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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 20 Boxing Matches of the 1980s

Top 20 Boxing Matches of the 1980s

The best of the 80s
Publish Date: 06/15/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Best Fights of the 1980s

20) Livingstone Bramble TKO14 Ray Mancini

Mancini had his moments early on in this fight, and it appeared his pressure might break down Bramble. But Mancini began to slow his pace around the 6th round, and Bramble just started unloading combinations on Mancini. Boom Boom knew only one way to fight and just kept coming, hoping to catch Bramble with something that could turn the ride but never did. Bramble would later win a close 15-round decision in the rematch, and Mancini’s career was over. The second fight was just as good as the first fight; check it out below.

Video: NO HUGGING | NO RUNNING | ONLY SLUGFEST | Livingstone Bramble vs Ray Mancini 1 Full Highlight | HD

NO HUGGING | NO RUNNING | ONLY SLUGFEST | Livingstone Bramble vs Ray Mancini 1 Full Highlight | HD

19) Steve Cruz W15 Barry McGuigan

This fight was fought in the sweltering Las Vegas heat and would have a lot to do with an unknown Steve Cruz ruining the American debut of Barry McGuigan. McGuigan pushed the fight and led after 12 rounds. The problems came in the thirteenth round and continued until the end of the fight, as McGuigan had nothing left to fend Cruz off. Cruz dominated the “Championship rounds” en route to a 15-round decision win.

Video: 1986: Steve Cruz vs Barry McGuigan (Round 15) (The Ring Magazine Round of the Year)

1986: Steve Cruz vs Barry McGuigan (Round 15) (The Ring Magazine Round of the Year)

18) Ray Mancini KO13 Deuk Koo-Kim

This was a forgotten great because of the tragic ending of this fight. Kim was a huge underdog and stood with Mancini for thirteen brutal rounds. Mancini was never the same after this fight.

Video: The Fight That Changed Everything!

The Fight That Changed Everything!

17) Julio Cesar Chavez W12 Juan Laporte

Laporte was a tough SOB, and on this night, he gave the great Chavez all he could handle. Many people had Laporte winning the decision, and many others scored the fight a draw.

Video: JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ VS JUAN LAPORTE 1

JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ VS JUAN LAPORTE 1

16) Frank Fletcher W12 Clint Jackson

Some of you may ask who these guys are, but both were warriors! This was a back and forth war. If you have never seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it on youtube, you won’t be disappointed.

Video: Frank

Frank “Animal” Fletcher vs Clint Jackson WAR!!!

15) Caveman Lee KO5 John Locicero

Much like the previous fight, if you haven’t seen this fight, you need to! Legendary ESPN Fight.

Video: Caveman Lee vs John LoCicero - Highlights (MIDDLEWEIGHT MAULERS)

Caveman Lee vs John LoCicero – Highlights (MIDDLEWEIGHT MAULERS)

14) Matthew Hilton W15 Buster Drayton

During this fight, Matthew Hilton was a beast and looked to be a future boxing superstar. Drayton was an underdog who became a champion late in his career and did not relinquish his title without a fight.

Video: Matthew Hilton vs Buster Drayton (Highlights)

Matthew Hilton vs Buster Drayton (Highlights)

13) Simon Brown TKO14 Tyrone Trice

Great back and forth fight between two warriors. The first eleven rounds were great, but round twelve was unbelievable and helped put this fight high on this list.

Video: Simon Brown-Tyrone Trice I highlights boxing video

Simon Brown-Tyrone Trice I highlights boxing video

12) Jeff Harding W12 Dennis Andries 1

Harding won the title with a relentless, brutal body attack. This looked like the old rock them sock them robots in real action as both men left it all in the ring.

Video: Jeff Harding v Dennis Andries I 24 June 1989 Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

Jeff Harding v Dennis Andries I 24 June 1989 Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA

11) Roberto Duran W12 Iran Barkley

This was a fight that no one gave Duran a chance in, but Duran in the ’80s had a tendency to surprise people, and that is just what he did in this fight against the bigger, stronger, and younger champion.

