Boxing has produced some of the most best fights in a display of ebb and flow where both fighters won’t quit. There has been so many examples but we’ve narrowed it down to the greatest boxing fights in recent years (2008-2012).
1) Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito I
One of the greatest boxing fights of 2008, if not the best fight, naturally there was a lot of tension and emotion going into this fight.
The match-up featured the classic rivalry between Puerto Rico vs Mexico. Cotto was winning the many of the beginning rounds but Margarito’s relentless pursuit began to wear Cotto down. It was only of a matter of time before Cotto would succumb to the pressure.
The fight was very controversial as in Margarito’s next fight against Shane Mosley, he was caught with plaster of paris in his gloves before he entered the ring.
He got his comeuppance in the ring and outside, as he was banned from the sport and all his achievements tarnished. Cotto would get his revenge in their 2011 rematch and it was the last fight of Margarito’s career due to a badly damaged eye.
2) Marcos Maidana vs Erik Morales
When this fight was made, it was a laughable match-up in the eyes of the media and the majority of fans. The once great Mexican warrior was way past his prime and was moving up in weight to face the hardest puncher in the 140lb light welterweight division,
Argentina’s Marcos Maidana. Morales was a huge underdog and many thought that not only would he lose the fight, but it would physically damage him forever.
As soon as the bell rung, Maidana was his usual self, throwing hard power punches and hunting Morales down. It didn’t look good for Morales as after the 2nd round, his eye began to swell up badly.
However, to the surprise of many, Morales fought back hard every round with one eye swollen shut. There was back and forth toe-to-toe action right until the end. Maidana won the fight, but Morales won the event and the hearts of all.
3) Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Miguel Cotto
In 2012, Floyd Mayweather Jr., the number 1 best pound-for-pound fighter in the world went up against battle tested and great Puerto Rican fighter Miguel Cotto.
Before the scheduled fight, it was the same old story of whether Cotto could defeat the undefeated Mayweather. Many thought he had no chance because of Mayweather’s exceptional skills and defence.
Come fight night, Cotto put on a tremendous performance in which he managed to hit Mayweather more times than he has ever been hit in his whole career. Mayweather once again prevailed but Cotto once proved himself in the ring and walked out of the fight with his head held high.
4) Brandon Rios vs Miguel Acosta
Mexican-American brawler and undefeated Brandon Rios went up against Venezuela’s powerful punching and speedy boxer Miguel Acosta. Rios had never won a world title and this was his chance. Acosta opted to box and move and done very well in the beginning rounds, even hurting the iron chinned Rios on several occasions.
However, as the fight wore on, like all Mexican warriors, Rios withstood the punishment and kept on backing Acosta up onto the ropes. Acosta had no choice but to fight back but no matter how hard he fought, he couldn’t recover from several previous knock downs and eventually, got knocked out. Brandon Rios then became the new WBA Lightweight Champion of the World.
5) Mikkel Kessler vs Carl Froch
As part of the Super Six Tournament, which pitted six of the best super middleweights (168lbs) in the world against each other, Carl Froch of England travelled to Mikkel Kessler’s backyard in Denmark to defend his world title.
Froch, known for his hard punching and aggressive style, had planned to put on an impressive performance but Kessler, who was coming off a loss, had other plans.
Both fighters known as hard punchers with solid chins, landed hard punches consistently. It was a very close fight but Kessler was given the benefit of the doubt and prevailed, while Froch lost his world title but was still able to remain in the tournament to fight his next opponent.
6) Hernan Marquez vs Luis Concepcion
The little guys of the flyweight division usually don’t get as much recognition as they deserve, but Marquez and Concepcion was to change this on the night of 2nd April 2011.
It was a furious non-stop action fight between the brawler Concepcion and boxer Marquez. The entire arena was one their feet during brutal exchanges between the fighters which had Marquez dropped in the 1st round and Concepcion dropped in rounds 3, 10 before finally being stopped in the 11th by the ring doctor due to the swelling on Concepcion’s eyes.
