TUESDAY: ESPN2 to Air Seven Hours of Classic Heavyweight Fights
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 vs. 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.