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Sports Strength

Robin Black Talks Calf Kicks, MMA Narratives, and Future Fights

Robin Black returns to In The Fight this week and broke down a lot of the hot buzz words flying around the MMA world at the moment.

When Robin Black came on “In The Fight” in December, one of the things he and I talked about were the trends in MMA. Like all sports, MMA’s strategic tendencies come in waves.

In December, we discussed the rematch between Poirier and Mcgregor. Black’s analysis was spot on. He couldn’t have been more clear.

“If you want to know anything about the second fight, don’t watch the first fight.”

And so that’s what I proposed to Black early in this episode. Now that we have seen the two fight on different occasions, now what do we do?

“People change. Fighting changes.”

Robin has an incredible mind for combat sports. He processes, analyzes, and then explains to the general audience how things happen. Ultimately, Black has realized what it is he does for a living.

“My job is to enhance the viewing experience for the audience.”

Whether it be calf kicks… false narratives in MMA… breaking down UFC 261’s incredible knockouts by Kamaru Usman or Rose Namajunas… or looking ahead to fights like Michael Chandler vs Charles Oliveira and Nate Diaz vs Leon Edwards… Robin Black brings it.

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Grind Money

What Is Mike Tyson’s Net Worth?

Whether or not you know the first thing about boxing, you know exactly who Mike Tyson is. One of the better Heavyweight boxers to ever grace the ring, he’s lived 5 lifetimes worth of success and turmoil. Over his long career, he’s made hundreds and hundreds of millions but as of 2021, his net worth is estimated to be just $3 million. This is due to bizarre spending habits, being cheated out of millions, bad deals, and more. But how exactly did it all happen?

Fight purses

Tyson got paid a wide variety of purses throughout his career, but since winning the WBC Heavyweight title against Trevor Berbick in 1986, his guarantee has been no less than $1.5 million. The first time he made $10 million was in his first fight in Tokyo against Tony Tubbs, though, of course, the second time is far more famous. Off the back of the Tubbs fight, he then made a whopping $20 million to fight Michael Spinks to add The Ring Heavyweight Title to his belt collection.

The biggest purses of Mike Tyson’s career didn’t come until the mid-1990s. For his rematch with Frank Bruno, where he regained the WBC Heavyweight title, his WBA heavyweight title win against Bruce Seldon, and his pair of consecutive losses to Evander Holyfield immediately afterward, Tyson earned a massive $30 million each and every time. That’s $120 million from March of 1996 to June of 1997.

All in all, it’s widely reported and believed that Tyson made $400 million over his professional boxing career from his fight purses. But of course, the word “made” is disingenuous. It must be said that Tyson was never earning anywhere close to his entire fight purse.

Before deducting for expenses, Don King received 30% of all of Tyson’s fight purses. Rory Holloway and John Horne also received a hefty percentage, meaning Tyson was left with just half of his own money before paying taxes and bills. When it came to the hundreds of millions he reportedly made off of endorsements, he also only ever received half of the money, at most.

Don King was robbing Tyson. He charged Tyson everywhere he could. He was accused of paying $200k to his wife and kids per Tyson fight and $1,000 weekly to his daughter because she was the President of Tyson’s fan club. In 1998, Tyson wised up and sued King for $100 million. They settled out of court, with Mike winning $14 million—a handsome sum, but far from justice served.

Cameos

With the level of star power that Mike Tyson has had for decades now, having him as part of your franchise has always brought some extra eyes to it. His famous appearances in The Hangover films reportedly brought him $300k in total. While that’s good money for the amount of work he did, the Hangover franchise topped $1 billion and he was one of the least paid ‘main’ characters in the films.

When he appeared at WrestleMania XIV in 1998 as the enforcer for Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin’s main event match, he was paid $3 million.

Business ventures

For a few years now, Tyson has been selling cannabis products after people around him telling him it made him a better person and him wanting to help others through it. Today, Tyson is believed to be making $1 million monthly from the Tyson Ranch.

Tyson also hosts one of the more popular podcasts in the space with Hotboxin which, though there are no official numbers on, is certainly one of his most lucrative ventures in 2021. 

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Sports Strength

Celebrity Fights, Middleweights and “Transformers”

On Saturday night, Ben Askren will compete against Jake Paul in an eight-round boxing match.

Also on Saturday night is an incredible bout between UFC middleweight contenders, Robert Wittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. There is a decent chance that the winner will get a rematch against current champ, Israel Adesanya, who has defeated both of them.

Die-hard fans of MMA, boxing, and combat sports make it well known that they aren’t huge fans of these celebrity fights. And they make it even more well-known that they aren’t huge fans of when media outlets cover these celebrity fights.

To me, this is simple.

I like to consider myself a movie fan. I enjoy going to the theaters with my sister during the summer, getting high in the parking lot, eating a lot of candy, and watching the newest Marvel movie. I also really like nitty-gritty low budget films that truly embrace cinema.

I hope you know where I am going with this.

These celebrity fights are like “Transformers.” Are they going to win Best Picture at the Oscars? Hell no. Do I love watching “Transformers?” Absofuckinglutely. It is ok for people to enjoy those big, blockbuster action films.

Then you have Gastelum and Whittaker. They are two of the more exciting fighters in the division and deliver high-level matches when they compete. These are Oscar-winning performers.

If you are part of the group that is obsessed with Oscar-level matches, I’d encourage you to not turn down potential new fight fans. Instead, give them an anecdote on your favorite fight. This week was the anniversary of Hagler/Hearns – which has the greatest round in the history of boxing. Use this week as an opportunity to tell young fans about “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns.

I spent 15 minutes with my coworker, Sean Millea, talking about the Paul/Askren fight. He’s pretty into the Youtube scene so this fight has captured his attention. I’d love for y’all to check out our conversation.

Ultimately, I think the lesson is to not be a snob. If you feel strongly about the history of combat sports or the purity of it – then use this as an opportunity. Rejecting potential fans is the easiest way to kill a sport that you love.

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Sports Strength

A Complete List of 20 Undefeated UFC Fighters

In the sports world, there is an age old saying that goes “you win some, you lose some,” but what if one never loses? Is that even possible? Everybody loses at some point right? Well, not in the case of these powerhouse UFC fighters. These men and women have gone their entire careers without ever losing a single match, putting them in rare company. In case you were wondering, here is a complete list of undefeated UFC fighters.

