History

On This Day: Matthew Saad Muhammad shows off his superhuman recovery skills to outlast Yaqui Lopez in a thriller

Matthew Saad Muhammad
Yaqui Lopez unloads on Matthew Saad Muhammad before the champion rebounds in stunning style

MATTHEW SAAD MUHAMMAD w rsf 14 YAQUI LOPEZ
July 13, 1980; Great Gorge Playboy Hotel, McAfee, NJ
WHEN Matthew Saad Muhammad was at his peak he was all but impossible to beat. So omnipotent was he when the going got tough, and so bruising the beatings he came back from, it’s of little surprise that he ended his life a shell of the superhero he once was. In this light-heavyweight slugfest, Lopez – in his fourth crack at a world title – would have been forgiven for thinking the WBC strap was his in the eighth when, in total control, he socked the champion with 20 unanswered blows. But Saad, like always, had other ideas. He turned the fight on its head, eventually winning in the 14th, by rallying like his life depending on it. And it may well have done.

DID YOU KNOW? Like Saad Muhammad, the fight site tumbled into ill health later in life. The Great Gorge Playboy Hotel opened in 1972 to great fanfare. But by 2009, when a murder was committed on the grounds, it was a shell of its former self.  

WATCH OUT FOR: That astonishing and pivotal eighth round.

Boxing news – Newsletter

Current Issue