Boxing records in history

Janina Lim
Boxing records in history
Before the legendary Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, get to know previous boxing matches that set world records

MANILA, Philippines – Regarded as the “fight of the century”, the face-off between boxers Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr may break records earlier set by previous big fights.

Mayweather himself has already created world records in his previous matches. His 2007 fight with Oscar de la Hoya set a record for most pay-per-views (PPVs) sold at 2.48 million, while his 2013 fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez set a record for greatest PPV revenue at $150 million.

Will the highly-anticipated Pacquiao-Mayweather fight break these and other world records on Sunday, May 3, Philippine time?

For now, here are some of the world boxing match records that are waiting to be broken by the future generation of boxers.

Longest boxing match:
Andy Bowen vs Jack Burke

1893. The match between Andy Bowen (left) vs Jack Burke (right) holds the record for the longest boxing match. Photos from Wikimedia Commons

Criticized as a brutal sport, boxing actually started in the 19th century as a test of endurance. 

On April 6, 1893, fighters Andy Bowen and Jack Burke competed at the New York’s Olympic Club in the hopes of taking home the winner-take-all-purse prize of $2,500 to be given to the one who would fight to the finish.

Their fight ended after 110 rounds, running for 7 hours and 19 minutes, with each round lasting 3 minutes each and with neither boxer pausing for a break. The two ended up splitting the prize.

“There were thousands of people there, many of them laboring men. It was almost time for them to go to their breakfast. Men were asleep in their seats and the disgust was general,” said a New York Times boxing reporter.

Highest number of knockouts in a match:
Sam McVey vs Joe Jeanette

1909. The fight between Sam McVey (left) vs Joe Jeanette (right) has the record of the most knockouts in a match. Photos from Wikimedia Commons

On April 17, 1909, Sam McVey and Joe Jeanette faced off in France for the third of their 5 fights. Their bout ended with 38 knockdowns within the 49 three-minute rounds. 

Jeanette was recorded to have gone down 27 times within the first two-thirds of the fight, while McVea was knocked down 11 times in the latter rounds. McVey collapsed with both eyes closed due to severe eye injuries, making Jeanette the winner.

“By virtue of oxygen pumped into them by their seconds, Jeannette and MacVey reeled and staggered through forty-eight rounds of a brutal and plucky fight here tonight. At the opening of the forty-ninth round MacVey, his face utterly dehumanized save for an expression of helpless agony that distorted what remained of his features, signified that he was unable to continue, whereupon the referee declared Jeannette the winner,” said a New York Sun article on April 18, 1909 that summarized the boxing bout.

Largest number of paying audience
Julio Caesar Chavez vs Greg Haugen

1993. The match between Julio Caesar Chavez (left) vs Greg Haugen (right) holds the record for the largest number of paying audience. Photos from Facebook

132,274 boxing fans gathered at the Estadio Azteca Stadium on February 20, 1993 to witness Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez and Greg Haugen fight for the World Boxing Champion (WBC) super-lightweight title. 

In September 2013, however, it was alleged that the record was taken by a fight between Dmitry Chudinov and Jorge Navarro for the WBA international middleweight title, which drew 200,000 spectators as claimed by promoter Vladimir Hrunov. 

But since this WBA boxing match was part of a motorbike show in Volgograd, it is impossible to separate the number of spectators of the boxing match from that of the motorbike show. 

Other similar records include:

  • largest attendance for an indoor tournament: 63,315 (Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks, September 15 1978)
  • largest number of audience free of admission: 135,132 (Tony Zale vs. Billy Pryor, August 1941)

Fastest knockout
Phil Williams vs Brandon Burke

2007. The battle between Phil Williams (left) and Brandon Burke (right) sets the record for the fastest knockout. Screengrab from Youtube

Knocking down an opponent with just one punch is extremely rare and a difficult feat. It’s even harder to do it in the first round. 

Phil Williams, who entered the Light Heavyweight category bout at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on July 6, 2007, holds the record for the fastest knockout in history.

He knocked down Burke in the first two seconds of round one. Burke recovered and was still able to fight for 3 more rounds.

Meanwhile, “The Iron” Mike Tyson has the most flash knockouts, as he toppled 9 opponents in less than a minute on various occasions (Marvis Frazier, 0:30; Robert Colay, 0:37; Lou Savarese, 0:38; Mike Johnson, 0:39; Ricardo Spain, 0:39; Clifford Etienne, 0:49; Mark Young, 0:50; Trent Singleton, 0:52; and Sterling Benjamin, 0:54).

Fastest knockout to end a game
Jeremy Williams vs Arthur Weathers

1996. Jeremy Williams (shown in photo) knocks out Arthur Weathers in just 10 seconds. Photo from

On March 19, 1996, Williams knocked out Weathers badly with a solid right uppercut in 10 seconds of the first round, immediately ending the game. The 10 seconds already included the referee’s countdown.

Marty Denkin, the referee of the game, said that Weathers’ eyes rolled up. “I gave him one more second to get his eyes in focus. Why continue counting when you can give the doctor five more seconds to work on him?” Denkin added. 

Meanwhile, Weathers claimed that he didn’t see the punch coming. “I worked on some things that didn’t work. Now I’ll go back in the gym and work on some other things.”

Most number of punches thrown in a match
Antonio Margarito vs Joshua Clottey

2006. The fight between Antonio Margarito (left) and Joshua Clottey (right) has the most number of punches thrown in a match. Photos from EPA

Despite a foot injury, Mexican Margarito defeated Ghanaian Clottey on December 2, 2006. The bout set a record of 1,675 punches thrown over a 12-round game – 82 times more than the average welterweight per round.

The match served as Clottey’s first shot to a world title. His hand was reportedly broken in the fourth round while trying to throw an uppercut. He lost the judges’ votes from round 5 through 11.

After the bout, Clottey said: “I think in my own heart, that I have never lost a fight before in my life.”

The boxing showdown also triggered controversies accusing Margarito of illegally loading his hand wraps with loads of plaster. –

SOURCES:,, various news websites

Photos from Wikimedia Commons, Youtube, Facebook, and EPA

Janina Lim is a Rappler intern

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