Las Vegas is the undisputed home of boxing. In fact, these days it’s right up there with one of the biggest cities of sport in the world. There have been some legendary fights down the years, with every boxer dreaming of stepping into the ring at the MGM Grand or the new(ish) T-Mobile Arena.
Nothing beats a Vegas fight night, especially for fans. From spending the day enjoying the slot games to all the anticipation and buzz of the fight, echoing around the Strip’s casinos. It’s something really quite special.
But what are the best fights to ever take place in Sin City? We run down our favourites…
Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield II (1997)
Perhaps the most memorable is the rematch between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, not necessarily for the fight, but the rather bizarre turn it took. It was the famous fight in which Tyson bit Holyfield’s ear, leaving a large chunk missing from it in the process.
It caused uproar across the world, and will certainly go down as one of those, “I was there,” moments for those in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns (1985)
Nicknamed The War, the 1985 bout between Martin Hagler and Thomas Hearns lasted only three rounds. But what a three rounds. It’s often referred to as the greatest three rounds of boxing in history, as Hearns stepped up a weight to challenge for the WBC super welterweight championship.
It was Hagler that earned the victory though, sending Hearns to the canvas in round three to confirm his place among the all-time greats, and ensuring the fight went down in the same way too.
Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (2007)
In 2007, two greats of the modern era went head-to-head in a fight that really did capture the world’s imagination. In Oscar De La Hoya we had a six division world champion and in Floyd Mayweather a four division one. It was the best going up against the best, both with almost flawless techniques.
The fight went all the way and an incredibly close split decision saw Mayweather keep his undefeated status, something which he continued until his retirement 10 years later.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Márquez IV (2012)
While we always wanted to see Pacquiao v Mayweather, and of course we did in Las Vegas in 2015, it was the Filipino’s series with Juan Manuel Marquez that gets its place in our history books. Manny Pacquiao had won two of the previous three meetings, with the first fight ending in a draw, so the stakes were high for Marquez, getting his final shot at the legend.
And take that shot he did, knocking out Manny in the sixth and finishing off what was a thrilling series of fights, all of which took place in Las Vegas.
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury III (2021)
The return of Tyson Fury was one of boxing’s biggest moments of recent years, and he threw himself in at the deep end taking one of the most devastating punchers around in Deontay Wilder.
Most thought it was too soon for Fury, having only fought a couple of journeymen since his return in 2018. But Fury fought hard, and boxed beautifully. However, he couldn’t avoid Wilder’s bombs, being knocked to the canvas twice, the second of which came in the 12th, with the fight looking to be over.
However, Fury rose, almost like a phoenix from the flames, to beat the count and see out the fight. It went down as a split decision draw, but setting up a thrilling trilogy of fights, with Fury winning the other two.
The second bout saw Fury dominate and knock down Wilder twice before battering him into submission for a TKO to become heavyweight champ again in February 2021.
Their third fight reminded many of the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier III “Thrilla in Manilla” from 1975, as Fury and Wilder were both down twice, before the “Gypsy King” eventually wore down and knocked out Wilder in the 11th.