10 Best Boxing Matches of All Time
The 10 best boxing matches of all time feature drama, spectacle, tragedy, surprises, and excitement. It's not surprising these fights also feature some of the greatest fighters of all time doing what made them great. Lace up the gloves. It's time to go to war!
- Ray Mancini vs. Doo Koo Kim. It is a fight that will always be shrouded in tragedy as Kim died from brain injuries four days after being knocked out by Mancini. Nevertheless, his warrior's spirit pushed Mancini to the very limits of what he could take and made for a very exciting, if not sorrowful, fight. Since Kim was killed in the so-called championship rounds, boxing decided to reduce title fights from 15 to 12 rounds as a direct result of this fight.
- Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe I. Holyfield put on one of the most memorable performances of his career in route to losing a 12-round unanimous decision to the much larger Bowe. It was a slugfest for the ages and one of the best boxing matches of all time.
- Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III. Known as the Thrilla in Manilla, the third meeting of Ali and Frazier was the rubber match. While Ali considered not answering the bell for the fourteenth round, Frazier had to beg his trainer to let him continue. Ali dug deep on a blinded Frazier and unleashed a fierce beating in the fourteenth leading to Frazier's trainer stopping the fight before the final round. The show of courage and perseverance from both fighters earns this fight a slot on the Best Boxing Matches of All Time list.
- Marvin Hagler vs. Vito Antuofermo. One of the few fights on the Best Boxing Matches of All Time list to end in controversy, the Hagler-Antuofermo fight was declared a draw despite many feeling that Hagler had won the fight. Nevertheless, Antuofermo held on to his belt until his next fight, where he would lose a split decision to Alan Minter.
- Buster Douglas vs. Mike Tyson. The fight that destroyed Tyson's mantle of invincibility. James "Buster" Douglas silenced critics and honored his mother, who had just passed away, with a victory no one expected. Douglas rose from the canvas in the ninth and dispatched Tyson two rounds later. If not one of the best boxing matches of all time, Tyson-Douglas is perhaps the biggest upset of all time.
- James J. Braddock vs. Max Baer, Sr. Braddock's career was thought to be over when he fought his way to the opportunity of a lifetime. Baer had killed two men in the ring, so the aging Braddock had his work cut out for him, but he somehow managed to score a unanimous decision against the champion.
- Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward I. Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward's first of three bloodbaths was also one of the best boxing matches of all time. Ending in a 10-round decision for Ward, the fight earned the Fight of the Year honor from Ring Magazine and set the stage for Gatti's two retribution wins, both by decision. In a side note, the final fight between these two titans also earned Ring's Fight of the Year honor.
- Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman. Talk about upsets! Foreman decimated most of the heavyweight division including long-time Ali rival Joe Frazier. No one expected Ali to have a chance against the big puncher, much less win by knockout in the seventh round, but that's exactly what happened. In going with other entries on the Best Boxing Matches of All Time list, this contest had drama and surprises and earned its place.
- Thomas Hearns vs. Marvin Hagler. Three of the most action-packed rounds in the history of boxing define this knockout victory for Marvin Hagler. Threatened with a stoppage due to a cut that Hearns opened on his head in round two, Hagler knew he had to end it quickly, and he did just that!
- George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle. A war of heavy hitters, Foreman truly earned this knockout after picking himself up from the canvas multiple times. An unsung choice, but still one of the best boxing matches of all time.