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Top 10 Worst Moments in Boxing History

Rolo Tomasi . . . Comments

Professional Boxing is known as the “Sweet Science”, but corruption, a lack of a central governing body and the rise of MMA have threatened to end this glorious sport. Mega fights still bring in huge revenues, but they are few and far between. We take a look back at 10 events which have contributed to the downfall.


James Butler

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Butler was a very promising young fighter from New York City, known by the nickname “Harlem Hammer”. In November 2001, James Butler fought Richard “The Alien” Grant. The bout was a charity event to benefit survivors of the September 11 attacks. After losing by unanimous decision Butler made his way to the middle of the ring to purportedly congratulate Grant. Grant reacted by stretching his hand out in a motion to embrace. Instead, Butler (who had already removed his gloves) threw a vicious haymaker to Grant’s face. Richard Grant suffered numerous facial injuries including a broken jaw, lacerated tongue and several stitches. Butler, in turn, was arrested and convicted of assault, and served prison time for the attack.

Unfortunately, the tale does not end there. James Butler continued his career after this incident, but could never duplicate his earlier success. In October of 2004, Butler was arrested and charged with murdering Sam Kellerman, brother of HBO Boxing analyst Max Kellerman, with (ironically) a hammer, and setting his body on fire after a dispute. Butler pled guilty in 2006, and was sentenced to 29 years in prison.


Riot at Madison Square Garden

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Polish born Andrew Golota entered the ring on July 11, 1996, with an exceptional 27-0 record and on the cusp of Superstardom. All he had to do was get past the 38-1 former Undisputed Heavyweight champ, Riddick Bowe. Golota responded with a brilliant performance. The Polish sensation clobbered the ex-champ round after round, almost into submission. He was well ahead on points and seemingly close to scoring a knockout.

In the 7th round, the fight began to take a very strange turn. Golota (for reasons known only to himself) commenced to blatantly and repeatedly punch Bowe below the belt line. Golota was warned several times and even received point deductions, but his behavior continued. After several more flagrant low blows the referee was forced to disqualify him. Riddick Bowe’s corner responded by rushing the ring and viciously attacking Golota and his team. This triggered a full scale, racially charged riot, which spilled into the stands. MSG security was not equipped to handle a massive brawl and had to wait for New York riot police to arrive. Reinforcements finally arrived but not before dozens of fans, boxing personnel and police were injured in this disgraceful and bizarre incident.


Only in America


Not just anyone can own a professional football franchise. Not just anyone can own a baseball franchise. Anyone can promote a fight, even a convicted killer and numbers operator from Cleveland. In 1974, Don King very shrewdly promoted his first professional fight. It turned out to be the famed Ali vs Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” in Zaire. This mega-event instantly transformed King into a major player in boxing for the next 30 years.

But, unfortunately the major player likes to play dirty; King’s many exploits are infamous. He has perpetrated fraud after fraud on any and all promising young fighters to join his stable. King has been implicated in: murder, bribery, theft, bookmaking, breaches of contract, and mafia assisted racketeering. Larry Holmes once said, “Don King wears his hair like that so he can hide his horns”.


Sonny Liston and the Mob


By all accounts Liston had a woeful childhood. Extremely poor and physically abused, Liston left home at an early age and participated in numerous violent crimes. While incarcerated, his boxing skills were discovered and, soon after his release, he began destroying a string of opponents on his way to the Heavyweight title. Liston’s incredible prowess caught the attention of several mafia associates including, Frankie Carbo and “Blinky” Palermo.

By the time Sonny Liston fought a young Cassius Clay on May 25, 1965, many in the press already suspected that Liston was controlled by the mob. He nevertheless participated in one of the most obvious fixes in sports history. In the very first round, Liston took a dive and allowed himself to be counted out after Clay threw his famous “Phantom Punch”. Slow motion review shows a quick combination that seemingly misses, or at best only grazes, Liston. Coincidentally, their first fight also ended controversially when Liston refused to come out of his corner for the 7th round, claiming a shoulder injury. Sonny Liston would die 5 years later, under very suspicious circumstances.


