People often refer to a specific match as the “greatest boxing match of all time.” We feel there are no greatest matches of boxing. Rather, several matches took us and the fighters by surprise. These entertaining, grueling, and testing bouts that the greatest boxers of all time had to endure ring true to the true fans of the game. Today we will remember the greatest boxing matches of all time! There is no ranking; we have talked to experts, fans and researched these matches to bring you the most entertaining bouts of all time!
Muhammad Ali – George Foreman (1974)
Known as the “Rumble in the Jungle,” this battle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman established Ali as a global heroic figure. Foreman knocked out Ken Norton and Joe Frazier, two men who had given Ali all he could stand with relative ease. A large part of this was due to the fact that most people believed Ali’s prospects were slim to nonexistent. Foreman was a devastating boxer who had never been challenged far into a fight. Ali spent most of the first seven rounds of the battle laying on the ropes, fighting only when the situation demanded it. With an opening blow in the eighth round that eventually forced Foreman to the mat near the conclusion of round eight, Ali took the fight to the next level of competition. At the conclusion of the round, Foreman was declared out due to his physical condition and exhaustion.
Larry Holmes – Gerry Cooney (1984)
In the bout between Larry Holmes and Gerry Cooney, there was a significant racial subtext. Gerry Cooney was a contemporary “White Hope” who was gradually elevated to the top of the game by defeating opponents who were not considered major competitors. Before this battle, Cooney defeated some of their most formidable former opponents, including Ken Norton, Jimmy Young, and Ron Lyle. Cooney’s powerful punching power made him a popular choice among fans. Cooney was the ideal heavyweight because of his build, along with the color of his skin. Larry Holmes was an unbeaten African-American boxing champion who received little recognition after the famous Muhammad Ali retired from the game.
Meanwhile, Cooney was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated and even appeared on the cover of Time magazine, while Holmes was mostly overlooked. For the first time in the history of the sport, Cooney and Holmes shared the same purse as the champion, something that had never happened before. Cooney was also named last, a position typically designated for the champion. After a long and arduous battle, Holmes was able to defeat Cooney in the second round via knockout. Even though Cooney had his moments, he was ultimately outclassed and worn out by the champion. In the thirteenth round, Victor Valle Cooney’s trainer intervened to save the challenger.
Jack Johnson vs. James Jeffries (1910)
‘Jack Johnson vs. James Jeffries’ was the inaugural “Fight of the Century,” taking place on July 4, 1910, and pitting the first African-American heavyweight champion against the previously unbeaten White heavyweight champion. Following Jeffries’ retirement, the heavyweight champions left a lot to be desired in terms of performance (Marvin Hart and Tommy Burns). During the 1908 boxing season, Jack Johnson defeated Burns in eight rounds, and White America’s hunt for a “Great White Hope” was officially underway. Despite being overweight and having not fought in six years, James Jeffries was grudgingly dragged away from his home to fight Johnson. We witnessed one of the most heinous events in our country’s recent historical record in the aftermath of this struggle. Johnson flirted with and ultimately destroyed Jeffries, resulting in riots across the country and even the murder of some of his supporters and opponents. All because a black guy demonstrated that the color of his skin did not make him less than anyone else.
Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling II (1938):
This battle was absolutely spectacular, and it had enormous historical and societal implications. Despite the fact that he worked with Jewish management, Joe Louis was the American champion who was defending his title against German native Max Schmeling, who was considered a Nazi. This bout was made all the more dramatic and anticipated by the fact that they had previously fought two years earlier before Louis became champion. Schmeling had beaten Louis savagely and brutally. An estimated 77,000 spectators, including numerous dignitaries, turned out for the second meeting, which took place in June 1938 at New York’s renowned Yankee Stadium. Schmeling was completely demolished in the first round by Louis. The thrashing was so severe that Schmeling’s neck was physically broken, and the Nazi broadcast back to Germany was cut short before Louis achieved the first-round knockout. Schmeling and Louis were great friends later in life, and Schmeling even assisted Joe in paying for some of his medical expenses later in his life.
Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali II (1974)
It was advertised as “The Fight,” It took place on a Monday night at Madison Square Garden in New York in front of a celebrity audience of thousands. Because tickets were so hard to come by, Frank Sinatra was only able to get in as a ringside photographer. The return of Ali’s boxing license after a three and a half-year absence had occurred just five months earlier, and he had rapidly defeated challengers Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena to regain his status as a contender. The battle was expedited because there was a worry that Ali might be arrested and sentenced to prison for refusing to participate in the Vietnam War conscription if he lost. When it came to fighting, Frazier was seen as the “White” establishment fighter, while Ali was regarded as the “Black” Muslim warrior. The battle lived up to the hype surrounding it. Ali got out to a quick start and maintained control of the early action. Still, Frazier was slowly but steadily working his way inside Ali’s jab and beginning to wear Ali down with his sledgehammer left hook. A powerful left hook from Frazier in the 15th round knocked Ali out cold, and the fight was decided in the last seconds of the 15th round. On a night that will go down in history, Frazier went on to win by unanimous decision.
Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler (1982)
This was a long-awaited clash that fans had been looking forward to since 1982. Unfortunately, Leonard had to give up his career after suffering a retinal detachment. In a brief comeback bout against Kevin Howard in 1984, Leonard had only fought once previously before retiring once again. In late 1986, Leonard decided to return to the ring and face Hagler. Hagler had been a highly active boxer since 1982, and he had participated in several fights. Leonard viewed this as an ideal opportunity to get Hagler into the ring. Hagler’s last bout before Leonard was a tough battle with John “The Beast” Mugabi, in which Hagler was victorious. Leonard started the battle as a definite underdog, but he quickly dominated the first four rounds thanks to his exceptional foot speed and agility. Hagler gradually increased his pressure and emerged as the more aggressive fighter throughout the final eight rounds. In the judges’ opinion, Leonard fought in spurts to close out the battle until he had done enough to secure a split-decision decision victory.
Contemporary matches are considered the greatest fights of all time, but these matches’ worth is judged by the amount of money it grossed, not by the societal impact they had!
These are our top choices of the greatest fights of all time.