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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Latest Boxing News & Rumors Today / Top 15 Worst Heavyweight Championship Boxing matches since 1970

Top 15 Worst Heavyweight Championship Boxing matches since 1970

Publish Date: 05/06/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

The Worst of the worst!

Lets face it there have been more bad than good heavyweight title fights since 1970. We have seen mismatches, and we have seen super fights that never lived up to the billing. We have seen it all in the heavyweight division, and today we will look at the worst of the worst!

By the way, I do not think Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder have ever been a true heavyweight champions; they were just trinket holders. These fights include men that the world considered heavyweight champions when they fought. The WBA champions of the early 80s don’t apply either, which sucks because I wanted to include Mike Weaver vs James Tillis, but Holmes was considered the champion then.

15) Lennox Lewis vs Evander Holyfield I

This was supposed to be Ali/Frazier 1, but it wasn’t, as both fighters were tentative from the onset, and it never improved from there. Lewis should have won the decision, but the way both guys fought this fight makes it to hard to bitch either way. I did think Lewis won, but he did next to nothing, also.  This was a highly disappointing night for boxing fans.

Video: Evander Holyfield vs Lennox Lewis I # Highlights

Evander Holyfield vs Lennox Lewis I # Highlights

14) Sultan Ibragimov vs Wladinir Klitschko

This was Klitschko’s big coming out party at Madison Square Garden, and it flopped big time as Wlad and Sultan did nothing to make this a fight to remember. Ibragimov was supposed to be the man to challenge Wlad finally, and it never happened as Klitschko was happy to keep his distance and win an easy decision.

Video: Sultan Ibragimov (Russia) vs Wladimir Klitschko (Ukraine) | BOXING fight, HD

Sultan Ibragimov (Russia) vs Wladimir Klitschko (Ukraine) | BOXING fight, HD

13) Michael Spinks vs Steffan Tangstad

Spinks opted out of the HBO tournament to determine the true heavyweight champion and opted to battle the Norwegian Steffan Tangstad; This would be Tangstad’s last fight as Spinks made Tabgstad look like an amateur stopping the Norwegian in the fourth round.

Video: Micheal Spinks vs Steffen Tangstad.

Micheal Spinks vs Steffen Tangstad.

12) Lennox Lewis vs Henry Akinwande

Akinwande fought scares, and Lewis looked happy to do enough to win and keep his title. Akinwande did not belong in the same ring as Lewis, and Lewis should have been more aggressive and ended this fight instead of making people sit through even five rounds of this shit. Mills Lane solved watching this fight by disqualifying Akinwande in the fifth round after a 29-second clinch.

Video: Lennox Lewis Vs Henry Akinwande

Lennox Lewis Vs Henry Akinwande

11) Larry Holmes vs Scott LeDoux

Ledoux was a solid journeyman heavyweight who, in his previous fight to this, had upset the young up-and-comer Marty Monroe as a substitute. The skill level difference between these two was painfully evident as Holmes had his way with LeDoux as LeDoux seemed to do nothing but follow Holmes around the ring. I found it hard to find a decent punch landed by LeDoux the whole night.

Video: Larry Holmes vs Scott LeDoux 7/7/1980

Larry Holmes vs Scott LeDoux 7/7/1980

10) Joe Frazier vs Terry Daniels

This fight was deemed such a mismatch that no odds existed on this fight. It was fought the Night before Super Bowl VI, which, much like this fight, was a one-sided beating. Frazier put Daniels on the canvas five times before this fight ended in the fourth round. Daniels had no real credentials to be in a heavyweight title fight. He had beaten fringe contender Manuel Ramos, but that was his only noteworthy win. Daniel’s final career record when he retired was 35-30.

Video: Joe Frazier vs. Terry Daniels | Daniels In The Lion's Den |

Joe Frazier vs. Terry Daniels | Daniels In The Lion’s Den |

9) Muhammad Ali vs Richard Dunn

How the WBC sanctioned this fight is beyond me! Dunn had no significant victories and put up no real resistance against Ali. This was Ali’s final knockout victory and Dunn ended his career at 33-12. I will give Ali the credit that most of these were stay-busy fights, and he did fight enough legit contenders like Frazier, Norton, Lylke etc… to make it understandable as to why he fought competition like this.

Video: Muhammad Ali vs Richard Dunn

Muhammad Ali vs Richard Dunn “Legendary Night” Highlights HD #ElTerribleProduction

8) Larry Holmes vs Lorenzo Zanon

The skill level in this fight was painfully apparent, as Zanon looked like a yo-yo in the last couple of rounds. Holmes was a 10-1 underdog, and those odds seem much tighter than they should have been. Holmes ended this execution with a right cross in the sixth round. In Holme’s defense he had beaten Weaver and Shavers in two formidable title defenses before this debacle.

