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Tuesday, April 27, 2010


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By John Herndon | April 27, 2010

Below are my twelve greatest career-defining fights. I am only ranking fights I was able to see live as there is a big difference when you can actually view the fight live as it happens as opposed to watching the legendary archives of the past on DVD. Will the long-awaited clash between Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley join this list? This weekend, in less than 6 days, we'll soon find out.


This showdown at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada between WBC welterweight champ Leonard and the undefeated Hearns, owner of the WBA crown, ebbed and flowed as first Hearns, then Leonard and then Hearns again held the lead. Told after the 12th by cornerman Angelo Dundee that he was blowing it, Leonard exploded in the 13th, knocking Hearns through the ropes and finishing him off in the 14th.


Alexis Arguello, who had held the featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight crowns, was seeking to become the first four-division titlist against the 140-pound champ, Aaron Pryor. In a brutal, nonstop bout at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Aaron Pryor applied constant pressure and, after taking tremendous shots from Arguello, prevailed with an electrifying 14th-round TKO.


Eight minutes of fury in a parking lot at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was aptly dubbed "The War." The two middleweight champions fought toe-to-toe from the opening bell, throwing nothing but power punches. Bleeding from a nasty cut on his forehead, the desperate Hagler scored a third-round KO.

The Ring called the fight the most electrifying 8 minutes ever and it won Fight of the Year in 1985, despite lasting only three rounds.


On May 7, 2005, Diego Corrales waged war against José Luis Castillo for the WBC lightweight title. To this day, I consider it the best fight I have ever seen. Both men stood in front of each other, trading hard combinations and power punches throughout the entire fight and displayed courage, will and desire. Finally, in the tenth round, Castillo knocked Corrales down. Seconds later, Castillo knocked Corrales down again. Once on the ground, Corrales managed to beat the count, and, after a point was taken away for excessive spitting out of the mouthpiece, Corrales connected with a punch that Castillo later called "a perfect right hand." Corrales then trapped Castillo against the ropes and landed numerous punches, causing the referee, Tony Weeks, to stop the fight.


Going into the final round, Taylor held a secure lead on the scorecards of two of the three judges (Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth had the score 107-102 and 108-101 respectively for Taylor, while Chuck Giampa had Chávez ahead 105-104). The sense for everyone watching was that Chávez would have to knock Taylor out to claim a victory, whereas Taylor merely needed to stay away from the Mexican legend. However, in a strange scene between rounds, Taylor's trainer, Lou Duva, told him that he needed to win the final round and, as a result, Taylor did not stay away, but continued to trade blows with Chávez. Taylor showed signs of extreme exhaustion, staggering and wobbling around the ring, and at one point falling to the canvas after missing Chávez with a wild left. Still, every tick of the clock brought Taylor closer to victory...until Chávez turned the tables.

With about a minute left in the round, Chávez hit Taylor squarely with several hard punches and Taylor responded by mockingly feigning weakness, but Chávez was not convinced by Taylor's bravado and stayed on the attack, continuing to hit Taylor with well-placed shots. Finally, with about 20 seconds to go, Taylor staggered towards a corner, forcing Chávez back ahead of him. Suddenly Chávez stepped around him, positioning Taylor perfectly so that he was trapped in the corner with nowhere to go. Chávez then nailed Taylor with a tremendous right hand that dropped the younger man. Taylor managed to return to his feet and was given the mandatory 8-count. Referee Richard Steel asked Taylor twice if he was alright, but Taylor failed to answer. Steele then concluded that Taylor was unfit to continue and in a controversial move, stopped the fight with only 2 seconds to go in the bout and scoring a TKO victory in favor of Chávez.

On May 15, 2009, Taylor released a book titled "Two Seconds From Glory" detailing the fight with Julio Cesar Chavez along with other controversial subjects.


The first bout took place on February 19, 2000, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas and was televised on HBO. After a tight-fought battle, Morales was declared the winner by a split decision, with scores of 115-112, 114-113 and 113-114 and captured the WBO Super Bantamweight title. The decision was controversial as many felt Barrera, scoring the only knockdown of the fight (in the 12th round), put him ahead on the scorecards. This bout was named as Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year for 2000.


Trinidad knocked down Vargas twice in the first round and three times in the final round to win by TKO. After being stunned in the first two rounds, Vargas roared back and knocked down Trinidad in the fourth round. After an exciting fight with numerous low-blow fouls from both Trinidad and Vargas, the Puerto Rican knocked Vargas down three times in the twelfth round for a technical knockout victory. With the win, Trinidad retained his WBA super welterweight title and captured Vargas' IBF junior middleweight title.


The fight was dubbed "AND THEN THERE WAS ONE", and the fight was for all three titles in the chance to become the first undisputed middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler. The bout would also determine The Ring middleweight champion.

For the first time in many years, Hopkins was an underdog in the betting, which led the confident Hopkins to place a $1,000,000 bet on himself to win the bout. During the promotion for the bout, Hopkins caused huge controversy by throwing the Puerto Rico flag on the floor in press conferences in both New York and Puerto Rico, the latter conference leading to a riot in which Hopkins had to be run to safety from an angry mob.

During the fight, Hopkins was on his way to a lopsided decision victory when, in the 12th and final round, he floored Trinidad. Referee Steve Smoger called a halt to the fight after Trinidad's father entered the ring to stop the bout. It was the first loss of Trinidad's career and it made Hopkins the first undisputed world middleweight champion since Marvin Hagler in 1987. The Ring magazine and the World Boxing Hall of Fame named Hopkins as the 2001 Fighter of the Year.


Márquez moved up in weight divisions to challenge and defeat WBC Superbantmweight champion Israel Vázquez in seven rounds. However, in a rematch on July, 2007, Márquez lost his title after being defeated by Vazquez in the sixth round when the referee stopped the fight. The rematch was named the 2007 Fight of the Year. In the rubbermatch of their trilogy, Rafael lost a split decision, with scores of 113-112, 114-111 Vazquez, 114-111 Marquez. Marquez may not have lost this bout if not for a point deduction for a low blow in the tenth round. He and promoter Gary Shaw claim that this hit was on the belt line and should not have elicited any deductions. Marquez was able to knock Vazquez down for the first time in the trilogy in this third fight, but Vazquez, in turn, put Marquez down in the 12th round, securing the victory and giving Marquez his fifth defeat.


By the 10th round, Holyfield's strategy seemed to have Tyson confused. His flurries were less frequent and he, not the 34-year-old Holyfield, appeared tired. At the end of the round, Holyfield had Tyson in trouble, landing a four-punch combination topped with a snapping overhand right. The 10th has proven to be Tyson's most troublesome round; Buster Douglas also floored him in the 10th in Tyson's first loss in 1990. This time, Tyson managed to make it to the 11th…barely. Holyfield started the 11th quickly, flinging left and rights and catching Tyson each time. Late in the flurry, Tyson pawed with a left that failed to make Holyfield flinch, and by the time Holyfield landed punch number 12 in the series, Halpern had seen enough. "It would have been unjust to let it go on," Halpern said. "He had taken a lot of punches and wasn't fighting back."

Mike Tyson, not fighting back? It might be the biggest surprise of all.

Don King and Mike Tyson's managers say the ex-heavyweight champ was "lulled" by reports of Evander Holyfield's demise.

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