Lee Groves

10: Best St. Patrick’s Day fights


For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is either (1) a day of religious observance, (2) a celebration of Irish culture, (3) the only day when green-colored clothing is in style, (4) a reason to skip work to attend a parade, (5) an excuse to consume as much alcohol as humanly possible, or (6) all of the above.

March 17, 461 A.D. is the day the actual St. Patrick died following 30 years of evangelism. Though many others would take up his cause, his legacy is everlasting. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated worldwide, even in countries where Christians are a profound minority. The day’s festive atmosphere also provides a perfect backdrop to stage sporting events of all stripes, and boxing – with its deep roster of champions that boast Irish heritage – is at the front of the line.

Seldom does a year go by without a St. Patrick’s Day boxing card and 2012 is no different. According to Boxrec.com, no less than 21 shows will be conducted around the world. One event in Lombardia, Italy will pit 40-something ex-titleholders Giacobbe Fragomeni and Silvio Branco while Sinaloa, Mexico will host separate shows involving Antonio DeMarco-Miguel Roman and Roman Gonzalez-Ramon Hirales. A program in Sheffield, England is topped by Kell Brook-Matthew Hatton, while the day’s most high-profile match will be hosted by Madison Square Garden when RING middleweight champ Sergio Martinez meets Matthew Macklin, a top-10 contender of Irish heritage.

Theoretically, any one of these fights could add to boxing’s supremely rich history. However, they’ll have a high bar to clear when it comes to the top 10 fights ever held on St. Patrick’s Day. Some of boxing’s most historic bouts and defining events unfolded on this day and there were plenty of fights that didn’t even make the cut. For example, Rocky Marciano began his historic 49-0 run with a three-round TKO over Lee Epperson in 1947, while Young Stribling – the all-time knockout king before Archie Moore took over – decisioned the notorious light-hitting “Slapsie Maxie” Rosenbloom over 10 in 1927. WBC lightweight beltholder Edwin Rosario scored one of the quickest title-fight knockouts in division history over Roberto Elizondo in 1984, while in 2007 Daniel Ponce de Leon’s decision win over Gerry Penalosa was one of the decade’s most disputed decisions.

So what did make the cut? Read on and find out.

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