As we enter a new decade, it seemed fitting to take a look back at some great nights for boxing over the last ten years
What would be your biggest and best fights of the last decade? It’s entirely your choice, just as this list is entirely mine. I’m not suggesting you’ll completely agree with my picks; so don’t go getting all up in my grill about it, because I can guarantee some of you are going to want to. Below I relive some of the best nights of boxing I’ve enjoyed since 2010.
British Biggest & Best
Carl Froch versus George Groves 2 had the perfect build up, that being Froch versus Groves 1 which was hugely exciting and highly contentious. It also helped the hype for the sequel that the men hated one another. Yes you can argue that the 2014 event reinvigorated the British boxing scene (“80,000 seats at Wembley”) and it was a good fight, but the winner, for me, is a fairly easy pick.
I’m not Anthony Joshua’s biggest fan, but AJ versus Wladimir Klitschko was absolutely huge, a coming of age for Joshua and it didn’t need any bad blood to sell it (subjectively for better or worse). The fight was risk against reward for both men and with four world titles on the line it offered divisional dominance to the winner- with one at the relative start and one at the end of his career.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan OK’d Wembley being expanded to 90,000, eclipsing Froch vs Groves 2, and the crowd were treated to one of the best fights the heavyweight division had seen for years. It was the biggest AND one of the best.
I’d love to have seen Carl Froch’s face when he realised he couldn’t boast about 80,000 seats anymore. What am I saying, he definitely still does.
Winner: April 2017’s Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
Rest of the World Biggest & Best
AJ vs Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Ara… no I can’t finish that, even as a joke.
This is a much harder category for me because personally I believe there is a huge disparity between what were the biggest and what were the best fights in the rest of the world, which let’s face it mainly means America.
2015’s Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao was definitely the most called for fight of the decade. Sadly people had been calling for it since the previous decade and it came far too late and was a damp squib. It broke box office records and netted both boxers an obscene amount of dollar bills and for this reason I credit MayPac as biggest.
Best fight is, no has to be different.
I know Canelo versus GGG was huge and a great fight but I didn’t see it until a few weeks later because of work, so it kind of passed me by. If it hadn’t then it would most certainly be on here. Probably top.
As this is my personal choice, I’m going to have to find a balance between a fight that I enjoyed most and still take into account that it was a big fight. I enjoyed watching Manny Pacquiao torture notorious bell-end Antonio Margarito. I actually was excited for and enjoyed Mayweather’s fights against both Canelo and Marcos Maidana.
If I was to go for most exciting fight it would be December 2010’s Amir Khan versus Marcos Maidana. I’m an Amir Khan fan. Yes he’s divisive and increasingly keen to prove he’s not exactly a Mensa candidate, but Khan against Maidana was a big fight for me and a fantastic piece of entertainment. It also took place on my birthday. Told you this list was personal.
But. What was that I said about mainly in America? In November 2015, Dusseldorf, Germany hosted yet another boring Wladimir Klitschko defence of his four world titles. The Ukrainian had become synonymous with a neat pick of opponents and ability to dominate psychologically behind the scenes, all of which led to a beat down in the squared circle. He was rarely fun to watch, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
However Tyson Fury took the game to Wlad, he upset him, he disrespected him, and he played the Klitschko game better than David Haye had four years earlier. Tyson broke Wlad. Even on the day there were bust ups over the ring mattress thickness, all mind games. While frustrating, it proved to be a masterstroke and when Tyson then utterly bamboozled Wladimir in the ring (as he did Deontay Wilder) the titles left the east of Europe and frankly that win sparked the heavyweight division regeneration.
Winner: November 2015’s Wladimir Klitschko vs Tyson Fury
Wlad both wins and loses twice on this list. I bet he’s reading, too…
Please direct all complaints to @ChrisWadds on Twitter