There are very few things that can capture the imagination of an entire nation in the same way as highly anticipated boxing matches can. Throughout the pages of history, boxing champions have been hailed as heroes in their communities. Great fighters, such as the legendary Muhammad Ali have harnessed this influence to impact real change in people’s lives.
With the power that boxing has, it is not surprising that it has been linked with gambling for many years. Back then, there were no online platforms, such as bet999.io/sport, so betting usually meant going to betting houses before the big match.
While millions of dollars have been won and lost on boxing matches throughout history, when some of the most iconic matches are remembered it is not the money but the spectacle itself that is remembered.
History of Boxing
The earliest visual evidence of boxing dates back to the ancient Egyptian culture, in the third millennium. However, boxing as a form of sport that is governed by set rules probably originated in ancient Greece, sometime around 688 BC when it was enjoyed as an Olympic sport.
Since then, a lot of changes have been made to the sport, with most of them being included to reduce the number of fatalities in this aggressive sport. Some changes can also be attributed to the impact of gambling on sports in general.
Six Historical Boxing Matches
These days, boxing involves very high stakes thanks to gambling, with champions often becoming overnight millionaires after winning big matches. However, through it all, many iconic bouts are still fondly remembers as some of the greatest spectacles in history.
Here are six historic matches that will take you on a nostalgic journey through time:
- Muhammad Ali Vs. George Foreman (October 30, 1974)
Who could ever forget the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” between two of the best fighters in history who clashed when both were at the peak of their fighting careers? Whether it was the electric African atmosphere in Zaire, or the attraction of Muhammad Ali, one thing for certain is that this was an epic clash of two Titans of the boxing world.
After enduring a grueling seven rounds being pounded by the heavy fists of George Foreman, Ali came alive in the eighth round to win the match with an emphatic knockout victory. This fight is, perhaps, one of the main reasons why Ali is widely regarded as the greatest fighter to ever step into a boxing ring.
- Muhammad Ali Vs. Joe Frazier (March 8, 1971)
Widely regarded as the greatest boxing showcase ever, the fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier still inspires awe four decades later. It more than lived up to its billing as “The fight of the century.”
At a time when Ali was standing firm against the war in Vietnam, this clash evolved into more than just a boxing match. It became a fight between the “Ali camp” in favor of peace, and the “Frazier camp” who were rather unfairly portrayed as pro-war.
In typical Ali fashion, Muhammad Ali did a lot of talking before the fight. However, when the match started, it was clear that Frazier meant business. After 15 intense rounds, Joe Frazier walked away with the spoils.
- Marvin Hagler Vs. Thomas Hearns (April 15, 1985)
It is surprising that a fight that lasted only three rounds, the equivalent of eight minutes of fighting time, could still be one of the most talked about bouts more than three decades later. Perhaps, this should serve as a reminder of what an amazing fight it was between Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns in 1985.
In those few minutes, the crowd at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was treated to some of the best drama and action in boxing history. It was a genuine slugfest as the two fighters traded punch for punch, holding nothing back. In the end, it was a strong right punch and two uppercuts from a battered and bruised Thomas Hearns that won the day.
- Aaron Pryor Vs. Alexis Arguello (November 12, 1982)
When these two proud and highly talented fighters met in 1982, the fight was promoted as “The battle of the champions” by its promoters. Any doubts that anyone had about this match-up were soon dispersed when Aaron Pryor and Alexis Arguello squared up in the ring.
During the match, it seemed as if Arguello would get to live his dream of becoming the only man to ever win the championship in four different weight classes. However, his dream was shattered in emphatic style when Pryor came alive in the final rounds, going hard against his opponent until the match was stopped and he won the day.
- “Sugar” Ray Leonard Vs. Thomas Hearns (September 16, 1981)
This clash between “Sugar” Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns in 1981 is still used to this day by trainers to teach young boxers how to deal with situations involving mismatched opponents. Hearns was much taller than Leonard, meaning the shorter man had to come up with a different strategy if he was to win.
Leonard launched an all-out attack against Hearns, forcing the latter to re-adjust his style, In the final rounds it was Leonard’s sheer resilience and never-ending barrage of punches that saw him win a famous victory.
- Mike Tyson Vs Evander Holyfield (June 28, 1997)
Last, but not least, is the most recent fight on this list. When Mike Tyson faced off against Evander Holyfield in 1997, no one could have bet that one of the fighters was going to walk out without a piece of his ear.
In the heat of the battle, when the strength and brutality of Holyfield seemed impossible for Tyson to withstand, the unimaginable happened. Mike Tyson latched onto Holyfield’s ear with his teeth, tore off a piece of cartilage, and unceremoniously spat it out across the ring.
Holyfield was declared the winner after Tyson was disqualified for his conduct and had his boxing license revoked. The license was later reinstated but the events of that evening remain seared into memory.
Reliving these famous fights is enough to make any boxing fan want to go back in time and witness these events one last time. Luckily, with so many talented fighters being discovered every day, it is only a matter of time before another great fight graces the boxing ring once more.