The 1938 rematch between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling pitted America's resolve with German dominance - and might have been the most important fight in (ring) history. Before 80,000 strong at New York's Yankee Stadium, Louis blasted through Germany's former champ, Schmeling, in a blistering knockdown in 2 minutes, 4 seconds.
Nearly 20,000 fans crowded New York's Madison Square Garden for "The Fight of the Century" between Smokin' Joe Frazier, defending his heavyweight title, and Muhammad Ali on March 8, 1971. Ringside seats were $150, each man was guaranteed 2.5 million dollars. Joe Frazier knocked down Ali, but won in the 15th round. Frazier and Ali met two other times in January 1974 and "The Thrilla in Manila" in October 1975 (both won by Ali).
Gerry Cooney (right) begins to fall to the canvas during the 13th round of the World Heavyweight Championship bout against Larry Holmes, before a packed, 32,000 crowd at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, on June 11, 1982. Holmes won the fight and retained his crown with a 13th round knockout in what was the richest fight of its time.
Mike Tyson held the belts of all three of the major sanctioning organizations and the bout against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 27, 1988, was supposed to settle "once and for all," who was the true champion. It was no contest. The fight turned out to be a massacre with Spinks going down in 91 seconds. The richest fight in boxing as that point, grossed some $70 million. Tyson's take was $20 million. Spinks earned $13.5 million.