Here, we revisit four great world heavyweight title fights that were staged at the famous venue.
The famous Fight of the Century represented the start of a trilogy between two of the finest heavyweights of all time, and perhaps the greatest rivalry the boxing world has seen. Even amid Ali's remarkable skills, Frazier fought with such ferocity he began to successfully pressure and outwork his challenger, justifying the incredible demand for tickets; even Frank Sinatra could only attend by working as a ringside photographer. The champion secured victory in the 15th and final round, with a horrible left hook that sent Ali to the canvas so heavily he did well to survive until the final bell.
The fight to crown the undisputed world heavyweight champion became perhaps the most controversial of its era. Lewis was widely considered to have won convincingly, and yet the judges somehow scored it a draw, leading to Lewis' then-manager Frank Maloney demanding then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair break off diplomatic relations with the United States. Promoter Don King was even forced to deny being involved in a fix but, in the rematch in Las Vegas that November, Lewis was scored the winner on all three scorecards.
Muhammad Ali v Earnie Shavers, September 1977
The once-great Ali was 35 and in decline when he experienced perhaps his last true success, and against the dangerous Shavers, alongside Sonny Liston and Foreman in being considered the most powerful puncher in history. Ali no longer had the speed and mobility to elude such an opponent, and in the second round he somehow took a right hand that would have stopped almost any rival, followed by three more. He just about boxed smartly enough to secure victory over the distance, despite having taken such punishment he limped back to his corner at the end of the 14th.
Joe Frazier v Jimmy Ellis, February 1970
In the absence of Ali, Frazier had sought to establish himself as the world's leading heavyweight, and he did exactly that by dethroning the WBA champion and adding the vacant WBC title to his collection. The WBA had previously staged a tournament, won by Ellis, to determine the world's finest heavyweight so there was little doubting the significance of Frazier's victory, which came after the fourth when Ellis' corner withdrew him as he struggled to resist Frazier's aggression.
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