Best boxing fights
Boxing is considered one of the oldest sports in the world and can be traced back to ancient Greece.
Obviously people fought in hand-to-hand combat long before then, but the Greeks were the first to turn it into an organised sport when they accepted boxing into the Olympics in BC 688.
Today, boxing is a global phenomenon, with the big fights getting televised around the world. However, it still has an amateur level which sees competitors fight on the Olympic stage.
Generally, sees competitors fight without head guards and for longer periods of time when compared to the amateur game. An amateur boxing bout generally last just three rounds, where as a professional title fight is normally a bout of 12, three-minute rounds.
The sport is divided up into weight divisions, to ensure fighters are matched competitively against their opponents, with the heavyweight champion of the world considered to be the strongest.
The first British heavyweight champion of the world was Bob Fitzsimmons. He was a Helston-born fighter who defeated American Jim Corbett. He won the bout with his ‘solar plexus’ punch to become the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1897.
There have not been too many British heavyweight boxing champions since Fitzsimmons, with Lennox Lewis, arguably, best boxing fights being the best British boxing heavyweight of all time.
Herbie Hide, Frank Bruno and David Haye have also held heavyweight boxing title belts at certain times in the past 25 years.
However, generally America has dominated the boxing landscape, with Muhammed Ali still regarded as the best heavyweight of all time.
He became world heavyweight boxing champion in February 1964 when he upset the odds to beat Sonny Liston in seven rounds. The rematch, in 1965, would see Ali knockout Liston in the first round, of 15, with what was described as the phantom punch.
Liston was hit with a right hand to the chin, but not many saw the punch actually land and as the former champion stumbled to his feet he slipped and was counted out. Other great US boxing heavyweights include Jack Dempsey, James J Braddock, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Mike Tyson.
However, it is not just in the heavyweight boxing division where you come across the most sport’s best.
The Ring Magazine has a list of the best pound fighter in boxing, which Floyd Mayweather, with a record of 48 fights and no defeats, currently tops. He is one of the richest sportsman worldwide and his recent fight with Filipino Manny Pacquiao earned him over 10m.
However, what fights go down in history as some of the greatest after match-ups of all time. Well Marvin Hagler versus Thomas Hearns for the world middleweight championship in April 1985 is considered to be one of the best boxing fights of all time.
It lasted just eight over eight minutes as both fighters went toe-to-toe in the first round and landed a huge amount of punches. Hagler was stunned in the first round, but battled back to knock Hearns out around a minute into the third round.
However, in 2005, despite not being household names,
Diego Corralles and Joe Luis Castillo also served up a boxing classic for the WBC lightweight title. It was voted by Ring magazine as the fight of the year and in the tenth round, Castillo knocked Corrales down twice in quick succession.
However, Corrales managed to beat the count on both occasions, and, after a point was taken away for excessive spitting out of the mouthpiece, Corrales connected with a punch that Castillo later called a perfect right hand.
Corrales then trapped Castillo against the ropes and landed numerous punches, causing the referee, Tony Weeks, to stop the fight and give him an unlikely victory.
However, what is widely regarded as the best fight of all time is Muhammad Ali’s with Joe Frazier in 1975, is seen by most as the greatest fight of all time. Ali won the first two rounds decisively as Frazier struggled to bob and weave inside Ali’s jab. However, the third round, Ali’s famous rope-a-dope tactic let him down as Frazier landed a succession of punches. By the sixth round, as Frazier continued to push forward, he gained control of the boxing bout.
Frazier dominated the middle rounds of the fight, but began to tire by the tenth. Ali hit Frazier with a flurry of punches in the 11th that caused swelling around his opponent’s eyes. By the 14th round Frazier could hardly see and the boxing bout was stopped at the end of that round to give Ali the victory by TKO.
Ali is generally seen as the greatest boxer of all time, but Floyd Mayweather only rated him as the fifth best boxer of all time when asked in an interview in 2015 to name his top boxers. He claims that because Ali only fought at one weight division and lost five times in his career so could not be considered the best.
Speaking about the boxers that are above Ali in terms of all-time greats
Mayweather said he should be top because ‘he’s beat more world champions than any other fighter in a shorter time and less fights than any other fighter’. Added to that he ‘has landed punches at the highest percentage and took less punishment and he’s been world champion 18 years in five different weight divisions.
Speaking about the other boxers in his top five, Mayweather said: “Roberto Duran came up from lightweight to world champion at 160lbs. Love that guy, he’s a legend. Pernell Whitaker. Really, he beat Julio Cesar Chavez (the fight was officially a draw). And he did beat my uncle Roger, twice. Julio Cesar Chavez. He was 79-0 in different weight classes before he lost.”
Sugar Ray Leonard is also seen as one of the all-time greats. He was the first boxer to earn more than 0 million in purses, won world titles in five weight divisions, and defeated future fellow International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Wilfred Benítez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Durán and Marvin Hagler.