Corrupt Richard Steele

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A very rare event occurred on March 17, 1990. On this night two undefeated champions, who were both in the same weight class and who were both in their prime, fought each other. Julio Cesar Chavez who was 68-0 (and promoted by Don King) met undefeated Olympic gold medalist, and welterweight champ, Meldrick Taylor. Chavez was the favorite but it was Taylor who dominated the fight from the opening bell.

In late going Taylor’s trademark speed was beginning to wane but he still held a commanding lead on all scorecards going into the final round. Moments before the end of the match, Chavez scored a knockdown but Taylor rose to his feet quickly. Had the fight continued, Taylor would have still won by unanimous decision, but it was not meant to be. The bout referee, Richard Steele, stopped the fight with a mere 2 seconds left, and awarded the victory to Chavez. There were immediate protests from Taylor’s camp, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission (whose integrity has been routinely called into question) upheld the decision. Taylor’s career and health were subsequently ruined and Steele, who notoriously favored Don King fighters, forever tarnished the sport.


International Boxing Federation Scandal


The IBF, among other entities, is a major sanctioning body which is based in New Jersey. The way boxing works is: each sanctioning body has a champion. Champions are only allowed to fight boxers ranked in the top 15. Ranking committees determine who gets ranked. Ranking committee chairmen have the final say and are notoriously corruptible.

In November 1999, IBF president Bob Lee Sr. was indicted and convicted on numerous racketeering charges. Lee was conspiring with his rankings chairman, C. Douglass Beavers, to rig the rankings system to favor boxers whose promoters and handlers paid them cash bribes. The duo routinely took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the likes of Don King and Cedric Kushner, in return for artificially inflating the rankings of their fighters. Promoters who didn’t pay didn’t see title fights. The result was: a completely corrupt system which was not in any way based on merit. Another black eye for boxing.


Boxing’s not so Golden Age


James D. Norris was a very wealthy and extremely powerful man in the mid 20th century. He owned many companies and was heavily involved in the sports world, including owning a National Hockey League franchise, a major stake in Madison Square Garden and champion racehorses. Jim Norris was also a very unsavory individual and was widely known to associate with criminals. As president of the International Boxing Club, Norris had a virtual monopoly on championship fights, due to a lucrative contract the IBC had to broadcast fights on national television.

Jim Norris was personally responsible for fixing numerous bouts, including: Harry Thomas vs Max Schmeling in 1937, and Jake Lamotta vs Billy Fox in 1946. His corruption knew no limits. Besides match fixing he was also unofficially managing many boxers (usually against their will) and persuading them to hire his associates as advisers. Norris’ actions perpetuated a chain of farce’s which were passed off as competitive bouts to an unsuspecting public, and helped erode boxing’s integrity.


Seoul, Korea – 1988 Olympics


Many people remember a young Roy Jones Jr. being robbed of a gold medal by corrupt Olympic judges, but few remember an even uglier incident that preceded it. New Zealander Keith Walker was officiating a bantamweight bout between Byun Jong Il of South Korea and Alexander Hristov of Bulgaria. The fight was an ugly foul-filled affair and Walker had to repeatedly penalize Jong for head butting.

At the conclusion of the fight, Hristov was announced the winner but this only incensed Jong’s countrymen. Numerous South Korean boxing officials and coaches stormed the ring and viciously attacked referee Keith Walker with punches, kicks, bottles and even chairs. The terrified Walker barely escaped serious injury and headed directly to the airport and took the first plane back to New Zealand. Shamed and embarrassed, the Korean Boxing Federation president and the president of the Korean Olympic Committee both resigned after this deplorable incident.


The actions of Panama Lewis


At one time Carlos “Panama” Lewis was a world class trainer, his character, on the other hand, was anything but world class. Despite already being under a cloud of suspicion for allegedly giving his boxers water spiked with illegal stimulants and for gambling on fights that he was involved in; Panama Lewis concocted a wicked plan for his fighter, Luis Resto. Resto was nothing more than a journeyman fighter, or simply a professional opponent when he took on undefeated rising star Billy Collins Jr, on June 16, 1983

Knowing Resto was overmatched, Panama and another trainer removed padding from Resto’s gloves and poured an illegal hardening agent on his hand wraps. Luis Resto proceeded to brutalize his unsuspecting opponent for 10 rounds. After being declared the winner, Resto approached Collins’ corner. Collins’ father, who at that point was suspicious of Resto’s new found power, touched Resto’s hand and immediately notified ringside officials. The gloves and hand wraps in question were confiscated by the state Athletic Commission and both were brought up on charges. Panama Lewis and Luis Resto both had their licenses permanently revoked and were given prison sentences. Sadly, Billy Collins Jr. would never fight again, his once promising career shattered by the injuries he received. Collins Jr. was dead less than one year later, a suspected suicide.


