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Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki (June 26, 1976)
The mixed-rules bout between Inoki and Ali was hyped worldwide at the time, but its failure to live up to expectations has seen it fade over time. The pre-fight press conference with the two combatants saw Ali call Inoki “The Pelican” because of his pronounced chin and Inoki tell Ali to take care of his fist if it did hit his chin.
WWE Hall of Famer Freddie Blassie was on hand to lend his promotional muscle. Blassie shouted, with Ali in tow, “Funeral for Inoki! Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” Tens of thousands would go out to see the match on closed-circuit feeds, but fans did not get the donnybrook they were hoping for.
The fight laid the groundwork for MMA as we know it today, and MMA journalist Josh Gross detailed the fight and hype in the book Ali vs. Inoki. The fight’s legacy is less in the pre-fight hype and more in its influence decades later.
Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks (June 27, 1988)
“Once and for All” was the tagline for the bout in 1988. Both heavyweights had titles to their name and were undefeated.
Article source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2726919-ranking-the-most-hyped-boxing-and-mma-events-of-all-time
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