Top 10 best heavyweight fights of all time
Boxing is not just a combat sport; it has never been. It offers much more than that. The emotion, craze, hype, and fantasy of the people have always been the driving factors of best heavyweight fights the boxing industry has ever seen.
Nobody has the guts to oppose that he/she did not feel thrilled and goosebumps while watching the match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier or the match between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield.
The thriving audacity of the heavyweight boxers to prove them the greatest and present the best heavyweight championship fights were the reasons the world gets to see the list of top 10 best heavyweight fights of all time.
So, which are the fights that have ranked in our top ten list? Well, let’s see.
#10. Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
One of the greatest heavyweight boxing matches between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko was witnessed by more than 90 thousand people at Wembley Stadium. The hype of the crowd for this match could not possibly be described in words.
The first four rounds of this legendary match dimmed the craze of the people for a while. But the crowd was not ready for the unexpected series of events in the fifth round when they witnessed Klitschko was put down on the mat by Joshua.
However, Joshua was trying his best to finish Klitschko off in the sixth round with his non-stop blows. But it seemed, Klitschko had it all planned. He kept defending himself well enough that exhausted the stamina of Joshua. But eventually, Joshua got back his strength and defeated Klitschko in the 11th round.
#9. Max Schmeling vs Joe Louis
The legendary Schmeling and Louis fought twice and both of them were historical bouts. In 1936, the duo’s fight was listed to be one of the greatest heavyweight fights taking place about two months prior to the Olympic Games in Berlin while the Nazi propaganda was dominating the whole world.
The fight was more than just a heavyweight boxing match, to put it simply, it was more about racial supremacy. The mighty Joe Louis remained undefeated and he also dominated the first few rounds of the fight. With him throwing a hard-hitting punch at Schmeling, it caused the latter a swollen eye. Clearly, Louis was infatuated with his hook which seemed to be less successful compared to his jab.
Making the best use of this opportunity was the main target of Schmeling. Without wasting any time, he started hitting with overhand rights as well as repeated straights.
Eventually, he knocked out Louis with a devastating uppercut putting an end to one of the best heavyweight boxing fights; still remembered by the people. However, Louis was able to take revenge for this match after two years.
#8. Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman
‘The Rumble In The Jungle’ was one of the most historic boxing events of all time; the ultimate fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. It took place in 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire and listed one of the top 25 heavyweight fights of all time.
The world knew Foreman to be one of the hardest heavyweight punchers ever. It was not easy for Ali to stand a chance against those powerful shots. That’s why he had to plan a different strategy to fight against Foreman in which he was considered the best.
After thinking for a while, Ali planned for a rope-a-dope. It is such a technique that would require Foreman to be exhausting extra energy. It is a move and stick approach. After being hit hard by Foreman, people thought Ali was probably preparing for something like this. But he kept on dominating mentally throughout the ring.
It was evident that he was waiting to exhaust the stamina of Foreman as much as he can. After a while, Ali hit him hard with the perfect combination by a hard right. The shot was too much for Foreman to survive. The crowd erupted with craze when Ali raised his hands to show his victory.
#7. George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle
The boxing industry witnessed another legendary match between George Foreman and Ron Lyle. One of the greatest heavyweight boxing matches that took place in the year 1976.
The fight between Foreman and Lyle is also one of the brutal matches ever. These two powerful boxers hurt one another at the very beginning of the match in the first round. But the fourth round has proven this match to be one of the best heavyweight fights. In the later rounds, Lyle kept on attacking Foreman but Foreman was barely caring for his attacks.
It seemed Foreman was taking time to be stable and then he threw a massive left hook on Lyle. In terms of the power that left hook, other boxers would easily be defeated and the game would be ended right after it was delivered. But it was Ron Lyle; so did not give up easily.
After standing up, Lyle placed himself against Foreman. They started to attack each other in all possible ways in the fourth and fifth rounds. It was too much for Lyle to handle. During that time, he had reached the maximum level of his stamina and could not stand anymore. Finally, George Foreman won the match taking down Ron Lyle for good.
#6. Larry Holmes vs. Ken Norton
The match between Larry Holmes and Ken Norton in 1978 is considered one of the best heavyweight fights with loads of drama and conflicts. Two other fighters were reportedly revealed behind such drama.
The legendary Leon Spinks simply refused to play against Ken Norton after he defeated Muhammad Ali. He was looking for a rematch with Muhammad Ali for a bigger payday. People were anticipating the sequel of Ali-Spinks but even a bigger match took place earlier; the Holmes-Norton match.
The fight between these two legendary boxers led to one of the greatest final rounds of all time in the history of boxing. It came down to the 15th round. Norton dominated and won the first half. But Holmes had to prove himself in the second round.
The crowd was shocked when Larry came back even stronger. Their fight lasted for a minute. There might be a possibility for Holmes to win the round but it was still sufficient for Holmes to be ahead on the scorecard.
#5. Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield
Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield had always been strong rivals. Their super exciting match was one of the top heavyweight boxing fights of all time played in the year of 1992.
