I thought I would list down some of the Legendary Rivalries in the world of sports (sports that I love), I aint looking at team rivalries, but some contests between some highly talented sports personalities, these rivalries have made people flock to stadiums and grounds… they excited people they wowed them for different reasons…
There are many but nothing quite matches up to these two… and I wont mention any others… although I wanted to put Mike Tyson somewhere I cannot…
1.) Muhammed Ali v/s Joe Frazier
When I thought of this post this is the first one that came to mind… Muhammed Ali was voted as the “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated & “Sports Personality of the Century” by BBC in 1999 had only 5 losses in his career 4 by points and only one knock out.
Ali and Frazier met in the ring on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden. The fight, known as ‘”The Fight of the Century,” was one of the most eagerly anticipated bouts of all time and remains one of the most famous. It featured two skilled, undefeated fighters, both of whom had legitimate claims to the heavyweight crown.
Many boxing fans argued that Ali’s speed and ability would blind Frazier, while others thought Frazier’s superior punching power combined with Ali’s long absence from the ring would give the advantage to Frazier. On the night of the fight, there were riots in many United States cities, including Chicago, where a whole theater was almost torn apart by angry attendees who had just learned they would not be able to watch the fight on closed-circuit TV
This something that arouses such raw passion among fans at times is what amazes me…. Sport is fun.. sports is winning and losing… but above all Sports is unadultared raw emotion !!!!!!
The video’s of the fight (WORTH SEEING) are here : Just watch the two going for each other…
Tennis next… a sport I love, I am not listing Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in this as they are still going…
1.) Boris Becker vs Stefan Edberg
This was the beginning of my introduction to this sport… I hated Becker but he was a worth while opponent to say the least… the serve and volley of these two and I have seen countless video’s of them even on repeats. When these two would play it would be excitement and nerve hopping.. When they played Wimbledon finals and Doordarshan would telecast them it was like bliss… !!!
Not too many heavy aces and not too many big ground strokes unlike today where every one is an athlete and blasts winners like crazy…. but subtle serve and volley… the old fashioned Tennis as they call it now… I loved their contests where it would be topsy turvy.. A truly sensational rivalry without any real bad blood and no raw passion from fans either… !!! Which was a welcome relief in a way..
2.) Steffi Graf vs Martina Navratilova
One of the biggest sporting personality for me in the world of female sport was Martina Navratilova she was the epitome of fitness then… she would simply win them, be it singles, doubles or mixed doubles and still be hungry for more… in a way the ladies sport then became boring coz there was almost no match. Chris Evert was a competitor but nothing like you would want for a champion like Martina….and then came this almost shy, sweet smiling but unbelievably tough cookie to set up a rivalry… These two remain the best two tennis players in the history of female tennis for me…
In the initial phase of steffi’s career after she beat Martina in the 1987 final in French open to win her first Grand slam but the Champion beat her back to back in the Wimbledon and US open finals… thats when the era of these two started… and we would all sit in anticipation hoping the top two seeds would reach the finals…. I cannot pick who was my favourite among the two…
Two true champions again… !! here is another fight of the two on video again in Wimbledon… and if you havent realised… Wimbledon is my favourite tennis tournament… I love the green grass… the whites… and the ladies errrr… the tennis players on it…
3.) Pete Sampras vs Andre Agassi :
On one side was the best serving player the other side the best returner of serve.
On one side was style on one side doggedness.
Flash vs Grace.
The most endearing rivalries… While I believe Pete Sampras was one of the best players ever on fast courts… Andre Agassi was one of the most versatile players… These two when against each other was the biggest treat you could ever imagine… I still remember one match at the US open in the quarter finals of the year 2001 where Sampras defeated Agassi 6-7, 7-6, 7-6, 7-6. If ever there was a perfect match this was one. The two players do not make errors… they only either force errors or get points by winners. This is one heck of a roller coaster match and the level of tennis in this match is of really high quality !! just watch it ... here are a few highlights of that match .
[p.s. I never thought I would see anything like this match but I must say this years Wimbledon final between Federrer and Roddick came close]
Now Cricket… my favourite… is this post getting tooo long ??? get your coffee / tea / drink whatever…… pls… !!
1.) Harold Larwood vs Don Bradman :
I have always wished and still do …. wish I were born in that era to witness cricket being played like this…
MEN played then… no helmets.. no proper pads or gloves.. no limits on how many bouncers and no limit on how many fielders you can have behind square on the leg side on uncovered pitches…
A hard working lad who was working in mines comes to join English Cricket under the leadership of Douglas Jardine to take on the mighty Sir Don Bradman in his own back yard. Harold Larwood seethed fire which over 6 men on the legside, in the first match of the 1932 Bodyline series Bradman didnt play as he was sick. In the second test in the first innings Bradman was out for a duck… there after he over came his fears and played a stellar hand in a 4-1 series lost to England. Bradman and Larwood were most most precious for their captains. This was one series where the two countries almost came to war over cricket.
Bradman’s skipper Bill Woodfull said Bradman was worth 3 batsman to Australia in that series. When Harold Larwood died in 1955 his most treasured possession was a small silver ashtray inscribed ‘To Harold, For The Ashes, From A Grateful Skipper’ from Douglas Jardine.
Perhaps this one line that he once told Frank Tyson might help you understand the terror Larwood caused, “When you hear 50,000 Aussies shouting at you, you know you’ve got ’em worried”
2.) Dennis Lillee vs Vivian Alexander Richards
The mad max against the slumbering slogger.
Dennis Lillee for me is the epitome of fast bowling. Fast bowling is one of the most physically straining aspect of cricket. Only those who have bowled fast in heat over a period of days can understand what true fast bowling is about… A bit of madness is necessary along with the method… !!
Do watch the video which is a classic over of fast bowling to one of the most fearless batsman in the history of the game.
BTW for those who didnt know… Vivian Richards acknowledged that when he was waiting to bat against Australia and Lillee and Thomson were bowling he would have to visit the bathroom frequently coz of the nervousness… !!! However when Richards would walk out the swagger and chewing gum would never let the opponents know there was even an iota of fear in his mind… !!!!
3.) Sachin vs Warne…
The Master Blaster vs The Wizard.
The stable vs the freak.
The curler vs the blonde.
Sachin creamed Warne on his debut in Sydney in 1992. But Warne wasnt the master then… fast forward to 1997-98, Mark Taylor’s Australia landed into India with the billing of the best team in the world. Shane Warne was a master by then… it was him v/s Sachin… In the first Test in Chennai Sachin hit a bearded warne for a boundary through the covers but alas… the very next ball was in the hands of Mark Taylor at slip. The master was gone for 4. In the second innings (sadly cant find video) Sachin came back with a vengenance… India was traliing by 71 runs and at 115/2 walked in Sachin and smashed… !!!
Warne was turning the ball atleast 2 feet if not more… !! After being smashed from over the wicket Warne turned to around the wicket to bowl in the rough out side the leg stump, Warne says he goes around the wicket only when his mindset is most aggressive…
This is one match where Sachin played some unbelievable shots against Warne who was spinning 2 feet, from around the wicket, bowling in the rough… But BEHOLD … the champ collared him and kept hitting against the spin over midwicket…!!! He reels off a 155* and the match is in India’s favour… !!!!!!
This is one contest that is the most close to heart because Warne is the Greatest Bowler in the History of Cricket and our Tendlya has collared him !!!!!!!
There are many other rivalries which are also quite famous and favourite of mine…
1.) Sehwag vs Shoaib Akhtar
2.) Ravi Shashtri vs Abdul Qadir
3.) The 4 fast men of the West Indies and our Sunnybhai
4.) Lara vs Murali
Some contests I would have really loved to see more of are
Sachin vs Akram (they played too little against each other)
Hey BTW talking of Legendary Rivalries how can we forget our own blog world legends… None other but the greatest of all
The maverick and the loony…
The silly and the sillier…
The artist and the eater…
The hobbes and the hobbes…
Our very own C n H
ofcourse who else….
CRAFTY & HITCHY !!!!!!!
Their first first legend rules… !!!!! doesnt it ????
Ducks the barrage of chappals… Bhagooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo