This week in boxing history, PBC recalls one heavyweight champion on the rise and another reaching the top, the final meeting in one of boxing’s greatest rivalries and two bouts that were named Fight of the Year.
February 13, 1952 – Rocky Marciano stopped Lee Savold in six rounds in a non-title heavyweight bout at Philadelphia’s Convention Hall.
Marciano would go on to win the world heavyweight title later that year by beating Jersey Joe Walcott, while longtime contender Savold retired after being bloodied in his 153rd career bout by the future champion.
February 14, 1951 – Sugar Ray Robinson knocked out Jake LaMotta in the 13th round to win the world middleweight title at Chicago Stadium.
It was the sixth and final bout between the fighters, and became known as the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” because of the beating LaMotta endured. Robinson ended up winning their career series, 5-1.
February 15, 1978 – Leon Spinks beat Muhammad Ali by split decision to win the world heavyweight championship at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Spinks, a 10-to-1 underdog, won the title in just his eighth professional fight, making him the most inexperienced boxer to win the heavyweight championship. In a bout that The Ring named Fight of the Year, Spinks became the first challenger to win the heavyweight title by decision since Jim Braddock in 1935.
February 16, 1970 – Joe Frazier stopped Jimmy Ellis in four rounds to become the world heavyweight champion at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Frazier gained two knockdowns in Round 4, and Ellis didn’t come out for the fifth. With the victory, Frazier won the vacant WBC title and claimed Ellis’ WBA crown.
February 19, 2000 – Erik Morales defeated Marco Antonio Barrera by split decision to retain his WBC super bantamweight world title and claim the WBO championship at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
In the first of three storied meetings between the Mexican rivals, Morales won a controversial decision after being knocked down in the 12th round. The Ring named the bout Fight of the Year, and selected Round 5 as Round of the Year.