Irish middleweight and Ladbrokes ambassador Jason Quigley joined Mark and Mick on The Buildup podcast again this week, and had an in-depth discussion about his picks for his top 5 favourite fights of all time.
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No 5: Anthony Joshua Vs Wladimir Klitschko
Despite being 41-years-old at the time, the experienced Klitschko posed the toughest challenge of Joshua's career.
Going into the fight Joshua was already IBF champion and this match-up offered him the chance to add the WBA belt to his collection.
In what was arguably the greatest round of the year, Joshua floored Klitschko hard in the 5th, emptying his gas-tank in the process. The Ukrainian turned back the clock to rise off the canvas and almost had Joshua out on his feet before the round was over.
Klitschko dropped AJ in the 6th but failed to capitalise on his advantage however, as he let Joshua off the hook and was duly finished in the 11th round.
Quigley says if it weren't for Klitchko's conservative style, he could have finished Joshua earlier in the fight.
If Klitschko was a more ruthless fighter, like the likes of Ruiz or a Tyson that comes forward, puts the pressure on. He possibly could have got Joshua out of there in that fight, but Klitschko's such a clean boxer that he likes to pick his shots. He likes to hit you with that one single shot.
He hit Joshua with his best shots, took a lot out of Joshua and Joshua came back. As I said, that's the sign of the champion. That's what made Joshua go on and be the Anthony Joshua that he is today.
No 4: Kostya Tszyu vs Ricky Hatton
Coming into this light-welterweight bout, the 26-year-old Hatton was a huge underdog.
Tszyu, 35, was a respected champion with a record of 31-1, and was undefeated in 8 years. Hatton flipped the script however, as he dragged the champion into a high-paced war that proved to be too much for him so late in his career.
In the end, Hatton would win the fight and the IBF world title in front of a huge crowd in the Manchester Arena. Tszyu retired both from the fight and from the sport too thereafter, when his corner threw the towel in.
Quigley believes it was Hatton's work rate in the end which won him the fight.
He was even beyond Mexican style. He was such a ruthless fighter that he was just in your face all night long and that's what proved his victory against Kostya Tszyu.
"It was his work rate that mentally took its toll on Kostya Tszyu [in the] last 9,10,11 rounds and Kostya Tszyu didn't come out for the last round. Ricky was just in his face.
No 3: Diego Corrales vs José Luis Castillo I
This one is the very definition of a phone-booth fight.
Both Corrales and Castillo came into the unification bout holding the WBC and WBO lightweight titles respectively. What ensued was one of the all-time great back and forth battles, which unsurprisingly won the Ring Magazine Fight of The Year.
In particular the 10th round of the fight in the most famous or infamous depending on how you view it. Castillo badly hurt and dropped Corrales twice, with Corrales spitting out his gumshield on both instances to buy time. As Castillo came in to finish the fight, the late Corrales landed a giant left hook. He immediately followed up with an unrelenting flurry forcing referee Tony Weeks to step in and end the fight.
Despite the controversy, Quigley says Corrales spitting his gumshield out was a very experienced move.
That just shows the experience as well, of Corrales. The way that he spit the gum-shield out both times. He knew he was hurt, but he still had that awareness upstairs that, 'Right I'm hurt. I need an extra bit of time, how do I get it? Spit the gum-shield out.' And he did that.
Castillo's thinking, 'All I have to do here is run in and hit him a jab. The referees going to step in and stop this or he's going to go down for a third time.' But the snap and the power that Corrales had to rock Castillo that late on in that round, after being down himself twice is just unbelievable. You couldn't even write that in a Rocky movie!
No 2: Arturo Gatti vs Micky Ward I
Arguably the greatest slugfest there ever was, with levels of grit, determination, and heart to match it.
The first fight of the Ward vs Gatti trilogy was nothing short of incredible. Though no titles were on the line, both fighters went life and death for the whole 10 rounds.
In the 9th Gatti was dropped by a great left hook to the body. Legendary boxing trainer and fight commentator Emmanuel Stewart even went as far to suggest Gatti couldn't get up from the blow. In true warrior fashion, 'Thunder' Gatti did beat the count and somehow managed to fight on and survive the round.
The fighters went on to hear the final bell and Ward was awarded a contentious and close majority decision victory.
Quigley feels Ward's ability to drag Gatti into a brawl was the catalyst for the match-up being so unique.
Gatti had the tan, the looks, he had the bit of swagger in the ring, he had the style. He looked the part. Whereas Ward was pure raw and I think that's what made the fight, the two clash of styles."
Gatti is such a beautiful skillful boxer, where if he can do that he'll beat Ward all day long. It was the way that Ward dragged him into a fight. Dragged him into a war and the two of them just went hell for leather then. That was what made it so special
No 1: Marco Antonio Barrera vs Prince Naseem Hamed
Heading into this featherweight title fight Barerra was a 3 to 1 underdog.
The 31-0 Hamed was widely expected to comfortably beat the Mexican, as he had done with all his previous opponents. What ensued was one of the most famous rude awakenings in boxing history.
Barrera landed big shots on Hamed from the very first round and delivered a thorough beating over the course of the fight. He was awarded a unanimous decision victory after the 12 rounds were up.
Interestingly, despite claiming he wanted to fight Barrera again, Hamed would opt to let the rematch clause expire.
In particular, Quigley says he loved watching the rough-house tactics from Barrera's side.
It was the way that he manhandled Naz, it was unbelievable. Everything that Naz tried to do Barrera just cancelled it out. He rough-housed him a few times. The best part of the whole fight was where he rammed his head into the corner and he says to him his ear:
'Who's your daddy?'
That there is just quality!
The full chat is well worth a listen. You can download and subscribe to The Buildup podcast here.
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