  • Shamil Gamzatov
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov
  • Sean Brady
  • Jack Shore
  • Mark O. Madsen
  • Jamahal Hill
  • Ciryl Gane
  • Punahele Soriano
  • Bea Malecki
  • Tatiana Suarez
  • Miguel Baeza
  • Movsar Evloev
  • Ottman Azaitar
  • Aliaskhab Khizrev
  • Sergio Giglio
  • Shavkat Rakhmonov
  • Umar Nurmagomedov
  • Alexander Romanov
  • Khamzat Chimaev
  • Roman Dolidze
1. Shamil Gamzatov, 14-0-0
UFC

Hailing from Russia and representing the Tataev team, this 6’’2”, 205lb fighter has won all 14 of his professional matchups. Of the 14, five of those fights have been TKO’s (Total Knockouts), while the other nine have been a mixture of submissions(where the opponent basically gives up) and decisions (where the ref makes the call). Gamzatov’s last fight was on November 19th, 2019, where he beat Klidson Abreu in a split decision (where you win by majority).

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov, 29-0-0
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This 5”10”, 155lb fighter from Russia, is undefeated in all 28 of his matchups. Representing the Fight Spirit Team and the American Kickboxing Academy, “The Eagle” is recognized as one of the league’s greatest fighters. Of those 28 wins, eight were TKO’s, ten were submissions, and the other ten were decisions (obviously in his favor). Nurmagomedov’s announced his retirement after defeating Justing Gaethje for his 29th win. 

3. Sean Brady, 14-0-0
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From Philadelphia born and raised, Sean Brady is a lot like another Brady we know— he’s a big time winner. With 13 wins under his belt, the Renzo Gracie Philly star is currently prepping for his next fight. Of his 13 wins, three were TKO’s, three were submissions, and seven were decisions. Brady’s last fight was on March 6th, 2021 where he defeated Jake Matthews via an arm triangle choke.

4. Jack Shore, 13-0-0
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Born in 1995, Jack Shore is undefeated in his 13 battles. Called “Tank” because of his ability to dominate the “war,” the fighter from Wales represents the Tillery Combat MMA Academy. “Tank” has four TKO’s, eight submissions, and one decision on his resume already. His last fight was a submission win versus Aaron Phillips on July 15th, 2020.

5. Mark O. Madsen, 10-0-0
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Representing Rumble Sports, this 5″10”, 175lb fighter from Denmark, has never lost a match. Nicknamed “The Olympian,” Madsen has ten career wins. Of those ten wins, three were TKO’s, three were submissions, and four were decisions. Madsen’s last fight was a victory versus Austin Hubbard on March 7th, 2020, proving that at 34, he indeed still “has it.”

6. Jamahal Hill, 8-0-0
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From Michigan, this 6”4”, 205lb fighter nicknamed “Sweet Dreams,” has put a few people to sleep a couple of times in his career. Of his seven victories, three of those were TKO’s, and the other four wins were decisions that saw Hill coming out on top. Hill defeated Klidson Abreu on May 30th to secure his eighth victory. 

7. Ciryl Gane, 8-0-0
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Known as “Bon Gamin,” this 30 year old from Paris, France is undefeated in all six of his fights. “Bon Gamin” means “Good Kid” in French, and Gane has definitely been “good” in all of his matchups. Representing MMA Factory, Gane currently has three submissions, one decision, and two TKO’s. His last fight was a unanimous decision victory over Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

8. Punahele Soriano, 8-0-0
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Born in Hawaii, Punahele “Storytime” Soriano, will definitely have some stories to tell about his career. With seven career fights, “Storytime” has come out victorious every single time. Those seven victories consist of one decision, two submissions, and four TKO’s. Soriano’s last win was a TKO against Dusko Todorovic on January 16th, 2021. Soriano currently represents Xtreme Couture.

9. Bea Malecki, 4-0-0
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Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, the Bea Malecki has four professional wins. With one TKO, two submissions, and one decision, Malecki is definitely a tough cookie. Her last matchup on March 14th, 2020, was a unanimous victory against Veronica Macedo. 

10. Tatiana Suarez, 8-0-0
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Speaking of pretty women who can throw them bows, Tatiana Suarez is small in frame, but will knock you out. Representing Millennia MMA, this California girl has two TKO’s, three submissions, and three decisions, for a total of eight career wins so far. Her last victory was a unanimous decision versus Nina Ansaroff on June 8th, 2019.

11. Miguel Baeza, 10-0-0
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Representing Rock MMA, this 28 year old from Davie, Florida has nine undefeated wins on his record. Nicknamed “Caramel Thunder,” Baeza has made it storm on quite a few people. Baeza’s resume consists of seven TKO’s, and two decisions. Following a knockout against Matt Brown in May of 2020, Baeza submitted Takashi Sato in the second round of their bout at UFC Fight Night: Smith vs Clark. 

12. Movsar Evloev, 14-0-0
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Born in Ingushetia, Russia, this 5’’8”, 135lb killer has 13 career wins. Representing NART, the 26 year old has three TKO’s, four submissions, and six decisions. His last win was a split decision win against Nik Lentz on January 23rd, 2021.

13. Ottman Azaitar, 13-0-0
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Weighing in at 155lbs, this 5″7” Jupps Fight Team fighter is undefeated in 13 matchups. Nicknamed “Bulldozer,” it’s quite clear Azaitar likes knocking people out. Ten of his 13 wins have been TKO’s. Of the remaining three, two were submissions, and one was a decision. Azaitar’s last win was a knockout against Khama Worthy on September 12th, 2020.

14. Aliaskhab Khizriev, 13-0-0
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Weighing in at 170lbs, Aliaskhab is undefeated with a grand total of 13 wins. The Team Shikhshabekov fighter currently has five TKO’s, four submissions, and three decisions to his name. That last win came on September 8th, 2020, in a Rear-Naked-Choke submission against Henrique Shiguemoto.

15. Sergio Giglio, 12-0-0
Tapology

This 23 year old from Peru has accomplished a lot in his young career. With 12 wins to his resume already, “Cachorro” is already developing a reputation for making people quit with seven submissions. His remaining five wins are a mixture of decisions and TKO’s. Giglio’s last win was on April 12th, 2018. “Cachorro” has been on break for the last two years, and the UFC is anxiously awaiting his return.

16. Shavkat Rakhmonov, 13-0-0
The Astana Times

Representing Kazakhstan Top Team, Rakhmonov is undefeated with 12 career wins. Of those 12 wins seven are TKO’s, and five are submissions. Clearly nobody is a match for Rakhmonov as his victories have been brutal for his opponents. Rakhmonov’s last matchup resulted in an impressive victory over UFC veteran, Alex Oliveira. 

17. Umar Nurmagomedov, 13-0-0
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With five submissions, six decisions, and one TKO, this Eagles MMA fighter is undefeated with 12 career wins. Weighing in at 140lbs, the 5”8” fighter from Russia has made a name for himself in the UFC community. Nurmagomedov’s last fight ended when he submitted Sergey Morozov via rear-naked choke.

18. Alexandr Romanov, 13-0-0
Cagesidepress

Known as “King Kong,” Alexandr Romanov has been dominating since 2016. The Lion Club fighter has won every single fight in his career so far. With seven submissions and five TKO’s, Romanov has a total of 12 wins. His last win came on November 7th, of 2020 in a submission finish over Marcos Rogerio de Lima.

19. Khamzat Chimaev, 9-0-0
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Five TKO’s plus three submissions equals eight career wins for Khamzat Chimaev. Known as “Borz,” the 26 year old from Sweden has never lost a fight. Represented by Allstars Training Center, “Borz” last victory was a September 19th, 2020 win against Gerald Meerschaert. 

20. Roman Dolidze, 8-0-0
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This 6”3″, 205lb heavyweight is 7-0 in his career so far. Representing RD Sport, the former Georgian has four TKO’s and three submissions, meaning that he’s pretty much dominated every matchup he’s ever been in. Dolidze’s last win was against John Allan on December 5th, 2020.  

Well that ladies and gentlemen concludes our list of current undefeated UFC fighters. It’s certainly not an easy feat to go your entire career without being defeated, but these fighters have managed to do it so far. Time will tell if they can keep their streak going.

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Sports Strength

Floyd Mayweather’s 15 Best Knockouts and Performances, Ranked

Floyd Mayweather.

He might be the most discussed name in boxing history and at the end of the day, what is the name of the game? 

To hit and don’t get hit. And there was no one better at the “game” of boxing than Floyd Mayweather. 

We look back at the 15 best performances and knockouts in the career of Floyd Mayweather. 

Honorable Mentions

15) Miguel Cotto

Unanimous decision. 

This one was entertaining. Cotto is one of the most well-respected warriors in boxing history, and he gave Mayweather everything he had. It is not Mayweather’s “cleanest” victory but a testament to his ability to overcome adversity. 

14) Zab Judah

Unanimous decision.

A pretty bizarre night for boxing. Most people remember this fight for the wrong reasons, but if we are trying to stay focused on the sport of boxing—this was a fight of adjustments for Mayweather. Judah was as skilled of an opponent as Mayweather would probably face. After a few competitive opening rounds, Floyd adapted and edged out Judah in a somewhat close fight. 

13) Sharmba Mitchell

TKO in round 6. 

Mayweather won every round of the fight. He scored a knockout with a great body shot, and perhaps the most impressive part was that he was competing with some high-standards he had already set for himself. This fight followed his brilliant outing against Arturo Gatti, and Floyd followed up what was his best performance yet with another great stoppage over Mitchell. 

12) Marcos Maidana 2

Unanimous decision. 

Much like the Jose Luis Catillo matchup, it was important for Mayweather to solidify himself as the superior boxer in the rematch. Unfortunately, most people remember this fight for its bizarre moment in the back half of the fight where Mayweather claimed that Maidana bit his glove. When it comes to the actual X’s and O’s—Mayweather cleaned up all the complications he faced in their first meeting. 

11) Shane Mosley

Unanimous decision. 

For so many people, the appeal to watch Mayweather was to see him lose. It is the motto that made him so much money. And to be honest, it worked. 

So when Mosley clipped Mayweather, there were a lot of people who got very excited; after all, it was one of the hardest shots Mayweather probably ate in his life. With the hit coming so early in the bout, a lot of people thought this was their chance to see Superman bleed. But Mayweather shut it down. He dominated the remainder of the fight, and the judges’ scorecards reflected that. 

The Best of the Best
10) Manny Pacquiao

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas 

When: May 2nd, 2015

Purse: $250 mil

“This fight should have happened eight years earlier.” 

Yes, I know. Everyone knows. But let’s take a step back for a second. 

Mayweather fought Pac in May of 2015. 

Four years later, Pacquiao still holds titles in the welterweight division. So, if you want to credit Manny for extending his career, it means you must also award credit to Mayweather for cruising through their 2015 matchup. 

Like every Mayweather fight, it went as Floyd wanted it to go. He controlled the pace and he controlled the range. It’s what he does best. 

The big takeaway from this matchup was the financial dynamic. Mayweather earned roughly $250 million in total from the bout. That’s why they call him “Money.”

9) Jose Luis Castillo 2

Where: Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas 

When: December 7th, 2002

Purse: $2.4 mil

This was a big fight for Mayweather. Many people consider the first bout between this duo to be the closest call of Mayweather’s illustrious career. Credit needs to be given to Castillo for being a difficult puzzle for Mayweather to solve. 

In their rematch, Floyd proved to be the better fighter. It was a much more decisive victory for Floyd, quieting a lot of doubters who made a lot of noise following the first bout. 

8) Jesus Chavez

Where: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco 

When: November 10th, 2001

Purse: $1.6 mil

This one dates back all the way to 2001. So before the fancy cars and incredible jewelry collection, Mayweather was a hungry scrapper. He took on Jesus Chavez in his final fight at super-featherweight. He had his uncle, Roger Mayweather, as his trainer for this fight. 

The truth is that this was boxing 101. And like most of Mayweather’s fights, it is less to do with the competition and more so to do with the incredible skill set of Mayweather. This would be a great bout to watch for people who don’t understand why he is so good.

7) Juan Manuel Marquez

Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas 

When: September 19th, 2009

Purse: $10 mil (plus PPV percentage)

Towards the end of his career, it was clear that Floyd had taken a different approach to boxing. Instead of dictating the pace of the fight, he would transform into one of the best counter punchers in the history of the sport. He would let other fighters try to close the distance, and when they became frustrated, he would capitalize on their mistakes. 

Mayweather abused the Philly Shell stance in this fight. He landed an incredible knockdown in round two with a wicked fast left hook. 

Juan Manuel Marquez gave Manny Pacquiao A LOT of trouble in his career. He is also the mastermind behind one of the meanest knockouts in the HISTORY of boxing.

So for Mayweather to secure a unanimous decision over Marquez is a rather impressive feat. 

6) Emanuel Augustus

Where: Cobo Hall, Detroit

When: October 21st, 2000

Purse: $250k

Floyd has mentioned on numerous occasions that Augustus was one of his tougher opponents. There is the old saying, “styles make fights.” And man oh man, did Augustus have style. 

Known as “The Drunken Master,” Augustus had flair, but Mayweather provided some sobriety to Augustus. 

During the 9th round of the bout, Mayweather poured it on. He doesn’t make mistakes. Even in the face of a wild opponent, Mayweather remained sharp. The towel was thrown in, and Mayweather celebrated the impressive win accordingly.

5) Ricky Hatton

Where: MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas 

When: December 8th, 2007

Purse: ~$25 mil 

When Mayweather met with Hatton in the ring, there was more than just that single fight on the line. 

In boxing, the undefeated record is revered. 

And at times, it is probably to a fault. So many fighters and promoters act in fear of losing their undefeated record, they may not aggressively pursue tough matchups. A lot of UFC and MMA fans will claim this is what separates their sport from boxing. 

But when you ultimately do get the big matchups, it makes the buildup worth it. 

Take Mayweather vs. Hatton, for example. When the two undefeated giants faced each other, it felt fulfilling. This was a fight that happened at the right place, at the right time. 

And Mayweather delivered on one of his best performances of his career. In every single facet of the fight, he was the better man. When Floyd’s name is brought up in the GOAT discussion, this is a fight that stands high on his resume.

4) Genaro Hernandez

Where: Hilton, Las Vegas 

When: October 3rd, 1998

Purse: $150,000 (LA Times

Pretty Boy Floyd was 21 freaking years old. This was less than two years into his professional career, and Mayweather dominated the number one ranked fighter in the division at the time. 

Mayweather took on Genaro Hernandez in October of 1998. 

This fight looked different than most Mayweather fights. To negate the speed advantage for Mayweather, Hernandez tried to make things remarkably physical. Early in the fight, he stepped on the foot of Mayweather, sending Floyd to the canvas. The tactics seemed to work briefly for Hernandez, as Mayweather, at times, got caught up in the wrestling match. 

But as time went on, Mayweather asserted himself. The jab was electric. The straight right hand was impeccable. 

In round seven, Mayweather had his way. It seemed as if he landed a dozen uppercuts in that round alone. Henandez’s corner stopped the fight after the eighth round. 

It was a fight that gave us a look into the future. 

3) Canelo Alvarez

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas 

When: September 14th, 2013 

Purse: $41.5 mil 

 Listen, I’ve made the argument. I’ve asked the questions. When Floyd took on Canelo, it was at the perfect time. Canelo was *just* about to make his rise in the ranks, and seeing what we see in him now, it makes sense why people say Floyd took him on while he was young. 

But… if you want to put that much respect on Canelo’s name, then you NEED to have admiration for the lesson that Mayweather gave him. Alvarez had no answers for Floyd. At every moment, Mayweather was out of distance, predicting Alvarez’s next move, or just landing shots before Canelo. The fight may not have the same level of highlight material, but it still remains one of Mayweather’s most incredible performances. In my opinion, he is not given enough credit for this one.

2) Diego Corrales

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas 

When: January 20th, 2001

Purse: $1.7 mil 

You would be hard-pressed to find any boxers that embody the “fighting spirit” more than Diego Corrales. He is responsible for one of the most improbable wins and comebacks in the history of the sport. 

When you consider the heart that Corrales had, it makes this performance from Mayweather even more impressive. Over the course of the fight, Mayweather scored five knockdowns. Even when Corrales’ corner threw in the towel, he was angry that he couldn’t continue. 

1) Arturo Gatti

Where: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

When: June 25th, 2005

Purse: $3.2 mil 

I think this is the greatest show that Mayweather ever put on. And when you consider the competition, it solidifies its ranking. Arturo Gatti is a world champion, a member of the boxing hall of fame… and one of the most admired legends in the history of the sport. 

With all of that laid out, Mayweather gave him the business that night. When Gatti thought Mayweather was attacking the head, Floyd would go to the body. And when Gatti protected his body, Mayweather landed shots upstairs. There is a terrific moment in the fight where Mayweather lands four consecutive straight right hands. Gatti’s corner had no choice but to throw in the towel half way through the fight.

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Sports Strength

A Look Back At The Defining Moments for the UFC in 2020

Let’s rewind the clock for a second. 

At the start of 2020, UFC fans were looking forward to the return of Conor McGregor. The company’s biggest draw was set to battle against the legendary, “Cowboy” Cerrone. 

McGregor had ambitious plans for 2020. He intended to fight three times and reclaim the lightweight belt. In the matchup, McGregor dominated. He finished off the UFC veteran less than a minute into the first round.

Middleweight

In regards to the middleweight division, there was a clear champion. Israel Adesanya was tearing through opponents and proved his confidence by asking for a fight with the “boogeyman” of the division, Yoel Romero. It is no secret that opponents tend to suffer damage in bouts with Romero, and he was often ducked or avoided. That was not the case with Adesanya. 

The matchup turned into a total dud. Actually, it might have been one of the more lackluster fights of the year. Adesanya edged Romero out in a decision. Luckily, the same card was gifted with, what I consider to be, the fight of the year.

In the co-main event, Weili Zhang defended her belt against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Generally speaking, when people recall their favorite fights of the year, there is always a recency bias that impacts their decision. Fights that occur in the later months of the year always get a stronger push because the fight is more fresh in your mind. However, every time an excellent scrap would take place, I would still find myself saying, “I still think Zhang vs Jedrzejczyk was better.” If this fight wasn’t for a belt, it would still be held in incredibly high regard. When you throw in that it was for UFC gold, there was no better fight. For all of our new fight fans, this bout is a must watch.

Then, the world stopped. 

The NBA suspended play; the MLB shutdown Spring Training; March Madness was canceled; The Masters were delayed. 

But the UFC kept going. 

Plenty of people saw Dana White’s response to criticisms from the media. And I’m not here to pick sides or to say what is right, and what is wrong. All I know is that the UFC provided some much-needed entertainment during a very dark time. 

Less than two months after the NBA was shut down, the UFC found solace in Jacksonville, Florida, and hosted their first pay per view event since the pandemic began, UFC 248. 

It was an outstanding night of fights. Henry Cejudo defeated Dominick Cruz (and then “retired”). Francis Ngannou knocked out Jair Rozenstruik in 20 seconds. Anthony Pettis defeated Cowboy Cerrone. And the night finished in delightful fashion as Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson competed for the UFC interim lightweight title. 

Gaethje looked spectacular. It all came together for him that night. He was, as always, tough as nails, he always had wicked cardio, and we all knew he could throw bombs. 

What we didn’t know was how well he could devise and execute a game plan. 

It was a damn-near perfect showing and my selection for the performance of the year.

The following months continued to deliver on great Saturday nights. It became one of the few constants that sports fans could look forward to every week: Saturday nights were fight night.

On June 6th, Amanda Nunes’ reign continued. Her well-rounded performance further proved her dominance in both the 135 lb. and 145 lb. divisions. Is there anyone who can beat her? 

UFC 250 also brought a few other incredible fights. Sean O’Malley delivered one of his best KOs to date. Aljamain Sterling earned himself a title shot with a killer first-round finish of Cory Sandhagen. And Cody Garbrandt placed a submission for KO of the year with his buzzer-beater, one-punch, walk-off knockout of Raphael Assuncao. 

This was when Dana White became even more ambitious. May I present to you: Fight Island. 

At first, it sounded ridiculous. 

“I have secured an island.”

But then, it got serious. Fight Island became real. 

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. 

Kamara Usman was supposed to defend his belt against Gilbert Burns, but like many other fights this year, it was canceled after Burns tested positive for COVID-19. 

Enter Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. The reigning “BMF” in the game. 

UFC 251 was a loaded card. Three title fights, in addition to numerous other great matches. Alex Volkanovski squeaked out a split-decision win over Max Holloway in their rematch. Petr Yan asserted himself as the top dog in the nasty bantamweight division with his performance over Jose Aldo. The main event actually ended up being a little dull. Usman’s strength was, once again, too much for his opponent. He controlled Masvidal for all five rounds. However, Masvidal proved his worth to the company by not only stepping up on short notice but by leading the way to 1.3 million PPV buys. 

Over the summer, Stipe Miocic completed the trilogy with a win over Daniel Cormier in their third bout. Cormier retired following the loss. It seems that people continue to count Stipe Miocic out, but he delivers with exciting fights every time he steps in the octagon. IF Stipe wanted to run his mouth and go all-in on a stupid gimmick, I have no doubt he could make more money and get more traction as a brand. But that’s not Stipe. He is staying true to his character and letting his hands do the talking. And those hands seem plenty loud to me. 2021 should be a bright year for the heavyweight division. 

UFC fans said farewell to some of the greatest to enter the cage.

It would be hard to think about the 2020 year for the UFC and not acknowledge the retirements of some of the sport’s greatest legends. 

Not enough people give Daniel Cormier the credit he deserves. More than being a great fighter and being an elite competitor, Daniel Cormier is a great person. He’s been a joy to listen to during commentary and has such a bright future with the company. As we look back on 2020, we must give DC his roses. 

2020 also gave us the departure of an undeniable “Mt. Rushmore” figure for the sport of MMA, Anderson “The Spider” Silva. Sure, he lost a few fights in recent years. But at his age, and considering the level of competition he was facing, I think it would be a shame to hold these years against him.

When I first started watching the sport, he was invincible in my eyes. He pulled off comic book moves in real life title fights. After getting finished by Uriah Hall, the UFC and Anderson Silva parted ways. His post-fight interview was flooded with emotion, and for the first time in a long time, the MMA community was one. We all said goodbye to a legend.

And of course, fight fans said goodbye to, maybe, the greatest fighter the sport has ever seen. However, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s retirement was not the most difficult obstacle of a tumultuous 2020 campaign. Nurmagomedov’s father passed in the first half of the year and it was heartbreaking. The two were so close, with Khabib’s father playing a major role in his life and his career. After all, he was the one who ordered young Khabib to wrestle with a bear.

When Nurmagomedov returned to the ring to fight Justin Gaethje, it did feel different. On the one hand, some doubters thought Gaethje possessed a skill set that could give Nurmagomedov problems in the ring. On the other hand, fight fans were unsure of Khabib’s mental state heading into the fight. Would the weight of his father’s death be too much? 

The answer was no. Khabib took a few minutes in the first round before he finally gained some momentum. Then in the second round, it was time. In a matter of seconds, the two fighters went from standing in front of each other to Khabib securing a full mount position. It was vintage Nurmagomedov. 

Moments later, Justin Gaethje was asleep. Nurmagomedov transitioned to a triangle choke faster than you can say, “tap.”

Now, the question that everyone is asking is, “will he come back?”

My guess is no. Khabib takes his words seriously and if he told his mother that he was done, then I think he is done.

However… if he was to come back, there is one fight out there that would interest him: Georges St. Pierre. It was Numagomedov’s father’s dream fight. His dad always wanted him to get to 30-0. So with those two things in the air, never say never. 

The UFC’s increased roster in 2020 also led to some unknown figures to turn into overnight superstars. Look at Joaquin Buckley, who secured a LOT of bonuses, but also an entirely new wave of fandom. 

With the abundance of new fighters, there was bound to be one or two that snagged the center-stage spotlight. It seems pretty universal across MMA fans that your choices come down to either Kevin Holland of Khamzat Chimaev. For Chimaev, you saw some dominant finishes in the first round. Not to mention, he did it in multiple weight classes. On the other hand, Holland went an absurd 5-0 in 2020. That is ridiculous. Unfathomable. And he wanted more… by calling out Chimaev after his 5th win of the year in December. These two are, without a doubt, two of the most interesting fighters heading into 2021. 

As great as Chimaev was, Holland’s 5-0 record against the quality competition is astounding. He is my selection for breakout fighter of the year. 

If you are a fan of blood, guts, and violence, well, 2020 had plenty of that. Look no further than Dustin Poirier and Dan Hooker. This was one of those fights that were so damn violent; I had to ask questions.

Back and forth, barbaric, and brilliant all in one. It just fell short in my fight of the year category but was a noteworthy fight when looking back on the year.

Israel Adesanya reclaimed his status as one of the company’s most exhilarating and dominant fights when he went out and picked apart the Brazilian contender, Paulo Costa. Before the fight, there was a significant contingency of people who believed Costa would give Adesanya trouble. 

Not me.

In the second round, Adesanya dropped Costa with a brilliant left hook that grazed the side of Costa’s head.

