All boxing fans love a slugfest. This type of fight is guaranteed to get the pulses racing. Sure, we fans respect and appreciate the fine art of boxing - the superb defensive skills of hitting and not being hit - but deep down every fan hopes to see a violent slugfest in the ring. The excitement of such a spectacle, where both fighters take turns in landing the dominant blows, which often results in a knockdown or two, really lets out the passion and fire that every fight fan has inside his chest - in the form of deafening screams and roars of approval. As much as a chess match style boxing encounter may appeal to a boxing fan on a different level, it will not produce the kind of sore throat inducing fervour that a classic slugfest does.
In this article, I give my choice for the ten greatest ever fights of this kind. Fights that were the word excitement defined. In the fights written about here there was nothing but fan satisfaction, at least in terms of action. In other words - slugfests!
1. Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III
As close to death as he had ever been. That’s how the winner, Ali, described this fight. The excruciating heat of the Philippines was a definite factor in making the fight sheer hell for both men - if Ali felt like death what must Frazier have been going through? - but neither man stopped throwing venomous punches. Only the intervention of Joe’s corner-man - the legendary Eddie Futch - brought an end to the brutality. Neither man was ever the same
afterwards, such was the bout’s ferocity, and in hindsight perhaps only the fans came out as winners. This fight will live forever!
2. Marvellous Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns
A fight that had the greatest opening round in all of boxing. Marvin and Tommy went straight at it at the sound of the first bell and took turns in landing savage bombs at one another. The action was truly breathtaking and for the first three minutes alone this fight deserves its high position on this list. The next two rounds were excellent also, with Marvellous proving how apt his newly adopted name was by stopping Hearns in round three - after eight of the most savage and electrifying minutes in boxing history!
3. George Foreman vs. Ron Lyle
A fight like no other! Both men hit the canvas twice each, only for Big George to somehow - when appearing to be all gone and totally beaten - snatch his KO victory in the fifth and final round of a heavyweight rumble that had everyone screaming themselves stupid at ringside - including commentator Howard Cosell!
4. Erik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera I
The finest slugfest from the lower weight classes in history. Both men gave absolutely everything in a thrilling twelve round war. Round five in particular was awesome. As was the entire fight. There was not one bad round - the action was simply relentless. So much so that the fight spawned two sequels, sequels that were a result of public demand!
5. Diego Coralles vs. Jose Luis Castillo I
Many would no doubt make a case for having this fight at the top of the list. And while it is a genuine classic, I do think fifth place is fair. The pace was terrific and both warriors thoroughly emptied themselves in the fight. The ending in the tenth though, in which Diego somehow prevailed (thanks to a little help due to the gum shield controversy) was quite awe inspiring. The bout was instantly recognised as an all-time great.
6. Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Carmen Basilio II
A fifteen round rematch which produced another toe-to-toe battle. This time, however, the ageing Sugar Ray got his revenge and was awarded the points verdict.
7. Mickey Ward vs. Arturo Gatti I
A throwback to the great fights from the 1950’s. Ward and Gatti’s brawl was so good, it not only managed to bring back memories from a golden era - it even topped them!
8. Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Meldrick Taylor I
Two seriously talented fighters going at it for almost the full twelve rounds. I say almost, of course, due to the mind boggling ending in which Chavez, who was behind on points, pulled out a win -with only two seconds left on the clock! Truly astonishing!
9. Evander Holyfield vs. Dwight Muhammad Qawi I
The greatest fight in the history of the cruiserweight division. Fifteen rounds of spellbinding action. This was the fight that gave “The Real Deal” his first world title.
10. Ike Ibeabuchi vs. David Tua
A modern day heavyweight classic! Both of these well conditioned big men went at it hammer and tongs from first bell to last. In the end, the previously little known Ibeabuchi got the nod from the judges. This fight set a punch stat record for heavyweights.