It was March 31, 1980 when 1976 Olympian and WBA World Heavyweight champion John Tate was defending in his home state at the Stokely Athletics Center, Knoxville, Tennessee.
In Tate’s previous fight he traveled to Pretoria, South Africa taking on their unbeaten Gerrie Coetzee, 22-0, on October 20, 1979 and managed to walk away with a 15 round decision for the vacant WBA title before 86,000 in attendance. His record stood at 20-0.
In his first defense Tate’s opponent was Mike “Hercules” Weaver, 21-9. In the fourteenth round a frustrated Weaver lost a point from referee Ernesto Magana putting him further behind in the scoring. The scores at the time were Magana 138-133, Nicasio L. Drake 137-134 and Cesar Ramos 136-133 going into the final round.
Knowing he needed a knockout Weaver with approximately one minute left in the round knocked out Tate at 2:15 of the fifteenth and final round to take the title from Tate.
It was September 16, 1981 when “Sugar” Ray Leonard, 31-1, former 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist brought his WBC World Welterweight title to Caesars Palace, in Las Vegas, NV, in a unification bout taking on Thomas “The Hit Man” Hearns, 32-0, the WBA World Welterweight champion.
It was a battle that Ring Magazine would name “Fight of the Year”. After 13 rounds Leonard found himself behind in the scoring of Duane Ford 122-124, Chuck Minker 121-125 and Lou Tabat 122-125. In the fourteenth round Leonard stopped Hearns at 1:45 of the round taking Hearns WBA belt and retaining his WBC belt.
It was September 19, 1952 when underdog Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano brought his 42-0 record to Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia, PA, challenging the Heavyweight champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott, 50-18-1. At the end of the twelfth round Marciano found himself behind in rounds by scores of Charley Daggert’s 4-7, Zach Clayton’s 4-8 and Pete Tomasco’s 5-7.
In the thirteenth round a right hand from Marciano disfigured the face of the champion Walcott knocking him senseless at 0:43 of the round gaining the world heavyweight championship improving his record to 43-0
It was June 18, 1941 when Heavyweight champion Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, 49-1, faced challenger and Light Heavyweight champion Billy “The Pittsburgh Kid” Conn, 59-9-1, at the Polo Grounds in New York City.
Conn’s boxing ability had Louis behind in rounds after twelve by referee Eddie Joseph 5-7, Bill Healy 6-6 and Marty Monroe 4-7. For some unknown reason Conn came out to “finish” Louis but got finished with a pair of right hand’s at 2:58 of the thirteenth round.