The great Holyfield was famous for staying on the outside and he was really expert in outworking comparatively heavy components. But during the fight with Riddick Bowe, he was able to keep Holyfield closer with a stellar jab.
The fight was getting all intense and brutal at the same time. In the 10th round, Riddick Bowe shot Evander Holyfield with an extremely powerful uppercut and right after that a left hand. The right eye of Holyfield was swollen and kept shut. But he did not stop or accepted his defeat.
Bouncing back with all the stamina left in him, he started to hit Riddick Bowe harder that everyone thought it is not possible for Bowe to survive and fight the 11th round. Trying his heart and soul, Holyfield tried to put away Bowe in the remaining two rounds. But in the end, Bowe did not give up; winning by unanimous decision as an underdog.
#4. Jack Dempsey vs. Luis Firpo
The fight between Jack Dempsey and Luis Firpo is considered one of the most iconic heavyweight fights and deserves to be at the fourth spot in the top ten list of the greatest heavyweight fights ever as the match was witnessed by more than 90,000 people in the Polo Grounds while there was another 25,000 crowd waiting outside the stadium.
The first Latin American fighter, Luis Firpo had challenged for the heavyweight championship. No one was expecting something that occurred in the match. At the very beginning of the fight, Dempsey was dropped by Firpo. But Dempsey hit him with a right hand and put him on one knee.
The crowd could not believe their eyes seeing Dempsey knocking down Firpo seven times. But he was not finished yet. In the next round, he nailed Dempsey in the chin. A massive cut was seen on the head of Dempsey.
In the second round, he gathered all his strength and finished Firpo. This legendary match was also considered one of the brutal matches of boxing history.
#3. Joe Frazier vs. Muhammad Ali
The fight between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in 1971 was considered one of the best fights of the century apart from being the most anticipated by the foxing fanatics as the two undefeated heavyweights would be fighting for the title. The suspense, hype and excitement of the crowds made this match one of the greatest heavyweight wars leaving everyone bewildered.
The first two rounds were owned by Ali and this is exactly what Frazier had planned. By the beginning of the third round, it was crystal clear that Frazier had it all figured out. With the hook, he was hitting Ali and it completely changed the match.
The bruising style of the mighty Frazier wore down Ali. It was a really close fight. But in the 15th round, Frazier did not make a single mistake. One of the most remarkable left hooks in boxing history knocked down Ali.
But the legendary Ali was not easy to be defeated; he never had been. Showing his audacity, he got back to his feet again. But Frazier had gotten the unanimous decision by the judges. One of the best heavyweight fights ended proving both the boxers to be legendary.
#2. Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott
Is it even possible to remain undefeated for 49 fights in your career and you don’t even have a single match close to being defeated? It is quite impossible. And it was impossible for the legendary Rocky Marciano as well who was undefeated in his entire boxing career.
The nerve-wracking match against the champion Jersey Joe Walcott almost broke the streak of Rocky Marciano. The legendary match took place in September 1952. It is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxing matches with breathtaking intensity.
In the first round of the match, Marciano was knocked down by Walcott. Probably he was thinking he might be able to crack Marciano in the remaining rounds.
But things did not go according to Walcott. The guard of Joe was let down a bit in the 13th round. Planning to go for the right hand as well as a faint but he did not get a chance to land. Marciano hit him hard and Joe was folded.
It was one of the fastest moves in boxing history. If anyone would blink, they might have missed it. It was one of the most vicious punches ever which did not let the streak of mighty Marciano be broken.
#1. Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier
One of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time of the century is also known as ‘The Thrilla in Manila’. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier participated in the super exciting and most anticipating match of the boxing history. The whole world was looking forward to this match of the two boxing legends.
The first fight was won by Frazier unconditionally while Ali owned the second match. There were some controversies regarding his win but the third fight was filled with a massive load of excitement. The fights were that much intense that the crowd thought is there anything left to fight of these two legends?
Yes, they had more to offer. They started like the third fight is their first-round; full of spirit, full of power. With the massive jabs, Ali controlled Frazier. Eventually, he thought of going rope-a-dope to make Frazier tired in the ring.
Clearly Frazier did not fall for the trap of Ali rather he unleashed the beast within him and got stronger. The massive body shots and mighty left hooks of Frazier were trying to capture Ali. The fight got really brutal and their career seemed to be in jeopardy.
As the fight continues, Ali was trying his best to take control by throwing countess punches. It was hard for Frazier to defend himself. Despite the pleas of Frazier, his trainer Eddie Futch decided to stop the match right after the 14th round. The greatness of Ali helped him winning the match, again.
The gravity, brutality, and suspense of the greatest boxing matches could never be measured with its ranking. It never signifies that the match that ranked 10 th position is less appreciated by the people, while the 1 st ranked match is appreciated more.
All the above-mentioned matches had to offer something unique, something unexpected, and something to be remembered for a lifetime. The ranking does not define the greatness of the matches; it has always been relative when the greatness has already been hailed and cherished by millions of people all around the world.
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