the fight itself. After three frenetic rounds from Tyson, Lewis defeated Iron Mike by KO with a heavy right hook in the eighth round. Lewis had weighed in at 249.25lb and Tyson at 234lb.
2. Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman — 30 October, 1974
By 1974, George Foreman had established himself as a powerhouse of boxing. Huge, ruthless, and durable. Foreman made mincemeat out of Joe Frazier and embarrassed Ken Norton in two rounds before it was announced that he would be fighting Muhammad Ali in Zaire in a bout dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle.” Although he was beloved, Ali was looked at as the underdog going into this title match. That said, Ali cleverly used a technique he called the “rope-a-dope,” Ali famously covered himself up against the ropes and let Foreman throw bombs until he wore himself out. By the eighth round, the big man was exhausted and Ali capitalised, delivering a hard right hand that knocked Foreman out and cemented the boxer’s reputation as “The Greatest.”
1. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier — 1 October, 1975
Arguably the most talked-about fight in the history of the sport, the match-up dubbed the “Thrilla in Manila” would live on to become the greatest fight of all time. The match was so draining that Ali described it as the closest to death as he’d ever been. Ali’s body could take no more, but Frazier had just given up before him. He was so beat he asked his corner to cut his gloves off. Frazier and Ali beat the hell out of each other for the entirety of the fight. Even in the 14th round, after Frazier’s corner had thrown in the towel, Frazier was heard saying “I want him, boss.” Ali would go on to win the fight, but many wonder what would have happened had Frazier’s trainers let the fight go on.
Agree with our list? Let us know in the comments section below which bouts you think deserve a spot in the greatest of all time.