On Saturday 26 August, what looks poised to be one of the most crucial fights in the history of combat sports will take place. Floyd Mayweather, one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time, will lock horns with Conor McGregor, currently UFC’s biggest star.
The Greatest Boxing Fights
There are many ways in which a boxing fight’s greatness can be assessed. Perhaps we could consider how skilled both combatants were, how unexpected the final result was, or – quite simply – how exhilarating the clash was to watch? We could even consider the match’s broader historical context.
Here at Top 10 Sports Betting, we have considered all of those factors in putting together this list. Check it out – and then see what we have ranked as the best boxing betting sites on the Internet.
10. James Braddock vs Max Baer (1935)
Braddock's early promise in the light heavyweight category faded with a run of just nine wins in 30 bouts. He even had to undertake dock work during the Great Depression. However, he clocked up a number of surprise victories culminating in this triumph over the heavyweight champion.
Braddock had been given only 10-1 odds to win this New York clash. This hints at how tricky it can be to fruitfully bet on boxing, but here are some of our tips for boosting your chances of doing so.
9. Hasim Rahman vs Lennox Lewis (2001)
Before this contest, the outcome must have seemed a foregone conclusion. Lewis had, after all, defeated Evander Holyfield to become heavyweight champion, and remained unbeaten as he entered the ring in which he would, as it turned out, be defeated by Rahman.
Still, while Lewis had indeed been the 20-1 favourite, he had recently spent time on the Ocean's Eleven film set and did not give himself enough time to adjust to the conditions in South Africa. There, he suffered a fifth-round knockout.
8. Frankie Randall vs Julio Cesar Chavez (1994)
Long before this fight, Randall was a formidable lightweight fighter... but that was back in the early 1980s. By 1994, he was considered a spent force in the wake of drug and legal problems. Chavez, meanwhile, had gone 90 fights without defeat and was the light welterweight champion.
Well, that title was handed to Randall after 11 rounds in which the 15-1 underdog fought furiously and passionately. The rivalry between the two men would continue in controversial fashion, but it never again produced as surprising a chapter as this one in Las Vegas.
7. Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson (1990)
Despite the havoc that lifestyle, management, and training problems had wrecked on Mike Tyson's fighting ability, he was still expected to easily conquer Douglas in Tokyo. The Mirage, the sole Las Vegas casino willing to accept bets for this clash, gave Douglas 42-1 odds of victory.
However, Tyson had been negligent in his preparations, not bothering to thoroughly train or even watch videos of Douglas's previous fights. After 10 rounds of the match itself, Tyson was semi-conscious on the mat while Douglas stood as the world's new heavyweight champion.
6. Aaron Pryor vs Alexis Arguello (1982)
Arguello went into this Miami-set match as a 12-5 favourite to win not only this fight but also, as a result, his fourth title in as many weight classes. That would have been a historic first for any man, but his light welterweight rival Pryor obviously hadn't been handed the script.
While "The Explosive Thin Man", as Arguello was dubbed, kept control for the majority of the clash, "The Hawk", as his competitor was nicknamed, made an impressive comeback in the dying rounds. He ultimately won what The Ring magazine later declared the "Fight of the Decade".
5. George Foreman vs Michael Moorer (1994)
In 1994, Moorer had impressive credentials, having captured the title of world champion from the formidable Evander Holyfield. It wasn’t long before, in Nevada, he was taking on another boxing legend: George Foreman. Imagine the shock when – despite Moorer holding his own over nine rounds – the tubby Foreman floored him to take back a title he had lost two decades earlier.
4. Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston (1964)
Liston had been brutal on his way to becoming champion, leaving many people concerned about his potential ability to physically hurt Clay. However, unknown to observers of this match in Florida’s Miami Beach, Liston was injured - and he was left bewildered as Clay repeatedly circled him.
The crowd was silent after Liston conceded defeat. Clay then shouted: "I am king." He would become a legend as Muhammad Ali. Nonetheless, scandal hit in the following year when, in a rematch, Ali apparently knocked out Liston with a "phantom punch".
3. Sugar Ray Leonard vs Marvin Hagler (1987)
While Leonard had been a middleweight champion, he had not professionally boxed for five years when this Las Vegas fight took place. Hagler had the title that had once been Leonard’s, but the latter out-thought his rival to ultimately win the decision. Hagler took issue with that decision, but Indian Express called this “perhaps the greatest fight of the 20th century in terms of sheer skill”.
2. Jack Johnson vs James Jeffries (1910)
In an age when anti-black sentiment was rampant, there was widespread outcry when Jack Johnson became the first black man to become world heavyweight champion in 1908. Jeffries was tempted out of his recently imposed retirement to be the "Great White Hope" - yes, that is what he was actually dubbed - and win back the title.
In the event, he was more like the Great White Hopeless. After 15 rounds, the out-of-shape Jeffries threw in the towel, having fallen on the canvas during this fight in the city of Reno, Nevada.
1. Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman (1974)
We have already cited Muhammad Ali as one of boxing's all-time greats, and his against-the-odds triumph against Foreman in 1974 is a major reason why. The powerful Foreman had humbled Joe Frazier and Ken Norton before his clash with Ali in Zaire.
Although initially deemed the match's underdog, Ali used his "rope-a-dope" technique to leave Foreman tiring himself out. Ali then delivered an eighth-round, right-handed knockout to his exhausted opponent.
It’s the fight they call ‘The Rumble in the Jungle’, and needless to say, it is an event that retains a huge cultural influence to this day, in addition to being one of Ali’s most famous fights.
Needless to say, as great as these fights undoubtedly were, there is much boxing history yet to be made – and there are plenty of places online where you can bet on the latest upcoming fights. Peruse our reviews and ratings here at Top 10 Sports Betting to discover the leading boxing betting sites today.