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ESPN to air 12 classic boxing matches from past 56 years

ESPN is airing an 11-hour marathon of some of the most notable fights in boxing history. We break down the odds from fight night for each.

Muhammad Ali taunting Sonny Liston after knocking him down

Most of the sports world remains on hold amidst the coronavirus pandemic, leaving ESPN and others scrambling for content. The major networks have vast libraries of content, and they’re starting to get a little more creative with what they are airing.

ESPN announced this week that they will air 12 classic boxing matches over 11 hours on Saturday, from noon to 11 p.m. It will include the Ali-Frazier trilogy, with Ali-Frazier I airing anywhere for the first time since 1991.

I took some time to find betting odds for all 12 fights. The only one I could not come up with was Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad. The two met in 1999 in a welterweight unification bout, with both fighters unbeaten in their careers. The New York Times described the fight as Trinidad winning an upset, but a Baltimore Sun article the morning of the fight said “Oddsmakers have called De La Hoya-Trinidad an even fight.”

From the list of odds, four favorites were upset, with the biggest Sonny Liston listed as a 7-1 favorite when he lost to Cassius Clay.

Ali-Foreman, Noon: Foreman 4-1 favorite
Holyfield-Foreman, 1 p.m.: Holyfield 9-2 favorite
De La Hoya-Chavez I, 2 p.m.: Chavez 2-1 favorite
De La Hoya-Trinidad, 3 p.m.: “Even fight”
Hagler-Hearns, 4 p.m.: Either available at 6-to-5
Tyson-Berbick, 4:30 p.m.: Berbick 3-1 favorite
Tyson-Holmes, 5 p.m.: Tyson 8-1 favorite
Tyson-Spinks, 5:30 p.m.: Tyson 4-1 favorite
Liston-Clay I, 6 p.m.: Liston 7-to-1 favorite
Ali-Frazier I, 7 p.m.: Frazier closed around 6-5 favorite
Ali-Frazier II, 9 p.m.: Ali 8-to-5 favorite
Ali-Frazier III, 10 p.m.: Ali 6-to-5 favorite

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