While many combat sports and martial arts bring tales of epic battles and showdowns, there is nothing quite like what transpires within the confines of a boxing ring. The sport has existed since the early days of man and has been immensely popular in modern times.
As such, the squared circle has produced a myriad of well-known global boxing superstars, guys like Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali have captivated the imagination of the public with tremendous displays of bravery, incredible showcases of courage, and amazing displays of tenacity and heart.
Over the years, the ring has played host to a plethora of awesome pugilistic contests. While we can’t include every exciting fight on this list, there are some that truly stand out.
In no particular order, today, Evolve Daily shares 5 Of The Most Incredible Boxing Matches In History.
1) Diego Corrales vs Jose Luis-Castillo — May 7, 2005
Boxing has always had a niche following. After the golden days of the sport, when heavyweight champions of yesteryear reigned supreme, it was time for the lower weight classes to pick up the slack and provide fans the action they craved.
By the mid-2000’s, mixed martial arts gained prominence, and now there were two premium combat sports that consumers had on offer. Boxing, however, remained firmly in the driver’s seat. In 2005, the sport turned in one of the most memorable nights of action, proving that nothing can top the excitement of a really good boxing match.
Lightweights Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo met at the center of the ring at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in glitzy Las Vegas, and it was an absolute barnburner.
Both fighters slugged each other with haymakers, and both men would refuse to go down. As they clipped each other with power punches, it became evident that both possessed an iron-clad will to win.
But of course, boxing could only produce one winner that night, and it was Corrales, who picked himself up off the floor to stop Castillo in the 10th round.
2) Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti I — May 18, 2002
These next two fighters are certainly no stranger to each other. The two have met each other at the center of the ring a total of three times, and it’s safe to say that by the time it was all said and done, they knew each other better than anybody.
Their best and most exciting match, however, was their first encounter in 2002. In terms of pure action, Gatti-Ward could be the most intense matchup in the history of boxing. Although the two fighters poured their heart and soul into the fight, ultimately, it was Ward who ended up winning the fight on a decision after 10 rounds.
The turning point came in the ninth round when Ward blasted Gatti’s ribs with a left hook and forced him to take a knee. In fact, the ninth round could go down as one of, if not the most exciting single round in history.
Gatti would go on to beat Ward in their two encounters following, but it was Ward’s win that truly stood out and was most memorable.
3) Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier III — October 1, 1975
Known the world over as “The Greatest of All Time”, Muhammad Ali was one of the pioneers of boxing as a spectator sport. Due to his incredible ability in the ring coupled with his undeniable charm and microphone skills, Ali truly brought the hype to his fights.
Spitting out rhymes during press conferences, verbally berating and attacking his opponents’ psyches, and then punishing them in the ring with silky smooth technique was trademark Ali on every level.
His greatest rival? Arguably the hard-hitting and fearsome Joe Frazier. After splitting the first two contests, there was intense anticipation for the rubber match. It would take place on October 1, 1975, at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila, Philippines. The fight is known famously today as “The Thrilla in Manila”, and would go down in history as one of the greatest fights of all time.
When all the dust settled, and the match was over, Ali, who won the matchup, said it was the closest to death he had ever been. Ali mentioned that he could no longer push forward, but that he got the win because Frazier had crumpled before he did.
Back then, boxing still consisted of 15 rounds. In the 14th round, Frazier’s corner threw in the towel, but Frazier still wanted at Ali telling his coach: “I want him boss”. Ali ended up with the TKO victory, but who knows what would have happened if Frazier’s corner hadn’t given up.
4) Erik Morales vs Marco Antonio Barrera — February 19, 2005
These next two fighters have a personal dislike for each other. It’s true, featherweight greats Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera both hated each other’s guts. That was certainly no secret. Before either of them were completely destroyed by Manny Pacquiao later in their careers, however, they both met at the center of the ring for an epic trilogy.
Their third contest delivered the most fireworks. The two dangerous Mexican warriors epitomized boxing south of the border with their undying resolve and never back down attitude. That’s why when they finally touched gloves in front of thousands of people, it was absolutely wild.
It was an intense 12-round affair that saw both fighters swing for the fences as soon as the opening bell sounded. Morales and Barrera couldn’t care less if they would get hit by each other’s biggest punches, all that mattered was that they got their own offense off. When the bout began, all technique and strategy was thrown out of the window. It was a war in every sense of the word.
Although neither fighter tasted canvas in the duration of the fight, it was as though they had each survived a train wreck. Barrera ended up with the majority decision in a close contest, completing the trilogy.
5) Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez I — May 8, 2004
They have met each other a total of four times. Filipino ring icon and former eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Mexican counterpunching maestro Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez first met in 2004, and it was an epic bout that will forever live on in memory.
Pacquiao, then fresh off his victory over another Mexican great, Marco Antonio Barrera, took on his next big challenge in Marquez. It was dangerous from the get-go, as Marquez posed Pacquiao a new challenge. The Filipino warrior had never faced a counterpuncher of Marquez’ caliber before, and it was certainly a rude awakening.
Pacquiao started off fast in the first round, looking like his dominant self. He dropped Marquez a total of three times within three minutes. Marquez, who refused to quit, was shocked at Pacquiao’s speed and power. It was nothing like he had ever seen before. But being the great legend that he is, Marquez survived the round and proceeded to make adjustments.
What ensued for the remainder of the fight was an absolute war. Pacquiao and Marquez ended up with a draw for their efforts, and virtually everyone knew they were going to meet each other again.
So, which of these fights is your favorite?