In a salute to boxing’s rich history, Premier Boxing Champions offers up a weekly look at some of the sport’s major moments.
This week, we highlight a legendary champion’s stoppage of a rising star; a historic welterweight matchup with a significant opening act that took place at Madison Square Garden; and a trio of fights from Las Vegas, including one in which a young man then known as “Pretty Boy” won his first world title.
October 3, 1981 – Alexis Arguello gained a 14th-round TKO of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini to retain his WBC lightweight title in Atlantic City. Arguello was 28 years old and a three-division world champion, while the 20-year-old Mancini was challenging for his first world title.
After 10 rounds, one judge had Arguello winning, one had Mancini ahead and the third had the fight even. The Nicaraguan champion dropped Mancini with a right cross in the final seconds of the 12th, then finished him off with another right in Round 14 as referee Tony Perez stepped in to stop the fight.
October 3, 1998 – Unbeaten challenger Floyd Mayweather Jr. earned an eighth-round TKO of Genaro Hernandez at the Las Vegas Hilton to win the WBC super featherweight title in his first world championship fight.
The 21-year-old Mayweather became the first 1996 U.S. Olympian to earn a world title when Hernandez’s corner stopped the bout after Round 8.
October 4, 1940 – Fritzie Zivic dethroned Henry Armstrong as welterweight world champion in a 15-round unanimous decision at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The 39-year-old Armstrong, the only boxer to hold three world titles simultaneously, was even on two scorecards entering the 15th but was nearly stopped in the final round.
Zivic won a title rematch three months later in the second of three bouts between the fighters, and Armstrong never again fought for a championship.
Also of note: 19-year-old Sugar Ray Robinson made his professional debut on the undercard with a second-round TKO of Joe Echevarria.
October 4, 2003 – Joel Casamayor gained a sixth-round TKO of Diego Corrales in Las Vegas to win the first of their three meetings in the ring. Corrales was floored in Round 3, and the fighters exchanged knockdowns in the following round of the 130-pound bout, which was stopped after Round 6 because of cuts inside Corrales’ mouth.
Corrales would go on to win the vacant WBO super featherweight title by split decision in their rematch five months later, while Casamayor earned the WBC lightweight championship by split decision in the rubber match on October 7, 2006.
October 7, 2000 – In a rematch of their 1999 Fight of the Year, Paulie Ayala gained a slim 12-round unanimous decision over Johnny Tapia in Las Vegas.
When the decision was announced for the 124-pound nontitle bout at the MGM Grand Garden, Tapia and his camp reacted angrily, including his brother-in-law being led away in handcuffs after throwing a punch.