Video: Roberto Duran vs Iran Barkley (Highlights)

Roberto Duran vs Iran Barkley (Highlights)

10) Salvador Sanchez TKO15 Azumah Nelson

Sanchez was in his prime, and Nelson had not yet seen his, but Nelson proved to be just about all Sanchez could handle.

Video: Salvador Sanchez vs Azumah Nelson - Highlights (Epic FIGHT & KNOCKOUT)

Salvador Sanchez vs Azumah Nelson – Highlights (Epic FIGHT & KNOCKOUT)

9) Wilfredo Gomez TKO14 Lupe Pintor

Gomez redeemed himself for the beating he received at the hands of Salvador Sanchez the year before this fight.

Video: Wilfredo Gomez vs Lupe Pintor : Highlights of the fight

Wilfredo Gomez vs Lupe Pintor : Highlights of the fight

8) Marvin Hagler KO3 Thomas Hearns

It was the most incredible first round in boxing history, but I think this fight is slightly overrated as rounds two and three were Hagler dominating Hearns.

Video: Marvin Hagler vs Tommy Hearns Round 1 | GREATEST ROUND OF BOXING | ON THIS DAY

Marvin Hagler vs Tommy Hearns Round 1 | GREATEST ROUND OF BOXING | ON THIS DAY

7) Matthew Saad Muhammad TKO14 Yaqui Lopez 2

This was a brutal give and take battle that would see Lopez come up on the short end of a title fight yet again. Lopez is one of the greatest Light Heavyweights never to win a world title.

Video: Matthew Saad Muhammad vs Yaqui Lopez II 1980-07-13 awesome round 8 ( HD )

Matthew Saad Muhammad vs Yaqui Lopez II 1980-07-13 awesome round 8 ( HD )

6) Bobby Chacon W12 Boza Edwards

The only bad thing about this fight was listening to Ferdie Pacheco try to call it. Ferdie always looked like a fool while two great fighters battled it out.

Video: Fight of the Year, 1983 : Bobby Chacon UD12 Cornelius Boza-Edwards II

Fight of the Year, 1983 : Bobby Chacon UD12 Cornelius Boza-Edwards II

5) Evander Holyfield W15 Dwight Muhammad Qawi 1

In only his twelfth pro fight, Holyfield wins a 15-round war over a veteran champion. Everybody should have known Holyfield was special that day.

Video: Dwight Muhammad Qawi vs Evander Holyfield I

Dwight Muhammad Qawi vs Evander Holyfield I

4) Bobby Chacon W15 Bazooka Limon IV

No words, watch. This war between two old rivals was shown on a Saturday afternoon on free TV!

Video: Fight of the Year, 1982 : Bobby Chacon UD15 Rafael Limon IV

Fight of the Year, 1982 : Bobby Chacon UD15 Rafael Limon IV

3) Ray Leonard TKO14 Thomas Hearns 1

This was a skilful, high-intensity battle, but it was not a fight filled with sustained action, at least for the first four rounds, but the action was at a fever pitch for the last ten rounds. Thomas Hearns was winning with his boxing skills, and then Leonard became the predator and walked the “Hit Man” down, finally stopping him in the 14th round.

Video: Sugar Ray Leonard vs Thomas Hearns 1 Full HIGHLIGHTS

Sugar Ray Leonard vs Thomas Hearns 1 Full HIGHLIGHTS

2) Roberto Duran W15 Sugar Ray Leonard

This was a super-fight that lived up to the hype. Two of the greatest fighters in boxing history staged a razor-close fight in Montreal. Leonard fought Duran’s fight and narrowly missed winning the fight that way.

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

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

1) Aaron Pryor TKO14 Alexis Arguello

A sensational war between two legends. Arguello was fighting a couple of weight classes above his best, but he went to war before finally sub coming in the fourteenth round. This was as good as it would get for Pryor as poor choices would end his career early.

Video: Aaron Pryor vs Alexis Arguello I (Highlights)

Aaron Pryor vs Alexis Arguello I (Highlights)

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