From Ali vs Frazier to Holyfield and Bowe – ranking the biggest five boxing trilogies ahead of Fury vs Wilder – The Sun03/07/2020
TYSON FURY will fight Deontay Wilder for a third time to complete boxing’s latest trilogy rivalry.
The pair fought to a contentious split-decision draw at the end of 2018 but Fury made no mistakes in the rematch to win the WBC title in a one-sided seventh round beating.
Despite twice being floored and dominated throughout, beaten Wilder enacted his right to a third bout, which is set for July 18 back in Las Vegas.
It means the heavyweights are due to join a history of historic rivalries spanned over three fights.
Here SunSport takes a look at the biggest and most famous trilogies.
5. Evander Holyfield vs Riddick Bowe
In one of the best heavyweight rivalries of the modern era, Holyfield and Bowe bypassed an incarcerated Mike Tyson to hog the division's limelight.
Holyfield had won the titles from Tyson’s conqueror James ‘Buster’ Douglas but was overpowered by the bigger Bowe in their first fight in 1992 which included an incredible round 10.
But the ‘Real Deal’ took the rematch by majority decision a year later in a fight infamous for a parachuter who unexpectedly landed in the ring, forcing the bout to temporarily stop.
In the third and final fight Holyfield dropped his opponent in round six but Bowe fought back to win the rubber match in the eighth.
4. Manny Pacquiao vs Erik Morales
In 2005 two nations collided as Filipino icon Pacquiao met decorated Mexican Morales.
Morales was the victor in the first fight ending PacMan’s six year unbeaten run.
But in the rematch a year later Pacquiao roared back to knock out the Mexican for the first time, and bettered the result in the trilogy 10-months later winning in the third.
The fight helped push Pacquiao as a global superstar and will be remembered for the thrilling combination punching and aggressive tactics between the pair.
3. Arturo Gatti vs Micky Ward
Fan-favourites Gatti and Ward kick-started their epic series of bouts with arguably boxing’s greatest ever fight.
In a true back and forth battle the two hammered each other from the first bell with round nine dubbed the best of the century as Gatti hit the deck in what proved the difference as Ward edged the scorecards.
The rematch was less eventful after Ward was knocked down in the third. He finished the fight but struggled to do so.
In the trilogy the two rolled back the clock for another thriller as Gatti broke his hand in round three but fought on. Ward dropped his man in the sixth but was ultimately beaten on points to close out the historic battles.
2. Erik Morales vs Marco Antonio Barrera
In one of the most celebrated rivalries of all time Mexican duo Morales and Barrera shared a hatred for each other that made for epic viewing in the ring.
They first fought in 2000 with both suffering battered and cut faces but Morales won by a controversial points decision, despite being floored in the final round.
In the rematch, two years later, again fans disagreed with the winner as this time Barrera walked away with the verdict as the pair again sported swollen faces by the final bell.
The third and final fight is considered the best of the series and one of boxing’s greatest ever as Barrera emerged the victor on points in a thrilling non-stop bout.
1. Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier
This heavyweight trilogy is iconic as it featured two of the division's biggest ever fights as Ali returned to boxing following a four-year exile for refusing to serve in the US armed forces.
He won two fights before challenging Frazier in the ‘Fight of The Century’ – which ended in Ali's first pro loss.
In the rematch Ali bounced back to win on points with the performance less than thrilling.
But it set up the iconic Thrilla in Manila, which Frazier lost by stoppage after being pulled out before the final round.
Despite the quality of the fights lacking compared to others in the list, Ali’s remarkable comeback from beaten champion to heavyweight king makes the Frazier trilogy so iconic.
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