What does Adesanya’s future hold? That is a question I am highly invested in for the 2021 year.

The end of the year brought an onslaught of action in the men’s flyweight division. What is most fascinating to think about is that this was a division on the verge of being eliminated because the fights were “too boring” and didn’t sell well. And of course, in 2020 fashion, the year was capped off with two very fun but different fights. 

Deiveson Figueiredo polished off Alex Perez in the first round of their November matchup. 

Then he turned around and put on a show with Brandon Moreno. The fight was a late entry to the fight of the year category and resulted in a majority draw. That decision allowed Figueiredo to keep his belt, but it seems quite clear that an immediate rematch is in order. 

When you look back on this year and consider everything that went down, this was as fun of a year as I’ve ever had with this company: new names, new maneuvers, different styles, and a whole helluva lot of action. I can’t wait for the first event of 2021 when we get to hear, “It’s time” once again. 

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Sports Strength

Chess Boxing Champion Matt Thomas Has His Sights Set on the Olympics

Meet Matt Thomas from Atlanta, Georgia. Currently the Chess Boxing champion in his weight class of 90-kilogram (198-pound), Thomas competed in the 2018 Chess Boxing World Championship in July 2018, where he captured the title. With that victory, Thomas became the first American World Champion in the sport of Chess Boxing. 

When he’s not competing, Thomas also runs a nonprofit called Brawl for a Cause. Brawl for a Cause is an event that allows individuals to get into the boxing ring and fight for different charities that they hold dear to their hearts. 

“In six years and nine events, Brawl for a Cause broke the $100,000 donations milestone. The Brawl Team decided to take the event and its impact to the next level, so we booked the Mercedes Benz Stadium field on February 17th, 2018. Hosting the first combat sports event on the same field where the [Atlanta] Falcons play proved to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was worth it. We donated over $200,000 to the 30 causes we supported, effectively doubling the organization’s overall impact,” Thomas said in a 2018 interview with Voyageatl.

“Now, we are working with TV producers and expert videographers to turn Brawl for a Cause into a TV series. Each matchup will be its own episode, in which viewers will get to know the Brawler, their Cause, why they signed up to fight for it, and the training journey for their first charity boxing bout. We plan to film and air our first season in 2019, and we hope you’ll sign up to Brawl or check it out when it’s live!”

Thomas recently sat down with ONE37pm to discuss his Chess and Boxing background growing up and how he came across the sport. 

ONE37pm: So, what exactly is Chess Boxing?

Thomas: Chess Boxing is exactly what it sounds like: It is the board game of chess combined with the combat sport of boxing. You alternate between Chess and boxing until there is a checkmate or a knockout. So, we would get wrapped up our wrists and get ready to fight, but the game starts on the chessboard.

So, we sit down across from each other and play speed chess, which means you make a move and hit your time, now that means my time is going. I make a move and hit my timer, now your timer is counting down, and we keep going back and forth like that for three minutes. 

After those three minutes, they stop the timer, they take the chessboard out of the ring, and we have a minute put on our gloves, get psyched up, and then fight for three minutes. After those three minutes, we have a minute to take off the gloves, sit back down at the board and pick up the game where we left off. 

ONE37pm: How did you get into Chess Boxing in the first place?

Thomas: I grew up playing competitive Chess. So, on the weekends, I would play in chess tournaments until I was 13, and in college, I was competing in the sport of boxing for the University of Georgia. So, we were competing against other schools in our region, and after an amateur boxing bout, I injured my shoulder. 

So, I had to get shoulder surgery, and I was on bed rest for six weeks, and I could not punch a heavy bag for six months. I had a super long recovery period, and I meant most of it watching YouTube, playing video games, Chess, and one day I was playing speed chess watching an old video on YouTube. 

The video that was up next was something on chess boxing. YouTube auto-played a chess boxing video, and when I saw it, I told myself I was born for this. The sport combines two of my favorite things to do, and I started researching it, and I found the founder that created it back in 2003. A Dutchman named Iepe [Rubingh] reached out to him and told him I love what he had created, and I would love to get involved. 

Then I asked when the next competition was, and he told me. I told him as soon as I recovered that I would reach out. About a year and a half later, I reached out, and he said the only event left in the year was the Chess Boxing world championship in Kolkata, India.

He informed me that if I did compete, I would be the first American to compete in the sport we have never had an American compete before. I decided to go and compete after turning for a couple of weeks and won the whole thing. 

Photo courtesy of Matt Thomas

ONE37pm: Growing up, did you follow grand chess master Bobby Fischer?

Thomas: Bobby Fischer was one of my heroes growing up as a kid, studying chess openings and old games. Bobby Fischer was my favorite one to follow, and he is a legend in the game of Chess. 

ONE37pm: Chess and boxing both require strategies in a bout. Being an expert in both fields, how has it helped you in those separate entities?

Thomas: It is interesting because each sport is super old. For instance, Chess is 2000 years old and was started in India. Boxing has been around since the caveman days, even if it’s not the same rules, and everyone can wrap their heads around a fight. 

There is so much history in both sports and a lot of strategy in both individual sports, but when you combine the two, that changes. Some chess players are good at that part of the sport and are new to boxing or vice versa. Some are balanced at both sports, and even though you are good at both, you could still come across an opponent that is good at boxing. 

That will cause you to change your strategy because you will want to limit his advantage in the boxing ring and maximize your advantage in Chess. In the boxing ring, I might want to jab and stay away and then maximize my time on the board because that is how I am going to win that match.

Where if I am facing someone great at Chess but not boxing, my strategy is going to flip. So, it is really a flex sport depending on your opponent, what their strengths and your own strengths are, how you approach each match.

Photo Courtesy of Matt Thomas

ONE37pm: Could you see chess boxing becoming an Olympic Sport one day?

Thomas: The goal is to make Chess Boxing recognized as an international sport and be included in the Olympic games. Right now, we have made some progress. So, for some countries where Chess Boxing is really popular, like Russia, India, Germany, and France, there are already nationwide competitions. Meanwhile, that does not exist in the United States, and interviews like this help bring awareness to the sport, and we can build a team here in the US, instead of just being a couple of us like it is now.

ONE37pm: Are you familiar with the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit?

Thomas: Queen’s Gambit is amazing! And if you have not watched it yet, definitely turn on Netflix. It is the number one show in the country right now, and you will love it. Even if you do not know about Chess, for instance, my girl is learning how to play Chess, and she loved the series. I know a lot about Chess and broke down a lot of the games they had with some of the famous matchups. 

