This week in boxing history, PBC highlights a trio of fighters earning their first world titles, including the first British Olympic gold medalist to win a pro championship, honors a middleweight legend adding another world title to his résumé and remembers a storied heavyweight championship rematch.
May 22, 1993 – Roy Jones Jr. defeated Bernard Hopkins by unanimous decision to win the vacant IBF middleweight title at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
This was the first world title fight for both future Hall of Famers, with Jones going on to become a four-division champion and Hopkins becoming the longest reigning middleweight champion ever and a three-time light heavyweight titleholder. They fought a second time in April 2010, when Hopkins won a non-title light heavyweight bout by unanimous decision.
DeGale floored Dirrell twice in the second round en route to becoming the first British Olympic gold medalist to win a professional world championship.
May 24, 1968 – Bob Foster knocked out Dick Tiger in the fourth round to earn the WBA and WBC light heavyweight titles at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
The Ring named Round 4 as Round of the Year. The 6-foot-3 Foster was seven inches taller than Tiger and had an eight-inch reach advantage. He held onto the WBC title until a brief retirement in 1974, and was stripped of the WBA title in 1970 before reclaiming it in 1972.
May 25, 1965 – Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston in the first round of their world heavyweight title rematch at Central Maine Civic Center in Lewiston, Maine.
After upsetting Liston to win the championship in February 1964, Ali retained his title in one of the most controversial fights in boxing history. Midway through Round 1, Ali dropped the former champion with a short right that was hard to see and Liston was counted out by referee Jersey Joe Walcott, leading many observers to question the validity of the knockout.
May 27, 1983 – Undisputed world champion Marvin Hagler knocked out Wilford Scypion in Round 4 to earn the inaugural IBF middleweight title at the Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island.
Hagler already held the WBA and WBC titles heading into the fight, but neither organization sanctioned the scheduled 15-round bout. The champion avoided being stripped of his titles, though, when he put down Scypion with a barrage of punches in the fourth to improve to 57-2-2.