10 Of The Worst Fouls In Boxing History

Boxing is often called a gentleman’s sport, but not all boxers are gentlemen. The sport was deemed a gentleman’s sport because it only allows you to use your fists as weapons and has rules fighters have to follow. As a result, it was viewed as a more sophisticated combat art.

Fouls are often the result of one fighter feeling overwhelmed by their opponent’s skills. Illegal shots are typically used to try and disrupt the opponent’s momentum and change the outcome of a fight. 


The Ten Worst Illegal Shots In Boxing History

Ready to find out what the worse fouls in boxing history are and who committed them? Let’s jump into our list. 


1) James Butler Vs. Richard Grant

These two collided in 2001 at a charity event created for survivors of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. Butler lost the fight via unanimous decision, then he committed one of the most shameful acts in boxing history as he sucker punched Grant after taking his gloves off. 

The worst part was he pretended he was coming closer to exchange niceties and congratulate Grant on the victory as is customary in boxing after fights. Instead, Butler struck Grant with a full-force overhand right hand that left him unconscious on the canvas. 

The blow lacerated Grant’s tongue and dislocated his jaw. Butler was rightly charged with criminal assault for the illegal punch and spent four months in prison for the attack. It wasn’t just the punch that rubbed fans the wrong way; it was the fact Butler had no justification for the attack other than being a sore loser. 


2) Benny Leonard Vs. Jack Britton

The foul that ended this contest was one of the most bizarre things in boxing history. It was so ridiculous many even felt Leonard was looking to get disqualified on purpose. Briton got the better of the exchanges during the fight, and he appeared to be up on the scorecards when Leonard dropped him with a hard body blow. 

Britton remained on one knee to regain his composure while the referee started his count. Without warning, Leonard rushed towards Britton and punched him in the head, forcing the referee to disqualify him. Accusations that Leonard was ordered to take a dive quickly started to spread since it made the most logical sense. Britton looked to be down for the count when Leonard punched him, so it’s the most sensible conclusion. 


3) Roy Jones Jr. Vs. Montell Griffin

RJJ was 34-0 when he defended the WBC light heavyweight title against Griffin, and many expected another impressive finish. However, Griffin got ahead on the scorecards early in the fight, and he looked like he was on his way to scoring an upset. 

However, Jones hurt Griffin badly in the ninth round with a massive right hand that left him wobbly. Griffin decided to take a knee to regain his senses, but that seemed to irritate Jones, who smashed him with two illegal punches. That earned Jones a disqualification and his first loss as a professional boxer. 


4) Floyd Mayweather Jr. Vs. Victor Ortiz

Victor Ortiz landed some of the most blatant headbutts in recent boxing history on Mayweather towards the end of the fourth round of their 2011 title class. Referee Joe Cortez immediately stopped the action and deducted a point from Ortiz. 

Cortez signaled for the action to resume, but Ortiz kept his hands down as he tried to apologize to Mayweather. Floyd touched gloves with him once, then fired a left hook-overhand combination that knocked Ortiz out cold. It was one of the most controversial moments in boxing since many fans believed Ortiz deserved it, given how dirty he fought. On the other hand, many boxing fans felt it was a cheap shot by Mayweather. 


5) Marco Antonio Barrera Vs. Juan Manuel Marquez


The 2007 fight between these two ended in controversy when Barrera landed a counter right that put Marquez on his hands and knees. Barrera stood over Marquez for a second as if contemplating what to do next; then, he blasted him with another right hand. 

The original knockdown was waived off due to the infraction, and a point was taken from Barrera. Marquez went on to win a decision. 


6) Zab Judah Vs. Floyd Mayweather

Judah got off to a good start against Floyd, but things started falling apart for him in the second half of the fight. Frustrated with Mayweather outclassing him. Judah struck Floyd with a low blow, followed by a punch on the back of his head. 

The referee immediately stopped the action, but Floyd’s uncle, Roger Mayweather, was already in the ring at that point. A brawl ensued, leading to one of the most memorable moments in boxing. The fight was restarted afterward. 


7) Evander Holyfield Vs. Mike Tyson II

Holyfield scored the biggest win of his career when he defeated Mike Tyson during their first showdown, and their rematch was highly anticipated. Holyfield dominated most of that fight as well, leading to a frustrated Tyson biting his ear. Tyson’s boxing license was revoked due to the infraction. 


8) Riddick Bowe Vs. Andrew Golota II

This might be the only time in boxing history when a fighter threw three consecutive low blows. Golota was disqualified for low blows in their first fight, which made it even more puzzling. The groin shots earned him a DQ. 


9) Roberto Duran Vs. Ken Buchanan

In one of the dirtiest fights in boxing history, Duran committed virtually every foul a boxer could commit during this bout, and besides a warning, he pretty much got away with it. The most memorable foul was a low blow that landed flush in the 13th round. Buchanan couldn’t come out in the 14th round due to the punch, giving Duran a controversial TKO victory. 


10) Derrick Gainer Vs. Freddie Norwood

Fouls were plenty during this bout as the referee lost control of the ring. The two fighters traded illegal blows, but Gainer’s low blow as the referee restrained Norwood determined the fight’s outcome. 

Norwood couldn’t recover, and the referee surprisingly didn’t disqualify Gainer. Instead, he awarded him with the technical knockout. 


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