Stockport-born Richard ‘Ricky’ Hatton made his professional boxing debut against Colin McAuley at the Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes in September, 1997, winning by technical knockout in the first of four scheduled rounds. Forty-three fights and just over a decade later, he would finally surrender his unbeaten record to the similarly unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On December 8, 2007, in a fight billed, imaginatively, as ‘Undefeated’, Hatton (43-0-0) challenged Mayweather Jr. (38-0-0) for the World Boxing Council (WBC) and The Ring world welterweight titles. In the sixth round, Hatton was deducted a point by referee Joe Cortez for hitting his Mayweather on the back of his head, having pushed him off-balance through the top rope.
Thereafter, Hatton began to tire and Mayweather started to take control. With just under two minutes remaining in round ten, Mayweather landed a powerful left hook that knocked Hatton to the canvas, via a ringpost. Hatton rose at the count of eight, but was unsteady on his feet and, despite hanging on valiantly, was caught with two more left hooks that knocked him down again. After 1:35, Cortez waved off the contest, without starting a count, to give Mayweather victory by technical knockout.
Hatton subsequently returned to the light-welterweight division, making two successful defences of his International Boxing Organisation (IBO) world light-welterweight title, against Juan Lazacano and Paulie Malignaggi, before being knocked out in the second round by Manny Pacquiao, back at the MGM Grand Arena, in May, 2009. After a three-year hiatus, he made a brief, but unsuccessful, return to professional boxing before retiring with a 45-3-0 record.
The ‘Fight of the Century’ was the second defence of the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) World Heavyweight Titles by Joe Frazier, against Muhammad Ali, and took place at Madison Square Garden, New York City on March 8, 1971.
Ali, of course, had previously held the WBC and WBA titles, but was stripped of both in 1967, after refusing to be inducted into the US Army. Nevertheless, Ali remained unbeaten, with a career record of 31-0, and was still the lineal world heavyweight champion. After three years of inactivity, he had beaten Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena in late 1970 before turning his attention to Frazier, whom he predicted he would knock out in the sixth round. Frazier, 27, was two years younger than Ali and weighed in nearly 10lb lighter; he had achieved universal recognition when defeating former WBA World Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Ellis at the same venue the previous February and, having successfully defended the both titles against Bob Foster at the Cobo Arena, Detroit nine months later, entered the ring with a career record of 26-0.
Ali chose to go toe-to-toe with Frazier and the unbeaten pair fought at a furious pace throughout. The predicted sixth-round knockout never materialised; in the eleventh round, Frazier rocked Ali with two left hooks, which sent him stumbling across the ring and, in the final round, landed another, knocking him to the canvas. Ali survived the round, but referee Arthur Mercante scored the fight 8-6 in favour of Frazier, while judges Artie Aidala and Bill Recht scored 9-6 and 11-4, respectively, to hand ‘Smokin’ Joe’ a unanimous decision.
Watch The Fight of the Century
As oft repeated, boxing is the most unpredictable sport, so it is no surprise that fighters who finish their careers as undefeated world champions are a rarity. Rocky Marciano did so in 1956 but, at the time of writing, the retired former champion who holds the record for the most fights without losing is Floyd Mayweather Jr., who retired, for the third time, in 2017 with a career record of 50-0-0.
In fact, Mayweather Jr., who turned 43 in February, 2020, is threatening to come out of retirement yet again, if his Instagram feed is to be believed. He retired for the first time in 2007, before coming back, with no little success, in 2009, and retiring again, with a career record of 49-0-0, in 2015. In 2017, Mayweather Jr. was tempted out of retirement, once again, for a one-off contest, aptly dubbed ‘The Money Fight’, against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight Champion, Conor McGregor at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada. Mayweather Jr. won, courtesy of a tenth round technical knockout, taking his career record to 50-0-0, and banking $275, in the process, but looked poor against a highly inexperienced opponent.
Mayweather Jr. Has been widely criticised for ‘diluting’ his legacy; in his heyday, he won fifteen major world titles, in five weight divisions – super featherweight, lightweight, super lightweight, welterweight and light middleweight – and, granted his recent insistence that he is retired from boxing and would only consider ‘entertainment’ fights in future, he may be boasting that he is ‘The Best Ever’ for a while longer.
Watch all of Floyd Mayweathers career knock outs
Boxing is one of the most popular and most influential sports in the world. Throughout the years, we’ve witnessed many legends step into the ring and achieve greatness which will be remembered for eternity. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, and Sugar Ray Robinson are just a few of those legends which managed to make the impossible look easy and show the world that with the proper dedication, there is no height that cannot be reached.
This sport also managed to influence other industries. One of the most interesting and surprising was the online casino industry. Research has shown that boxing fans are also quite fond of these games, which is why game providers have supplied sites like casino777.es with various virtual boxing games, as well as with slot games that are themed on this sport. The idea is to make boxing fans feel comfortable and enjoy them to the maximum.
It goes without saying that boxing is a respected sport. The sportsmen act as role models and continue to elevate this discipline with each passing day. We, the fans, have watched many great fights over the years, and with that thought in mind, we decided to name our list of the top 3 fights in the modern era. Let’s check them out.
Floyd Mayweather – Manny Pacquiao
Dubbed as the Fight of the Century, Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao went down as the most anticipated fight in the history of boxing. After spending several years negotiating, both of these fighters clashed on May 2, 2015. The fight was televised through a PPV and broke the record with approximately 4.6 million buys.
Although the pre-fight era was very pumped, the fight itself let many people down. Critics stated that Floyd was too defensively orientated, which made it very boring. Several post-fight controversies like the supposed shoulder injury by Manny, and the IV injections that Floyd took also came to light. It is worth mentioning that Floyd won the bout via unanimous decision.
Anthony Joshua – Wladimir Klitschko
Next up, we have a bout in which the underdog managed to shock the world as he beat one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in the history of the sport. Although Joshua has already made a name for himself at the time, no one believed that he has the skills to beat Klitschko. The fight took place on April 29, 2017, at Wembley Stadium in London and it is safe to say that it exceeded the expectations of the fans by a milestone.
It was filled with action, knockdowns, and was named Fight of the Year by The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Anthony Joshua beat Wladimir via eleventh-round TKO and won the IBF and the vacant WBA (Super) and IBO heavyweight titles.
Deontay Wilder – Tyson Fury II
Our last entry on this list is the rematch between Wilder and Fury. The first fight showed just how good both of these fighters were. Wilder managed to keep one of the most skilled boxers at bay, while Fury put on a flawless show after battling drug and alcohol abuse, as well as depression for the past few years.
Since the first fight ended in a draw, the rematch was highly anticipated and many fans around the world were keen to see these two fighters step in the ring one more time. The rematch took place on February 22, 2020, at the MGM Grand. Fury TKO’d Wilder out in the seventh round. In that round, Wilder’s corner threw the towel and the referee stopped the fight.