I joined my parents and my brothers for a video conference on Microsoft Teams earlier. We all noticed that we had our TVs on in the background and re-runs of boxing matches were being broadcast. That moment led us to discuss which boxing matches each of us believed were the greatest bouts of all time that we've watched on TV or in the arena.
Not in any particular order... Here are my picks:
1975's Ali versus Frazer III
Ali won by technical knockout (TKO) after Frazier's corner asked the referee to stop the fight following the end of the 14th round. The contest's name is derived from Ali's rhyming boast that the fight would be "a killa and a thrilla and a chilla, when I get that gorilla in Manila."
The bout is consistently ranked as one of the best in the sport's history and was the culmination of a three-bout rivalry between the two fighters that Ali won, 2–1. The fight was watched by a record global television audience of 1 billion viewers.
I was only 3 year old then. It wasn't until 1979's 'Rocky II' that I heard of the legendary heavyweight, formerly called Cassius Clay Jr., who was said to be the model of actor Carl Weathers' character, Apollo Creed. My dad would go on and on about his all-time favorite heavyweight boxer until the name 'Ali' became a household name throughout my childhood.
1987's Hagler versus Leonard
Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Sugar Ray Leonard. I love their names! I was 15 and unable to fully understand what all the "ruckus" was about in the living room. When I decided to see for myself, this spectacular fight made me realize that it truly went down as the "Super Fight" for the ages.
1981's Leonard versus Hearns
'Sugar' takes on 'The Hitman' and prevails! This was an incredible match up. On the night of September 16, 1981, the biggest and most anticipated welterweight championship bout in boxing history back then was underway. The pairing couldn't have been better than that.
My rivaling brothers were also duking it out in the living room between rounds until one wild swing connected to my mouth and knocked me out cold. I woke up a minute or so later with a tooth missing. Fortunately, it was just an already loose baby tooth. Yeah, both boys were grounded for a week. Meanwhile, I got to watch replays of the fight on dad's lap in the bedroom.
1980's Duran versus Leonard II
The much-anticipated rematch between 'Sugar' & 'Hands of Stone' after a thrilling 1st encounter in Montreal, billed as "The Brawl in Montreal" in which Duran won, was also the 1st ever boxing match I watched live on television.
1985's Hagler versus Hearns
OMG! Probably the best-ever 1st round I've ever seen. This was a true slug fest! Round 2, though slower-paced compared to the 1st, was still packed with exciting moments. Then, came Round 3... when I thought Referee Richard Steele's halting of the fight was gonna spell disaster for 'Marvelous' Marvin. Despite the brief breather 'The Hitman' got during the Ring Physician's examination of Hagler's eye cut, he couldn't hold off Marvin's brutal attacks. The Middleweight Champ threw a vicious right to Hearns' chin who went limp, staggered and fell forward as Hagler landed more blows. As Hearns fell face first to the canvas, Sugar Ray Leonard yelled into his microphone "He's gone! He's gone!" Hearns staggered back up to his feet at the count of nine but was no longer able to continue.
2012's Pacquiao versus Marquez IV
I think this is the most spectacular 6th round ever in boxing history. Who could forget that vicious right? Juan Manuel Marquez unloaded a devastating right hand to Pacquiao's mouth which caused Pacquiao's head to snap back violently. Pacquiao fell face first to the canvas and remained out cold.
I paid big buck$ to watch this bout up close in support of Manny 'Pacman' Pacquiao. Apparently, I jinxed him. :( I also bet a ton of money and lost. :( Waaahhh!
1992's Holyfield versus Bowe
In what would become one of the greatest heavyweight boxing matches of all time, Bowe defeated Holyfield by unanimous decision, winning all three judge's scorecards. The match was critically acclaimed, winning The Ring magazine's "Fight of the Year" with round 10 of the fight also winning the magazine's "Round of the Year" title.
Up until tonight, I haven't seen this fight. My husband searched it on YouTube and it earned it's spot on this list.
2001's Ali versus Frazier-Lyde
"Ali versus Frazier IV" was another name for this much-anticipated battle between the Ali family & the Frazier family. The daughters of legendary heavyweights Muhammad Ali & Joe Frazier carry on the "family feud" into the ring. I watched a full re-run when I lived in the Philippines. It was no disappointment.