The International Boxing Hall of Fame and Museum announced today the members of the Class of 2017. Inductees include three Modern category boxers who all enter the Hall in their first year of eligibility; Mexico’s three-division champion “The Baby Faced Assassin” Marco Antonio Barrera,undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield and three-division champion Johnny “Mi Vida Loca” Tapia (posthumous). Non-participants and observers to be inducted include Australian trainer Johnny Lewis, veteran judge Jerry Roth, journalist / broadcaster Steve Farhood and broadcaster Barry Tompkins.
Today marks the 30th anniversary of one special heavyweight’s ascension to the world title: Mike Tyson. Tyson, as fans know, decimated Trevor Berbick to win the WBC crown three full decades ago, and it wasn’t long before the rest of the belts were Tyson’s property. Some experts say Tyson, at just 20, turned in his finest performance on November 22nd, 1986.
Here is a list of the ten finest performances from the ten greatest-ever world heavyweight champions:
Copyright 2016 Ron Lipton
“THE BURNED HAND TEACHES BEST.” GIARDELLO V CARTER TRAINING CAMP
“I lay on top of my rock hard bed in agony with no medications to ease my pain, my face was swollen beyond recognition with cotton stuffed into both of my bloody nostrils with an ice pack on my jaw, while sharing the small musty room with one of the other sparring partners “Wild Bill” Hardney who ended up fighting Bob Foster a few times.
No one gave a f*** if I was crippled, we still had to get up at 5 A.M to run our 6 miles around River Road and then some in the freezing cold, or we were out of camp with no pay. The hope and prayer Rubin would be too drunk to get up early to rouse us out of bed always evaporated with his storm trooper knock on our doors.
It really was 30 long years ago this week (November 22) when a young, soon to peak Mike Tyson made boxing history by becoming, at the age of 20, the youngest ever claimant of a world heavyweight title.
Tyson, who had been a pro for just 20 months, challenged WBC champ Trevor Berbick in Las Vegas and those in attendance witnessed a quite brutal coronation.
Mike Tyson? Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko? Joe Louis? Lennox Lewis? Rocky Marciano? Any other heavyweight you care to mention! Would the Muhammad Ali of 50 years ago today – when he was every bit an unhittable, lightening-fast, lethal-punching fighting machine against Cleveland Williams – have beaten any of them?
Historians call it Muhammad Ali’s peak performance; his defining, shining moment of true brilliance in a career filled with majesty. This is the Ali-Cleveland Williams fight from 50 years ago: November 14th 1966. “Ali never danced like that again,” one writer wrote. “That version of Ali would have beaten any heavyweight in history,” a number of experts have claimed.
50 years ago, 1966, the world was being dazzled, baffled and entertained by a heavyweight champion who fought like no heavyweight before him. Muhammad Ali, aged 24 and approaching his absolute peak, had won the crown two years earlier and he had made six retentions since shocking the greatly feared Sonny Liston.
Amazingly – truly amazingly when we look back today – the jury was still out, at least partially, on how good Ali was; or if he was even a “real” fighter. The sage old timers were appalled at the manner in which Ali held his hands dangerously low and worse, pulled back from punches instead of slipping them in the traditional manner. Also, Ali’s self-proclaimed prettiness bothered the old school: what would happen if the pretty boy had to take a shot, a real shot, to that beautiful face?
Imagine how highly heavyweight warrior Joe Frazier would be rated today if he had retired after he had, as he himself put it, “closed the butterfly’s lips” in March of 1971. Often in boxing, it’s crucial, legacy-wise, how a fighter leaves the sport. Too often a once indestructible fighting machine becomes a mere mortal due to the passing of years and the number of hard fights endured.
But heavyweight legend Joe Frazier – who sadly passed away five years ago today – was never going to call it a day after scoring the biggest, most impressive win of his entire career. It was of course March of ’71 when Frazier met Muhammad Ali in a Fight of The Century that lived up to ALL the hype and its lofty billing, and Joe, then aged 27 and at his blistering, unstoppable peak at 26-0 as a pro had truly conquered the world. Why – how – could he possibly walk away?”Smokin’” Joe had plenty of fight left in him, even if the titanic battle with Ali had taken its toll.
Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato – two legends of the boxing world who are forever entwined. Every boxing fan knows the story of how Cus, a seen it all, done … Read more
June 2003, The Staples Centre, Los Angeles. The date and venue are familiar to fight fans, heavyweight fight fans especially. Why? Because we saw a great action fight between two huge heavies, both well above the mid-240-pound range, we saw blood and gore, we saw huge bombs landed, we saw heart and courage on the line, and we were left wanting to see a rematch. The task today is quite simple: name a world heavyweight title fight since that has ticked that many boxes.
But the biggest reason fans still talk about this fight, won by Lewis via corner retirement on the part of Klitschko at the end of the sixth round, is because we all wonder what might have happened; what would have happened.
It wasn’t Floyd Mayweather’s most thrilling fight, nor was it one of his biggest, but a decade ago (Nov 4, 2006), “Pretty Boy,” as Mayweather was still calling himself at the time, scored a good win that led to a genuine super-fight. In November of 2006 at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay, a 29-year-old, 36-0 Mayweather boxed his third fight as a welterweight and he picked up both the lineal and the WBC 147-pound titles.