That they were replying during the series, and I loved it, so it does not matter who you are; you will enjoy the show. The cool thing about Queen’s Gambit is that it had many chess consultants, so all the games were realistic and high level. One of the chess consultants was Iepe Rubingh, who was the founder of Chess Boxing.

So, it is this weird collision of worlds he created the game in 2003, and now he has advised from this worldwide critically acclaimed show. However, due to Covid, Iepe passed away in May, so if you watch it all the way through, the series is dedicated to him. After the seventh episode, it says in Memory of Iepe Rubingh. I was not aware of it until I saw it, but I started breaking down when I found out. His impact on the world was not just chess boxing, but now he helped advise for this show.

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Sports Strength

Who Owns The UFC? An In-Depth Look at the Brand’s History

When the UFC held its first-ever event in 1993, the goal was simple: Determine which martial art form was most effective. Since 2016, the UFC has been owned by a group led by Endeavor (then WME–IMG), its owner Silver Lake Partners, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and MSD Capital, who purchased it for $4.025 billion. Dana White serves as the organization’s President, as well as the face of the company.

Little did they know then, the company would become a multi-billion dollar enterprise and one of the most recognizable brands in sports.

After a turbulent few years in the late ’90s, which saw a number of changes to the sport (no hair pulling, groin shots, headbutts, or shoes), Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bought the company in 2001. With the guidance of Dana White, they also started Zuffa, the promotional company backing the UFC. The transactions would cost them a few million dollars. 

The company slowed down for a few years and needed a spark. In 2005, the company launched “The Ultimate Fighter”, the reality tv program that showcased up and coming fighters attempting to make it to the big stage. The show was a massive success and gave the company a much-needed shot of adrenaline. The show is set to return in 2021 on ESPN+. 

In 2006, they acquired WEC, a smaller promotion that focused on lighter fighters. In that move, the roster added Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Uriah Faber, Carlos Condit, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, Dominick Cruz, and Jose Aldo. All of which ended up being legends. The following year, the company purchased a competing promotion, PRIDE, based out of Japan. And in 2011, Dana White and Co. went on to buy “Strikeforce,” another incredibly popular MMA organization in the United States. The company featured fighters like Nick Diaz, Ronda Rousey, Robbie Lawler, and Daniel Cormier. 

At the time, the acquisition of Strikeforce was peculiar. Up until that point, White made it quite clear that the UFC had zero intentions of incorporating a women’s division into the promotion. 

But with time, his stance changed. And his willingness to do so boosted revenue dramatically. Rousey became one of the biggest faces of the UFC and defended her title six times.

The company had a record year in 2015, bringing in over $600 million in revenue. The following year, the Fertittas decided to sell the company to Endeavor (WME-IMG), led by Ari Emmanuel and Patrick Whitesell. White would continue in his role as president. 

Emmanuel’s name may not ring a bell right away, but his legacy in the entertainment industry is well documented. 

You may know him as Ari Gold. Yes, that Ari Gold. HBO’s hit series Entourage followed the story of faux Hollywood star, Vinny Chase. The character, loosely based on the story of Mark Wahlberg, climbs the entertainment ranks, thanks to the help of his agent, Ari Gold. 

Jeremy Piven portrayed Gold, winning a few Emmys along the way. In the later seasons of the show, Gold desires to grow his empire by negotiating a deal to become the owner of a new NFL team in Los Angeles. The deal fell through, which mirrored what happened with Emmanuel just a few years later.

The biggest difference under the new ownership is the TV deal with ESPN. This mainstream platform has elevated the status of the sport in a massive way. When the world was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UFC was one of the first sport organizations to return to action. UFC events are featured almost weekly on ESPN and ESPN+. In addition to live fights, fans get access to fight breakdowns from former fighters, weekly MMA talk shows, and archived fights from the past. 

The cost of the transaction for Endeavor? Four billion dollars. 

Not a bad turn around for a two million dollar purchase. 

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Sports Strength

Manny Pacquiao vs. Conor McGregor: Everything We Know About The Rumored Fight

Whether you’re a fight fan or not, there’s a good chance that you watched when Conor McGregor fought Floyd Mayweather in August of 2017. It was a spectacle like we hadn’t seen until that point. There had been instances of crossover fights like when James Toney fought Randy Couture in the UFC and some of Anderson Silva’s boxing fights, but this was bigger than all of those together tenfold.

Despite the result being what it was, the event garnered enough money and attention that there have been talks of a rematch and even talks of Conor fighting other stars in the sport. The most recent on that list? WBA Super welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao.

We first got real word of this through Conor himself in late September. The Irishman was on one of his usual tweeting sprees, proving to the world that he had been trying to make a UFC comeback against Justin Gaethje or Diego Sanchez to no avail. He ended it by saying, “Anyway all water under the bridge who gives a fook. I’m boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the middle east.” and everyone following got excited. He continued, “It will be a true honor to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era, afraid of a fight.”

When asked about the fight, Dana said that he didn’t know a thing about it, to which Conor hopped back on Twitter to call him out for lying, saying that Dana had, in fact, been involved and that there were legal letters to prove it.

Since then, the most interesting piece of news specifically about Conor vs. Manny has been on October 12th when Manny Pacquiao took to social media to announce that he had signed with Paradigm Sports and revealed that “big things” were coming. Conor is also managed by Paradigm, which kicks down a big hurdle in making the fight official.

Since then, you might have heard about a different matchup for Conor McGregor: A rematch against Dustin Poirier.

Both Conor and Dustin were having trouble with Dana White at the time. Dustin was supposed to be fighting Tony Ferguson at UFC 252, but he felt it was time to negotiate a better contract for himself with his recent track record. Controversially, Dana took this to mean that he didn’t want to fight and was negotiating himself out of the fight, and he stated this publicly. Conor, as previously mentioned, has been trying to get a fight booked for a few weeks after his fight with Cowboy in January of this year. The leading rumor is that Dana isn’t willing to let a Conor fight pass when fans cannot be in attendance, paying good money for tickets. To put on a fight between Conor and anyone else during the pandemic, the UFC would be missing out on around $15 million in the gate.

Seeing the similarities in their situations, Conor tweeted Dustin, asking if he wanted to fight in an exhibition MMA fight for charity that had nothing to do with the UFC. It was an excellent chess move because the UFC would want everything to do with that fight if it were to happen. It put the ball in their court. Dustin knew exactly what was going on and agreed to it, and it only took a few days for Dana to come out and say that he was offering the pair the fight himself.

