Top 10 Rivalry and Grudge Match’s

In any sport we love a good rivalry, but particularly in boxing as they often bring the very best out of the fighters and gets casual fans talking about the sport. So with Haye vs Bellew just around the corner I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the best rivalries and grudge match’s over the years. So here is my top 10.

10 James Degale V George Groves

This rivalry goes all the way back to when they were kids coming out of the same amateur gym, the pair did meet in the amateurs a fight which Groves won. Their rivalry further heated up when Degale was picked for the 2008 Olympics over Groves, so when the pair turned professional it seemed inevitable that they would meet at some point and in May 2011 that’s  exactly what happened. It was a close fights that Groves won by just one point.

Now that Degale is the world champion it looks like a rematch could happen at some point.

9 Dereck Chisora V David Haye

This match was made after the two of them were involved in what can only be described as a bar room brawl at Chisora’s post fight press conference with Vitali Kiltschko.  When the fight was made a number of boxers and governing bodies criticised the fight because they believed it was bad for boxing. The British Boxing Board of Control refused to sanction the fight, and the WBC threatened to suspend the license of anyone involved in the event.

Despite all this or maybe because of it fans flocked to Upton Park, and many cinemas showed the fight on the big screen.

8 Tony Bellew V Nathan Cleverly 

This rivalry rumbled on for years before the two finally got in the ring, with a number of heated exchanges between them over social media. The fight had been scheduled to take place earlier in 2011 but Bellew couldn’t make weight, this only seem to add fuel to the fire and the war of words continued until in October 2011 the pair finally met in the ring for the world title. Cleverly won a tight split decision. 

There were Immediate calls for a rematch but it took until 2014 for this to happen after both fighters had moved up to cruiserweight this time Bellew won a tight split decision.

Again there were calls for a rematch between the two but after the fight Cleverly decided to move back down to light heavyweight so the rubber match looks unlikely to happen.

7 Chris Eubank V Nigel Benn

Both of these fighters were warriors in the ring and fan favourites, they always brought the best out of one another. There 1st fight happened in November 1990. Eubank won their first fight with a 9th round knockout.

3 years later in October 1993 the rematch took place it ended in a very controversial draw.

Sadly the 3rd fight never happened, although Chris Eubank dose keep calling out Nigel Benn on social media, but let’s hope it never happens. Many people think that there two sons will continue the rivalry at some point.

6 Mike Tyson V Evander Holyfield

You can’t have a list like this without talking about these two.  They were first scheduled to fight in 1991 but Tyson was forced to pull out with a rib injury.  Shortly after this Tyson was sent to prison for 3 years. The pair finally met in 1996. Holyfield put in one of the performances of his career to knockout Tyson in the 11th round.

A year later the pair met again this time Tyson was disqualified in the 3rd after biting Holyfield’s ear. After the fight Tyson was stripped of his boxing license and fined $3 million (roughly £2417700).

5 Sugar Ray Leonard Thomas Hearns

Now I know what you’re thinking how this one made my list and to be honest it nearly didn’t. Their first fight was one of those that didn’t live up to the hype, however Leonard did get the knockout in the 14th round.

8 years on the pair met again this time it ended in a draw

4 Sugar Ray Leonard V Roberto Duran

Now this is what you call a rivalry the pair had 4 epic fights over 9 years ,however it is their first two fights that will be remembered the most and they were what made the rivalry what it became, they definitely knew how to bring the best out of one another.  Their first went all the way and Duran won a close one on points.

Later the same year the pair met again this time Leonard pulled off a stunning knockout in the 8th round.

3 Muhammad Ali V Joe Frazier 

Now these two set the bar to what a rivalry should be they had 3 fights but it was their first fight that set the tone for the next two. Although Ali won the trilogy 2-1, the 1st fight was the best.

2 Arturo Gatti Micky Ward

Ok this one wasn’t really a rivalry as such as the two became very good friends. However they shared the ring for 3 great fights Gatti won the trilogy 2-1 but that is almost irrelevant.

1 Carl Froch V George Groves

Over 80,000 fans packed out Wembley to see the rematch between these two. The rematch came about after many people believed that the referee stopped their first fight too soon.

In the rematch Froch left the result in no doubt with a stunning 8th round Knockout.

So that’s my list comment below and let me know who would make your list. 

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