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Top 11 Greatest Victories in Boxing History

Publish Date: 10/23/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Greatest wins

Today we look at the top eleven victories ever scored in boxing history. Most, if not all, of these fights were upsets, but the people who pulled these wins off were forever legendary for it. How many Heavyweights in history could have beaten Joe Frazier on that one night in March 1971?

11) March 19, 1943: Sammy Angott W10 Willie Pep

No one denies Pep’s place among the all-time greats and may even consider him the ultimate defensive fighter of all time. Pep went undefeated for  72 fights before suffering his only loss against Angott.

10) September  27, 1986: Lloyd Honeyghan TKO 7 Donald Curry

The Lone Star Cobra Donald Curry was supposed to be the next Sugar Ray Leonard, nobody told the little-known Honeyghan. Sure, the challenger was unbeaten in 25 fights and had picked up the British, Commonwealth and European titles. But he wasn’t viewed as being on the same level as the all-conquering Curry. Most were not though to be on Curry’s level. Honeyghan didn’t just beat Curry. He outclassed and dominated him.

9) Feb. 11, 1949: Willie Pep W15 Sandy Saddler

Saddler stunned the boxing world when he scored an unceremonious knockout over one of the greatest defensive boxers ever, Pep. Few expected that Pep would rebound against his more powerful foe, yet in their rematch, Pep delivered perhaps his finest performance yet, out-boxing Saddler to secure an unassailable decision victory for himself.

8) May 25, 1942: Ezzard Charles W10 Charley Burley

Few boxers have been as avoided as Charley Burley throughout his illustrious career. Even such greats as Billy Conn and Ray Robinson shied away from him due to his immense talent. This made Charles’ stunning win in 1942 truly astounding as the 20-year-old “Cincinnati Cobra,” coming on late as a late substitute, knocked Burley down and nearly stopped him before they immediately met again for another bout. Burley fared no better in either matchup.

7)  Dec. 8, 1903: Sam Langford W15 Joe Gans

Gans, known as “The Old Master,” was at one time considered boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighter. Langford would go on to establish himself as both an all-time great and the greatest boxer never to win a world championship. Unfortunately for Sam, Joe wasn’t competing for his title that night! Langford was only 17 years old when he defeated Gans.

6) March 6, 1976: Wilfred Benitez W15 Antonio Cervantes

Cervantes, known as the great “Kid Pambele,” had held onto his world championship for more than four years and successfully defended against fighters such as Hector Thompson and Esteban De Jesus – until an unknown 17-year, 5-month, 23-day-old outclassed him over fifteen rounds to become boxing history’s youngest world champion ever.

5) Feb. 5, 1943: Jake LaMotta W10 Sugar Ray Robinson

LaMotta broke Sugar Ray’s unbeaten streak during his initial decade with an inspired rally in their second meeting, knocking Sugar Ray down and becoming his only defeat during his prime years. LaMotta would be remembered fondly as one of Sugar Ray’s few real enemies. It would be the only loss suffered by the great Sugar Ray during the height of his career.

4) Oct. 30, 1974: Muhammad Ali KO8 George Foreman

Ali, then 32 years old, had suffered two defeats at the hands of Joe Frazier and Ken Norton – two fighters Foreman had defeated to take supremacy – yet somehow managed to recover the title through a stunning display of boxing skill from an opponent who would later become one of history’s truly greats.

3) June 20, 1980: Roberto Duran W15 Sugar Ray Leonard

Duran had been on an impressive winning streak, cementing himself as one of the premier active fighters, pound-for-pound, worldwide. Many thought he might overextend himself when moving up from lightweight after 72 professional fights, but “Manos de Piedra” gave an exceptional performance to earn himself a unanimous decision victory in what many saw as an unforgettable fight.

Video: Duran vs Leonard I | Brawl in Montreal | Great Fight Highlights 🎥✨

Duran vs Leonard I | Brawl in Montreal | Great Fight Highlights 🎥✨

2) March 8, 1971: Joe Frazier W15 Muhammad Ali

This incredible clash, involving two undefeated heavyweight champions was the most highly anticipated fight in boxing history,  and will go down in history as one of the greatest fights ever and one of the most thrilling heavyweight battles ever, featuring one of boxing history’s greatest performances.

Frazier set the pace and, despite taking great punishment, consistently took the fight to Ali, culminating in a dramatic final-round knockdown that most consider being one of his finest victories ever. No other boxer ever defeated such an aggressive version of Ali, regarded by most as the best heavyweight of all time; and Smokin’ Joe used everything he had in him to triumph in what many consider one of the biggest, most anticipated boxing matches ever seen; its legacy lives on as Joe would never again match “The Greatest.” Joe would never again live up to expectations after beating “The Greatest”, reflecting what it required of him when still truly greatness existed within. Frazier was never the same after this fight.

1) June 22, 1938: Joe Louis KO 1 Max Scmeling

The Greatest victory in Boxing history because it meant as much as any fight ever has. This is right before the start of World War 1, and whether it was right or wrong, Schmeling represented the Nazis and Adolph Hitler, while Louis was the American hero. Louis had been upset by Schmeling two years before this, and many did not consider Louis the champ until he beat Schmeling. Louis would brutally beat Schmeling down in the first round setting off celebrations all over the United States.

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