Five boxing matches that gripped the world...

May 02, 2015, 08:07 IST | PA Sport

Today’s Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown may be the richest fight in history, but PA Sport examines five bouts that were more eagerly anticipated

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling
Yankee Stadium (New York), 1938
Nearly two years after Louis had been knocked out in the 12th round of their first meeting, he flattened Schmeling in just 124 seconds. It was viewed as a victory for good over evil due to the Nazis’ idolisation of Schmeling as evidence of Aryan supremacy.

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier
Madison Square Garden (New York), 1971
One of boxing’s greatest rivalries was born with the two unbeaten heavyweights colliding in the ‘Fight of the Century’ that justified the extraordinary hype. Frazier won a unanimous points decision and knocked Ali down with a trademark left hook in the 15th round.

Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman
Stade du 20 Mai (Kinshasa), 1974
Ali regained the world title in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, knocking out the seemingly-invincible title holder in the eighth round of a clash that is probably the most famous in boxing history. Foreman punched himself to a standstill, his blows failing against Ali’s ‘rope-a-dope’ tactics.

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier
Philippine Coliseum (Manila), 1975
Ali won the second meeting with Frazier and having shocked Foreman, the decider against Frazier beckoned. ‘The Thrilla in Manila’ was a brutal 14-round war that ended with Frazier being withdrawn by his trainer Eddie Futch, although Ali was seemingly ready to quit himself.

Sugar R Leonard vs Marvin Hagler
Caesars Palace (Las Vegas), 1987
A predecessor to Mayweather vs Pacquiao as the richest fight in history, the clash between two giants of the sport’s golden age failed to match the vast expectations that marked the build up. Leonard danced and dazzled his way to a split decision that is still debated to this day.

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