This week in boxing history, PBC looks back at three heavyweight Hall of Famers defending their championships in knockout fashion, a repeat performance for Fight of the Year and a first-round Knockout of the Year.
March 22, 1967 – Muhammad Ali knocked out Zora Folley in Round 7 to retain his world heavyweight title at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
It would be Ali’s last fight for 3½ years because of his legal battle over his refusal to be drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.
March 23, 1979 – Larry Holmes stopped Ossie Ocasio in the seventh round to retain his WBC heavyweight title at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Holmes dropped Ocasio four times in Round 7 as he defended his title for the second time. It was the first heavyweight championship bout between unbeaten fighters since Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier in 1971.
March 25, 1958 – Sugar Ray Robinson defeated Carmen Basilio by split decision to reclaim the world middleweight championship at Chicago Stadium.
After Basilio took the title from Robinson in The Ring’s Fight of the Year for 1957, the 15-round rematch earned the same honor for 1958. It was the fourth of five consecutive years that Basilio competed in the Fight of the Year.
March 25, 1989 – Michael Nunn gained a first-round knockout of Sumbu Kalambay to retain his IBF middleweight championship at the Las Vegas Hilton.
The southpaw Nunn scored a one-punch KO with a left to the chin of Kalambay, who was stopped for the only time in his 64-fight career. The Ring named the bout Knockout of the Year.
March 26, 1974 – George Foreman stopped Ken Norton in Round 2 to retain his world heavyweight championship at El Poliedro in Caracas, Venezuela.
Foreman went to the hospital with a reported knee injury 12 hours before the fight, but he destroyed Norton as he scored three knockdowns in his second title defense.