“What does perfection look like to me? Championship rings.” – Kobe Bryant
“What does perfection look like to me? Championship rings.” – Kobe Bryant
The game was played at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., and broadcasted on radio by Mutual Broadcasting System, the first NFL title game broadcast nationwide. The Chicago Bears defeated the Washington Redskins, 73–0, the most one-sided victory in NFL history.
The Redskins had beat the Bears 7–3 in a regular season game three weeks earlier. After the contest, Redskins owner George Preston Marshall told reporters that the Bears were “quitters” and “cry babies” when the going got tough. As the Bears prepared for the rematch, Chicago head coach George Halas fired up his team by showing them newspaper articles of Marshall’s comments.
Less than a minute into the game, the Bears’ running back Bill Osmanski ran 68 yards to score the first touchdown. After the Redskins narrowly missed an opportunity to tie the game, the Bears clamped down and began to dominate, leaving the field at halftime with a 28-0 lead. Things only got worse for the Redskins, and by the end of the second half officials were asking Halas not to let his team kick for extra points, as they were running out of footballs after too many had been kicked into the stands.
The Bears followed their history-making win with two more consecutive championships, including a game against the New York Giants just two weeks after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. Many great football players were subsequently drafted into World War II, and Halas himself would leave in 1942 for a tour of duty in the Pacific. In 1946, after the war ended, Halas and a number of former players returned to the team, and the Bears won their fourth NFL Championship in seven years.
After trouble finding another suitable opponent, on December 5, 1947, Joe Louis met Jersey Joe Walcott, a 33-year-old veteran with a 44–11–2 record. Walcott entered the fight as a 10-to-1 underdog. Nevertheless, Walcott knocked down Louis twice in the first four rounds. Most observers in Madison Square Garden felt Walcott dominated the 15-round fight. When Louis was declared the winner in a split decision, the crowd booed.
Louis was under no delusion about the state of his boxing skills, yet he was too embarrassed to quit after the Walcott fight. Determined to win and retire with his title intact, Louis signed on for a rematch. On June 25, 1948, about 42,000 people came to Yankee Stadium to see the aging champion, who weighed 213½, the heaviest of his career to date. Walcott knocked Louis down in the third round, but Louis survived to knock out Walcott in the eleventh.
Louis would not defend his title again before announcing his retirement from boxing on March 1, 1949. In his bouts with Conn and Walcott, it had become apparent that Louis was no longer the fighter he once had been. As he had done earlier in his career, however, Louis would continue to appear in numerous exhibition matches worldwide.
“I honestly didn’t even know who the coach was when I was coming to New York. I just wanted to win a championship; I didn’t even know who was coaching. I didn’t care. It could have been Aunt Jemima. They could have had the syrup coaching. I was coming here regardless. I just wanted to win a championship.” – Metta World Peace
“I made him quit,” Leonard said. “To make a man quit, to make Roberto Durán quit, was better than knocking him out.
After the Montreal fight Durán went on a partying binge and ballooned in weight. Leonard was aware of this, and in an interview for Beyond the Glory he said: “My intention was to fight Durán ASAP because I knew Duran’s habits. I knew he would indulge himself, he’d gain 40–50 lbs and then sweat it off to make 147.” Unlike the fight in Montreal, Leonard used his superior speed and movement to outbox and befuddle Durán . “The whole fight, I was moving, I was moving,” Leonard said. “And Voom! I snapped his head back with a jab. Voom! I snapped it back again. He tried to get me against the ropes, I’d pivot, spin off and Pow! Come under with a punch.”
In round seven, Leonard started to taunt Durán. Leonard’s most memorable punch came late in the round. Winding up his right hand, as if to throw a bolo punch, Leonard snapped out a left jab and caught Durán flush in the face. “It made his eyes water,” Leonard said. He continued to taunt Durán mercilessly. He stuck out his chin, inviting Durán to hit it. Durán hesitated. Leonard kept it up, continuing to move, stop, and mug.
In the closing seconds of the eighth round, Durán turned his back to Leonard and quit, saying to referee Octavio Meyran, “No Mas.” Leonard was the winner by a technical knockout at 2:44 of round eight, regaining the WBC Welterweight Championship. Leonard led by scores of 68–66, 68–66 and 67–66.
Durán said he quit because of stomach cramps, caused by overeating after the weigh-in. “At the end of the fifth round, I got cramps in my stomach and it kept getting worse and worse,” Durán later said. “I felt weaker and weaker in my body and arms.” He then announced, “I am retiring from boxing right now.” During the night Durán was admitted to a hospital with stomach pains, and discharged the following day.
Everyone was surprised by Durán’s actions, none more so than his veteran trainers, Freddie Brown and Ray Arcel. “I was shocked,” Brown said. “There was no indication that he was in pain or getting weak.” Arcel was angry. “That’s it,” he said. “I’ve had it. This is terrible. I’ve handled thousands of fighters and never had anyone quit on me. I think he needs a psychiatrist more than he needs anything else.” Durán’s manager, Carlos Eleta, said, “Durán didn’t quit because of stomach cramps. He quit because he was embarrassed. I know this.” According to Randy Gordon, who witnessed Durán’s antics beforehand and was in his dressing room immediately afterwards, Duran quit because of his huge eating binge prior to the fight.
In 1986, the three major boxing organizations, the World Boxing Council, the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation teamed with HBO to create a heavyweight championship tournament in an effort to crown the first Undisputed Heavyweight Champion since Leon Spinks in 1978. All three of organization’s heavyweight champions, as well as several of the sport’s top contenders were entered into the tournament. In the first leg of the tournament, Trevor Berbick met then-WBC champion Pinklon Thomas for the WBC portion of the heavyweight title. In a closely contested fight, Berbick was able to narrowly earn the victory by unanimous decision to capture his first major heayvweight title. However, his first defense of that title would come against the 20-year old undefeated sensation Mike Tyson, who was 27–0 with 25 of his victories coming by way of knockout. Tyson had gone 12–0 in the year of 1986 alone and officially qualified for the unification series with a second round knockout victory over Alfonso Ratliff in September. Though the 32–year old Berbick entered the fight as the champion, he was installed as a 3–1 underdog to Tyson, who at 20 years old, was 12 years younger than Berbick and was trying to surpass Floyd Patterson as the youngest man to win a major Heavyweight title in the history of the sport.
Iron Mike Tyson Vs Trevor Berbick:
Tyson would dominate Berbick, easily picking up the victory by way of 2nd round technical knockout. From the opening bell Tyson would be the aggressor, hammering Berbick with several powerful punches. Towards the end of the round, Tyson hit Berbick with a 4-punch combination that sent Berbick across the ring. Berbick managed to stay on his feet, but Tyson would continue to attack, hitting Berbick several more times until the bell sounded. Tyson picked up right where he left off in round 2, almost immediately hitting Berbick with a combination that dropped the champion. Berbick was able to answer the referee’s count and the fight would continue. Berbick, however, was unable to get any offense going, continuously getting rocked by Tyson. Tyson would finally end the fight as the 2:35 mark, hitting Berbick with a right to the body followed by a left hook to the head that dropped Berbick for the second time. Berbick attempted to get up twice, only to collapse both times, causing referee Mills Lane to call the fight and award Tyson the victory via technical knockout.
James “Buster” Douglas vs Evander Holyfield fight, billed as “The Moment of Truth”, was for the WBA, WBC, IBF, and lineal Heavyweight championships. The bout took place at The Mirage in Paradise, Nevada, USA and saw Douglas making the first defense of the titles he won from Mike Tyson in February 1990.
An out-of-shape Douglas came into the fight weighing 246 pounds, 15 pounds heavier then he was for the Tyson fight. Holyfield, meanwhile came into the fight at 208 pounds and dominated the sluggish Douglas, winning both the first and second rounds. In the third round, Douglas attempted to hit Holyfield with an uppercut. Not only did Douglas telegraph the punch, he missed Holyfield completely and knocked himself off balance. Holyfield countered with a straight right to Douglas’ chin, knocking the champion flat on his back as referee Mills Lane counted him out. Douglas remained on the canvas for several seconds after the knockout and needed to be helped up twice before he got to his corner.
Douglas was heavily criticized for both his excessive weight gain and his lackluster in-ring performance. His former promoter Don King was particularly critical, shooting down any chance of a Douglas–Tyson rematch while also calling Douglas’ performance “disgraceful”. Douglas left boxing after this, not to return until 1996. He won the first six fights of his comeback before being knocked out in the first round by Lou Savarese. He won his next two fights before retiring for good in 1999.