Lee Groves

10: Greatest light heavyweight title fights

7. September 11, 1991 — Odeon Cinema, London — Jeff Harding W 12 Dennis Andries III

 

Setting the Scene: One of boxing’s most underrated trilogies culminated with an encounter that befitted each fighter’s “hard man” reputation. Both had scored come-from-behind title-winning knockouts away from home; Harding — just 97 seconds away from defeat — snatched fight one from an exhausted Andries in Atlantic City while “The Hackney Rock” regained the belt with a sensational seventh-round TKO in Melbourne.

What Happened: Andries captured the first two rounds with hard, clubbing blows from all angles as Harding uncharacteristically applied side-to-side motion. Harding’s iron chin absorbed the blows with aplomb and gave him enough time to shift strategic gears. In round three, the larger Harding started bulling Andries toward the ropes and belaboring him with crisp shots at close range. That strategy also paid dividends in rounds five through seven but this time Harding mixed in plenty of neck-wrenching uppercuts and spirit-sapping relentlessness.

Andries found his second wind in the eighth and ninth, lifting the fight into a sensational symphony of slugging. The effort, however, took its toll because Harding never stopped throwing and the effects began to show on the 37-year-old Andries late in the 10th. Though Andries, who some say was actually 40, did his best to fight through exhaustion Harding was still astonishingly fresh — and unfettered by cuts. The decision was razor-thin — 115-113, 115-114 and 114-114 — but Harding ended the series with yet another on-the-road title change.

Around the web