The first decade of the 21st century was an era that brought the most number of unification fights, and so we have compiled a list of the 10 highest-grossing boxing matches in the sport’s history. Who could mention the name of Erik Morales without associating him with Marco Antonio Barrera? We’ve all seen the fight and we’ve all been thrilled as the world’s focus shifted from heavyweight boxing to lower weight divisions. We sat there glued to the television set. The world shrunk to an 18×18 feet platform; suddenly everyone’s a boxing fan!
- Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo (May 7, 2005) . The bell rings marking the start of the tenth round. It’s been a close fight so far. Who threw the most punches and how much damage each fighter received seems not to matter now. It is as if the fight is just beginning. We hear an uproar from the crowd first minute into the tenth round as Corrales drops the second time. It appears like Castillo is just a punch away from knocking Corrales out. Then, a counter left hook appears out of nowhere. Castillo is pinned against the ropes as Corrales unleashes the fury of his punches. Castillo drops his hands and snaps back his head and Referee Tony Weeks steps in just in time to end the match.
- Erik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera (February 19, 2000). It is two minutes into the twelfth round and neither fighter has gained the upper hand. Suddenly, Barrera lands a combination of punches bringing Morales to his knee. Referee Mitch Halpern steps in and rules a knockdown. Erik Morales, despite his protests, hears a count for the first time in his career. The match resumes with both fighters trading blows in the middle of the ring. The bell sounds to end one of the best 122-pound fights ever. Morales wins by a split decision.
- Somsak Sithchatchawal TKO10 Mahyar Monshipour (March 18, 2006). Sithchatchawal drops Monshipour in the first round. Monshipour bounces back after that. However, in the tenth round Monshipour succumbs to Sithchatchawal’s relentlessness losing the match to his opponent via TKO.
- Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Erik Morales (November 27, 2004). Once again the rivals face each other in a match that takes place at 130 pounds. It’s like watching a replay of the previous match in February 2000, only this one is fiercer as can be seen during the first four rounds where Barrera fights like a madman barely giving Morales unwilling to budge an inch. Barrera wins by TKO.
- Micky Ward vs. Arturo Gatti (May 18, 2002). The two rivals seem evenly matched and equally skilled. After the seventh round however, fatigue sets in for Gattii while Ward remains in high gear up to the ninth round. They are among the most breathtaking rounds in boxing history. Gattii does recover from time to time only to succumb to Ward’s relentless pounding in the end.
- Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez (March 1, 2008). The match’s highlight is Vazquez’ remarkable close as he delivers his last minute knockdown, which many considers as one of the best moments in boxing history.
- Felix Trinidad vs. Fernando Vargas (December 2, 2000). Hall of Famer Trinidad delivers five knockdowns as he recovers from his own. Unfazed by a two-point deduction, he moves on to deliver a twelfth round knockout thereby winning the match.
- James Toney vs. Vasily Jirov (April 2, 2003). Toney has less than three seconds to stay in the match as he counters Jirov’s punches. The moment of truth arrives and Toney throws a left hook to the body forcing Jirov to drop his hands. He then follows it up with his signature combo that ultimately knocks Jirov down.
- (Tie) Micky Ward vs. Emmanuel Augustus (July 13, 2001). This is one of the bloodiest fights ever with more than 2000 blows exchanged between two tough warriors in a ten round match. Ward seals the deal with a classic body-shot knockdown.
- Kelly Pavlik vs. Jermain Taylor (September 27, 2007 ). Pavlik falls down in the second round. In the sixth Pavlik makes a tremendous recovery. He then proceeds to knock Taylor out in the seventh round to win the World middleweight title.
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