Death of Duk Koo Kim

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A superstar in South Korea, Kim had risen all the way to the number one lightweight contender and earned a world title shot against the famed Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, on November 13, 1982. The bout was extremely brutal, especially for Kim, who had begun to wear down in the latter rounds after absorbing tremendous punishment from the champion. In the early part of the 14th round, Mancini hit Kim with a crushing right hand that caused him to fly toward the ropes and hit his head on the canvas.

Kim managed to rise but the fight was stopped by the referee. Minutes later Duk Koo Kim collapsed into a coma and was carried out of the ring and taken directly to the hospital. Tragically, the Korean star died 4 days later from severe brain trauma. Out of the hundreds of recorded ring fatalities, Kim’s death was one of the saddest. Kim’s opponent, Ray Mancini, would never again be the same caliber fighter, and it was widely reported that he blamed himself for Kim’s death. Kim’s mother committed suicide three months after her son’s death by drinking a bottle of pesticide. The bout’s referee, Richard Green, consumed by guilt, also committed suicide shortly after the fight.

  • Redsay

    Interesting, even for a non-fan like myself. Good list!

    • Same here, Always thought it to be dangerous. but i guess all sport is dangerous that’s why we(the unfit/lazy/Agoraphobes) stick to stuff like indoor bowling . . . better yet

      wii bowling

      • Would you look at that; first. I guess now all I need is for the omnipotent JFrater to comment on a comment of mine and I will have reached the pinnacle of human existence.

        My nearing-retirement mother has recently taken up boxing (for fitness). I will have to warn her to carefully consider it as a new career choice!

        • I think you may want to hold off on hoping for a comment from the majestic JFrater until your post isn’t full of fail…

    • MakeADime

      where’s holified incident bro…guess that it shud be there.

  • wyckid1

    Number 7 was huge, and is probably the most talked about scandle in boxing history.

  • Enter your comment here.

  • g

    Excellent list, that was a fascinating read.

  • DoctorD

    Reading the title I was not excited however this was really interesting!

  • loapaja

    Great list!

    Not a sports fan, but great amount of detail!

  • colder

    Good points, tho you might want to make the photos match the things they are supposed to represent. Just a little thought : )

  • fordmadoxford

    Enter your comment here.

  • Great List , really gave good insight into the seediness of the sport . I like watching boxing it is cool . What also could have been included was Ali’s unsuccessful comeback against larry holmes (i think). MMA also kicks ass but boxing is a completely different sport to watch its like chess , MMA is like jenga .

    • Arsnl

      Yes you cant actually compare them. One that really enjoys boxint cant find the same appeal in mma. It was a bit like comparing F1 and nascar. Only one can produce a senna.
      Great read. Proper list.

    • The Dude

      A sport consisting of 4 moves (punch left, punch right, block high, block low) is like chess, but a sport with a dozen styles and a hundred techniques is Jenga? If anything, MMA is chess and boxing is checkers

      • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

        Ok dude if you were a real MMA fan you would understand the complexities of boxing. As an amateur boxer and huge MMA fan I can tell you both are extremely complex. It’s true there are not as many positions or set ups as in BJJ, but boxing has elements that you probably are not even aware of.

      • yeah , but you misunderstand , a boxing match can be slow to start with an ambiguous (and contested) finish , this is true of MMA as well but not all that often . MMA is 2 guys using everything they got to pull their opponent apart . Of course theirs a strategic aspect (of course ! especially in very tough matches) but a lot of the times its balls to the wall test of strength skill and stamina . Boxing’s moves are limited like you said but that only means they have to really think how to capitalise on the moves they got . A boxer cant just run out of the corner like a bat outta hell , but in MMA it isn’t as ill advised because there is the total and quiet likely possibility ( depending on opponent ) that you can end the fight in a few sec . But its 2 completely different things impossible to compare in the same category .

