Top 5 Biggest Boxing Bouts Of All Time

A barbaric blood sport or the sweet science: boxing divides opinion. However, what is undeniable is that the thrill of a fight is captivating. Here’s a rundown of some of the best in history.

Carl Froch v Mikkel Kessler

Midway through the groundbreaking yet grueling Super Six tournament, Nottingham’s Carl Froch faced off against Dane Mikkel Kessler, in a fight for the Englishman’s WBC Super Middleweight belt. The bout produced action from round one, with both men forgetting amateur pedigrees that had seen Kessler lose just three times in 44, and Froch claim two ABA Middleweight titles, to throw, land and walk through thudding blows that didn’t stop until the final bell.

Lennox Lewis v Mike Tyson

The fight may not have lived up to its bombastic billing when a past-his-prime Iron Mike met British pugilist Lennox Lewis in Memphis, Tennessee, but the 2002 event brought together all the elements of a golden era of heavyweight boxing. It was a matchup between two hall of famers, with trash talk in the build up, scuffles in the press conference and a fight purse that even Money Mayweather would have to think twice about turning down. In the end there was humility too, with a defeated Tyson respectfully requesting a rematch after succumbing to the “masterful” Lewis.

Sugar Ray Leonard v Thomas Hearns

During the early 80s, Tommy The Hitman Hearns was in the process of cleaning up the welterweight division. Even Sugar Ray Leonard, coming off a victory over the rambunctious Roberto Duran, was not expected to win the pair’s 1981 bout. As anticipated, the towering Hearns took an early lead over his shorter opponent, and seemed on course to continue his five year unbeaten streak. However, during timeout in the eighth, Leonard’s legendary trainer, Angelo Dundee, uttered his famous words: “You’re losing it, son, you’re losing it.” The understated pep talk worked and Sugar Ray came out fighting, peppering his imposing opponent with stinging shots, ending the title holder’s reign in the 14th.

Muhammed ‘The Greatest’ Ali v Smokin’ Joe Frazier

The Rumble in the Jungle, possibly the most famous fight ever: Ali, unusually for him, the challenger, against Foreman, the champ and bookmakers favourite. Ali, the underdog, spent the first five rounds seemingly out of sorts, backed up on the ropes, covering up from body punches and dodging headshots, yet rarely replying. Moving into the fifth however, and Foreman’s slugger style had started to sap his energy; Ali took his chance with brutal efficiency, knocking Foreman out in the eighth to regain his heavyweight crown for the second time in his career.

Joe Louis v Max Schmelling

In 1938, in an age before pay per view deals, before even the 15 round limit, and certainly before head injury compensation, a clash of ideologies met in the boxing ring. The Battle of the Century saw the Nazi propagated contender Max Schmelling face off against black Alabama country boy, and heavyweight champion of the world, Joe Louis. In the pair’s previous meeting, Schmelling sussed out a counter punch susceptible Louis to score a 12th round knockout. The German was subsequently held up as a symbol of the power of the Nazi regime. However, the rematch saw Louis quickly set about his opponent, pummelling him into a first round TKO. In the aftermath of the fight, Schmelling was shunned by the Nazis and was ordered onto the front line. The former champ however, who had never actually associated himself with the Nazi party, survived his punishment, and, in the late 1930s during the height of the holocaust, sheltered two Jewish boys in his house, saving their lives.

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