An Exhibition fight is a contact sports non-profit event, usually a boxing fight in which fighters fight, normally for three rounds, with large gloves-to minimize punch harm or impact on the combatants-headgear and non-boxing related clothing. Many exhibition fights involve popular current or former world champions, and exhibition bouts are usually carried out for charity purposes or for the public's entertainment. Exhibition fights are usually not listed as having taken place on boxer career records.
Early 20th century
Early in the 20th century, boxing exhibitions became popular across the United States. Many times, official fights had to be advertised as exhibitions due to state laws prohibiting professional boxing from taking place. As the century progressed, Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson and others fought exhibition fights. Benny Leonard did an exhibition for the United Drive Rally on May 23, 1923.
Late 20th century
Exhibition fights became less common as the 20th century progressed, however, a number of notable ones, many including Muhammad Ali, took place. Ali boxed both well known boxers and celebrities from other walks of life during this period, including Michael Dokes, Antonio Inoki, Gorilla Monsoon, Lyle Alzado, Dave Semenko, and the famous Puerto Rican comedian, Jose Miguel Agrelot (with Iris Chacon acting as Agrelot's corner-woman).
About six months after Ali beat him for the world Heavyweight title, George Foreman participated in five exhibition fights in one afternoon: On April 26, 1975, he boxed Jerry Judge, Boone Kirkman, Charley Polite, Terry Daniels and Alonzo Johnson at Toronto, Canada.
On January 1, 1985, a show including several world champion boxers in exhibition fights was staged in Mexico City, Mexico to garner money for the victims of a 1984 gas explosion in Mexico. Among those who fought were Lupe Pintor, German Torres, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Hector Camacho Sr.-the latter two would face each other in an actual official fight on September 1992, which Chavez Sr. won by unanimous decision.
In 2006, Mike Tyson announced he was to do a world tour consisting of exhibition bouts. The only one of these fights to actually take place was a bout against his former sparring mate and fellow former professional boxer Corrie Sanders (not the Corrie Sanders who held the World Boxing Organization's world Heavyweight title). This fight took place at Youngstown, Ohio.
Late in 2014, Chavez Sr. returned to the ring for an exhibition with Vicente Sagrestano in a bout aimed at collecting toys for poor children. He and former rival Mario Martinez, against whom he conquered his first world championship in 1984, faced each other again on July 3, 2015, in an event to benefit Chavez's two drug rehabilitation clinics.
In pop culture
In the movie, Rocky IV, two exhibition fights take place: First, Ivan Drago knocks out Apollo Creed – who subsequently died – in two rounds, and then Rocky Balboa knocks Drago out in round fifteen.
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