Now, you might be wondering what this has to do with a McGregor and Pacquiao fight. Well, when he most recently appeared on the legend Teddy Atlas’ The FIGHT podcast, Poirier revealed that he thought that Conor was angling to fight him because, just like Pacquiao, he is a southpaw. “He wants to fight another southpaw before he fights another southpaw,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I think that’s what the alignment is.” If there was any doubt about that theory, it was put to rest with yet another Conor McGregor tweet.

“Correct. Southpaw box style. Continue to sharpen my MMA skills with some tough competition while leading into my Manny bout preparation. It’s not easy going between both sports and then coming back to the one sport again. Just want to keep sharp guys; that’s all. It’s only fair”.

Despite Dustin saying that he is yet to receive a contract if all goes well, the rematch between Dustin and Conor should go ahead on January 23rd of 2021. If things go to plan for Conor and he bags his second win over the Louisiana native, a Manny fight could happen as soon as next summer.

There is the question of getting all of the involved parties on the same side and willing to let things go ahead with fans not in attendance wherever the fight may happen, but that bridge will be crossed once we get to it. If Conor and Floyd were able to come to terms fairly quickly a few years ago, this one isn’t too far-fetched either.

If the fight were to happen, it would likely happen no heavier than 147lbs, which could be a problem for Conor. He hasn’t been down to that weight in nearly five years since he last made featherweight before the José Aldo fight. It’s doable but only decreases his chances of winning, which are already low heading in. But that has never stopped Conor McGregor before.

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Sports Strength

Who Is The Current Heavyweight Champion In Boxing?

The heavyweight era in boxing from a few decades ago made the term ‘heavyweight’ synonymous with ‘best’ in any given field. Legends like Ali, Foreman, Tyson, and Frazier had that kind of effect on not just the sport, but the whole world. For a long while afterward, it was the lighter weight classes that had the shine in the sport, but in the past few years, heavyweight boxing is back on top in a big way.

With that being said, boxing can be hard to follow with its multiple different champions in each weight class and terms like ‘lineal champ,’ ‘super champ’ and ‘interim champ.’ So to make things easier for you, we’ve made a list of the current champions in heavyweight boxing across the main sanctioning bodies with information about each respective title reign.

To make things quick, there isn’t just one heavyweight champion in the sport. In fact, we’ve been in a four-belt era since 2004, and the last undisputed, unified heavyweight champion was Lennox Lewis. But right now, there are two fighters considered heavyweight champions; Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. If and when they fight, they’ll unify their titles. What titles, you ask? Just scroll down to find out.

IBF Heavyweight Champion: Anthony Joshua (Apr 2016 – Jun 2019, Dec 2019 – Current)

The British superstar actually holds multiple of the four major sanctioning bodies’ heavyweight titles; the IBF title, the WBO title, the WBA Super title, and the IBO title. He won the first of them, the IBF title, in April of 2016 when he knocked out Charles Martin in round 2, and he has since racked up six successful title defenses against the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin.

This puts him in tied second place for most defenses of this belt with Mike Tyson, with Klitschko actually in first place with a whopping eighteen defenses. In the summer of 2019, he lost the IBF title, along with his other three belts, to Andy Ruiz in what some people called the sport’s biggest upset since Buster Douglas beat Mike Tyson. Sticking to his guns to use his range and outbox Ruiz in December of the same year, he now once again holds the IBF title, along with the other three belts, and the fight on everyone’s mind is the unification bout against Tyson Fury.

WBA (Super) (World Boxing Association): Anthony Joshua (Apr 2017 – Jun 2019, Dec 2019 – Current)

The WBA (Super) title was made vacant after Tyson Fury tested positive for cocaine. Before that, he was scheduled to fight Klitschko once again, but instead, on April 29th, 2017, Klitschko fought Anthony Joshua in what ended up being one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time. Joshua won and retained the title against Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, and Alexander Povetkin before losing it in the first loss of his career against Andy Ruiz. Though it wasn’t the fun fight that fans worldwide necessarily wanted, he did what he needed to do to win it back in their rematch.

What might be confusing to people is that Manuel Charr is the regular WBA heavyweight champion, Trevor Bryan is the interim WBA heavyweight champion, and Robert Helenius is the WBA Gold heavyweight champion. This allows WBA to make extra money on other title defenses, but for all intents and purposes, Joshua is the WBA champion in the heavyweight division. Muhammad Ali holds the record for most WBA heavyweight title defenses with ten from 1974 to 1978.

WBO (World Boxing Organisation): Anthony Joshua (Mar 2018 – Jun 2019, Dec 2019 – Current)

Anthony Joshua didn’t win the WBO heavyweight title until March of 2018 when he fought Joseph Parker to a unanimous decision in Wales. Just like the WBA (Super), the IBF, and the IBO titles, the WBO title was on the line in all Joshua’s subsequent fights, meaning he defended it his first and only time against Povetkin in September of 2018, lost it to Ruiz and then won it back from Ruiz to close last year out. Joshua only has one defense of this title, putting behind Joseph Parker, Lamon Brewster, Vitali Klitschko, Herbie Hide, Henry Akinwande, and Wladimir Klitschko, who has a whopping nineteen WBO heavyweight title defenses, albeit not consecutively.

WBC (World Boxing Council): Tyson Fury (Feb 2020 – Current)

Before he walked away from the sport after testing positive for cocaine, Tyson Fury held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring heavyweight belts and was the reigning, undefeated king. After his long, well-documented hiatus, he beat Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta to earn a shot at then-WBC champion Deontay Wilder. That fight infamously went to a draw, and it wasn’t until February of this year that he was able to compete in the rematch where he, of course, knocked Wilder out in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

With his win of the WBC title, Fury has officially held all of the four titles at one point or another. You could look at the heavyweight title picture as Joshua holding 75 percent of it and Fury holding 25 percent of it, but unfortunately, it’s more complicated than that.

Due to the fact that Fury beat Wilder, he’s considered by many as the ‘real’ heavyweight champion. He’s also the “lineal champion,” which means as much as you want it to mean. Either way, a fight between Tyson and Anthony is long overdue, with Fury recently suggesting that Joshua should vacate any belts that might cause issues with booking the fight. If we ever get this, it’ll be one of the biggest fights of all time.