July 9, 1981: Caveman Lee def. John LoCicero by KO (2:53 of round 5)
LoCicero, a New Yorker, was noted by then-RING editor Randy Gordon as having the hardest right hand in the middleweight division at the time. That may well have been true, as LoCicero blasted the hometown fighter Lee with some brutal right hands in the fourth and fifth rounds, shaking him up a bit. Lee dropped LoCicero and the visiting fighter looked finished, but he came back and landed a massive flurry of unanswered shots, only for Lee to survive the onslaught and drop LoCicero again, knocking him out. The fifth round of this fight alone is worth watching the whole thing.
Here’s commentator Al Bernstein on the fight:
“The 20 Grand Showroom, a small nightclub in Detroit, was not air-conditioned, and on a very hot and humid July night, the temperature in that room was well above a hundred degrees. How these men could even box in that heat was amazing.”
June 24, 1995: Roy Jones Jr def. Vinny Pazienza by TKO (2:58 of round 6)
This was not a fight to showcase for competition or even the action, but a fight to showcase, well, the showcase of Roy Jones Jr, who utterly dominates an incredibly determined, incredibly game Vinny Pazienza, one of the toughest men to ever lace up gloves.
Pazienza’s career at this point only miraculously existed in the first place. After breaking his neck, Pazienza was told he’d never fight again. He did, missing just over a year of action. In his most recent fight, he’d beaten Roberto Durán, and five months later was in the ring with Jones, considered the No. 2 pound for pound fighter in boxing, behind Pernell Whitaker.
This was never close. Jones’ speed, size, and power were too much for Pazienza. Defensively, he moved around Vinny with ease, even though “The Pazmanian Devil” did his best to close the gap, and never gave up on himself in the fight. Until the bitter end, he was trying his very best to get to Jones, constantly trying to overcome insurmountable odds.
In the sixth round, Jones finally dropped Pazienza, who got up but really should have been stopped there. Another sharp right hand dropped him again, but once again he got to his feet and continued on. This time, Jones shrugged his shoulders (literally), marched forward, and unleashed a series of vicious left hands that put Pazienza down again. The referee stopped the carnage there, with Pazienza still wanting to fight on.
June 17, 1979: Danny Lopez def. Mike Ayala by KO (1:09 of round 15)
Ayala, the hometown favorite in San Antonio, had never faced anyone like “Little Red” Lopez. Ayala had a 21-1 mark coming into the fight, but a fairly empty record. But as we say all the time, that doesn’t mean someone can’t fight against better competition, just that they haven’t -- yet.
Ayala got the crowd roaring in the second round, landing some heavy shots and hurting the defending featherweight champ. And in the first five or six rounds, Ayala was making a real fight of it, arguably even ahead. But in the seventh he was dropped for the first time. Still, he came back and won the eighth round, and stayed in the fight, mostly on his grit and energy.
In the 11th round, Ayala went down again, and the referee counted him out. The fight was stopped. But then, the timekeeper said the count had only been at nine when Ayala rose, so the ring had to be cleared, and the fight resumed, a truly unusual situation. He stayed in the fight still, but in the 15th round was dropped again, just over a minute in, and couldn’t beat the count. He just had no more left.
This was the 1979 Fight of the Year, and is an all-time fight. Just great two-way action, a tremendous display of stamina and heart from both, and a great finish.
- The production crew was obsessed with Danny Lopez’s wife.
- Between the 8th and 9th rounds, the commentary noted, “The big fat guy with his back to us, that’s his father.”
- Check out the local radio guy who served as ring announcer introducing Mike Ayala: