Top 7 Most Memorable Moments in Boxing History

Ready to take a ride through the past? Let's count down boxing's greatest moments and see what makes them so special.

Memorable Moments in Boxing History
Memorable Moments in Boxing History

Also known as the “Sweet Science” boxing is the most popular fighting style in the world. And many people consider a boxing match to be the purest form of fighting. A very few sports can match the level of a thrill behind every boxing fight.

Over the years, there have been many great moments that came about in boxing. As true fans of the sport, we can all recall at least one boxing moment that holds a special place in our hearts and minds. Of course, we’re speaking about those amazing KOs, rivalries, or pure wars inside the ring.

Whether it was anger or happiness that you felt, these emotions are part of the game and the reason why we love boxing so much. So, we have decided to take you on the emotional ride once again by bringing you the most memorable moments in boxing history. If you think we missed any, feel free to add some more in the comments below.

7. Tyson vs. Holyfield II: The Bite Fight

Holyfield vs. Tyson II is perhaps the most anticipated rematch in history, or at least, of our era. But what took place that night in Las Vegas in 1997 will forever be the most shameful moment in boxing history. But before we take a dive into Tyson’s actions, let’s recall how it all came about.

The two fought each other seven months earlier for the boxing WBA title. Holyfield was a huge underdog coming in as a challenger, but, he was able to stop the Iron Mike in the eleventh round. This was one of the biggest upsets in boxing as no-one could imagine anybody beating Tyson at the time.

In the rematch, Holyfield continued to beat angry Mike Tyson just as in their first meeting. Tyson was way out of his usual rhythm as he just couldn’t land a thing on the champ. You could feel and see the tension rising between these two.

In the second round, Holyfield head-butted Tyson which opened a large cut over his right eye. And it was at this point that Tyson went out of his mind. He came into the third round looking for revenge and he went on to bite the champ on both ears. The most memorable moment was seeing Tyson spitting out the piece of the ear onto the floor.

Of course, the referee stopped the fight and disqualified Tyson. It was really sad as the whole world expected a lot out of this fight. Dong King promoted this fight as “Sound and Fury”, but it went down in history as “The Bite Fight.”

6. Anthony Joshua KOs Wladimir Klitschko

The fight between Joshua and Klitschko is one of the most important fights in boxing heavyweight history. It marks the end of the Klitschko era that created the chance for the younger boxers to shine. And for many fans, this was something the sport of boxing badly needed.

Just a year prior, Tyson Fury beat Klitschko to end his long reign as an HW champ. Of course, Wladimir was looking for an instant rematch. But, Fury decided to retire from the sport and vacate his titles. So to get his belts back, Klitschko had to face the young rising star, Anthony Joshua for the IBF and vacant WBA and IBO titles. In spite of being very gifted, many boxing pros thought Joshua wasn’t ready for such a big moment yet.

Right from the opening round, both fighters started trading heavy punches in the center of the ring. I mean, we haven’t seen such an exciting HW fight in more than a decade. Coming into the eleventh round, Joshua was clearly behind on the official scorecards. But he was able to KO Klitschko in the eleventh round and score a huge upset win.

It was an amazing moment that opened a new chapter in boxing heavyweight division history.

5. Mike Tyson becomes the heavyweight champ

The name Mike Tyson is synonymous with destruction inside the boxing ring. Many fans see him as the greatest and most violent boxer of all time. Without a doubt, the man is a true definition of the term “Baddest man on the planet”.

Standing 5’11”, Tyson was a small heavyweight. But in spite of being undersized in almost every fight, Tyson quickly gained respect from his rivals by scoring many brutal KOs. His speed, movement, and footwork were out of this world, and his skills were much ahead of his time.

Coming into his bout against Berbick, Tyson was just 20 years old and still working his way up. Still, no-one denied he already had the tools to face boxing’s biggest stars and become a champ. And sure enough, on November 22, 1986, in Las Vegas, Mike Tyson made a huge statement. Right from the opening bell, he began playing with Berbick just like the lion plays with his food.

The poor Berbick didn’t have anything to offer in return, and Tyson quickly knocked him out in the second round to win the WBC title. The KO over Berbick was special in many ways. But the boxing fans will forever recall it as the start of Tyson’s wild era.

4. Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: Boxing’s biggest event

To be honest, the actual fight between Floyd and Manny wasn’t that special at all. However, there are other reasons why this fight was so important. It stands for, by far, the most anticipated clash in boxing history. And it took more than a decade for Manny and Floyd to agree to fight, which made the hype around this bout even bigger.

In 2015, the two boxers faced each other in Las Vegas, in what would be the biggest event in the history of combat sports. The fight generated somewhere around $400 million dollars in gross revenue. And around $72 million in ticket sales which surpassed Super Bowl XLIX.

As one would expect, the fight broke many other records along with the PPV viewership with 4.6 million buys. And we don’t have to mention that ALL celebrities were in the arena. I mean, the officials closed the parking lot at the McCarran International Airport due to the hundreds of private business jets filling up the slots.

But, the match itself didn’t live up to the fan’s expectations. It’s fair to say that Floyd dominated the fight from start to finish. But, we are not sure if any future boxing fight will ever match the level of excitement and hype behind this one.

3. Roy Jones Jr. beats John Ruiz

It’s very rare to see any fighter going up in the heavyweight division to challenge the champ. This is because size does play a factor in fighting and the bigger person wins most of the time. But in 1998, Roy Jones proved all the boxing experts to be wrong.

Roy Jones Jr is one of the best boxers in history. To say his fights and style were exciting would simply be an understatement. We were all holding our breaths watching him perform during his prime days.

In his career, Jones beat many legends of the sport, and he was the champ in three separate weight classes. These achievements alone made him a boxing icon. But, he went even further.

In 2003, Jones set his eyes on the heavyweight title. And many boxing pros thought he was losing his mind as no-one could imagine him beating the likes of Lennox Lewis. I mean, they were all much bigger and taller than him.

But Jones was patient and waiting for the perfect chance. And when John Ruiz beat Evander Holyfield in 2001, Jones decided to move in and challenge the new champ. This was an ideal chance for Jones as John Ruiz was a really small heavyweight.

The two faced each other in March 2003 in Las Vegas for the WBA boxing title. Jones used his speed and superior skills to win the unanimous decision and become the champ in four different weight classes.

2. Ali vs. Foreman: Rumble In The Jungle

It would simply be wrong to create a list of great moments in boxing without including the “Rumble in the Jungle” fight. In 1974, Foreman and Ali faced each other in what was seen as the biggest sporting event of the 20th century.

At the time, Ali was a fearsome champion and perhaps the most famous man on the planet. Or in his own words, he was young, pretty, and couldn’t possibly be beaten.

But standing on his way was the heavy handed George Foreman. Leading up to the fight, many believed that Foreman, who was a heavy underdog, may put out the champ and shock the world. He certainly had the skills and power to do so.

But, Ali wisely let Foreman work in the early rounds and gas himself out. Ali took over from the midpoint and then went on to knock out an exhausted Foreman in the eight-round in front of 60.000 people in attendance.

This was one of the largest boxing events as the fight had a television audience of around 1 billion viewers across the world, including the 50 million viewers watching the fight on pay-per-view on closed-circuit theatre TV. That’s insane!

The thing is, Ali was very popular before the “Rumble in the Jungle”. But the KO win over Foreman and the way he did it secured him a place among the gods.

1. George Foreman KOs Michael Moorer

Also known as “Big George”, Foreman is the former boxing world champ and, perhaps, the most feared fighter of his time. I mean, he put together a record of 76 wins out of which 68 were brutal KOs. In his career, many great boxers crumbled under his power including Joe Frazier whom he beat twice.

But above all, Foreman’s career is a very inspiring one and what he was able to achieve at the closing stages of his career was amazing. He fought at the elite boxing level while being deep into his 40s and way out of the athletic prime. That’s very rare for heavyweight boxers.

I mean, most of the fighters his age at the time were already retired from the sport. But Foreman was still there, fighting and beating much younger fighters.

One of the most inspirational and biggest wins of his career came against Michael Moorer in 1994. At the time, Moorer was 26 years old and at the peak of his athletic prime while Foreman was 45 years old.

But, the age didn’t stop Big George to score a late KO and capture the WBA and IBF World titles. And we don’t have to mention he became the oldest World champ in history.

Final Thoughts

As boxing fans, we all live and breathe for the moments presented above that always remind us why we love boxing so much. Putting together this list and placing some of the moments above the others was not an easy task as they are all special in their own way.

For some fans, the best moments may be the brutal wars inside the ring or the hype around the event, while the others admire the achievements of some of the greatest champions. In the end, it doesn’t matter which moment is the best as long as boxing gives us things we can remember. 

If you think we missed any, feel free to point out in the comment section below. For sure, the sport of boxing will continue to rise. And we may expect to see many other fighters, events, or special moments that will take a spot in some of our future articles. 

Published on July 24, 2020 at 7:30 am
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