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BLH Classic Fight Night #1: Foreman-Lyle, Hearns-Barkley, Vazquez-Gonzalez

BLH Classic Fight Night kicks off with a trio of bouts from Las Vegas in 1976, 1988, and 2006.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

It’s here! It’s time! The first-ever official BLH Classic Fight Night is upon us, and will begin promptly at 7 pm ET tonight.

You can join us 100 percent free of charge over at Watch2Gether, where we’ve got a room set up and all you have to do is enjoy the fights and chat with your fellow BLHers. After the final bell sounds, we’ll come back over here for post-fight discussion in a new post on the front page.

Here’s the lineup, in order of play:

Israel Vazquez vs Jhonny Gonzalez

Super Bantamweights, 12 rounds (September 16, 2006)

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Vazquez (40-3) is making the second defense of the WBC super bantamweight title he won from Oscar Larios in December 2005, facing countryman Gonzalez (33-4), a skilled boxer-puncher moving up in weight while holding the WBO bantamweight title. In his prior two bouts, Gonzalez has beaten Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson and Fernando Montiel. Vazquez has won eight straight, including a revenge victory over Larios, who had beaten him in 2002.

Thomas Hearns vs Iran Barkley

Middleweights, 12 rounds (June 6, 1988)

Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Hearns (45-2) is defending the WBC middleweight title against Barkley (24-4), a significant underdog. Following his legendary 1985 war with and loss to Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Hearns has won five straight, including world title fights at 154, 160, and 175. Most recently, he defeated Juan Domingo Roldan to win the vacant WBC middleweight belt. Barkley is a former world title challenger, losing to Sumbu Kalambay in 1987 in a WBA title bout, and hasn’t proven himself at the top levels the way Hearns has over his career.

George Foreman vs Ron Lyle

Heavyweights, 12 rounds (January 24, 1976)

Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Out of the ring for 15 months following his epic defeat at the hands and mind of Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa, former heavyweight champion George Foreman (40-1) returns to action to face Ron Lyle (31-3-1), a solid fighter coming off of a knockout win over the hard-punching Earnie Shavers. Like Foreman, Lyle has a loss to Ali on his record, which came four months before the win over Shavers. This is Foreman’s first fight on American soil since 1972, just before he went to Jamaica and beat Joe Frazier.

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