Top ten craziest fight endings in boxing history – Floyd Mayweather’s ruthless KO, Mike Tyson’s bite and a baffled Lennox Lewis
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Top ten craziest fight endings in boxing history – Floyd Mayweather’s ruthless KO, Mike Tyson’s bite and a baffled Lennox Lewis

Nov 16, 2023

Being knocked out by your opponent is always a danger in boxing – but imagine being taken out by the referee, a TV camera or a furious ringside viewer brandishing a high-heel shoe.

Well, the fighters involved in talkSPORT’s top ten craziest fight endings in boxing did not have to imagine it because it genuinely happened to some of them.

Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield had one of the strangest endings to a fight

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Mike Tyson vs Evander Holyfield had one of the strangest endings to a fightCredit: getty

To be clear, we’re not counting fights that finish in a terrible judges’ decision or with Tyson Fury crooning in his surprisingly melodic singing voice. For better or worse, those are common events in boxing. These ten-fight finales were a little more outlandish.

10. Mayweather turns streetfighter

Floyd Mayweather’s last KO against an actual boxer (no offence, Conor McGregor/Deji) was the most bizarre finishing sequence of his 50-bout pro career. Victor Ortiz blatantly headbutted ‘Money’ in 2011, got docked a point, then wanted to apologise by hugging it out.

However, an angry Mayweather was having none of it and landed two cracking hooks while Ortiz had his hands by his side, knocking him out. The ending sparked an argument between Mayweather and HBO analyst Larry Merchant, which ended with the 80-year-old proclaiming his desire to kick Floyd’s ass. Not how anyone predicted this evening would end.

Mayweather was headbutted by Ortiz, and so then knocked him out when he failed to protect himself

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Mayweather was headbutted by Ortiz, and so then knocked him out when he failed to protect himselfCredit: Getty

9. ‘The Hitman’ and the dad

Ricky Hatton was doing a number on Stephen Smith in his 30th fight when his elbow caught Smith and opened a cut. It looked like an accident, but not to Smith’s dad and cornerman, Darkie, who piled into the ring when his son went down and began shoving referee Mickey Vann.

A disqualification followed, and considering it was in front of 15,000 fans in Manchester, the Smiths did well to make it back to the dressing room, just being pelted with cups filled with (hopefully) beer. “Boxing used to be a clean and fair sport; it isn’t any more,” moaned Darkie.

Hatton had an eventful night in 2002

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Hatton had an eventful night in 2002Credit: Getty

8. Hopkins KOd by referee

Unsurprisingly, middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins was involved in an ugly, mauling fight against Robert Allen in 1998. But referee Mills Lane’s attempt to physically pull the clinching pair apart went badly wrong when he sent an off-balance Hopkins through the ropes and onto the floor.

Maybe you just should have shouted ‘break’, Mills. It was a nasty spill, and Hopkins, lying ringside, claimed he was too injured to fight on. B-Hops joked he would ‘sharpen my wrestling skills’ for the rematch a year later, but this time, he knocked out Allen in round seven.

The duo got to fight again in 2004

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The duo got to fight again in 2004

7. KO in one second

Efe Ajagba completed boxing in 2018, the then 5-0 heavyweight prospect beating Curtis Harper in the first second of round one. He didn’t even need to throw a punch as Harper waited for the opening bell, then calmly stepped between the ropes and strolled back to his dressing room.

A baffled Ajagba celebrated his “win”, while Harper later explained he was upset over a contract situation. You wonder why he bothered with the ring walk and referee’s instructions. But still, Ajagba got to 6-0 with an official KO1, 0:01. Harper has not fought since.

6. Big Daddy goes WWE

How can a fight end with your opponent’s manager dragging you over the top rope and out of the ring, only to finish up with you disqualified? Ask Elijah Tillery. The heavyweight fought future world champ Riddick ‘Big Daddy’ Bowe in a bad-tempered bout in 1991.

After the bell ended round one, Bowe landed a late jab in response to Tillery blowing him a kiss. Tillery began kicking Bowe, and the pair brawled until Riddick’s fiery manager, Rock Newman, leaned in from outside and hauled Tillery out of the ring via a crude WWE neckbreaker. Amid the chaos, the ref decided that Tillery’s kicks were worthy of a DQ and called the insanity off.

5. Kermit the Frog

Kermit Cintron had a pretty good career, crowned by a short stint as a welterweight world champion. Unfortunately, most boxing fans mainly recall him for just one thing: the unusual ending to his 2004 fight with Paul ‘The Punisher’ Williams.

The two got tangled up in round four, and while Williams fell to the canvas, Cintron dived head-first between the ropes and crashed into a table before hitting the floor. Pure momentum or oddly deliberate? Either way, when the Puerto Rican could not continue, the bout went to the scorecards, Williams winning while Cintron was carted away on a stretcher in a neck brace.

Bowe was a fearsome heavyweight

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Bowe was a fearsome heavyweightCredit: Getty Images – Getty

4. TV camera stoppage

It may not have changed the end result, but Adolpho Washington can forever hold a grudge against ringside TV cameras. His 175lb world title challenge against Virgil Hill in 1993 ended when he went to sit down in his corner at the end of round 11, only for his swollen eye to hit an intrusive camera, causing a cut to open up.

The gash was so bad that the fight was called off, Hill declared a technical decision winner, and Washington denied the chance to go all-out in round 12. Chances are Hill was winning anyway, but stoppage via aggressive TV camera is surely unique in boxing history.

3. McCall’s tearful breakdown

A hotly anticipated heavyweight world title fight, Lennox Lewis’ attempt to avenge his upset defeat by Oliver McCall ended in a very different kind of ‘upset’ (the one where one boxer starts crying, stops throwing punches and eventually gets stopped for simply not trying).

Iron-chinned McCall battled drug addiction in the buildup to this 1997 bout and was arrested for throwing a Christmas tree across a hotel lobby. So McCall was clearly not in the right mindset to trade leather with Lewis, as it showed when he began wandering around the ring in a world of his own. Ref Mills Lane eventually just waved the bizarre spectacle off.

McCall kept wandering off midway through the fight

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McCall kept wandering off midway through the fightCredit: Getty Images – Getty

2. Mrs Wilson’s shoe

British light-heavyweights Steve McCarthy and Tony Wilson met in 1989, with McCarthy scoring a third-round knockdown
and then looking to finish the fight. As the pair exchanged haymakers, an even more dangerous combatant entered the ring: Wilson’s 62-year-old mother in a floral dress, who began whacking McCarthy with her shoe.

McCarthy celebrated his apparent victory, but strangely, this was not over. Referee Adrian Morgan insisted the fight must continue, and McCarthy refused, citing his head wound from the shoe (which would later require stitches). Wilson was, therefore, declared the winner – via a massive assist from his mother.

1. The bite fight

It is the most infamous ending in boxing history. Bites in fights are not unknown, but the planet’s most famous heavyweight – Mike Tyson – biting a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear, leaving him jumping around the ring in agony, in their 1997 rematch was something else. Not least because referee Mills Lane (why always him?) actually allowed it to continue.

However, when a second nibble on Evander’s other ear was spotted, Tyson was thrown out. At which point, he began violently trying to get across the crowded ring to Holyfield. ‘Iron Mike’ was fined $3 million and banned for 15 months, though he and Evander quickly made up and remain firm friends to this day – perhaps the weirdest outcome of all.

Tyson was disqualified for biting Holyfield

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Tyson was disqualified for biting HolyfieldCredit: AFP – Getty


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