10. JOHNNY NELSON V CARL THOMPSON
Nelson got under Thompson’s skin ahead of his challenge for the WBO cruiserweight title by interrupting his interviews and hinting he was having an affair with his wife. Quite what influence this had on the fight, who knows, but Nelson won in five and Thompson complained the stoppage was premature. The pair kept bickering between themselves until they retired.
9. DAVID HAYE v TONY BELLEW
Haye made numerous tasteless threats towards Bellew ahead of their fight in March – and then lost. Hampered by an Achilles injury, Haye was stopped in 11 rounds.
8. LENNOX LEWIS v FRANK BRUNO
Bruno considered Lewis went too far when he accused of him being an ‘Uncle Tom’ in the build up to their fight for Lewis’ WBC heavyweight title at Cardiff Arms Park in October 1993. Bruno fought a spirited fight before being stopped in seven rounds.
7. ANTHONY JOSHUA v DILLIAN WHYTE
Joshua and Whyte never got on from the night Whyteoutpointed Joshua when they were novice amateurs and in thebuild up to their clash for the vacant British heavyweight title in December 2015, tensions boiled over. During a head to head at Sky Sports to plug the fight, Joshua upset Whyte, Whyte responded and Joshua leapt to his feet and slammed his fists on the table. Security were quick to intervene.
6. RICKY HATTON v JUNIOR WITTER
Hatton disliked Junior Witter so much, he refused to fight him – and give him what would have been the biggest pay day of his career.
“It was different though because I was a ticket-seller, Junior wasn’t. I was boxing at the MEN [now the Manchester Arena] in front of thousands of people and Junior wasn’t and I found myself in the top five in the world. With Junior slagging me off as well, which was starting to get on my nerves, I was of the opinion that I was in the top five so why would I fight Junior Witter when I could fight Sharmba Mitchell, Kostya Tszyu and all these people for big money?” said Hatton according to boxingnewsonline.net
5. MICHAEL BENTT v HERBIE HIDE
Why did this Bentt and Hide end up scrapping ahead of their WBO heavyweight title fight in March, 1994?
“I was wearing a Millwall hat,” remembered Bennt, “and he slapped it off my head. I thought the wind had blown it off, but I noticed Hide and the reporters sniggering, so I retaliated. It was a bad decision . . . “
Both were fined and following the fight, Bentt spent four days in a coma. He made a full recovery and is now a successful actor.
4. MARK KAYLOR v ERROL CHRISTIE
To a backdrop of racial tension, this pair came to blows ahead of their British middleweight title eliminator in 1985. They clashed at a press conference and again in the car park following it. There was a heavy police presence when they boxed at Wembley Arena – and Kaylor won a terrific up-and-down fight in eight rounds.
3. DAVID HAYE V DERECK CHISORA
Haye went to the press conference following the Chisora-Vitali Klitschko fight in February, 2012 to ask Klitschko why he had not fulfilled a promise to fight him – and ended up scrapping with Chisora. The Board banned them both, but that wasn’t going to stop Frank Warren and on a show sanctioned by the Luxembourg Boxing Federation at Upton Park, Haye chinned Chisora in five rounds.
2. NIGEL BENN v CHRIS EUBANK
More than two decades on, there’s still talk of a third meeting between the unhinged street fighter Benn and the wannabe intellectual Eubank. Their first fight, at Birmingham’s NEC in November, 1990, was one of THE great British fights. Eubank won it in nine rounds and three years later, Benn left the ring feeling hard done by after their rematch at Old Trafford was ruled a draw.
1. CARL FROCH V GEORGE GROVES
After everything he had achieved, Froch deserved respect –and Groves didn’t give him any. He called him ‘Frock,’ rolled his eyes when he spoke and basically did everything he could to get under the skin of the proud and prickly veteran. Groves would later admit the plan was to wind up Froch and get him to run onto his right hand –and he did.
Froch picked himself up to force a ninth-round stoppage deemed premature by the masses and in front of 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, he put a full stop to their rivalry with a pulverising right hand he’s more than happy to tell
you all about.