1. Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo I (2005): Round 10. With his left eye almost totally closed and already down twice in the 10th, the late Chico Corrales miraculously climbed off the deck and battered Jose Luis Castillo into submission along the ropes to score one of the most dramatic come-from-behind TKOs in boxing history. As Castillo was moving in for the certain kill, a shaky Corrales landed a counter hook out from of nowhere that rocked the attacking Mexican. Castillo was immediately pinned on the ropes, getting hammered by left-right, left-right combos. He was out on his feet causing excellent referee Tony Weeks to stop the fight. Both men sustained tremendous punishment in an all-time classic slugfest that was named Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. To nobody’s surprise, round ten was named Round of the Year. Like many such encounters, this fight arguably “ruined” both fighters. Both boxers were taken to different hospitals. Watch it again for the first time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0vSpewcMx4
“One of the greatest in-ring dramas ever witnessed. Spectators were delirious.”
2. Jake LaMotta vs. Laurent Dauthuille (1950): The 15th round of this championship fight was unparalleled for its ending when LaMotta, 77-14-3 going in, was playing possum and then suddenly erupted with a volley of violence and, working the angles, took out Dauthuille with only 13 seconds left. He was trailing on the scorecards at the time he staged this miraculous 15th-round knockout to retain his middleweight belt. Scoring at time of knockout: 72-68, 74-66, 71-69 all for Dauthuille. It was named the 1950 Fight of the Year and Round of the Year. I was 13 years old but still remember where I was at the time. Here it is: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpus1_jake-lamotta-vs-laurent-dauthuille_sport
“All Dauthuille required when he bell sounded for the final round was to play safe, and had he boxed he would have come through triumphantly.”—The Ring, November 1950, page 8-9, 50
3. “Yaqui” Lopez vs. Matthew Saad Muhammad II (1980): Round 8. This one was Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year (the eighth round was named Round of the Year). Yaqui controlled the first half. Then, in the eighth, he trapped Muhammad in a corner and landed at least 20 consecutive flush shots to the Champion’s head and body. Somehow, Saad survived the onslaught and survived the round, but not before he came back and hammered Lopez. The crowd was in stunned disbelief. Even referee Waldemar Schmidt seemed in awe. Finally, in the 14th stanza, Lopez grew arm weary and gassed. The champion, sensing the end, jumped on him like a hyena on fresh prey and that was that. Those who witnessed this incredible affair still discuss it with reverence. “Miracle Matthew” was Gatti before Gatti and the East Coast’s version of Danny “Little Red” Lopez. Like Corrales-Castillo, this was the very essence of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, but the road back started in the eighth round. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKZGiVCSVd0
4. Lee Roy Murphy vs. Chisanda Mutti (1985): Round 12: The first seven rounds involved fantastic seesaw action with both fighters exchanging career-ending bombs. Neither dominated for sustained periods of time and the fight was a classic ebb and flow war of attrition. The number of punishing head shots both received was alarming. Moreover, both warriors were fast becoming exhausted. Mutti used vicious jab-hook-cross combos that quickly served notice he would not be an easy mark.
By the eighth stanza, the crowd was up and roaring in disbelief at the all-out action which featured both jackhammer power shots and wicked speed. Both guys teed off on each other as the momentum continually shifted. Both displayed a total disdain for defense as they concentrated on launching bombs that had dangerous accuracy. First one landed a menacing three-punch combo and then the other countered with a lethal straight right. It was as if their respective faces were magnets for the rattling shots. It didn’t take an aficionado to know that the damage being inflicted would impact their future.
In the ninth, Mutti decked Murphy with a volley of vicious shots begun with a left that turned Murphy’s back to him. It appeared he would be taken out forthwith, but somehow, some way, he survived the round.
In a brilliant account, here is what fellow writer Lee Groves had to say:
“But Murphy was too strong for Mutti to hold off for long. A one-two and a double right snapped Mutti’s head after which the champion moved in for the kill. But Mutti again turned the tables when a hook and a right to the temple made Murphy slump into the ropes. Both men stood on the precipice of victory and defeat simultaneously, each just a punch or two away from ending the fight, and as the bell rang, Mutti had trouble finding his corner while Murphy trudged toward his. With three rounds remaining, this already action-packed bout was building toward an unforgettable crescendo.”
In the 11th, Murphy returned the favor with a series of savage rights that sent Mutti to the canvas. Now it was Mutti’s turn to make it to the bell. Going into the championship rounds, both had been down and both were now ready for the taking.
The fight –held in Monaco–turned into something else in the 12th when both fighters exchanged several bombs in a neutral corner and then both threw lightning fast rights. Both found their mark simultaneously with full force and impact. Both men fell together in a heap hanging on to each other with Mutti landing atop Murphy before sliding to the floor. Glancing at Murphy who was struggling to get up in a corner (and keeping tabs on the progress of both), referee Larry Hazzard began the count. Murphy, badly hurt, barely made it up by seven. Without missing a beat, Hazzard proceeded to count out Mutti at the 1:53 mark. The disoriented Mutti stayed down for a full three minutes. Behind on the scorecards at the time, Murphy had retained his title in what can only be described as a surreal ending. You have to see it to believe it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNMOVr7Nrlk
5. Roy “Tiger” Williams vs. Earnie Shavers (1976): Round 10. The ninth round of this back-and -forth fight saw a big change both ways (but it was the 10th that was memorable). The Tiger started strong in the ninth and landed a number of solid shots He was in charge but then tired midway through the round and Earnie came on, bombing away and Big Roy had to hold on and regroup. With about a minute to go, it happened. Roy snapped off one of the hardest left hooks I have ever seen and staggered Earnie who was now in big trouble. Ernie had no answer and likely was saved by the bell. He staggered back to his corner a seemingly beaten fighter.
The 10th and last round began and Shavers came out visibly exhausted while the menacing looking Williams appeared confident and ready to end matters and finally emerge as a serious heavyweight contender. He quickly moved Earnie into a corner and applied non-stop punishment until the referee called a standing-eight count. Roy thought the fight had been stopped, turned around and raised his hands in victory to the crowd but when he turned back to see a determined Shavers still standing, the Tiger’s spirit visibly sagged. Still, he came on and hit Shavers with blows that would surely have knocked out anybody else.
Then, all of a sudden, Shavers started to connect with some medium hard blows to Roy’s body which slowed the Tiger down. Suddenly he connected with one of his deadly uppercuts with Roy on the ropes and it straightened him up. Williams was now hurt and Eernie sensed it. He moved the Tiger into a corner and began throwing his own bombs. Roy could not withstand the ferocious onslaught and the referee now gave him a standing eight, the second one that had been given in the round but to two different combatants! As the referee ordered Roy to begin fighting, he took a step forward, hesitated, and then collapsed in the corner a beaten man. Earnie sagged over the ropes too tired to celebrate his victory. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USsuDnHqsPw
“I wouldn’t drive through Philadelphia because I didn’t want to take a chance on running into Williams”.– Ernie Shavers
What are your five favorite rounds?