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Boxing Highlights at Caesars Palace

Caesars ruled boxing during the sport’s golden age. During the 1980s and 90s, the biggest names in boxing—Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns, Evander Holyfield, Oscar De La Hoya and Muhammad Ali—all fought for, or defended, their championship belts under the stars at the Caesars Outdoor Arena. Here’s a look at Caesars Palace’s best fights.

MUHAMMAD ALI VS. LARRY HOLMES

OCTOBER 2, 1980
This was the second-to-last bout of Ali’s career. The champ just wasn’t himself and Holmes, his former sparring partner, pounded and taunted Ali for ten rounds before the fight was stopped.

THE LAST HURRAH LARRY HOLMES VS. MUHAMMAD ALI CAESARS PALACE

THE LAST HURRAH
LARRY HOLMES VS. MUHAMMAD ALI
CAESARS PALACE

SUGAR RAY LEONARD VS. THOMAS HEARNS

SEPTEMBER 16, 1981
Leonard dominated the first six rounds. Then, Hearns mounted an incredible comeback, prompting Leonard’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, to warn his fighter, saying, “You’re blowing it now, son—you’re blowing it.” Leonard rallied and beat Hearns in the 14th round.

LARRY HOLMES VS. GERRY COONEY

JUNE 11, 1982
After having already fought ten times at Caesars—all victories—Holmes was to face his biggest challenge yet. Caesars even expanded the arena, and with a record attendance of 29,214, Holmes won by a technical knockout in the 13th.

MARVIN HAGLER VS. THOMAS HEARNS

APRIL 15, 1985
To this day, Hagler-Hearns is still considered the best fight in boxing history. Dubbed the “eight-minute war,” the boxers traded vicious haymakers (Hearns broke his hand landing a punch to Hagler’s head) until a bloodied Hagler ended the fight in the third.

RIDDICK BOWE VS. EVANDER HOLYFIELD

NOVEMBER 6 , 1993
Expectations were high but this fight—which Holyfield won by majority decision—is most remembered for James “Fan Man” Miller, who parachuted into the ring during the seventh round.


THE ACADEMY IS WATCHING

Hollywood is fascinated with boxing. Tales of against-the-odds fighters rising to the top have connected with audiences and Oscar voters for decades. Jake Gyllenhaal is hoping his performance in Southpaw is received as well as these were by the Academy.

RAGING BULL ROBERT DE NIRO

RAGING BULL
ROBERT DE NIRO

RAGING BULL

Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece—the tale of self-destructive boxer Jake LaMotta—was a blood fest of a film that won Robert De Niro an Academy Award.

ROCKY

Nominated for ten Oscars (it won three), Sylvester Stallone’s story of an everyday boxer getting a shot at the title struck a chord with audiences.

MILLION DOLLAR BABY

The gut-wrenching story of a female boxer swept the award season, earning Hilary Swank her second Oscar, while winning two Academy Awards for Clint Eastwood (Best Picture and Best Director).

THE FIGHTER

The sports biopic about light welterweight champ Micky Ward, played by Mark Wahlberg, received seven Oscar nods, with supporting actors Christian Bale and Melissa Leo taking home the hardware.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF (BOXING) LAS VEGAS NEWS BUREAU; (RAGING BULL) ©1980 MGM.

About The Author

Ryan Slattery grew up in Boston. It wasn’t until he moved to Las Vegas in 2003 that the city’s sports teams started winning championships—eight since he left. Now, he’s only allowed back to visit. Ryan is the managing editor of Vegas Player magazine and also writes about travel, entertainment and dining for a number of national publications.

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