The sport of boxing has been around since Ancient Greece times as their Olympic sport back in 688 B.C. The modern era of boxing was adopted into the Olympics in 1904. Since boxing first became a sport, there have been many changes to boxing as we know it today.
The sport of boxing had a much different look back in Ancient Greece than what we have today.
Boxing was a well-developed sport back in Ancient Greece and enjoyed consistent popularity. The sport was first introduced in the Ancient Greek Olympics during the 23rd Olympiad in 688 B.C.
Instead of the modern-day boxing gloves that we see, Boxers used leather thongs around their hands to protect them. These boxing matches had no rounds, and boxers fought until one of them acknowledged defeat or could not continue.
Modern-day boxing now has rules, rounds, time limits, and judges for each boxing match. Each round lasts three minutes, and rounds for each fight vary from four rounds to 12 rounds. Bouts with 12 rounds are usually championship fights, while bouts with lower rounds are usually matchups with new or up-and-coming boxers.
Boxing in the modern era has four major sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), and the World Boxing Organization (WBO).
These four sanctioning bodies have their own weight divisions, with championship titles for each of those weight divisions. So any boxing title holder would most likely be the champion from one of these four major sanctioning bodies.
In the modern era of boxing, there have been many greats that have graced the boxing ring. That list of boxers includes these people:
- Mike Tyson
- Muhammad Ali
- Floyd Mayweather Jr.
- Manny Pacquiao
- Ray Robinson
- Joe Louis
- Ray Leanord
- Rocky Marciano
- Roberto Duran
- Evander Holyfield
- George Foreman
- Joe Frazier
- Oscar De La Hoya
- Lennox Lewis
These boxers helped shape the boxing world into what we know it today. They are some of the greatest boxers of the modern era and have helped pave the way for some of the newer talents in the boxing world today.
Without a Muhammad Ali, there might be no Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, or Lennox Lewis. Because of Ali’s contributions to boxing, many other boxers got the opportunity to get in the boxing ring to showcase their skills.
Boxing in the modern era has had classic fights that have gone down in history as some of the greatest fights ever in boxing. Some of those fights include these bouts:
- Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury (2018 and 2020)
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao (2015)
- Arturo Gatti vs. Micky Ward (2002)
- Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II (1997)
- Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Durán II (1980)
- George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali (1974)
- Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier (1974)
- Ray Robinson vs. Jake LaMotta (1951)
- Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson (2002)
- Oscar De La Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (2007)
- Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez (2013)
These boxing matches were some of the most-watched and anticipated bouts back in their day. The Lewis vs. Tyson bout was one of the highest-grossing pay-per-view boxing fights of all time back in 2002. That record would stand until the 2007 De La Hoya vs. Mayweather Jr. fight.
However, the highest viewed and revenue PPV holder for boxing is currently the Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao fight in 2015, which had 4.6 million PPV buys for a revenue of $410 million. These matches and boxers have made boxing popular around the world, drawing in millions of fans to the sport along with millions in revenue for boxing promoters.
When it comes to title defenses for boxing champions, each major boxing sanctioning body has its own title defense rules. For example, the WBO requires champions to defend their title at least once every nine months, except for heavyweight champion, who only has to defend their title once every 12 months. So big-time title matches don’t happen all that often.
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