They say boxing is the theatre of the unexpected. In the heat of battle, the momentum can shift at any juncture. A fighter can be dominating at any point in any given fight, only to get rocked and stopped in a split second.
That’s what makes the sport of boxing so exciting, and why fans from all over the world tune in to watch whenever there’s a big fight. Anything can happen in the ring, and at the highest level of competition, it’s anyone’s game.
Throughout history, there have been many fighters who have come back from the brink of defeat, turn the tide in their favor, and ultimately claim victory. These displays of true grit and hearts of warriors are incredible to watch and relive.
While there are certainly more than five examples, this list contains some of the more memorable ones. Today, Evolve Daily shares five amazing come-from-behind victories in boxing.
1) Julio Cesar Chavez Stops Meldrick Taylor In The 12th Round
Julio Cesar Chavez is arguably the greatest Mexican fighter who ever lived. The reverence he possesses in his home country is certainly worthy of note. He’s nothing short of a national hero for his achievements in the ring.
In 1990, Chavez faced Meldrick “The Kid” Taylor in an exciting 12-round super lightweight contest for the WBC and IBF world titles. Known as an all-action brawler, Chavez was no doubt the more powerful puncher. However, Taylor would proceed to outbox the Mexican legend handily for the majority of the bout.
Towards the end of the fight, Chavez was presumably trailing on the judges’ scorecards and was on the way to losing the fight and his belt. But in the 12th and final round, Chavez turned the tables on “The Kid.” He unleashed a barrage of punches that had Taylor reeling.
Sensing the finish, Chavez jumped on Taylor almost immediately, battering him with hooks to the head and body.
The Mexican great floored his adversary, sending him down for the count. With just two seconds remaining in the fight, the referee waved Taylor off and a come-from-behind victory of epic proportions was completed.
2) Joe Louis Knocks Out Billy Conn In 13th
Joe Louis, one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, locked horns with wily veteran Billy Conn for the first time in 1941 when he was just on the come-up.
Conn presented a surging Louis with a myriad of problems, combining incredible hand speed, reflexes, and solid punching power. But he was at a massive size and weight handicap, with Louis clocking in nearly 20 lbs. heavier for the fight.
Still, Conn found success against the much bigger Louis, despite the obvious disadvantages. He more than held his own against Louis, and even gained momentum mid-fight as he began to dominate.
As the fight went on, Conn got even stronger and more comfortable. By the 12th round, he was forcing Louis into corners, tagging him with some devastating haymakers. At that point, there was no doubt who was behind on the scorecards, to the point that Louis’ corner told him he needed a knockout to win.
Aware of his predicament, Louis fought with a sense of urgency and was surprised to discover Conn still trading shots while he could have coasted to a decision. It turned out to be Conn’s downfall, as Louis poured on the pressure, ultimately showing his vaunted power at the end of the 13th round.
Louis finished Conn and the come-from-behind victory was in the books.
3) Juan Manuel Marquez And Manny Pacquiao Battle To Epic Draw
Filipino icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and longtime rival Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez first met in 2004, when the two were mere rising featherweight talents.
Pacquiao was the exciting southpaw, blazing a path of destruction in boxing’s lighter weight classes behind a firecracker left hand, while Marquez was the counterpunching wizard who employed a more tactical and strategic fighting style.
The very first round of this fight played out in overwhelming favor for “Pacman,” as he floored Marquez three times. With no three knockdown rule in effect, Marquez survived, and was able to come storming back in the second round to make it a fight.
Pacquiao and Marquez ended up in an intense back-and-forth battle the rest of the way, fighting to a draw on the scorecards.
While Marquez was unable to complete the come-from-behind victory, his performance against Pacquiao was notable, and coming back from nearly being stopped in the first round was truly something special.
As fate would have it, Pacquiao and Marquez fought four times in total, with “Dinamita” punctuating their rivalry with a knockout over the Filipino warrior in 2012.
4) George Foreman Shocks Michael Moorer In The 10th Round
Heavyweight icon George Foreman was already on the tail end of a glorious career and in his mid-40’s when he met then 27-year-old Michael Moorer in 1994. Foreman came out of retirement in hopes of making another world title run, but no one gave him a shot against the young buck.
For “Big George,” it was a chance to reclaim the heavyweight belt he surrendered to the late great Muhammad Ali nearly two decades earlier.
Foreman was, of course, not the fighter he once was. He was up there in age, and his body resembled that of an old man. But the heart of the lion was still inside of him.
Moorer, who held the WBA and IBF heavyweight world titles, was outboxing the veteran Foreman, peppering him with shots from out of range. By mid-fight, Foreman was beaten, battered, and bruised, and it appeared Moorer was on his way to victory.
But “Big George” knew he still had his monster right hand in his back pocket. He waited until the 10th round to unleash it, but when he did, it was absolutely devastating.
Foreman, utilizing his veteran experience, slipped Moorer’s left hand and countered with a sharp and powerful right that connected right on the money. Moorer was sent crashing to the canvas and could not beat the count. Foreman claimed victory and regained the heavyweight throne.
5) Muhammad Ali Knocks Out Unbeaten George Foreman In 8th
20 years prior to his victory over Moorer, George Foreman met Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa in 1974, in what became known as the “Rumble in the Jungle.” It is one of the most legendary boxing matches in history.
At the time, critics believed Ali to be a sizeable underdog against the monster that was Foreman. Up until that point, Foreman was an undefeated 25-year-old with brain-scrambling knockout power. Ali was an aging former heavyweight king who appeared to be on his way out.
Ali’s eccentric persona made him a media darling and an absolute hit among boxing fans in Africa. He had a mob of people following him wherever he went, chanting his name.
And while no one had been able to withstand Foreman’s foreboding power up until then, Ali employed an interesting strategy to win the fight.
As expected, Foreman was a freight train, and looked to batter Ali from pillar to post from the sound of the opening bell. However, Ali intentionally opted to lay on the ropes and defend against Foreman’s onslaught without so much as firing back.
With Ali getting manhandled against the ropes, he used his superior intelligence and defense to make it through hell. Eventually, Foreman began to tire, and the sting in his punches started to fade. He was tired and had nothing to offer by round eight.
That’s when Ali came alive and bombarded Foreman with his combinations, sending his opponent to the canvas for good.
It was arguably the greatest performance of Ali’s career.
You may also like: