By Ed Odeven
Boxing has had its share of memorable and historic events sharing the same day on the calendar in different years.
Oct. 26 is one of those days.
On Oct. 26, 1951, Rocky Marciano knocked out Joe Louis at 2:36 of the eighth round at New York’s Madison Square Garden, and “the old Brown Bomber was stretched on his back on the apron of the ring in a pathetic finish to one of the most fabulous stories in all of sports,” The Associated Press wrote.
The 37-year-old Louis wrapped up his legendary career with a 66-3 record (52 knockouts).
After the fight, he conceded age had caught up with him.
“I saw the right coming, but I couldn’t do anything about it,” Louis was quoted as saying by The Associated Press. “I was awfully fired. I’m too old, I guess.”
On Oct. 26, 1968, George Foreman became an Olympic gold medalist.
The powerful puncher from Houston, Texas, defeated the Soviet Union’s Jonas Chepulis in the heavyweight division final at the Mexico City Games. Foreman’s jab proved too much for Chepulis to handle. Foreman’s foe’s face was covered in blood by the end of the opening round.
Foreman inflicted more punishment on Chepulis in the second round, and the ref stopped the fight.
“The left jab was my No. 1 punch — I still think it was the best punch in boxing,” Foreman was quoted as saying by the BBC in 2012.
On Oct. 26, 1970, Muhammad Ali returned to the ring after his 43-month banishment for refusing to serve in the U.S. military. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong,” Ali famously said.
Ali and Jerry Quarry met for their first of two fights in Atlanta.
“The opening round saw Ali gliding about the ring with swift grace even as he started aggressively, catching Quarry again and again with a sharp left jab and shooting in the right hand behind it,” The Fight City wrote in a retrospective piece in 2020. “But in the second, and as Quarry picked up the pace, Ali’s timing proved rusty.”
Ali’s rust didn’t impact him too much, though. He won via a third-round technical knockout.
They would meet again on June 27, 1972.