Five fistic thrillers to banish self-isolation blues

James Oddy
22/03/2020 9:30pm

Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

James Oddy guides us through five incredible bouts to keep us entertained through the dark days of self-isolation...

The world is a tumultuous place now, to put it mildly. One of the few silver linings for fight fans enduring self-isolation is the chance to catch up on some old classics.

This list isn’t definitive, and they aren’t exactly ‘forgotten’ fights, but they may be aren’t the ones which immediately spring to mind when you’re looking for your next fight fix.

So if you’re needing to unwind for a few hours, why not check one of these out…

1) Ruslan Provodnikov vs Tim Bradley
This 2013 clash for the WBO welterweight title sees the normally slick Bradley go into the trenches with the scarily tough Provodnikov. The fight has plenty for everyone - Bradley boxes well at times, Provodnikov throws with bad intentions from the start, there’s knockdowns, and even a contentious winner. Do you agree with the outcome?

Click here to watch Provodnikov vs Bradley

2) David Tua vs Ike Ibeabuchi
The 90s heavyweight scene is fondly remembered, and both these two were wildcards of the division. Here they show a wonderful blend of skill and brutality, setting a record for the volume of punches thrown in a heavyweight clash which lasted until Kownacki vs Arreola last year. This 1997 clash was arguably the pinnacle of Ibeabuchi’s career, the Nigerian being one of the great ‘what ifs’ of modern boxing history.

Click here to watch Tua vs Ibeabuchi

3) Roberto Duran vs Iran Barkley
By 1989, Duran was long past his best. At 37 and fighting at middleweight, he was a long way removed form his 70s lightweight prime. Barkley, the reigning and defending WBC champion, was rightly viewed as favourite. What unfolds in front of a raucous New Jersey crowd has to be seen to be believed, as Duran provides an inspiring display of guts and skill.

Click here to watch Duran vs Barkley

4) George Foreman vs Ron Lyle
The 1970s are rightly viewed as halcyon days for the heavyweight division, and this bout may be the pinnacle when it comes to pure violence. The malevolence starts from the pre-fight stare down and doesn’t let up, as the 1976 Ring Fight of the year shows two murderous punchers laying it on the line from the word go. The ultimate bully, Foreman, never seems to intimidate Lyle, one of the greatest heavies never to win a world-title.

Click here to watch Foreman vs Lyle

5) Israel Vasquez vs Rafael Marquez 3
These two Mexicans engaged in an enthralling trilogy (and a terribly one sided fourth fight) and any of the three fights from 2007 and 2008 are worthy of inclusion on this list. But their third showdown, the first and only between them to go the full 12, provides a frenetic pace, high levels of technical skill and some eye watering exchanges on the inside. A classic that deserves to be revisited.

Click here to watch Vasquez vs Marquez 3