From Wrestlers To An Actual Bear, These Are Five Of The Most Bizarre Nights In Boxing

After the announcement of Floyd Mayweather vs Logan Paul, we look at five other bizarre boxing match-ups
12:00, 02 May 2021

The battle between boxing’s self-proclaimed TBE (The Best Ever) and YouTuber Logan Paul is officially on and will take place on June 6 in Miami, with the pair set to make a bucket load of sweet, sweet cash in the process. 

A scrap involving arguably the finest pugilist of the modern era against a 0-1 podcaster might not be boxing’s finest hour, but below are five other bouts that were similarly bonkers at the time...

Muhammad Ali Vs The Japanese Wrestler

If you thought Rocky Balboa’s battle with Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan) in Rocky III was boxing’s first foray into the world of boxing-wrestling crossovers, you’d be mistaken.

In 1976, Muhammad Ali, the WBC and WBA heavyweight champion of the world, was targeted by Antonio Inoki, a Japanese wrestler who had been staging contests against champions of various martial arts to prove that wrestling was the ultimate fighting discipline.

Staged in Tokyo and fought under special rules that would become a precursor to the MMA we all know and love today, the actual event descended into a farce, with the majority of the fight spent with Inoki on his back, kicking Ali in the legs 107 times in total. The bout was ultimately scored a draw, something that some fight fans still dispute to this day.

 

George Foreman Vs Five Men In An Hour

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These days, George Foreman is magnanimous in his defeat to Muhammad Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle and accepts that he was beaten by quite possibly the greatest fighter to grace the ring. But back in the seventies, with his pride wounded, he was adamant that he was bested by exhaustion, not his opponent’s superior fistic skills.

Foreman was determined to prove he was still numero uno in boxing’s marquee division and so, in 1975, voyaged to Toronto to fight five men in one night. On April 25, what was meant to be a triumphant display of Foreman’s athleticism and power, became one of the saddest spectacles in the sport’s history.

The five poor souls sent out to slaughter for three rounds apiece were each between 30 and 40 pounds lighter than ‘Big’ George and by the time he finished, little more than an hour had passed. Unsurprisingly, none of these five fights found their way onto Foreman’s official record - even his usual trainers refused to show up for the charade!

Jack Dempsey Vs The Cowboy

In 1940, at the age of 45 and in dire need of money, former heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey launched a daring comeback into the world of prizefighting against professional wrestler Clarence ‘Cowboy’ Luttrell (Okay, so not a ‘real’ cowboy).

When refereeing a wrestling match in Atlanta, ‘the Manassa Mauler’ was dragged into an argument with notorious mat villain Luttrell and after the wrestler told a reporter, “I've licked tougher guys than Jack Dempsey. There's never been a boxer who could beat a good wrestler. I want to be known as the guy who KO’d Dempsey,'' Dempsey duly accepted.

The fight, which took place at Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Park on July 1, did not last long. Dempsey, a shadow of his extraordinary prime, still managed to deliver ‘Cowboy’ an incredible beating, sending the cocky wrestler to the canvas four times, leaving his face broken and bloody and ultimately putting him in hospital. Dempsey picked up $4000 for the comeback. 

Chuck Wepner Vs A Bear

Chuck Wepner fought a who’s who of heavyweight legends in a golden era absolutely littered with them, from Ali to Foreman, Buster Mathis to Sonny Liston. His bout with Ali was even the inspiration for the first Rocky film

But his craziest bout (which, for a man who once fought wrestling icon Andre The Giant, says something) was against Victor. Victor the bear, to be precise.

Wepner, who was warned not to hit the bear in the face, fought the declawed, defanged and muzzled Victor twice once his boxing career came to an end in the mid-70s. Incredibly, both were considered draws. 

 

Floyd Mayweather Vs Conor McGregor

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After bears and cowboy wrestlers, this one seems pretty mundane. The battle between 49-0 boxer and UFC superstar sent the sporting world into meltdown back in 2017 and the market for similar crossover bouts has exploded ever since. It seems every day there’s a UFC fighter expressing a willingness to switch from the Octagon to the sweet science or vice versa, from Francis Ngannou to Claressa Shields, and thanks to Messrs Mayweather and McGregor, we’ll only see more. 

The actual fight between these two failed to live up to the hype, with Mayweather handing ‘Notorious’ a pretty convincing beating, defeating the Irishman in the tenth round by technical knockout.

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