In this article, we’ll continue our examination of boxings biggest bouts. This list is includes a solid selection of fights to introduce readers to the sweet science.
You can read “Part 1” by clicking this link here.
A lot of marquee match-up have cute nicknames – boxing promoters apparently love rhyming – but Hagler-Hearns had no such moniker. This fight is now known only as “The War“.
From the moment there bell rings these two men are aggressively going at each other. Marvin Hagler goes hard inside, but Hearns lands several big rights. The two men exchange blows and it seems like there are three or four punches for every single second on the clock. It’s hard to imagine a first round being any better. By the time the bell rings, the canvas is covered in Hagler’s blood.
The fight goes on like this for two more rounds, but I won’t spoil the ending. You can watch it for yourself over on YouTube (Hagler-Hearns
Schmeling was born in Germany, near the Baltic Sea. They called him “The Black Uhlan of the Rhine”, and he was one of Hitler’s favorite fighters. Joe Louis was a black kid from Alabama who grew up in Detroit.
In their first meeting, Schmeling became the first man to ever knock Joe Louis off his feet. He returned to Germany as a hero for the Nazis, a symbol of their growing might.
But it wasn’t over. Schmeling would face Joe Louis once again in New York in 1938. This time, Louis landed 31 punches and Schmeling only managed to throw two. During Schmeling’s post-fight exam, doctor’s discovered that Louis had cracked several vertebrae in his spine.
As one commentator
said: “this isn’t a fight, it’s a Hollywood script.”
The American versus the Brit for the WBC super middleweight championship. One fighter managed by convicted-murderer Don King, the other by Islington’s own Frank Warren, a man who survived being shot in the chest in 1989.
If you’re a fan of slugfests, Benn-McClellan is for you. Sadly, McClellan retired afterwards due to severe brain injuries he suffered as a result of this fight. Of course, I’d feel worse about it if there weren’t so many stories about Gerald McClellan abusing animals
and forcing pit bulls to kill each other for fun.
Julio César Chávez vs. Meldrick Taylor was promoted as “Thunder Meets Lightning
“. Chavez was an unbeaten “Mexican style” brawler, going into the fight with 68 wins and 55 knockouts. Taylor, on the other hand, was a fleet of foot fighter whose reflexes helped him win an Olympic gold medal by the time he was 19. The fight’s famous for being a “clash of styles
“; Taylor’s slick and quick approach against Chavez “seek and destroy
The Ring magazine awarded it both “Fight of the Year” (1990) and “Fight of the Decade”.
Jake LaMotta fought Sugar Ray Robinson six times, and the most famous of those competitions was “The St Valentine’s Day Massacre” at the Chicago Stadium in 1951.
At the time, Jake was the middleweight champion (154-160 lbs) and Robinson held the welterweight title (140-147 lbs). LaMotta was a brawler that was used to taking punches, which is good, because Sugar Ray hit him a lot.
LaMotta later told ESPN
that “If the referee had held up another 30 more seconds, Sugar Ray would have collapsed from hitting me”.
The fight was eventually immortalized in the Martin Scorcese classic “Raging Bull
“. Of course, the action’s better when you see the real thing. As always, you can check that out over on YouTube: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
[“15 Fights Everyone Should Know (Part 3)” will be posted later this week.]