This week in boxing history, PBC recounts a Mexico City showdown before more than 130,000 fans, recaps a bloody 40-round title bout, celebrates a four-division world champion, relives a heavyweight title rumble in Las Vegas and marvels at a Fight of the Decade.
February 20, 1993 – Julio Cesar Chavez gained a fifth-round TKO of Greg Haugen to retain his WBC light welterweight title before a world-record crowd of 132,247 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
Haugen infamously said before the bout that the Mexican champion had piled up his 84-0 record by fighting “Tijuana taxi drivers,” but Chavez dropped the Washington state native in the opening seconds of the fight and never relented until gaining the stoppage.
February 22, 1910 – Ad Wolgast stopped Battling Nelson in Round 40 to win the world lightweight title in Point Richmond, California.
Nelson floored Wolgast in Round 22 of the scheduled 45-round fight, which W.O. McGeehan of the New York Herald Tribune called “the most savage bout I have ever seen.” In 1996, The Ring ranked the epic brawl as the 19th greatest title fight of all time.
February 24, 1989 – Roberto Duran beat Iran Barkley by split decision to earn the WBC middleweight title at the Atlantic City Convention Center.
At 37 years old, Duran became just the third boxer in history to win world titles in four weight divisions as he improved to 85-7 with 61 KOs. The Ring selected the fierce 12-round battle as its Fight of the Year.
February 25, 1964 – Cassius Clay stopped Sonny Liston in six rounds to become the world heavyweight champion at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The 22-year-old Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali soon after beating Liston, who retired on his stool after Round 6 complaining of a shoulder injury. The Ring not only named the bout Fight of the Year, but also Fight of the Decade and Upset of the Decade.
February 25, 1989 – Mike Tyson gained a fifth-round TKO of Frank Bruno to retain his world heavyweight championship at the Las Vegas Hilton.
The fight was originally scheduled to take place at London’s Wembley Stadium in October 1988, but Tyson’s legal and personal problems scrapped those plans. After getting dropped in the opening seconds of the bout, Bruno caught Tyson with a left hook that staggered the champ for the first time in his career. Tyson resumed his domination of the Englishman after that, however, to improve to 36-0 with 32 KOs.