SATURDAY night’s brutally violent slugfest between Dereck Chisora and Carlos Takam brought back memories of the great ones: the great heavyweight battles where the big men of the sport unleashed leather with abandon and duked it out until one man fell and stayed fallen. It was a special fight and it has rightly been showered with praise:
“That was just brutal,” promoter Eddie Hearn.
“That’s what I call heavyweight boxing,” Boxing News editor Matt Christie.
“The best heavyweight fight I’ve seen in fifty years,” Chisora’s trainer Don Charles.
Fans have a special place in their hearts for a slugfest, especially one between two big heavyweight punchers. From time to time we get one – a battle of the big men that features plenty of trading, often a few knockdowns, and then, finally, a savage KO.
Here is a look back at some of the finest heavyweight ding-dongs that pretty much had it all (expect a need for any scoring judges):
George Foreman-Ron Lyle, 1976.
The Big Daddy of all two-sided heavyweight slugfests. Foreman and Lyle dispensed with any thought for defence, their personal safety or pretty much any notion of applying any boxing skill. Four knockdowns later – two scored by Lyle, two scored by former heavyweight king Foreman – the carnage was over. Foreman won the heavyweight knockdown, drag-out war to end all knockdown, drag-out wars.
Derrick Jefferson-Maurice Harris, 1999.
Neither man was a big name and neither man went on to become world champion, but the epic Jefferson and Harris gave us almost twenty years ago earned both men a special place in the hearts of each and every fan who saw this awe-inspiring smash-a-thon. Round-two saw both men hit the mat, Harris twice and Jefferson once. Momentum switched continually throughout the war, until bigger man Jefferson terminated matters with a truly stunning one-punch finish in round-six. Wow, was all those watching the fight unfold could utter.
Michael Moorer-Bert Cooper, 1992.
Former light-heavyweight ruler Moorer, having moved up to heavyweight a year or so earlier, met a fully focused “Smokin’ Bert” and the result was a furnace-hot rumble. The opening round was savage, with both men hitting the mat, and the slugging continued unabated from there on in. Moorer, being tested like never before, hit the canvas again in the third, before coming back to take Cooper out in style in round-five. Pulse-quickening stuff.
Tommy Morrison-Razor Ruddock, 1995.
Former Mike Tyson rival Ruddock met movie star Morrison in a non-title fight that surprised even hardened observers. Morrison, he of the so-called suspect chin, was put down in the opening session and his fans feared the worst. But Tommy, never short on guts, got up and battled back. Hard. Both men were known for their venomous left hand power and something had to give. In the second, Razor was hurt and he was forced to take a standing-eight. Then, after some back-and-forth action that delighted the fans, Morrison’s vaunted left hook put Razor down in round-six. How Ruddock got back up no-one knows to this day, but Morrison, always a fine finisher, would not be denied. The referee had to intervene, despite Razor’s protestations. The win of Tommy’s thrilling career.