  • Magoopaintrock

    The Tyson/Holyfield ear-bite should be on here. Back in the nineties when boxing was in a freefall decline, their epic first match was touted as the match that saved the sport. So when the much-anticipated rematch ended with a total joke, it was like a nail in the coffin.

    • QDV

      I was also missing the ear-bite. I had a major ear injury as a kid, and even today, my ear hurts whenever I see Tyson doing the business on Holyfield. :-)

      On the Mancini fight, I saw a documentary on this one some years ago, and Mancini’s obviously still shaken up about it, especially as regards to his being called a “killer” when it wasn’t his intention to do anything but beat Kim in a boxing match. Unfortunately, children are cruel, and Mancini related how his children would come home from school, having been taunted by others that their daddy’s a killer. It’s bad enough that he got to be the Angel of Death for Kim, but then his children had to live with the stigma of the event.

    • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

      I disagree. Tyson’s bite was an act in the heat of the moment. He was frustrated and angry. This list consists of mostly premeditated crimes, which I consider worse.

      • magoopaintrock

        Yes but the ear bite started a whole cannibalism-themed path that for boxing was a long and ugly episode. I loved the top ten though. All good items.

    • chris1372002

      you have to be joking. when i saw this list i assumed that incident would be here but after reading the rest of the entries, the tyson bite doesn’t hold a candle to any of the episodes listed here.

  • fordmadoxford

    Thankyou for this great list. The best list in a long time.

    The Duk Koo Kim and Ray Boom Boom Mancini fight was the subject of a song by a musician called Mark Kozelek. It’s one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of music you will ever hear. I urge people to seek it out if they haven’t heared it before….The song is called Duk Koo Kim.

    • hhenry

      Warren Zevon also wrote a song about it.

    • viceburgh

      Was going to post about the song myself…It’s excellent

  • Will Trame

    I’m not really a boxing fan myself, but this was an interesting list. Another incident that I have read about in the past…although I don’t know if it would classify as a “worst moment”…was the Sullivan/Kilrain bare knuckle bout of 1889. Both men were reputedly intoxicated; one to the point that he allegedly threw up in the ring.

  • Whatsinaname

    That was the most interesting list I have read on here in ages. Thank You.

    Do you have anymore lists related to boxing?

  • ConVixen

    Wow, I’m not into boxing but I must say this is one good list.
    Very informative, I learn something new everyday.

    I’m telling ya, boxing is just as bad as football. In the sense of all the force and pressure the body goes through with it. I sure couldn’t put myself up too it.

    Nice list ListVerse

  • br0ck

    what about the moment when drago killed apollo creed?that was horrible!

    • naw drago kicked ass it was the retard robot that convinced me sly stallone has no soul . .

  • vanowensbody

    Great list.

    A song that mentions the Duk Koo Kim fight is “Boom Boom Mancini” by Warren Zevon.

    “When they asked him who was responsible”
    “For the death of Duk Koo Kim”
    “He said – someone should have stopped the fight’
    “And told me it was him”

  • oouchan

    I’m not a fan of boxing, but found myself totally absorbed with this list. I’ve always been disgusted with King…and I love this quote: “Don King wears his hair like that so he can hide his horns”. hahaha!

    Good list.

  • Not a Boxer

    I definitely suspected Rubin Carter, the Mike Tyson ear incident, and…just about any other Mike Tyson moment to be on the list. And I suspected that the Ali-Liston fight would be number one. A pleasant surprise and I learned something.

    • Maggot

      I definitely suspected Rubin Carter…to be on the list.

      I don’t think the Carter story in any way adversely affected the sport of boxing. These other items mostly are about calling into question the integrity of the sport, whereas the Carter story had nothing to do with boxing really, other than the fact that Carter happened to be a past-his-prime boxer at the time of the crime.

  • Auburn Tiger

    This list was actually a surprisingly fun read. Football is the sport for me though (to watch). I mean American football mostly, but other footballs are also great (rugby is considered a type of football). All three varieties involve a lot more strategy than most sports. American football requires the most just because of it’s slower pace.