Marquez took the WBA flyweight title from Concepcion in an exciting fight and they went at it again 6 months later where Marquez, was able to make easy work of his opponent this time and stopped him in the 1st round.
Their first encounter was the most memorable fights ever seen in the flyweight division and proved that the lower divisions should deserve more attention.
7) Sergio Martinez vs Paul Williams I
During 2009, Paul Williams was considered to be the most avoided man in boxing because of his height, reach and non-stop punching and aggressive style. Argentina’s Sergio Martinez was the unknown fighter coming to America to try and make his mark, and boy did he ever.
Both fighters traded knock downs in the first round and went on to trade powerful punches throughout the entire fight. Martinez landed the harder punches which visibly had an effect on Williams, but Williams’ ‘never say die’ attitude enabled him to keep coming back with his own flurries.
Exhaustion set in for both fighters at the end, and Williams’ was awarded a controversial Majority Decision. The fighters would meet again the next year in a highly anticipated bout where Martinez would settle the score by producing an amazing 2nd round knockout.
8) Juan Manuel Marquez vs Juan Diaz I
This was a classic fight between a native Mexican warrior and a Mexican American warrior. Both fighters were already battle tested, but Marquez was much older at 35 while Diaz was 26, and still had plenty of mileage on the clock.
Diaz started off fast and lived every bit up to his nickname “The Raging Bull”. He even hurt Marquez in the 1st round, but Marquez has proven time and time again that he can cope under pressure.
The fight raged on and Diaz wouldn’t stop coming, while Marquez utilized his counter punching skills to the fullest. The result was Diaz walked onto too many punches and Marquez slowly broke the younger and less experienced fighter down, and eventually stopped him in the 9th round.
HBO commentator Max Kellerman said it best – “What we just saw, was a really good young fighter, knocked out by a great old fighter”.
9) Humberto Soto vs Urbano Antillon
Once again, we have another ‘can’t miss’ war between the Mexican American Antillion and skilled veteran and Mexico native Soto. The pace for this fight was breath-taking as both lightweight warriors battled it out in a test of skill and will.
Antillon was gunning for his first world title and applied relentless pressure throughout the fight, but Soto had the wits and skills to stand and trade punches at times and box when necessary.
It was a war right up until the final bell and both fighters received a much deserved ovation from the fans. Humberto Soto retained his title via a close unanimous decision while Antillon’s stock rose in defeat.
10) Amir Khan vs Marcos Maidana
One of the hottest fighters to come out of England in recent years is Amir Khan. He was undefeated but he suffered a huge setback when he was knocked out the 1st round against the also undefeated and power punching Colombian Bredeis Prescott in September 2008.
Following this unexpected result, Khan made changes to his camp and re-emerged as a better fighter under the tutelage of legendary trainer Freddie Roach. He impressively captured a world title just under a year after his defeat. Khan was only 22 years old, but there were still concerns about his suspect chin.
Khan set out to prove his doubters wrong, and opted to face the hardest puncher in the light welterweight division Marcos Maidana in December 2010. Khan used his blistering hand speed and footwork to get in and out of range.
It appeared that Khan was just too fast and skilled, and perhaps too strong when he dropped Maidana in the 1st round with a brutal body shot. However, Maidana is a proven warrior and got back up to survive.
As the fight progressed, Khan was putting rounds in the bank while Maidana was playing catch up. Maidana only needed one big punch to turn the fight around, and his efforts came to fruition in the 10th round when he caught Khan moving backwards with a giant haymaker right on his chin.
There was still 2 minutes left in the round and the question now, was if Khan could survive under Maidana’s animalistic pursuit to knock his enemy out. Amazingly, Khan withstood the pressure and had decided to play it safe until the end of the fight.
The result was a dramatic fight that concluded two things – Khan’s chin isn’t as bad as some think, and Maidana is a nightmare for anyone to fight.
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► Top 10 Best Heavy Punching Bags
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