Here are five fights that barely missed the cut.
Willie Pep vs. Pernell Whitaker
It would be a battle between two of the most fleet-footed and greatest defensive boxers of all-time. At his best, Whitaker was nearly impossible to hit and Pep was so good, he was said to have once won a round without throwing a single punch.
A fight between the two would be a tactical and technical affair. The man who could establish his offense first would more than likely win the fight.
Thomas Hearns vs. James Toney
A fight between the two greatest middleweights Detroit ever produced. Hearns was possibly the most devastating non-Heavyweight puncher ever. He won titles from welterweight all the way up to middleweight.
James Toney was undefeated at middleweight and is as tough as they come.
If the “Motor City Cobra” and “Lights Out” ever met up, the fists would fly and someone would go to sleep.
Roberto Duran vs. Henry Armstrong
Henry Armstrong was so good, he held three titles in three different weight classes at the same time. Pound for Pound he may be the greatest fighter of all-time. Armstrong won 22 fights in 1937, 21 by knockout. Armstrong won titles between 126 and 147 pounds and had 189 career victories.
Roberto Duran is regarded by many as the greatest lightweight of all-time. He was a four division champion and a punishing body puncher.
An Armstrong and Duran battle would feature two of the greatest multi division champions in history.
George Foreman vs. Sonny Liston
In his early years, George Foreman was an intimidating force with brutal punching power. He was regarded as the most anti-social fighter around. The young Foreman was doing his best to imitate former sparring partner, Charles “Sonny” Liston.
Sonny Liston was as scary as they come. He didn't just beat opponents, he bullied them. Liston was the first man to ever knockout Floyd Patterson and he did it twice. He had an extremely long reach and a good jab that kept opponents off balance before he mauled them with power punches.
In their primes this might be a match better suited for a steel cage or a prison yard. Both men are ranked in the top 20 of Ring Magazine’s greatest 100 punchers off all-time. A fight between the two would be action packed, violent and short.
- Wladimir Klitschko vs. Larry Holmes
I can already see the fight’s headline “Underrated.” Larry Holmes is one of the best heavyweight fighters period. He won his first forty-eight fights and defended his title twenty straight times, second only to Joe Louis who had twenty-five straight defenses. Yet he is usually looked over by the fans of the sport and historians.
Wladimir Klitschko currently holds three of the major Heavyweight titles and is one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world. He has won 55 of his 58 fights including his last thirteen fights, eight by stoppage.
Klitschko is 6 ft 6 in and is three inches taller than Holmes but they both have an 81 inch reach. Klitschko is a bit better defender but both fighters have exceptional jabs. Holmes has the tougher chin and that could ultimately decide the fight.