Over the years, I have seen literally thousands of fights and to name my top ten will do injustice to many others and I apologize for that up front. Still, I’ll give it a go and list them in order of preference. Rightly or wrongly, I used the following criteria: I had to see them live or when they were first televised (no tapes, YOUTUBES, and/or videos), ebb and flow, sudden change in flow, controlled violence, courage, imposition of will, superiority of technical skills, pure savagery and personal satisfaction.
Here they are:
1. Bobby Chacon vs. Rafael “Bazooka” Limon: On December 11, 1982, Chacon was dropped in the 4th and 10th, Limon in the 15th round (1982 Fight of the Year – Ring Magazine). It contained all of the criteria listed above and then some. Bobby came back from the brink to win in dramatic fashion. It had to be seen to be believed.
2 Bobby Chacon vs. Cornelius Boza-Edwards on May 15, 1983: Same as number one. Ebb and flow, savagery, courage, violence, technical skills…everything was included. 1983 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. Chacon rose from a knockdown in round one and recovered from a dangerous cut to drop Boza Edwards in round twelve and avenge an earlier defeat. It was redemption at a high cost.
3. Yvon “The Fighting Fisherman” Durelle vs. Archie Moore: on December 10, 1958 in Montreal. On the canvas 3 times in round one and once more later in the mid rounds, Moore somehow regrouped and slowly came back. He knew every trick in the boxing book and used every one of them to come back and batter the game Durelle for an 11th-round stoppage. The fight defined courage and will. Only the Robinson vs. Basilio fight kept this from being Ring Magazine Fight of the Year…but that was just plain wrong. Hell, this should have been fight of the Decade.
4. Monroe Brooks vs. Bruce Curry: on April 7, 1978. Old school battle featuring controlled violence until both threw simultaneous hooks in the ninth round with Curry’s landing first. This was Gatti-Ward before Gatti-Ward. This was violence with a purpose. The exchange of punishing shots was incredible.
5. Alvaro “Yaqui” Lopez vs. Matthew Saad Mohammed: on July 13, 1980 in New Jersey. The first half was dominated by Lopez and in round eight (named “Round of the Year”), he pinned Saad in a corner landing 20 wicked consecutive blows. Muhammad somehow got out of that round and stopped the arm weary Lopez in the 14th round. (1980 Fight of the Year – Ring Magazine)
6. Jaime Garza vs. Juan “Kid” Meza: on November 13, 1983. This was sudden fury in Kingston, NY. First Meza went down, then Garza down and out. The KO was named 1984’s Knockout of the Year by KO Magazine. The old adage “never hook with a hooker” did not apply, for both fighters were deadly with this punch.
7. Elvir “The Kosovo Kid” Muriqi vs. “Slamming” Sam Ahmad: On July 23, 2002 in New Rochelle, NY. A pier six, ebb and flow brawl. A total of 6 knockdowns called and 2 not called but should have been. The Kid prevailed.
8. Tommy Hearns vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler-“The War” -Enough said
9. Micky Ward vs. Reggie Green: this cult classic was fought on October 1, 1999 and was arguably better than the first Gatti-Ward. I was there and can vouch for the ebb and flow action and dramatic ending in the 10th when Ward finally caught up with the courageous Green. They were “Two lions in the ring” Breakthrough fight for Ward that segued him to glory.
10. Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo: With his left eye almost totally closed and already down twice in the 10th, Corrales miraculously climbed off the deck and battered Jose Luis Castillo into submission along the ropes to score one of the most dramatic TKO’s in boxing history on May, 2005. Ring Magazine Fight of the Year.