Most Hyped Fights in the History of Boxing

Floyd Mayweather Oscar De La Hoya

Chris Farina

Over the years, the world of boxing has experienced numerous fights that were extremely hyped by the media, common viewers, as well as individuals interested in betting on boxing.

While it is difficult to single out any particular contest as the most hyped, it certainly possible to shortlist some of the most anticipated and widely followed boxing matches ever. These selections have been made based on the amount of money, time, and public attention attracted by these bouts.  Also, please remember that these are by no means the ten best matches in the history of boxing, but all of them involved big names pitted against each other in highly anticipated events. 

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Manny Pacquiao: This fight in December 2008 was key to Oscar De La Hoya’s bid to become the best pound-for-pound fighter of his generation. However, in the 12-round bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao made light of work of De La Hoya to become an international superstar.  On the other hand, this defeat ended the professional boxing career for Oscar De La Hoya. 

Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson: Lennox Lewis’ heavyweight championship defense against Mike Tyson finally took place in 2002 at The Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee. The fight took place long past its original schedule as Tyson was denied the license to fight in the state by Nevada.  This hotly anticipated fight ended up generating loads of revenue for all parties. In this fight, however, Tyson was merely a shadow of his past glory and Lewis emerged as the easy winner in a one-sided affair that lasted for eight rounds. 

Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II: One of the most talked-about boxing matches ever, this fight took place on June 28, 1997. The fight was originally billed as “The Sound and the Fury,” but is remembered infamously as “The Bite Fight.”  Seven months before this fight, Holyfield had shocked the boxing world by knocking down Tyson. Holyfield’s victory resulted in a rematch that was a toast for the boxing fraternity. In the round three of the bout, Tyson used his teeth to remove a segment of Holyfield’s right ear. Later on, Tyson again went to bite his opponent’s left year, resulting in his disqualification. 

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier I: Dubbed the “Fight of the Century,” this mouth-watering contest took place at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden on March 8, 1971. The defending heavyweight champion Joe Frazier came to this fight with a 26-0 record. After fifteen rounds of action, Ali had to face the first defeat of his professional career.

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III: The two greats squared off several times post their first match in 1971.   One of the most highly anticipated rubber matches between the two took place in Quezon City, Philippines on October 1, 1975.  Ali was declared the winner between the 14th and 15th rounds when the contest was stopped by Frazier’s cornerman.  

Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez: On the Mexican Independence Day weekend in 2013, Mayweather met the undefeated Mexican sensation Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. In terms of live gate and pay-per-view revenue generation, this fight ended up shattering most of the records. The fight’s result was yet another whitewash for Mayweather. 

Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather: The longstanding rivalry between Oscar De La Hoya and Mayweather took their 2007 super-fight to a different level altogether. The fight in Las Vegas captured the attention of the entire sporting community around the world. After some very close rounds to start with, Mayweather took control of the fight and registered one of the biggest victories of his career.