A long-time favorite sport, boxing keeps us on the edge of our seat round after round.
The 80s were arguably one of the best decades for the sport.
In 80s boxing, there were some famous promoters standing up for unforgettable fighters, and even competition among organizations.
Keeping 80s boxing interesting, there was a competition between international organizations to see who ‘really’ produced the champions.
There are four different organizations that sanction bouts – the World Boxing Organization (WBO), World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Association (WBA), and the International Boxing Federation (IBF).
They are all recognized by the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF), and the World Boxing Hall of Fame (WBHOF). With all those initials, they were almost guaranteed to go fisticuffs.
It was widely disputed who had a better champion, and who should be higher on the totem pole of boxing organizations, but no matter what championship they won, someone had to win. The boxing champions of the 80s worked hard and earned their titles.
Undisputed Elite 80s Boxers
Without some of the big names involved, 80s boxing just wouldn’t have been the same. There was a fierce rivalry between five champions under different organizations, and one up-and-coming powerhouse.
One of those five champions was Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard began his professional career early in the decade and quickly rose to the top.
He beat one of his most fierce competitors, Roberto Duran, in what is called the ‘No Mas’ bout, came out of retirement to upset Marvin Hagler in 1987, and held titles in five different weight classes throughout his career.
Roberto Duran began his professional career at a shocking 16 years old. He was versatile and strong. He defeated the great Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980 then quit the rematch with “No mas.” He was a contender for five decades – only the second boxer to do so.
Another world champion and stiff competition for Leonard and Duran was Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns. Hearns was actually the first boxer to hold titles in five different weight divisions and only lost five times during his entire career.
Marvin Hagler, or as he likes to be called, ‘Marvelous,’ held the title of undisputed middleweight champion for six years – the second longest streak in boxing history.
Wilfred Benitez was the fifth element of the rivalry. Not only could he throw great punches, he was also great defensively. Benitez was one of the youngest boxers to win a world championship.
In 1986, the world of boxing changed when Mike Tyson went professional. He almost literally burst onto the scene, winning his first 19 fights by knockout.
Tyson broke records that still stand, like becoming the youngest heavyweight champion, and he was one of the best of the 80s.
80s Boxing Promoters
Don King was one of the most prominent figures in the boxing world. He was a savvy businessman, he backed some big names like Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, and Mike Tyson.
Some other famous promoters giving King some interesting competition and organizing some terrific fights were some big names like Bob Arum, Butch Lewis, and Morad Muhammed.
Some of the biggest names involved in 80s boxing made the sport exciting to watch. There was never a dull moment, whether it was related to the boxers, their promoters, or controversy that arose between them.