Why Everyone Loves A Slugfest (especially a heavyweight slugfest)


Fight fans have always had, and always will have, a special place in their hearts for a slugfest, especially one between two big heavyweight punchers. From time to time we get one that is really special: a battle of the big men that features plenty of trading, often a handful of knockdowns, and then, finally, a memorable knockout.

Here is a look back at some of the finest heavyweight rumbles that have a special place in the hearts and minds of boxing fans all over the world.

George Foreman Vs. Ron Lyle, 1976.

The Big Daddy of all two-sided heavyweight slugfests. Foreman and Lyle dispensed with any thought for defence, their personal safety or pretty much any notion of applying any boxing skill. Four knockdowns later – two scored by Lyle, two scored by former heavyweight king Foreman – the carnage was over. Foreman won the heavyweight knockdown, drag-out war to end all knockdown, drag-out wars.

Derrick Jefferson Vs. Maurice Harris, 1999.

Neither man was a big name and neither man went on to become world champion, but the epic Jefferson and Harris gave us almost twenty years ago earned both men a special place in the hearts of each and every fan who saw this awe-inspiring smash-a-thon. Round-two saw both men hit the mat, Harris twice and Jefferson once. Momentum switched continually throughout the war, until bigger man Jefferson terminated matters with a truly stunning one-punch finish in round-six. HBO man Larry Merchant summed this fight up in quite unique fashion with his “I love you, Derrick Jefferson!” cry on air.

Michael Moorer-Bert Cooper, 1992.

Former light-heavyweight ruler Moorer, having moved up to heavyweight a year or so earlier, met a fully focused “Smokin’ Bert” and the result was a furnace-hot rumble. The opening round was savage, with both men hitting the mat, and the slugging continued unabated from there on in. Moorer, being tested like never before, hit the canvas again in the third, before coming back to take Cooper out in style in round-five. Pulse-quickening stuff.

Tommy Morrison-Razor Ruddock, 1995.

Former Mike Tyson rival Ruddock met movie star and Great White Hope Morrison in a non-title fight that surprised even hardened observers. Morrison, he of the so-called suspect chin, was put down in the opening session and his fans feared the worst. But Tommy, never short on guts, got up and battled back. Hard. Both men were known for their venomous left hand power and something had to give. In the second, Razor was hurt and he was forced to take a standing-eight. Then, after some back-and-forth action that delighted the fans, Morrison’s vaunted left hook put Razor down in round-six. How Ruddock got back up no-one knows to this day, but Morrison, always a fine finisher, would not be denied. The referee had to intervene, despite Razor’s protestations. There was a time when the critics said that Morrison was al hype. This fight proved such thinking to be wrong.