When we think about the greatest opening rounds in boxing history, Hagler Hearns is often the obvious choice – but there is a standout historical bout that beats them all – watch it below!

Jack Dempsey vs Luis Ángel Firpo took place on this day in 1923 at the Polo Grounds, New York, where 80,000 fans paid to see the fight live.

Dempsey had been the world heavyweight champion since 1919 and was making his 5th title defense, whilst it was the first time that a Latin American fighter would challenge for the world heavyweight title.


Few gave Firpo a chance of taking the title back to Argentina, but after taking off their robes and seeing both men in the ring, some believed the champion was in for a tough day at the office. The challenger was a huge 25 pounds heavier than the champion and held a 6-inch reach advantage.

It would become one of the defining fights of Dempsey’s career after previously being a widely unpopular figure with the general public in a similar way to Muhammad Ali, for avoiding the military draft.

Dempsey floored the Argentinian challenger 7 times in the opening round. But astonishingly, it was Dempsey who tasted the canvas first from a crisp right hand not long after the opening bell. Luis Ángel Firpo somehow recovered from the sustained punishment, despite having Dempsey standing over him after each knockdown and then famously floored the champion again forcing him through the ropes and out of the ring.

Controversy followed as the Argentinian press claimed Dempsey was out the ring for 17 seconds and Ring Magazine editor Nat Fleisher wrote that the champion should have been disqualified.

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Both men battered and bruised returned for the second round where the champion took control and felled his opponent 3 more times to end one of the most amazing slugfests in the sport’s history.

The fight won the Fight of the Year accolade, enjoy the highlights below…




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