Lewis-Holyfield I & II (1999)
In the late 1990’s, both Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield stood at the top of the heavyweight picture. By the time they met in the ring in New York on March 13, 1999, Holyfield had recaptured the IBF and WBA titles with wins over Mike Tyson and Michael Moorer. With two belts in his possession, he just had one left to conquer (at the time, the WBO wasn’t recognized as a major world title). That belt was held by Lennox Lewis, who had beaten every man he had ever set foot in a professional boxing ring with him. The first meeting was seemingly dominated by Lewis, but the judges called it a draw. In the rematch later that year though, Lewis won a decision to unify the heavyweight championship.
Mike Tyson-Frank Bruno I & II
By the time British boxing legend Frank Bruno won the WBC heavyweight title from Oliver McCall in 1995, former undisputed champion Mike Tyson had won two fights in a row after a three-year prison stint and was looking to regain the championship he had lost to Buster Douglas in 1990. Tyson and Bruno first met in the ring in 1989, as Tyson retained his undisputed championship he had at the time with a fifth round knockout of Bruno. In the rematch seven years later, Tyson ended the night even quicker, earning a first round stoppage over Bruno in round three to win the WBC title. Since it was Tyson’s first title fight since doing time in prison, the event was bigger than the first.
Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz 1 & II
In the Summer of 2019, unbeaten British boxing superstar and WBO/IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua was looking for a replacement opponent for his stateside debut at Madison Square Garden in New York City, as Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller had tested positive for multiple banned substances. Enter American contender Andy Ruiz Jr., who’s physique had many people doubting his chances to beat Joshua on June 1. To the shock of almost all spectators watching, Ruiz had pulled off the upset, knocking down Joshua four times en route to an upset TKO victory over Joshua. In the rematch later that year though, an underprepared Andy Ruiz was soundly outpointed by Joshua, who now holds the titles he had before losing to Joshua the first time.
James J. Corbett vs. Bob Fitzsimmons
In March 1897, the second ever lineal heavyweight champion, James J. Corbett, met Englishman Bob Fitzsimmos in his second title defense. Fitzsimmons knocked out Corbett in the fourth round of that fight, becoming the first British heavyweight champion of the world.
Muhammad Ali vs. Henry Cooper II
In 1966, world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali defended his title against Henry Cooper of the UK, who actually knocked down and hurt Ali in their first meeting earlier in Ali’s career. This time though, the heavyweight title was on the line, as Ali had won it two years earlier from Sonny Liston in a huge upset. In the rematch between Ali and Cooper, Ali won by stoppage since the bleeding from the damage on Cooper’s face was deemed to be too severe to continue.