6. Corrie Sanders vs Wladimir Klitschko
“Let the next era begin”
When Former heavyweight world champion Corrie Sanders was shot and killed back in 2012 in his native country South Africa, two of the first men to issue a statement of regret and condolence were the Ukrainian brothers who have ruled the boxing world for the best part of the decade, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko.
“We will remember Corrie as a great person both inside and outside the ring. He was a great fighter with a big heart who always positively represented the sport of boxing.”
“We were shocked to learn of the sudden death of Corrie Sanders and we want to express our sincere condolences to his family,” they stated on Fightnews.”
There was no doubt that the news of Corries Sander’s death hit the two heavyweight brothers hard because he helped define both brothers, both in a negative and positive sense, in and outside the ring.
WBO heavyweight world champion
Back in 2003, WBO heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko, looking for high quality opponents, was supposed to beat Sanders in this match up. Sanders just came out of retirement where he had been working as a golf player in his native South Africa. The 20 to 1 underdog looked very out of shape and aged. Klitschko had defended his WBO heavyweight title five times before stepping into the ring with underdog Sanders.
That made it all the more startling when the unsung fighter beat current prodigy Klitschko around the ring for a 2nd round knockout. Wladimir was left face down on the canvas and contemplating how it had all gone so wrong. The fight was named: The Ring Upset of the Year 2003.
In 2004 Corrie Sanders showed how truly brave he was when he agreed to fight Wladimir’s tougher brother how had recently won the WBC world title belt from Lennox Lewis. Vitali regained the honour of his family when he stopped Sanders in the 8th round via TKO.
5. George Foreman vs Michael Moorer
“One for the Ages”
Until Bernard Hopkins’ career revival, George Foreman was the undisputed comeback king in the world of boxing.
Foreman was coming off the back of a loss, he had not held a world title since The Rumble in the Jungle win Ali, twenty years previous and Moorer was at his peak holding both IBF and WBA belts. Before the fight, Michael Moorer thought that Foreman didn’t deserve a shot at the heavyweight title. “He’s a smart man when it comes to conning people,” Moorer stated on Sport & Note.
“He promotes himself. He saw that was the way to get a title fight.”
After the Ali loss, Foreman lost part of himself, in his mind the only way to regain all he had lost was to win back the title.
“There’s something within me that moves me to become heavyweight champion of the world,” George Foreman stated. “And I won’t stop until I satisfy this thirst within me.”
Statistically Moorer held every advantage. At 26, he was 19 years younger and he was far faster. He was undefeated (35-0, 30 KOs), the second southpaw Foreman had faced in his professional career and finally, Foreman hadn’t fought in 17 months. The safe bet was with Michael Moorer but the odds were reduced by the people who bet with their hearts. Foreman was a 2 to 1 underdog.
Most importantly, George Foreman made peace with his inner demons.The shame of the Ali fight was overwritten by the joy of the Moorer knockout.
Foreman stated. “I’m heavyweight champion of the world and I’m happy about that.”
So was the rest of the world. For those lucky enough to experience the thrill and excitement that occurred 21 years ago, the power of that moment will be deep-rooted in their memories for the rest of their days.
4. Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman
“The Rumble in the Jungle”
Now, almost 41 years after the historic battle, Ali’s official fan club is beset by thousands of messages from fans all over the world write on his Facebook group, messages to thank him for remaining an example to both amateur and professional boxers.
In 1974 many commentators believed that Muhammad Ali is on the end of his career, he does not have the shine he once had and will be defeated by the young George Foreman, the reigning heavyweight champion. Most wagering Foreman because he had no matches lost and 40 matches won, 37 were won by knock out, and the last eight lasted less than six minutes. Additionally, he won in front of Joe Frazier and Ken Norton, two boxers Muhammad Ali defeated a few years back. Commentators believed that Ali had the disadvantage of a three-year break (1967- 1970) when he was suspended for not joining the army.
After he regained his license in 1970 but lost the championship in front of Joe Frazier in 1971, Ali was forced to fight boxers less important to be able to get in a position to challenge the Frazier and regain the title. After years of fighting, Ali saw Frazier lost his title in favour of George Foreman, who was put on the floor in just two rounds.
So Ali was forced to challenge George Foreman and the “Rumble in the Jumble” was on, bout originally scheduled in September 1974 but delayed by a month due to an accident suffered by Foreman. The fight was held in Zaire because it was the only country willing to sponsor the event, the organizers aim was to get 10 million dollars for the two athletes to share equally.
The Rumble in the Jungle
Even though many didn’t give Ali much chance in the ring, they all acknowledged that he had an advantage over Foreman in the popularity and promotion chapter that have come to affect its hitherto unshakable psyche although the odds were 3 to 1 in Foreman’s favour. Ali was a star even in the most hidden places in Zaire and his trainings gathered thousands of curious people who ran after him only to encourage him. “Ali Boma Ye“, which means “Ali kill him” became his motto, repeated as fans gathered to see him give his soul training on pending fight. Postponing the match was a great asset struggle for Muhammad Ali, known for ironic lines and how they incite opponents with few words.
Rumble in the Jungle, eight rounds debilitating and life friendship, but, as always, Ali had a strategy that he thought of in detail. In the first round Foreman hit until he got dizzy, then he let him strike defending each time. Between rounds the audience shouting “Ali Boma Ye”, and after the third round Foreman was visibly tired, because he had not fought more than six minutes in a long time, meaning two rounds. Meanwhile, Ali showed no sign of fatigue, ignoring his coach’s tactics, keeping in mind the plan he built every day while training.
“Is that all you got, George? You disappoint me. My Grandma punches harder than you do… you supposed to be bad…” Ali taunted Foreman, who struck incessantly. Seven rounds were a set of strokes given or received by Foreman at Ali’s will, but even if he was adamant he did not seem like he could overthrow his young opponent. But people understood it in the eighth round when Ali let Foreman hit him heavily, then pushed in the ropes, he attacked with two calculated right punches, a left hook, followed by another straight Right, after which Foreman fell to the floor spinning. And Ali has shown the world that he is “the greatest”, as he liked to say.
The two champions became very good friends after the match, Foreman being with Ali in important moments in his life, especially after Parkinson’s disease diagnosed 25 years ago had worsened. Muhammad Ali, Cassius Clay as he was baptized, is 73 years old and lives with his family in his hometown Louisville, Kentucky. In recent years he was involved in numerous charitable projects, but his health is increasingly precarious, so public appearances have diminished considerably.
Hes official website: http://muhammadali.com/