  • joey

    Great list, best I’ve read here in weeks, even though it is biased against blacks and Latinos.

    • Auburn Tiger

      Where was there racial bias?

      • josh

        i agree, i didnt notice any bias

    • poco

      was it because most of them are blacks and latinos?

  • dale

    Enter your comment here.

  • Smiley

    Only in America? Wtf?

    • Maggot

      It does seem to be a little gratuitous, but I think it is an unspoken reference to a made-for-tv movie about King with that as the title:

      I would more contest the inclusion of King on this list. Yeah he’s an unsavory character, but it might be argued that he has done more good for the sport than bad. The list intro says these are “events which have contributed to the downfall” of the sport, and I’m not so sure you could say King is guilty of that.

  • Lifeschool

    Like others have said, a very good list. I’m not into boxing at all, and have hardly ever seen a whole match all the way through (except: Rumble and Thrilla), so I anticipated a boring list. But not at all – plenty of story, plenty of detail, and very interesting. :)

    Oh yeah: Enter your comment here

  • Eddie

    This is a very interesting article, but you curiously omit any mention of Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear in that famous fight not so long ago. I lost a bundle on that fight!!!!

  • deeeziner

    It would have been so easy to have included Tyson’s bite out of Holyfield’s ear in this list. And cliche’.

    A fine list of entries for a list I had almost dismissed before reading. You’re choice for number 1 entry was well chosen.

    • magoopaintrock

      How cliche? Because it was a one-of-a-kind occurance? Because so many kids these days are including it on their top ten lists of worst boxing moments? Was it cliche for Tyson to do it? Man, you must have some high standards for originality.

      • deeeziner

        Yeah cliche’ as in even my 7 yo grand daughter would be expecting to see that event in this list. But Rolo Tomasi didn’t need to refer to that event to bulk out a really interesting list.

        Wanna box over it?

        • magoopaintrock

          That’s why you include it at #10 as a warm-up and get it over with. No, I also liked the ten selections. Not a bad list.

  • Very good list, I enjoyed it.

  • Good list. However, I would not include Richard Steele in this list. I feel the stoppage in question was a legitimate call. The instant a fighter is unable to defend himself it is the referee’s duty to stop the fight, regardless of what round or how much time is left. Meldrick Taylor was barely able to stand, much less defend himself, after the knockdown. I would put the Holyfield/Tyson/ Ear incident in this spot instead.

  • pbdundee

    Good list, apart from Richard Steele being corrupt?!?!?!? Taylor Vs Chavez 1 was a great fight, sure Taylor won every round but by the tenth he was beginning to fold. After he went down, Steele asked him ‘are you alright’ Twice, and he heard nothing back. The ref is not a timekeeper, he did the right thing by stopping the fight as Chavez did not go to a neutral corner and would of pounced on Taylor, had it not been stopped Chavez could of landed again and Taylor could of ended up like Duk Koo Kim. They fought again anyway, about 3 years later and Chavez KO’d Taylor in the 7th.

  • Armadillotron

    People say Tyson (who now has his own show Taking on Tyson about racing Pigeons) should be here. for biting on Holyfields lughole. He shouldn`t. During the fight, Holyfield was butting him endlessly. And Tyson was getting angry, and so in “a moment of madness,” he bit him out of frustration. And if you look at those cuts he had after the fight, they were definitely from butts. And in boxing you use your fists, not your head. Ever BEEN headbutted? It isn`t nice, believe me. Plus, Holyfield has butted people in the past. he butted Riddick Bowe in the second fight, and he headbutted Lennox Lewis in their first fight, and don`t get me STARTED on what he did to Hasim Rahman`s head! And Richard Steele a dad Referee? He`s one of the best!

    • Biting off a piece of your opponents ear isn’t proper retaliation, considering you’re allowed to punch him.. I’m not condoning headbutting, but Tyson’s corner should have acted properly, pulled the referee between rounds and called attention to the headbutting rather than Tyson taking matters into his own teeth. Perhaps the fight should be included as a whole rather than just the biting incident..

  • tim

    Yep, i just checked, it was copied from top tenz. Pretty sad…

    • Awww, I just checked too.. That is lame..

      • Please see my reply to the comment above.

        • Lifeschool

          What reply to the comment above? I see na-thing.

