ESPN2 and Showtime to Showcase Classic Boxing Fights This Week
Encore Presentation to feature Historic Heavyweights, including Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield
This Tuesday, April 7, will be a night of heavyweight legends on ESPN2 when the network airs a special programming lineup featuring classic heavyweight fights. The seven-hour encore presentation will showcase some of the greatest heavyweight bouts of all time, including Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier III, Mike Tyson vs Buster Douglas and Evander Holyfield vs George Foreman.
The action will begin at 7 p.m. ET with back-to-back presentations of three of Ali’s most memorable battles – Ali vs Foreman, Ali-Frazier III and Ali vs Leon Spinks II.
At 10:30 p.m. ET, fans will be treated to a special replay of four legendary Tyson bouts, including Tyson vs Trevor Berbick, Tyson vs Larry Holmes, Tyson vs Michael Spinks and Tyson vs Douglas.
The action will conclude at 1 a.m. ET with the 1991 thriller between Holyfield and Foreman.
Ali-Foreman: Ali was a 4-to-1 underdog against Foreman, who entered the fight at 40-0 with 37 KOs and two title defenses under his belt. The historic fight, dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle,” became iconic after Ali employed the “rope-a-dope” tactic to tire out and ultimately stop Foreman in eight rounds.
Ali-Frazier III: Ali had defended his title three times since upsetting Foreman, and the “Thrilla in Manila” turned out to be the most brutal fight of Ali’s career. Ali and Frazier split their first two matchups, and the two went to war outdoors under the sweltering Manila sun. After 14 rounds, Frazier’s trainer, Eddie Futch, stopped the fight. Neither man was ever the same, and the greatest rivalry in boxing history had reached its conclusion.
Ali-Spinks II: Seven months after being upset by the 1976 Olympic gold medalist, Ali got revenge, won a 15-round unanimous decision and became the first man to win the heavyweight world title three times.
Tyson-Berbick: The beginning of a legend. Tyson knocked out Berbick in two rounds to become the youngest man (20 years old) to win a heavyweight world title.
Tyson-Holmes: In a matchup of youth versus experience, Tyson needed only four rounds to knock out Holmes, who entered the fight having not fought in nearly two years. Holmes held the world heavyweight title from 1978-1985, made 20 successful title defenses and is considered to be among the greatest heavyweights who ever lived.
Tyson-Spinks: Tyson earned lineal heavyweight champion status with his 91-second destruction over Spinks, who first defeated Larry Holmes in 1985 to win the recognized heavyweight title. Spinks edged Holmes in their 1986 rematch and defended the lineal title twice more over the next two-plus years before running into Tyson.
Tyson-Douglas: Perhaps the greatest upset in boxing history, Douglas, a 42-to-1 underdog, knocked out Tyson in 10 rounds at the Tokyo Dome. Tyson had made nine title defenses before Douglas shocked the world.
Holyfield-Foreman: Holyfield knocked out Douglas to win the heavyweight title and chose Foreman, 42 years old and four years into his comeback, for his first world title defense. Holyfield won a unanimous decision, but Foreman pushed the younger man for 12 rounds. “The Battle of the Ages” was a heavyweight title showdown for the ages.
ESPN+ also features a library of hundreds of the greatest fights in boxing history streaming on demand, as well as more recent Top Rank on ESPN fight cards for replay. Among them are legendary heavyweight showdowns like Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III, Ali vs. George Foreman, Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn, Mike Tyson vs. Larry Holmes, Jack Dempsey vs. Gene Tunney, Max Baer vs. James J. Braddock, Ali vs. Sonny Liston I & II, Fury-Wilder II and many more.
Showtime to Air Classic Boxing Shows
SHOWTIME Sports will continue to serve boxing fans during the current hiatus from live sports, announcing today SHOWTIME BOXING CLASSICS with regularly scheduled replays of legendary bouts from the network’s deep archive of world championship boxing. SHOWTIME BOXING CLASSICS will air on three consecutive Friday nights beginning April 10, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. The telecasts will also be available via the SHOWTIME streaming service and SHOWTIME ANYTIME®.
The April slate of SHOWTIME BOXING CLASSICS will be highlighted by three Fight of the Year winners, which include some of the most heart-pounding and unforgettable fights in boxing history.
“The greatest fight I’ve ever covered,” said Al Bernstein, the International Boxing Hall of Fame analyst. In a career that spans more than 40 years, including calling Hagler-Hearns, Bowe-Holyfield I and the Vazquez-Marquez trilogy, Bernstein says the first Corrales-Castillo war was the best. “This was Hagler-Hearns times three because it lasted so much longer. It was fought at a such an extraordinary skill level and to me that is what made it so special.”
The fights scheduled to air in April include:
Corrales-Castillo I (May 7, 2005, Corrales TKO 10) – After nine intense, back-and-forth rounds in a WBC and WBO lightweight unification bout, Corrales accomplishes the unthinkable, miraculously regrouping from two knockdowns in the 10th to stop Castillo and etch his name in boxing lore. After managing to beat the count (and losing a point for spitting the mouthpiece), Corrales got Castillo on the ropes and connected with a huge right hand. Corrales continued to unload on a defenseless Castillo, forcing referee Tony Weeks to halt the blazing action.
Corrales-Castillo II (October 8, 2005, Castillo KO 4) – Castillo, who did not make the 135-pound weight limit, making the contest a non-title bout, avenges an earlier loss to the WBC and WBO Lightweight World Champion Corrales with a one-punch, fourth-round knockout. Castillo consistently outworks Corrales and lands the harder punches in a more one-sided bout than their first affair. Castillo staggers his opponent with a right hand in the third round that sends him stumbling backward across the ring. He then scores a finishing knockdown with a left hook in the fourth that puts Corrales flat on his back.
Ayala-Tapia I (June 26, 1999, Ayala W 12) – In some of the fiercest two-way action in the history of Las Vegas boxing, southpaw Ayala hands Tapia his first professional loss in 49 fights and captures the WBA Bantamweight Title by the scores of 115-114 and 116-113 twice. As the boxers were being announced, Tapia walked across the ring and shoved Ayala, causing a momentary skirmish.
Ayala-Tapia II (October 7, 2000, Ayala W 12) – In a rematch of 1999’s Fight of the Year, the action between the heated rivals does not disappoint. However, the outcome is the same as their first meeting, with Ayala winning via controversial unanimous decision. Mayhem ensues as the decision is announced and an incensed Tapia is ushered from the ring by security.
Matthysse-Molina (April 26, 2014, Matthysse KO 11) – Fighting in the night’s co-main event, Matthysse steals the show with a spectacular 11th-round knockout over Molina in 2014’s Fight of the Year. The Argentine, then ranked No. 1 in the world at 140 pounds, is hurt in the first and dropped in the second and fifth rounds. But Matthysse comes back with knockdowns in the eighth, 10thand 11th rounds to turn back a determined bid by Molina.
Bey-Molina (July 19, 2013, Molina KO 10) – In one of ShoBox: The New Generation’s most unforgettable rounds, Molina comes back from the brink of certain defeat to dramatically knockout then-unbeaten Mickey Bey. Heading into the 10th and final round, Molina was trailing on the three judges’ scorecards by 90-81, 89-82 and 88-83.