Top 5 Grudge Matches
5. Diego Corrales vs Jose Louis Castillo
The fearsome rivalry between the late Diego Corrales and Jose Louis Castillo was so intense it started in the ring and ended in the civil courts. The problems only surfaced after they had already knocked seven bells out of each other in 2005’s Fight of the Year. Then, Corrales picked himself up off the canvas twice in the 10th round to score a stoppage but when Castillo came in overweight for the rematch Corrales found himself counted out in the 4th round. Breaking point came when Castillo again weighed in over the limit for the rubber match, coming in at a junior welterweight 140lbs for a 135lb lightweight clash. The fight was cancelled and instead of winning the series in the ring Corrales had to settle for suing Castillo for loss of earnings. 10th Round of Corrales vs Castillo I...
4. Marvin Hagler vs Thomas Hearns
The fight was promoted as The War and it did exactly what it said on the tin. When future Hall of Famers Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns looked at each other from opposite ends of the ring in April 1985 there was only one thing on their minds, and it wasn’t pleasant. Having been the undisputed king of the middleweight division for the last five years, Hagler was less than impressed at Hearns’ pompous claims to the throne having only just stepped up from junior middleweight. Hearns on the other hand had reason to be confident; he had just destroyed Roberto Duran, the only man to so far have lasted the distance with Hagler during his reign as middleweight king. Both men wanted to shut the other up, as quickly and devastating as possible, and the three rounds of hell offered up did just that for Hagler, who came out on top. 1st Round of Hagler vs Hearns – often cited as the greatest 1st round ever in the history of the sport…
3. Marco Antonio Barrera vs Erik Morales
Many reasons have been offered for why Mexican greats Barrera and Morales didn’t get along. For starters, with one being from Mexico City and the other from border town Tijuana they were born into regional disputes. What’s more, they came up at exactly the same time and battled to fill the void left by Julio Chavez as Mexico’s Numero Uno (No1 fighter). The hatred spawned an awesome trilogy of bouts with parts one and two being acknowledged as Fight of the Year in 2000 and 2004 respectively. And the action wasn’t reserved for the ring alone with the pair even trading blows in the press conference ahead of their second fight in June 2002.
2. Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank
Who can forget the rift that put British boxing on the world stage in the early 90s. Some people just rub you up the wrong way and for Benn and Eubank the feeling was very much mutual. The original Best of Enemies; chalk and cheese; Benn the people’s champion, ex-Royal Fusilier who laid everything on the line in the ring and loved it. And Eubank, the man people loved to hate, aloof, technically gifted pugilist who detested the sport he earned his trade in. The pair faced off in two of Britain’s greatest-ever fights in 1990 and 1993, and even continued with the animosity well into retirement when they appeared as foes on Channel Five show Gladiator: Benn v Eubank.
1. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier
To call Ali’s trilogy of fights with Joe Frazier a grudge match is a bit of an understatement. It was Ali himself who described their excruciating rubber match in the Philippines as the “closest thing to dying” he had ever experienced. And if the pair were allowed to come out for the last round of the Thriller in Manila in October 1975 one of them might just have died. Frazier had been pounded to the face so much he couldn’t see out of both eyes and Ali had absorbed so much damage to the body he felt like he was on his death bed. What had brought these two legends to this point was a mixture of rivalry, fear and Ali’s big mouth, particularly his insistence on labelling Joe an “Uncle Tom”. If the punches stung, the bitter words were felt for decades after and manifested in the fighter’s daughters stepping in the ring in 2001.