During the various “golden ages” of boxing, no other U.S. city acquired a more definitive persona than Philadelphia. It didn’t matter whether their fighters were sluggers like Matthew Saad Muhammad and Frank “The Animal” Fletcher, slicksters like Harold Johnson and Bobby “Boogaloo” Watts or somewhere in-between like Bernard Hopkins and Jeff Chandler, the label “Philadelphia Fighter” affixed an undeniable aura of toughness. Every manager knew when he agreed to fight a Philly guy that his charge was in for a full night’s work — win or lose.
That pugnacious spirit extended to where the fights were held, which included the Spectrum, the Blue Horizon, Convention Hall, Municipal Stadium or, in the really olden days, Philadelphia Stadium, the Baker Bowl and Shetzline Park.
Philadelphia’s influence has virtually vanished in recent years as most regional shows migrated to Atlantic City but the history lives forever. When it was announced that Saturday’s opening card of the NBC Sports Network’s boxing series was to take place in the “City of Brotherly Love,” a nostalgic thrill flowed through those who know and respect the city’s legacy. They knew that the venue would up the ante in terms of performance, for Philadelphia fight fans are as knowledgeable and demanding on those who perform before them as they are with the Sixers, Phillies, Eagles and Flyers.
Only time will tell whether the fighters will satisfy the fans’ demands for action, but until then here is a list of 10 memorable title fights that took place in Philadelphia. Some are all-time classics while others are famous for other reasons: