The Most Unusual Match-Ups in Boxing History

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor
via SHOWTIME Sports

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “a puncher’s chance” before but have never truly understood the meaning behind the phrase. Originally, it was used as a boxing idiom to refer to how it, essentially, only takes one punch to pull off an upset. Boxing is, of course, a sport that has given fans a lifetime of heart-stopping moments owing to this phenomenon, and a lot of the time, the stage is set by an unusual match-up that wouldn’t ordinarily take place. Here’s an ode to some of the most bizarre bouts that the world has ever seen.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor

Floyd Mayweather’s match with Conor McGregor was billed as the biggest fight in combat sports history. McGregor came into the bout as a former featherweight and lightweight champion of the Octagon having spent his career competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, otherwise known as the UFC.

Meanwhile, “Money” Mayweather arrived in Las Vegas to contest the match-up with a record that read 49-0, having never lost in his career. The intrigue centered around whether the flamboyant Irishman could lay one on Mayweather and shatter his unbeaten career record. Alas, Mayweather ducked and dived like a slippery eel before unleashing a barrage of punches on an exhausted McGregor to win by way of TKO in the tenth round.

Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren

If Jake Paul was to successfully establish a foothold in the world of boxing, then he needed to capture the public’s attention by fighting someone who both had a background in combat sports but, simultaneously, was also over the hill. Cue the unusual match-up with Ben Askren. The former professional mixed martial arts artist and amateur wrestler gladly accepted the proposed bout with the YouTuber as he stood to gain in the region of $1 million for his troubles. Furthermore, Askren was tipped to win based on the fact that, well, he used to do this kind of thing for a living. It would, in essence, be money for jam. However, he read the situation all wrong. The former presenter knocked Askren out in round one and, in doing so, successfully set up the Jake Paul circus that is likely to come to a town near you at some stage. Next up for Paul is Tommy Fury, the brother of world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury. How will this one go, you ask?

Answers on a postcard, please, because no one is too sure whether Tommy is any good, with his main claim to fame being an appearance on a reality TV show called Love Island. So with this in mind, we can’t predict a winner. Fortunately, this is a common occurrence in boxing and the good news is that you don’t have to nail your colors to the mast before these two go head-to-head. Indeed, with both fighters at odds of evens to win, there is quite literally nothing to choose between the two prefight, but in-play betting lets you monitor the action before deciding which way to bet. Ultimately, the live betting odds evolve as the fight unfolds which will give you a better chance of making a well-informed bet which, in this case, is hugely beneficial when it comes to the unknown sideshow that is Paul vs Fury. 

Nikolai Valuev vs. David Haye

To finish off, we’ll focus on what was an authentic heavyweight bout for the WBA heavyweight championship between Russian Nikolai Valuev and Englishman David Haye. This had very little to do with cowboy YouTubers looking to pull the wool over the public’s eyes or crossover fights that would generate over $100 million. In this instance, it was bizarre because of the major discrepancies in stature between the two boxers, especially the height difference as Valuev was a giant, standing at over 7ft tall whilst Haye measured in at ‘just’ 6ft 3.

Incredibly, the Englishman would go on to win the fight by running around Valuev in a circle as he out-moved and outboxed the sluggish Russian. Haye did, however, break his hand en route to victory after punching Valuev’s head, later claiming that it was like hitting a brick wall.