This week in boxing history, PBC highlights a batch of world title fights ranging from 130 pounds to heavyweight, featuring two successful defenses, a champion reclaiming his title and a couple of upsets, including the last great performance for "The Hitman.”
May 29, 1982 – Rafael “Bazooka” Limon knocked out Rolando Navarrete in Round 12 to regain the WBC super featherweight title at the Aladdin Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Navarrete won the title in August 1981 by stopping Cornelius Boza-Edwards, who had unseated Limon as champion 5½ months earlier in a unanimous decision. Limon seized the title back, though, with a barrage of blows that dropped Navarrete in the closing seconds of the 12th and ended the fight.
May 30, 1987 – Mike Tyson stopped Pinklon Thomas in the sixth round to retain his WBA and WBC heavyweight titles at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Tyson finished off Thomas with a flurry of punches to improve to 30-0 with 27 KOs. He would go on to become the undisputed heavyweight champion in his next fight by beating Tony Tucker, who stopped James “Buster” Douglas in Round 10 on the Tyson-Thomas undercard to win the vacant IBF title.
June 1, 1984 – Livingstone Bramble stopped Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini in Round 14 to gain the WBA lightweight title at Memorial Auditorium in Buffalo, New York.
Bramble, a 4-to-1 underdog, battered the face of Mancini, who was making his fifth world title defense, until referee Marty Denkin stopped the bout 53 seconds into the 14th. Mancini’s second career loss kept him from a potential big-money showdown against Aaron Pryor or Hector Camacho, and instead landed him a February 1985 rematch with Bramble, who retained his title in a unanimous decision.
June 2, 1973 – Carlos Monzon beat Emile Griffith by unanimous decision in a rematch to retain his WBA and WBC middleweight titles at Stade Louis II in Fontvieille, Monaco.
Monzon, the 1972 Fighter of the Year, defeated the former welterweight and middleweight champion for the second time after a 14th-round TKO of Griffith in September 1971, and defended his world titles for the seventh time overall.
June 3, 1991 – Thomas Hearns defeated Virgil Hill by unanimous decision to claim the WBA light heavyweight championship at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The unbeaten Hill (30-0) was a 2½-to-1 favorite over Hearns, who at 49-3-1 had already become the first boxer to win world titles in five weight divisions. The 32-year-old “Hitman” relied heavily on his jab and sharp counterpunching to upset the 1984 U.S. Olympic silver medalist, and win an unprecedented sixth world championship and second at 175 pounds.