    • Actually it wasn’t – it was sent to me by Roland (who has had other lists published here before) in 2009 (14 December, 2009 to be exact) and Listverse owns the copyright to it as per the submission guidelines. Roland obviously sent a copy to TopTenz later because of how long it took for it to published here. I am considering whether I should remove it or not – I am certainly not going to demand that TopTenz remove it from their site as it wasn’t their error.

      • Ro

        Don’t mayne. Wouldn’t want to lose this great list, apart from No.7.

  • major harris

    first, as a big fan, that is NOT golota or bowe or taylor and chavez in the photos.

    good list on the whole. couple that were missing. oliver mccall’s mental break down in the middle of the fight against lennnox lewis. this was a rematch where the first mccall surprised every one with an upset k.o. every one expected a decent fight with a lewis victory at the end. mcall runs into the ring, looks pumped and ready. first round very energetic. second starts out the same, but mccall’s punches start to lose speed and frequency. at the end of the round, instead of going back to his corner, mccall, stalks around the ring glaring at people, just barely making it back to his corner before the 3rd round. 3rd round begins with mccall throwing a few very half hearted punches and then stops completely. lewis, looking confused, looks at him for a few moments and then tries to punch him. mccall meekly blocks and moves out of the way, avoiding them and eating a few really hard shots. round finishes and mccall repeats his behavior previously. round 4 starts but mccall throws no punches. ref asks him if he is ok. mccall starts to cry and blabber the he wants to fight and needs to fight. ref allows it to continue and still mccall throws no punches and is still crying. ref ends it.

    and briefly, foreman vs. shannon briggs. even though big george was MUCH older than briggs, he thoroughly dominated the fight. at then end, briggs went to his corner and even hung his head, knowing that he lost. they were fighting for a minor belt. when the ref announced that briggs was the winner, even he looked surprised. and to top it off, unless they have an engraver ring side and works very fast, briggs’ name was already on it when they handed it to him.

  • Steve-O

    Great list and a fitting #1. I remember when Duk Koo Kim was killed and the tremendous notoriety that was bestowed on Ray Mancini. One of the worst days in sports.
    Mention must be given to the maiming of Gerald McLellan and the Thrilla in Manila. Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali nearly killing each other in the ring and the hatred which resulted.

  • Cool guy

    Why do you guys have to post lists about tragic and sad stuff like this? I mean, I know some people like to read this stuff, but I don’t think lists like this would be a pleasant and enjoyable read for many people. I hope you make more positive lists. I think a list like this was posted a long time ago. Peace.

  • circlefan

    before, i always thought of boxing as a fair game: two human beings of the same weight division, given a pair of gloves, rules and a mouthpiece, then asked to fight until the bell rings…
    this is sad.

  • t-dogg

    this list sucks…do some reasearch!

  • Very Surprised

    Like others have mentioned this list was ripped off from another site. Same exact words with a different author. What gives?

  • f

    Picture number 9 isn’t even Golota and Bowe

  • freckledsmile99

    Rolo, this lists rocks! I don’t even like boxing but I found this list fascinating and sad. Nicely done.

  • mom424

    Great list – so much more interesting than I anticipated. Good job.

  • Richard Steele repeatedly asked Taylor ‘Are you ok? Are you ok?” but Taylor didn;’t answer. Either he was distracted or he was broken. Either way Steele did his job.

  • Great List!

  • teacherMan

    what a picture for number 2! rip

  • Word Nazi

    “Despite already being under a cloud of suspicion for allegedly giving his boxers water spiked with illegal stimulants and for gambling on fights that he was involved in; Panama Lewis concocted a wicked plan for his fighter, Luis Resto.”

    This sentence incorrectly uses the semi-colon. It has to be two complete sentences. “Despite already being under a cloud of suspicion for allegedly giving his boxers water spiked with illegal stimulants and for gambling on fights that he was involved in” is a fragment.

  • NKAchel

    I’m not much of a boxing fan, but this is actually very interesting.

    Awful things to read, especially nr 1. Nobody intended that to happen, sounds like a Greek tragedy. Just terrible.

  • Doc Croc

    Riddick Bowe punching Larry Donald or whoever it was at the press conference? Better than the actual fight when you look at it. I did some boxing when I were younger, and I loved winning and knocking people out but losing is unbelievable.

  • randomcommenter28567689

    I still like mma more

  • General Tits Von Chodehoffen

    Awesome list! The best sports list in a long time. Anyone who loads their gloves should be hit with a sledgehammer.

  • Great list

  • anon

    I agree with all of them but the Richard steele one. It was a fair call. it was tragic and it sucks tylor couldn’t stay on his feet but he was out on his feet thous a TKO.

  • Mkoua

    Bullshit on the Richard Steele mention. The man was investigated time and again and was never shown to favor King’s stable. Was the Taylor call unfortunate? Absolutely. Was incorrect? No. Could he have let the fight go on? Yes.
    Taylor would have won on scorecards, but Steele did his job in protecting a defenseless fighter; so what if there were two seconds left? The fight should have been stopped in the eleventh, anyways, Taylor was getting beat to death.

    • BigPoppaSmurf

      Agreed. Taylor was pissing out Blood for two weeks after that fight and to this day is a horrific mess because of that fight. It shows what kind of beating he took. 2 seconds or not, that fight had to be stopped.

  • Veronica

    What about the unfortunate murder of Arturo Gatti?

  • JOHN


  • tassie devil

    Good decision using the pseudonym of Rolo Tomasi (watch LA Confidential if you don’t get it). I wouldn’t want Don King and the Mafia after me (or any number of people you called corrupt).

  • sherry

    sad to hear boxing news on 1982 kim died. im glad today boxing is up to 12 rounds only

  • René

    I think you neglected to include the most tragic moment (by my definition worst). The match between Benny “Kid” Paret and Emile Griffith in 1962 at Madison Square Gardens. Griffith literally knocked him into a coma from which he never recovered. Norman Mailer was there and wrote an essay about it. If you are so inclined, the entire fight is on YouTube.

  • neutron_bomb

    As a boxing fan I noticed one glaring omission.

    The oversight of the Edwin Valero murder/suicide that occurred just last year is surprising. It is a horrible and sad story and deserves to be on the list.

    Also the photos on #9, #6 are incorrect. I hope to see more boxing lists some time.

  • jbjr

    One of the best lists I have read. Boxing was one of my favorite sports from early 70’s thru 90’s. I personally think as soon as fights began to appear on Showtime or HBO and related pay per views diminshed the role of network tv to showcase fighters including Championship bouts and also decline of boxing in the Olympics also a factor.

    I think Boxing stripping Ali of his title was also a horrible moment in boxing history. Who knows Ali might of retired sooner and would not have been pummeled tragically against Holmes. Don’t know if Parkinson’s was enhanced by the hits over the years taken by the Greatest.

    Also to the English folks on this site after Marvelous Marvin Hagler beat Brit Alan Minter to win middleweight title in 1980. The bottles flew and a near riot ensued. Roberto Duran “no mas” bout in his remath with Sugar Ray Lenoard was pretty disgfraceful.

  • Gerry Alanguilan

    I would like me some ear biting action myself.

  • PuroresuPride18

    No Holyfield/Valuev? One of the biggest robberies ever.

  • BigPoppaSmurf

    I’ve seen this exact list somewhere else. Not sure if it was here, but it had videos of most of these incidents. Regardless it was a great list. Also, for those thinking that Chavez winning the Taylor fight was unfair and wrong you’re crazy. The ref. doesn’t know how much time is left in the match he just controls what goes on in the ring. If anyone sees taylors face in tose last seconds you could tell that there was no way he could continue. 2 seconds or not he couldnt continue, those are the rules.

  • mr774

    Maybe his name was ????

  • Ivan Yerkinoff

    why does the entry about Bowe-Golota I have a picture of Jameel McCline vs. Mike Mollo?

  • justsayin

    Where’s Gayweather? He’s a big embarrassment to the sport too.

  • joilson

    what about tyson and hollyfield ear?
    it was an expected fight

  • Good list, but #1 doesn’t match the others. There was no conspiracy, no underhandedness. Boxers die occasionally in the ring. So do football players on the field. So do racers on the track. I don’t see how a rare, but still expected, incident is the Worst Moment in Boxing History.

    If it is, then the entire list should be populated by fighters that died in the ring, or shortly after the bout.

  • Brad Patridge

    What about the death of Johnny Owen?

    … too late in my response, I guess

  • abedeltoro

    I’m wondering why Mike Tyson’s ear-biting incident wasn’t included in the list I believe that was one of boxing’s all-time low and not to mention that spineless Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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  • Ro

    This had the potential of being one of the best lists ever in listverse if it wasn’t for the inclusion, or rather the explanation propounded in no.7.

    What phantom punch? There was no such thing. Why is it so hard to believe that Liston was badly hurt when the cameras show him being hit. When somebody bobs their head at you that fast( as liston did), you don’t need to extend your jab all the way to make it effective, just establishing contact will do. Simple physics of force and impact. And in any case, that jab was ridiculously fast by Ali.

    And even in the first match; liston suspiciously not coming out in round 7? What the fuck? I mean, since when have we become so awesome,expert judges of the threshold of pain?

    If it’s anything controversial which is worth mentioning about those Ali-Liston fights is that Liston had applied underhand tactics in the first match by putting some substance in his gloves. Ali said later on, that this guy he saw at Liston’s corner had also offered him the same substance.

  • Mike

    #6 is incredibly biased. there’s is a lot of important information left off of there, such as how bad Taylor’s injuries were. When Taylor rose from being knocked down, he DID NOT rise quickly. He had to prop himself up; he couldn’t respond to any of the instructions by Steele, so he stopped the fight. I think he made the right call. It’s not the ref’s job to keep track of the time (that’s the time keeper, he’s there to protect the fighter. Watch it on youtube if you need to see it.

    The idea that Steele was corrupt was brought on by Taylor’s camp. It was a shame that Taylor lost in that fashion, but it was a clean loss. Last minute loss’ happen in every sport, and this is boxing’s example.

  • Excellent list. I’m a boxing fan but am not particularly knowledgeable, so this has been very interesting indeed.

  • boxing makes dogfighting seem like touch football

    I will ask this,”After reading this list,how could anyone condemn another for participating in a true sport and test of gameness, such as dog fighting, without condemning the entire sport of boxing?”You see, the very huge difference here is that the dogs want to do it, love to do it, and do it willingly without all the corruption and bullshit that boxing brings to it’s very pathetic so called sport. The dogs don’t need no stinkin’ trophies, no fame, nothing but the desire to win and be the Best at what they do—FIGHT THEIR ASSES OFF! When they want to quit, it’s over! The dogs don’t have to fight, they want to. Take fame, money, notoriety, and that stupid big belt off the table and you would probably have a sport worth watching! It’s not rocket science, it’s corrupt entertainment and the question of who is the Best fighter never gets answered satisfactorily! Very sad, especially when human beings have lost their lives! Ali could have shut his mouth way earlier and proved himself in the ring but he wasn’t sure of himself and of an unsound temperment-not good for breeding! Just saying, but only once!

  • Antonius Block

    That’s Jameel McCline, not Riddick in the picture for number 9.

  • Great list but no mention of Michael Watson I couldn’t help but notice

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  • archworf

    If you are “counted out” in round 1 there is no round 7.

  • Craig

    The Richard Steele stoppage was the right thing to do…it’s not a ref’s job to consider if there is only 5 seconds left (so he might as well let it go since a fighter may “LIKELY” make it)…his job is to protect a fighter than cannot defend himself nor continue. Steele asked Taylor if he could continue TWICE…if Steele was so “corrupt,” why did Taylor take part by not answering? THIS is exactly the kind of fight a true fight fan LIVES for…the ultimate comeback! The fight was not over yet when Steele made the decision…that is what time is for! You should strongly consider removing the word “corrupt” from your Richard Steele title… Taylor was permanently damaged after this…one more good punch (within seconds) could have killed him. Anyone who thinks otherwise is missing the point of Boxing rules, time and the responsibility put on the ref.

  • Craig

    PS – you don’t even have the right fight for your photo…

  • Freddie

    There will come a time in the near future I hope that boxing will become obsolete. Why can’t grown men find some other way to display their power. like arm wrestling, competitive weight lifting, or comparing punching power. Let’s get away from this brutal cavemanesque form of competition.