Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr: Four great heavyweight title fights staged at Madison Square Garden

Ahead of Joshua's New York debut, we revisit four great world heavyweight title fights that were staged at the famous venue

Wednesday 29 May 2019 12:18
Comments
Anthony Joshua appears for public workout in New York ahead of Andy Ruiz Jr fight

Anthony Joshua defends his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday against Andy Ruiz Jr at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Here, we revisit four great world heavyweight title fights that were staged at the famous venue.

Joe Frazier v Muhammad Ali, March 1971

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.

Evander Holyfield v Lennox Lewis, March 1999

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.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in