Contact Us

10 Historic Boxing Matches That Rocked the World

Mayweather Pacquiao
Getty Images

Only pre-fight hype remains before the long-awaited Floyd Mayweather–Manny Pacquiao match in Las Vegas on May 2 (9 p.m. ET; PPV). After tickets for this most recent “Fight of the Century” sold out in an hour on Thursday afternoon, we thought it would be a good time to look back at other bouts that have captivated the interest of the sports world.

Jack Johnson vs. James J. Jeffries (1910)



As the first African-American to hold the heavyweight title, Jack Johnson often came under heavy criticism from a biased press corps. Reporters’ pestering helped convince former champ and “Great White Hope” James J. Jeffries to attempt to wrest the title back from Johnson in Reno, Nevada on July 4 , 1910. It didn’t happen: Jeffries’ corner stopped the fight in the 15th fearing a knockout. [Source]


Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney II (1927)



After legendary heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey was shockingly upset by Gene Tunney in Philadelphia in September 1926, the two gladiators signed on to a rematch nearly a year later. More than 150,000 fans filled Soldier Field in Chicago to witness the return bout, which saw Tunney rally past Dempsey after a now-infamous “long count” on a knockdown in the seventh round. [Source]


Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling (1938)



Rich with foreshadowing of World War II, German-born heavyweight Max Schmeling’s fight against American Joe Louis, the man Schmeling had removed from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 12th-round knockout in 1936, was a study in contrasts of race, nations, politics and styles. Louis avenged the loss with a flurry of punches in a first-round KO in front of 70,000 fans in New York’s Yankee Stadium. [Source]


Rocky Marciano vs. Jersey Joe Walcott (1952)



Undefeated Rocky Marciano knocked out Joe Louis and several other impressive fighters on his way to a title match against aging Jersey Joe Walcott in Philadelphia in 1952. The 38-year-old Walcott knocked down the young contender in the first round and appeared to have the fight won, until a devastating blow from Marciano in the 13th round ended the bout. [Source]


Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier (1971)



Four years after having his title stripped and boxing license revoked because of his refusal to enter the U.S. military draft during the Vietnam War, undefeated former heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali fought then-undefeated and current heavyweight champion Joe Frazier in ‘The Fight of the Century’ at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The cagey Frazier decisioned Ali to retain the title and split a then-record $5 million purse. [Source]


Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III (1975)



If ever a pair of fighters deserved to have two separate “Fights of the Century,” it’s Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. The heavyweights split their earlier matches in 1971 and 1974, but Ali won the rubber match of this trilogy when Frazier failed to come out for the 15th round of the “The Thrilla in Manila” in the Philippines. [Source]


Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler (1987)



After years of posturing and fighting other talented middleweights like Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran instead of each other, Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler finally threw down in Las Vegas in 1987. Billed as “The Super Fight,” the two men dueled for 15 rounds before a controversial split-decision gave the victory to Leonard. [Source]


Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson (1996)



Though his invincible facade had long since been removed by an upset loss to Buster Douglas in 1990, Mike Tyson was still a fearsome challenger for heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield when they met in Las Vegas in 1996. Holyfield stopped Tyson in the 11th round and became the first boxer since Muhammad Ali to claim the heavyweight belt on three separate occasions. [Source]


Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad (1999)



Two accomplished and undefeated welterweights, Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad, brawled in Las Vegas in 1999, but only one walked away with the (highly disputed) victory. Trinidad’s stunning win followed a fight that, in the eyes of most watching, De La Hoya seemed to have all but won over the early and middle rounds. The actual ringside judges saw things differently. [Source]


Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather



Super welterweights Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather fought a highly anticipated bout in Las Vegas in 2007. At the time, both were considered among the best boxers in the world, though only Mayweather was undefeated. He remained that way by winning a split-decision over the “Golden Boy” in 12 rounds. [Source]


Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of Antenna

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Antenna Mag quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!