Video: Larry Holmes vs. Lorenzo Zanon.World HWC.1980.02.03

Larry Holmes vs. Lorenzo Zanon.World HWC.1980.02.03

7) Larry Holmes vs Marvis Frazier

The Holmes-Frazier fight was a mismatch. Holmes dropped Frazier with a right hand midway through the first round. Frazier got up to one knee and then rose at the count of eight. Holmes backed Frazier into a corner and slapped him with his right hand until referee Mills Lane stepped in and stopped the fight. The WBC did not even recognize this fight as a title fight because Frazier was not ranked in their top ten. NBC showed this mismatch live.

Video: Larry Holmes(44-0) vs Marvis Frazier(10-0)- Big Mismatch Mike RjHorne

Larry Holmes(44-0) vs Marvis Frazier(10-0)- Big Mismatch Mike RjHorne

6) Tyson Fury vs Wladimir Klitschko

Wlad landed 51 punches in twelve rounds as Fury won the fight by landing 86 punches in twelve rounds. This was a highly anticipated match that did not live up to the billing as Wlad looked old, and Fury did just enough to win this fight—looked similar to Tyson vs Bonecrusher, as neither fighter seemed to want it.



5) Mike Tyson vs Bonecrusher Smith

Smith landed all of 51 punches in the 12 excruciating rounds that these two were in the ring. Smith looked scared and afraid as he used his 11-inch reach advantage to grab and hug him anytime Tyson got close. The sad thing is that when Smith landed in the final round, he seemed to stun Tyson, but the fight was ending, so too little too late.

Video: Mike Tyson vs James Smith (highlights)

Mike Tyson vs James Smith (highlights)

4) Mike Tyson vs Bruce Seldon

Seldon was so scared I don’t think he got hit, and he still got knocked out! Seldon was deemed a champion by an alphabet group, and he had some skills, but he looked scared to death from the start of the fight. Luckily it only lasted a little more than a minute, but that was still over a minute too long.

Video: 45.Mike Tyson - Bruce Seldon

45.Mike Tyson – Bruce Seldon

3) Larry Holmes vs Scott Frank

Frank got a title shot by getting a gift draw against Renaldo Snipes. He then had his head smacked in by Larry Holmes. The skill level difference in this fight was like watching an eight-year old son box his dad!

Video: Larry Holmes v. Scott Frank.WBC HWC.1983.09.10

Larry Holmes v. Scott Frank.WBC HWC.1983.09.10

2) Muhammad Ali vs Jean Pierre Coopman

This was the only heavyweight title fight ever fought in Puerto Rico. It was Ali’s second to last knockout victory, but it proved nothing as Ali, even in his old years, could dump a guy like Coopman without breaking a sweat. Coopmans best win before fighting Ali was a disqualification win over Terry Daniels. Coopman would end his career with a record of 36-16.

Video: Muhammad Ali vs Jean Pierre Coopman

Muhammad Ali vs Jean Pierre Coopman “Legendary Night” Highlights HD #ElTerribleProduction

1) Mike Tyson vs Michael Spinks

People forget that at the time, this fight was billed as “Once and for All” and was compared to the 1971 Ali vs Frazier fight. The difference between the two fights was that Tyson was in his prime, and Spinks was thirty pounds north of his best weight and looked scared from the start. This was a super fight that did not live up to the hype.

Video: Mike Tyson Vs. Michael Spinks HD

Mike Tyson Vs. Michael Spinks HD

Honorable Mention

Ali vs Bugner 2- Their first fight a few years earlier was much more competitive.

Ali vs Evangelista- Did anybody throw a punch?

Holmes vs Ocasio- Ocasio was a Cruiserweight in over his head.

Holmes vs Evangelista- It’s Evangelista again!

Holmes vs Jones- Jones was undefeated; who in the hell did he fight!

Holmes vs Cobb- Cobb was a deserving challenger off his battle with Michael Dokes, but Larry Holmes was out of his league.

Holmes vs Lucien Rodriguez- A homecoming fight, what else would you expect?

Mike Tyson vs Trevor Berbick-A Brutal Ko, but also a brutal mismatch.

Tyson vs Bruno 2- It seemed Bruno was scared to death!

Holyfield vs Douglas- Douglas is out of shape and not interested in defending his title.


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