Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier among my six fights of the century
Our columnist turns 60 on Sunday, a life that saw him feature in some great fights and witness many more.
As a birthday treat, Barry has been taking a trip through the archives and has selected one great bout from each decade from the 60s to the teens that have left an indelible mark…
1. Cassius Clay vs Sonny Liston I
February 1964 announced the most charismatic boxer in history. We had never seen anything like Clay before. He was not only a brilliant fighter he was brash and beautiful. I loved him. He wasn’t the greatest heavy of all time, but this fight changed the game for all time. People were stunned when Liston, a heavy favourite, refused to come out for the seventh round. The shock went around the world and a star was born.
2. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier I
The fight of the century. It was March 1971, I was ten years old and this was my introduction to boxing, the first fight I remember seeing. Clay was now Ali and was fighting for his old world title following his ban over Vietnam. It was relentless from the first bell. Featherweights could not fight at that pace. Both fighters gave everything until Frazier dropped the great showman in the 15th and broke his jaw.
3. Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran I
The imperious Sugar Ray Leonard was involved in one amazing fight after another. If I have to pick a favourite it would be the first meeting with Duran in June 1980. I was captain of Ireland’s boxing team preparing for the Moscow Olympics. Everyone in our training camp picked Leonard to win. I chose Duran. I remember coming in the next day saying bow your heads lads. Two unbelievable fighters, one incredible spectacle.
4. Evander Holyfield vs Riddick Bowe I
Another bout fought at incredible pace in November 1992. Bowe was a 21 century heavyweight. Holyfield had come up from cruiserweight and was the most dedicated athlete. They fought each other to a standstill. It wasn’t crude. It was high class boxing mixing technique and power. Both demonstrated limitless courage and strength. These are the kind of fights that take a little something from a fighter. And they never quite get it back.
5. Morales vs Barrera I
What a start to the new millennium, 50 days into the year 2000. Morales was a banger, long and rangy and big for a super bantamweight. Barrera was an educated fighter, a devastating combination puncher with a great chin. It was breath-taking, shots given and taken at a brutal pace all the way through. You could have tossed a coin. Morales got it, though many thought Barrera deserved it. He would get his revenge in the rematch.
6. Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez IV
Pacquiao was unique but Marquez was his bogeyman. Incredibly it was not until their fourth meeting in December 2012 that he got the victory he perhaps deserved in the first two. It was all Pacquiao until Marquez caught him with a right that sent him to the deck in the third. Pacquiao responded with a knockdown in the fourth and looked to be closing on the win in the sixth when a shattered Marquez landed with a counter right for a sensational knockout.
Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone, @McGuigans_Gym and @CyclonePromo
Source: Read Full Article