The best fights of the 1980s

Boxing Information readers named the primary Ali-Frazier contest as the most effective struggle of the seventies, however what have been your decisions for the most effective fights of the Nineteen Eighties?

THE premise for Desert Island Fights is straightforward: You’ll quickly be stranded on a desert island. To ease the boredom, you possibly can take alongside one – and just one – struggle from every of the final 5 a long time (Nineteen Seventies, Nineteen Eighties, Nineteen Nineties, 2000s and 2010s) to look at whilst you’re there. Which 5 fights do you’re taking?

If the 70s was the last decade for heavyweight legends, the Nineteen Eighties have been dominated by 4 kings: Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran fought one another in a number of iconic blockbusters; varied fights involving two of the 4 appeared in 80 per cent of votes from readers when naming their favorite contest of the last decade.

It’s a disgrace, although, that some classics don’t determine as a consequence. For instance, there isn’t any room for the rematch between Matthew Saad Muhammad and Yaqui Lopez, nor the Evander Holyfield-Dwight Muhammad Qawi slugfest. Fascinating, additionally, that bouts that includes a peak Mike Tyson solely picked up a handful of votes. This may increasingly all communicate of a flaw within the voting system (just one struggle from every decade could possibly be submitted) however what’s clear is – when it got here to treasured fights – the eighties have been about 4 males particularly.

5. SUGAR RAY LEONARD w pts 12 MARVIN HAGLER (1987)

A FIGHT that continues to separate opinion in regard as to if the best man received. On the time, Boxing Information scored Hagler a helpful winner and that opinion (of then-editor, Harry Mullan, who not like so many was truly ringside) deserves consideration. So too does the view that Leonard, after successful the lengthy and winding battle of thoughts video games between the 2 beforehand then bamboozled Hagler for lengthy intervals within the contest. What can’t be debated is that this bout is worthy of standard reinvestigation and is thus the proper companion for a boxing fan harpooned on a desert island.

WATCH OUT FOR:
At in regards to the halfway level of the ultimate spherical, you possibly can see Leonard, as he dances away from Hagler, speaking to his nook. In accordance with ringside reporters, Sugar Ray – tiring however nonetheless firing – was asking them how a lot time was left within the spherical.

DID YOU KNOW:
When the competition was formally introduced in November 1986 it was extensively criticised by the media as a result of Leonard was inactive and had by no means earlier than competed at middleweight. The IBF refused to sanction the struggle and the WBA would later strip Hagler (for not preventing obligatory, Herol Graham). Solely the WBC belt was on the road although they proudly introduced that the sanctioning price would go straight to their ‘new drugs fund’ – no matter that meant.

Hagler vs Leonard Desert Island Fights
Focus On Sport/Getty Pictures

4. AARON PRYOR w rsf 14 ALEXIS ARGUELLO

A TRULY ferocious battle that, for some, stays tainted by no matter concoction was within the notorious bottle that Pryor’s coach Panama Lewis requested for after the thirteenth spherical. If it was chargeable for fuelling “The Hawk’s” ultimate rally (a 2008 documentary advised crushed amphetamines might need been added to water) it labored its magic rapidly; Arguello was rescued at 1-06 of the 14th. Regardless of the fact – which is likely to be nothing untoward – this was arguably probably the most thrilling bout of your complete decade.

WATCH OUT FOR:
Pryor’s astonishing sturdiness. Within the eleventh spherical, Arguello – the 12/5 favorite hoping to turn out to be the primary fighter to win world belts in 4 weight lessons – scores with an enormous proper hand that lumped Pryor’s eye. The American stands tall and inside moments is smiling and speaking to Arguello. “Yeah, that is the spherical,” he says, “let’s struggle now.”

DID YOU KNOW:
Pryor, the WBA 140lb champ, mentioned beforehand that he was dedicating this struggle to his brother, Lorenzo: “He’s doing 25 to 135 years only for some robberies to ensure we had one thing to eat. He actually sorted me. If he ever noticed me on the road between eight at evening and three within the morning, there was no tougher fighter on the earth. He wished me residence.”

Alexis Arguello v Aaron Pryor

3. ROBERTO DURAN w pts 15 SUGAR RAY LEONARD (1980)

THOUGH Roberto Duran would struggle for a lot of extra years this was maybe the final time we noticed the ferocious Duran untouched by age. In fact, just a little little bit of the Duran legend would fade without end within the ‘No Mas’ rematch. However right here in Montreal, Duran was tireless and the ultimate; the way during which he defeated Leonard – the enemy who Duran drew right into a violent warfare – have to be considered one the most effective performances of all-time. Sugar Ray’s half in Duran’s exhibiting ought to by no means be downplayed, both.

WATCH OUT FOR:
The fixed shifts in supremacy are mesmerising. Within the ninth, Leonard scores with two proper uppercuts and makes Duran miss. The Panamanian sneers, takes a step again and mimics Leonard. Out of the blue, the welterweight champion – eager to show he’s the more durable man – permits himself to be suckered again into Duran’s struggle. On the finish of the spherical, the previous light-weight boss scores with an enormous proper of his personal however Leonard doesn’t fall.

