Boxing: The greatest fights that never happened

Profile Picture: Danny Howard

April 15th, 2020

It may be hard to believe that big fights happen more often than not, but it’s the truth.

Despite egos, promotional red tape, money, and everything else that goes into negotiations between two guys who want to beat each other up, everyone wants the chance to prove their worth and stand alone as the top dog.

But that doesn't mean the big fights always happen. Here are five of the greatest fights that never happened.

Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Juan Manuel Lopez

The blame for this red-hot showdown falls solely on the shoulders of their mutual promoter, Bob Arum.

Arum knew a fight between the two was inevitable, but he opted to keep them from each other until it was absolutely necessary to make the fight.

That strategy blew up in Arum’s face, when Lopez unexpectedly lost two fights to Orlando Salido and Gamboa walked out on the promoter shortly after.

Riddick Bowe vs. Lennox Lewis

Bowe wanted nothing to do with Lewis, after Lewis battered him in the amateurs. Bowe even made a point to duck Lewis to the point he had to throw his title in the garbage when Lewis became his mandatory.

I can't really blame Bowe, especially as he just came off of his legendary clash with Evander Holyfield, and Lewis was still flying under the radar. Bowe simply didn’t like his chances against Lewis, even if it wasn't the polished version of Lewis we think of today.

Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Aaron Pryor

After Leonard defeated Thomas Hearns, Pryor moved up from junior welterweight to challenge for Leonard’s title and signed all the paperwork. The boxing world never saw this clash, however, as Leonard retired because of a detached retina.

Though Pryor missed out on a beating that would have ruined the bout's mystique all these years later, he instead picked up his career-defining moments in two fights with Alexis Arguello.

Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Erik Morales

Though Marquez and Morales were future Hall of Famers, their paths didn't intersect until late in their careers.

Marquez was scrapping on club shows when Morales had his legendary trilogy with Marco Antonio Barrera. By the time it made sense for this fight to happen, Morales was a worn pro at the end of his rope, and Marquez was on the ascent.

A fight between the two was discussed in 2011, but it fell apart and was never revisited.

George Foreman vs. Mike Tyson

During the late 1980s, Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet, and George Foreman came out of retirement just to see how bad.

According to legend, Tyson was unwilling to face Foreman and did not buy into the critics' view that Foreman was washed up. Tyson knew Foreman could potentially exploit a hole in his style.

The fight was explored all the way up to Tyson’s shocking loss to Buster Douglas, but the loss and Tyson’s prison stint took this one away from us.

Looking to scratch that sports-betting itch? Check out BetAmerica horse racing!