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Best Distance Fights in Boxing History

Updated on April 26, 2017

These Fighters Fought From the First Bell To The Last

The Official Fight Poster for the first Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe Fights. They fought in three wars.
The Official Fight Poster for the first Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe Fights. They fought in three wars. | Source
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were both undefeated heavyweight champions when they met in 1971.
Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier were both undefeated heavyweight champions when they met in 1971. | Source
Roberto Duran bested Iran" The Blade" Barkley over 12 rounds for the middleweight championship.
Roberto Duran bested Iran" The Blade" Barkley over 12 rounds for the middleweight championship. | Source
Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward battle it out in the first of their three wars.
Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward battle it out in the first of their three wars. | Source
Larry Holmes won the heavyweight crown in 1978 with a 15 round decision over Kenny Norton.
Larry Holmes won the heavyweight crown in 1978 with a 15 round decision over Kenny Norton. | Source

Who is The Best?

Who is the best 12 Round boxer of All Time?

See results

Can You Go the Distance?

We always think of knockouts but some of the best fights that ever took place in the squared circle went the distance.

1. Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier 1 (1971) Ali was undefeated and so was Frazier. They fought hard, Frazier pounding the ribs and landing monstrous left hooks. Ali, for his part nearly closed Frazier's eyes with his constant jabs and strait right hands. The fight was close throughout, but in the 11th round Ali was stunned severely by a left from Smokin Joe. In the 15th and final round with the fight up for grabs on the cards, Frazier lands a leaping left hook to floor Ali. Ali gets up and battles back but that knockdown gave Frazier a close unanimous decision victory and it made him the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.

2. Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward 1 (2001) This fight was a war. The first three rounds were fierce with Gatti landed more shots but Ward hitting harder. Gatti seemed to slightly take over in the fourth and fifth rounds with more boxing mixed with sudden bursts of punches. In the 6th and 7th rounds the bout was close because as Gatti slowed, possibly from those thudding body shots, Ward got closer for head shots. Ward landed several hard hooks on a backing up Gatti in those rounds. The 8th showed Gatti come on strong with a second wind if you will. He pounded on Ward but it was still a close stanza like the others. Then the most memorable round of the bout began. Round 9. The men mercilessly pounded each other but then Ward opened up. He hurt Gatti to the body and blasted Gatti with lefts and rights to the head even landing a huge punch to the neck. Gatti went down in the round only to get up and start pounding Ward. What a round indeed. Gatti somehow had the strength to win the last round but Ward won a close majority decision.

3. Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe 1 (1992) The Real Deal was the heavyweight champion and he and Bowe were both undefeated. Holyfield out boxed Bowe in round one but got involved in a fire fight starting in round two. Riddick got the better of the action in rounds three through nine but it was close all the way. The tenth round was one of the best in heavyweight history. Bowe stunned Evander with a huge right uppercut. Holyfield stumbled all over the ring as Bowe beat him from pillar to post. Somehow, Holyfield stayed on his feet and even landed his own big shots at the bell. Holyfield was knocked down by another flush uppercut in the 11th round. The 12th was close but Bowe sealed the deal this night with his best performance ever.

4. Sugar Shane Mosley vs. Oscar De La Hoya (2000) This was the first boxing event to take place at The Staples Center in L.A. Mosley was the undefeated lightweight champion moving up two weight classes to face The Golden Boy Oscar De La Hoya. After 8 rounds of action the fight was hanging in the air with neither giving an inch. They both landed crisp jabs, left hooks and constant lead rights. The difference may have been Sugar Shane's work to the body. In the ninth and tenth rounds Sugar seemed to still be landing his punches with pop while De La Hoya stopped pumping out his jab. The 11th was a slower round but Mosley did land several big body shots midway through. The 12th round was one for the ages. Oscar and Shane traded solid hooks, crosses and uppercuts for three full minutes of great two way action that had the crowd going nuts. Mosley pulled out a razor close majority decision to take the Welterweight crown.

