While it is clear what the true meaning of Memorial Day is for the United Sates, there always has been an underlying theme, watch a lot of boxing. Binge watching television programs has been a developing phenomenon over the past few years, however, this author has been binge watching boxing matches for many many years.
The holidays typically mean a boxing marathon in my house and Memorial Day has always served as one of the bigger marathons of the year. The great news is you do not even have to be an American to join in on the fun, you just have to love boxing, and be a fight collector.
As an avid collector of fights, I am very proud of my collection but I am always working to add fights, both new and old, to the library. If collecting fights is not your thing, yet you love the sweet science, YouTube is a great place to binge watch boxing as well. Although a hard core collector might say that is cheating.
Here are some fight suggestions to spend the holiday from yours truly, they are not the more popular and often discussed fights, but they are gems you do not want to miss:
Muhammad Ali vs. Doug Jones: This fight is often forgotten about when discussing The Greatest, but it was one of Ali’s toughest fights. Ali wins a questionable 10 round decision as Jones gave as good as it gets, and in my opinion did enough to win a close decision. But Ali had charisma and Angelo Dundee, a very tough combination to overcome on the scorecards.
Ken Norton vs. Jerry Quarry: Two of the more underappreciated Heavyweight boxers, especially Quarry, put on a great show. Norton was as good as he ever was in this one. He needed to be because Quarry was willing to be carried out on a stretcher before conceding defeat. However Norton, The Fighting Marine, had more fire power than Quarry had guts. One of the best fights of the 70’s.
Leon Spinks vs. Eddie Lopez: Another proud fighting marine, Leon Spinks against the rough and dirty Lopez is a forgotten gem of a fight, and highly entertaining.
Dwight Muhammad Qawi vs. Eddie Davis: When I met Qawi at the Boxing Hall of Fame, he asked me which one of his fights I remembered the most, I replied, other than his first fight with Evander Holyfield, it was this one. Dwight was surprised that I even remembered the fight, and expressed the difficulties he had with Eddie, “I had a hard time finding that cat” were his exact words. Which is why I love this fight so much, Qawi was able to do what he did best despite the challenges the crafty and underrated Davis possessed. Yes, it would be a good idea to also watch Qawi Holyfield one.
Leon Spinks vs Jim McDonald: This is a fun fight to watch, especially if you have it with all the prefight bells and whistles. American pride is riding high with this Don King Production, as a tribute to D-Day, the fighting Marine McDonald gains great respect in a losing effort against one of the best Light Heavyweight of all time. This was Michael’s last fight at this weight class and he produced as good of fireworks as he ever had.
Trevor Berbick vs. Renaldo Snipes: One usually does not think high octane action fight, when Trevor Berick name is mentioned, however, Berbick, in my opinion has always been underrated and pretty entertaining to watch. This might be the most exciting fight he was ever in and a forgotten heavyweight gem of the 1980’s.
Greg Haugen vs. Vinny Pazienza 1 & 2: Watch these two fights back to back and you will be treated to 30 rounds of boxing bliss. Haugen boxed his greatest fight in the rematch, and went toe to toe in Vinny’s backyard in fight one. This fights would go great with some nice colds ones and a Memorial Day BBQ.
James Toney vs. Iran Barkley: While I have never been a huge James Toney fan, I figured that I would inject some defensive minded fighters to the marathon. Toney’s massacre of Barkley was his best performance in my opinion. Barkley was on a decent roll going into this fight but James sliced him up while hardly eating any of The Blade’s Leather. The sweet science at its best.
Arturo Gatti vs. well take your pick: It would be hard to have a holiday marathon without a Gatti fight. Or two, or three, he is missed and should be celebrated every chance we get.
This is just a small sample of how you can plan your holiday. I am sure boxing junkies can make up their own list, but I created one that does not include the obvious, and I promise you none of these fights will put you to sleep, no matter how much you indulge this holiday weekend.