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  • Heavyweight Boxing Fights In The S: Bowe, Foreman, Galota The Best Of The Rest

Heavyweight boxing fights in the 1990s: Bowe, Foreman, Galota - the best of the rest

Widely regarded as one of the greatest eras in heavyweight boxing, the 1990s was a truly exceptional fighting decade for the sport.

Showcasing the skills of now-legendary fighters like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield, boxing fans were treated to a series of remarkable heavyweight rivalries and spectacular, if sometimes controversial fighting occasions.
While those great warriors mentioned above set the benchmark for success, and capturing much of the limelight during the era, the 1990s was littered with an array of outstanding heavyweight showdowns involving several highly talented big men.

Who could forget the epic battles shared between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe? Or Holyfield's extraordinary first victory against Mike Tyson? Spectacular heavyweight contests that could even be compared to the golden era of heavyweight boxing enjoyed during the 1970s with the legendary figures of Muhammad AliGeorge Foreman and Joe Frazier.

So, with that being said, let's take a look back at some of the other great heavyweight fights enjoyed during a wonderful yet, at times, controversial period for the sport.

Evander Holyfield vs George Foreman - 1991

The 1990s began with the proverbial bang as Buster Douglas stunned the world to capture the undisputed heavyweight title in Tokyo from a then unbeaten Mike Tyson. However, an under-conditioned Douglas would quickly surrender his titles with a second-round KO defeat at the hands of former undisputed cruiserweight king Evander Holyfield just six months later.

With a 28-year old Holyfield now on top of the division, the 26-0 Alabama native would turn back the clock for the first defence of his undisputed crown, taking on a 42-year old George Foreman.
Four years into a much-maligned comeback, Big George had returned to the sport with a seemingly fanciful dream of becoming a two-time heavyweight champion.
Considered little more than a figure of fun for an American sporting public unconvinced by his attempts to return to the top of the sport, Foreman had racked up the wins in the four years following his return to boxing in 1987.
Picking up 24 successive victories with 23 KOs, the quality, or the lack of quality of those opponents left many questioning the validity of his upcoming title shot.
At 28, Holyfield was rapidly approaching his prime - Foreman, in contrast, at 42, and weighing in at a heavy 257lbs, was given little chance, even to go the distance, let alone claim the unlikeliest of victories.
However, Big George hadn't read the script. Lumbering perhaps, and slower than a snail on tenterhooks, Foreman retained a rock-solid chin and enough power to give his significantly younger and more skilled opponent a far tougher night's work than had been anticipated.

Indeed, after a largely ineffective pair of opening rounds, the skilled and effective Foreman would rock Holyfield on several occasions in round three, showing both his opponent and the rest of the world that there was plenty of life yet in the old dog.

Written off by all and sundry, Foreman would display enormous courage in battling his younger opponent all the way to the final bell. While losing a unanimous decision, the veteran preacher turned boxer had taken plenty of punishment but, with it, earned his pound of respect.
Yet, this wasn't the end of the Foreman story. Seventy-two fights into a 22-year career, the man now famed for his ability to grill a piece of meat, wasn't done. The final and perhaps most glorious of chapters in his career remained to be written.

George Foreman vs Michael Moorer - 1994

Three years on from his gallant but ultimately fruitless quest to regain the heavyweight title at the age of 42, a 45-year old George Foreman would once again step back into the ring for another tilt at greatness, this time against the recently crowned WBA and IBF ruler Michael Moorer.
Having been inactive for eighteen months following a unanimous decision loss to Tommy Morrison in 1994, Foreman would be handed one final shot at glory against the unbeaten Teddy Atlas trained champion, Moorer.
Making the first defence of his WBA and IBF titles following an impressive win against Evander Holyfield, Moorer entered the bout with a perfect 35-0 winning record and, with the vociferous Atlas in his corner, was expected to finally send Big George back into retirement.
Dominating the first nine rounds of the bout, Moorer, 19 years Foreman's junior, could quite well have boxed his way to a comfortable points victory. However, buoyed on by the always aggressive Atlas, Moorer, perhaps contemptuous of the Foreman's famed power, would look to trade shots with George, standing in front of the big man as he looked to finish off his earlier work.
Yet, on a night never forgotten by those fortunate enough to bear witness to its thrill, Foreman would land a perfectly timed right hand down the pipe in round ten, leaving a stunned and stricken Moorer unable to beat the count of Joe Cortez.
A genuinely extraordinary boxing feat had been achieved in a moment of unadulterated boxing brilliance. An expertly posted right-hand midway through the tenth stanza had stupified and stunned all but Big George. This was his night. This was his redemption.
Sporting the trunks worn on the night of his famous loss to Muhammad Ali some 20 years earlier in Zaire, Foreman knelt in prayer as the world collectively gasped. Finally, big George's date with destiny had been fulfilled. A 45-year-old unified heavyweight champion.
The pastor with the power had completed what must surely rank as the most remarkable comeback in boxing's long, storied history and, some 27 years later, Foreman remains the oldest man to have claimed the sport's greatest prize.

Bowe vs Golota 1 and 2 - 1996, 1997

Having claimed two wins in his epic trilogy with Evander Holyfield, a 29-year-old Riddick Bowe 38-1, now without a heavyweight title, was expected to finally get it on with long-term rival Lennox Lewis in the Spring of 1996.
However, with the fight failing to materialise, Bowe would instead take on the challenge of the relatively unknown Pole Andrew Golota at Maddison Square Garden later that summer.
From the outset, the bout appeared little more than a tune-up for Bowe, who, having defeated Evander Holyfield in the final fight of their remarkable trilogy, was expected to again challenge for a portion of the heavyweight crown in the coming months.
Golota, 28 and with a perfect 28-0 record, had received little fanfare in the lead up to the bout with the Pole considered little more than fodder for a still respected and dangerous proposition like Bowe.
Yet, none of that mattered on the night. Golota, boasting a piercing and punishing jab, would administer a clinical and brutal beat-down of a badly faded Bowe, who had entered the ring at a career-high of 252 lbs.
Out of shape and out of ideas, Golota dominated the opening rounds against the former WBA, WBC, and IBF heavyweight champion, however, a series of dangerously low blows would result in points being deducted from the Pole.
In a truly remarkable round seven, Golota ramped it up, landing another devastating blow below the belt and an inevitable disqualification was his reward. Yet the drama had only just begun.
Enraged by their fighters suffering, Bowe's team would storm the ring, attacking Golota with a series of blows and even a walkie-talkie. Golota's 74-year-old trainer, Lou Duva, was also injured in the ensuing riot, collapsing to the canvas with chest pains before being stretchered from the arena.
A truly disgraceful night for the sport, yet remarkably, a rematch would take place in New Jersey just five months later.
Sadly, for both men, little would change. While Bowe appeared to be in better condition coming into their second bout, the former champion was no longer the force that had so brilliantly captured heavyweight titles in 1992. At 29, Bowe had become an old man inside the ring.
Dominated again by the Pole, even being floored in round two, Bowe would again suffer repeated low-blows, and in round nine, a quite staggering four-punch combination below the belt would again see Golota disqualified. Thankfully, order was maintained inside the arena, on this occasion.
Inside the ring, there would be no return to the top of the sport for Bowe. Instead, Big Daddy would retire and sign up for the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Just three days later, Bowe would call time on that career path as well.
His time had passed. The story was closed by the brutal if misfiring fists of a troubled Golota, who himself, despite plenty of talent, would never achieve his own dreams of heavyweight title glory.

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