5. Erik Morales vs. Marco Antonio Barrera (2000) One of the best Brawls in boxing history. These two despised each other and Barrera even hit El Terrible at a press conference. After a close opening round a real fight began to open up in the second. Barrera took the round by landing a couple right uppercuts and by out landing Morales. The third round could have went either way as both men unloaded with everything. The fourth was close but Barrera took it in the last 30 seconds with a huge flurry of punches. Round 5 was special as both men traded wildly back and forth the whole 3 minutes. It was voted round of the year. The 6th was a slower round that featured more jabs than the rest of the match. The 7th was very close but in the final 5 seconds Barrera stunned Morales with a big left hook. The 8th and 9th rounds featured furious exchanges from the two warriors with neither giving an inch. The tenth was more trading from both men and at the end of the stanza you could see blood on Barrera and bruises on Erik Morales. Both men somehow fought as if it was the first round in the 11th. Both men seemed to be stunned by shots. The 12th and final round was astonishing. Morales was knocked down but got up and rushed his man. Morales won a close and somewhat controversial decision.

6. Larry Holmes vs. Ken Norton (1978) Norton was the champion but Holmes was the young, undefeated heavyweight contender. The bout was razor close throughout. Every round was fiercely fought by both men. Holmes constantly landed jabs and strait right hands over the course of the first 10 rounds. Norton, for his part, fought out of his crab like, odd style launching punches from all angles and landing often. Neither man ever looked seriously hurt although Norton was shook a few times. The 15th round would decide the winner. In probably the best 15th round ever fought the two big men waged war for three minutes. Holmes won the round with more accurate shots and won the heavyweight crown by 1 point.

7. Evander Holyfield vs. Dwight Muhammad Qawi 1 (1986) The Real Deal was just 11-0 when he challenged for the Cruiserweight title in the last bout to go 15 rounds. The early rounds were close with Holyfield using his significant height and reach to his advantage with beautiful jabs. For his part, Qawi bulled his way in and bruised up Holyfield's midsection. After 10 rounds these two boxers seemed even with Holyfield setting a frenetic punch output and Qawi landing huge left hooks to the head and body. When Holyfield came out for round 10 we saw that he had true skills and conditioning. He was on his toes and throwing 3 and 4 punch combinations. Qawi landed several lead right hands but Holyfield was landing hard shots now. It was as if he found a third wind. Qawi lost rounds 11-14 and was staggered twice in that span. In the 15th round Qawi had a few moments including stunning the challenger for a second. Qawi was deducted a point for low blows in the 15th. Holyfield won the Cruiserweight or Jr. Heavyweight title if you will.

8. Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Carmen Basilio 2 (1958) Basilio beat Robinson by very close decision less than a year earlier. In the rematch Robinson was looking for revenge and to regain his Middleweight championship. The battle was close all the way. Basilio, who was as tough as they come, had a major swelling on his left eye from the 6th round till the final bell. Robinson built a small lead early only to see it fall apart amidst the constant aggression of Carmen. Going into the 13th round the fight was still up for grabs. Although the last 3 rounds were extremely sloppy Robinson landed the more telling blows and regained his title by close decision.

9. Israel Vazquez vs. Rafael Marquez 3 (2008) These two Jr. Featherweight warriors fought 4 times but the third was the best of the series. Vazquez was floored hard in the fourth round but battled back with fury the whole bout.Both fighters let it all hang out in the 4th and 5th. After 9 rounds the match was still on the table. In the tenth, Marquez landed several big shots but had his work undone because he was deducted a point for low blows. The 12th and final round was brutal with Marquez receiving a standing 8 count in the waning moments of the match. Vazquez won a very close decision.

10. Roberto Duran vs. Iran Barkley (1989) In his last great performance, Hands of Stone won a close 12 round decision and the WBC Middleweight title from The Blade. The fight was fought at close quarters the entire time which suited both boxers just fine. After 8 rounds Barkley had a slight lead but his left eye was a mess and had swelling under it and above it. Duran turned up the heat even more the final few rounds a put Barley down hard in the 11th round. Barkley barely survived the round. The 12th was a brawl that had both men landing hard right hands. Super close fight but Duran pulls out the minor upset and wins the middleweight title.

Prizefighter Rankings

Cast your vote for Roberto Duran

Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe 1: Full Bout

Birthplace of Joe Frazier

The Greatest vs. smokin Joe 1: The Highlights

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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