DID YOU KNOW:
The story of the undercard was a deeply upsetting one; seventeen days after being stopped by Gaeten Hart, light-weight Cleveland Denny died from accidents sustained within the bout. A yr after Denny’s dying – following a probe into the security of Canadian boxing – his spouse filed a $509,682 lawsuit. There was a suggestion that Hart had used unlawful handwraps that hardened when blended with perspiration.

Leonard vs Duran

2. SUGAR RAY LEONARD w rsf 14 THOMAS HEARNS (1981)

OUT of all of the fights involving two of the 4 Kings, this was the one one the place each might rightfully declare to be at their absolute peak: Thomas Hearns, the rangy bone-breaking “Motor Metropolis Cobra”, was unbeaten and fearless whereas Leonard had realized classes from the Duran rivalry that made him one of many best all-rounders in boxing historical past. Hearns boxed superbly, discovering second and third winds alongside the way in which, to construct up a commanding lead going into the thirteenth. Leonard then went up a gear himself and, for the primary time, Hearns merely couldn’t sustain.

WATCH OUT FOR:
Angelo Dundee’s well-known handle to Leonard between rounds 12 and 13 – “You’re blowing it, son” – stays spine-tingling, even after seeing and listening to it numerous occasions. However simply as revealing, maybe, was Hearns permitting himself to get over-confident between rounds 11 and 12. As the group scream “Tomm-eee! Tomm-eee!” Hearns will get to his ft and throws his arms into the air in considerably untimely celebration.

DID YOU KNOW:
In his report in Sports activities Illustrated, the good Pat Putnam pinpointed flaws within the 10-point-must system that stay legitimate at the moment. He argued that rounds six and 7 – massive Leonard rounds however solely scored 10-9 in his favour – ought to have been wider than rounds one and two which Hearns received by the identical margin, regardless of them being a lot nearer classes.

Leonard vs Hearns Desert Island Fights

1. MARVIN HAGLER w rsf 3 THOMAS HEARNS (1985)

THE runaway chief as your alternative for the Desert Island Struggle of the Nineteen Eighties is the epic three-round slugfest between Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns. After being made to attend for this conflict with Hearns (it was initially scheduled for 1982) and having missed out on a struggle with Leonard (in the meanwhile, a minimum of), Hagler fought with unimaginable depth in his signature outing. The three-round bout, which solely lasted 11 minutes, mirrors the narrative of a number of nice boxing trilogies: The opener is insanely thrilling; the second fascinating however markedly slower than the primary; earlier than the rivalry is determined within the brutal third act.

WATCH OUT FOR:
How rapidly this catches hearth. Hagler is the primary to let unfastened and Hearns rapidly follows. The opening minute is intoxicating as neither man holds again; the tempo set in such a big bout is uncommon. With hindsight, Hearns is a overwhelmed man by the point the bell sounds to finish the primary spherical. Watch his legs bend and wobble, even when not underneath assault, within the second.

DID YOU KNOW:
Earlier than the times of Michael Buffer and Jimmy Lennon Jnr, Chuck Corridor – who’s behind the mic right here – was the king of ring announcers. A pit boss in a number of Las Vegas casinos, together with the MGM Grand, Corridor grew up in orphanges after shedding each of his mother and father and served within the Navy. He introduced his first struggle in 1960 and would typically achieve this for no pay, such was his love for the job and the game. He handed away in 2000, aged 75.

Marvin Hagler Desert Island Fights

Different fights receiving votes
Evander Holyfield w rsf 10 Michael Dokes; Evander Holyfield w pts 15 Dwight Muhammad Qawi; Mike Tyson w rsf 5 Frank Bruno; Mike Tyson w rsf 2 Trevor Berbick; Roberto Duran w pts 12 Iran Barkley; Barry McGuigan w pts 15 Eusebio Pedroza; Mark Kaylor w ko 8 Errol Christie; Jeff Harding w rsf 12 Dennis Andries; Don Lee w rsf 8 Tony Sibson; Salvador Sanchez w rsf 8 Wilfredo Gomez; Bobby Chacon w pts 15 Rafael Limon.

EDITOR’S CHOICE
My private Prime 5 for the Nineteen Eighties:
5) Marvin Hagler w rsf 11 John Mugabi
4) Fidel Bassa w rsf 13 Dave McAuley
3) Bobby Chacon w pts 15 Rafael Limon
2) Lee Roy Murphy w ko 12 Chisanda Mutti
1) EVANDER HOLYFIELD w pts 15 DWIGHT MUHAMMAD QAWI
Firstly, I like all of the fights involving the 4 Kings (bar Leonard-Duran III) however I’ve seen them so many occasions I might do with one thing totally different for my journey to the island. Atop my record, then, is the ferocious Holyfield-Qawi slugfest which was fought at an astonishing tempo all through. However any struggle on this record would offer me with welcome firm.

THE HIPSTERS’ CHOICE
You already know the sort. They know extra about boxing than you…

SHIGEO NAKAJIMA w pts 15 SUNG JUN KIM
There have been quite a few battles within the Nineteen Eighties that didn’t get the eye they deserved within the year-end awards. This ferocious tussle for the WBC flyweight title, fought inside Tokyo’s Korakuen Corridor in January 1980, was one among them. Challenger Nakajima began at an unimaginable tempo, Kim rapidly adopted, and neither let up. After 15 bloody and thrilling rounds, Nakajima was the brand new champion.

Read Desert Island Fights: The 1970s HERE


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