FIGHT! The Most Brutal Sporting Punch-Ups Ever
PROFESSIONAL sports (and amateur events) can, as we all know, get a little bit out of hand. Players pump themselves up for the occasion and, sometimes, all the wiring in the athlete goes wrong and that energy is transferred into violence.
This weekend, in Rugby League’s Grand Final, we saw super rivals Wigan taking on St Helens and, in the opening minutes of the game, Lance Hohaia found himself on the end of a beating from Ben Flower.
You can see the video below, along with some of sports most brutal punch-ups.
Naturally, this isn’t a positive endorsement of professional sportsmen punching the crap out of each other, but obviously, there’s something hair-raisingly exciting about it too.
That’s why we watch boxing.
Anyway, here we go with some of the most brutal, and in some cases, baffling fights in sports history. If you have a favourite, tweet us or tell us about it in the comments.
Flower vs Hohaia
As previously mentioned, Ben Flower did his Wigan team no favours after attacking Saints’ Hohaia in the Super League Grand Final on Saturday. One punch is deemed acceptable in rugby – the second one is the one that’ll tarnish Flower’s reputation.
Duncan McRae vs Ronan O’Gara
Rugby Union has had a fair number of dust-ups too, and one of the most notorious is the occasion when New South Wales played the British Lions, which saw McRae delivering a savage 11 punches to O’Gara’s face.
Meath vs Mayo
The GAA is essentially organised pain, so punch-ups are to be expected. However, the one that went above and beyond was the 1996 All-Ireland match between Mayo and Meath. Thing is, half of these lads will have had work the next morning.
Braves v Padres
There’s loads of baseball brawls to choose from, but the most notorious in the MLB is the Braves versus Padres. They didn’t just have one scrap – they basically fought each other for the whole game. Both Atlanta manager Joe Torre and San Diego manager Dick Williams were fined while four players and Williams got suspended. Even the fans got involved. Would you be daft enough to start a fight in a place where there are that many baseball bats lying around?
Tuilagi vs Ashton
Manu Tuilagi is a handy lad as it is, but in the Leicester-Northampton semi final in 2011, he received a yellow card for his assault on Chris Ashton. Tuilagi was later given a 5-week ban for his punch.
Aussie Rules Sleeper Hold
Brian Lake, one of the most talented Aussie Rules footballers of his generation, got into a tussle with Drew Petrie. In Hawthorn’s match with North Melbourne, Lake decided to strangle Petrie on the pitch. For ages. Lake was charged with misconduct by the AFL Match Review Panel. If it was any other sport, you can only imagine the punishment that would’ve been handed out.
Todd Bertuzzi v Steve Moore
Ice Hockey prides itself on its rucks, but there’s one punch that resonates more loudly than any other. Mention Todd Bertuzzi to anyone who watches hockey, and chances are, they’ll wince. In 2004, Bertuzzi was found guilty of criminal assault for causing actual bodily harm for the suckerpunch that fractured three of Moore’s vertebrae and ended his NHL career.
Maradona vs Bilbao
Tired of being kicked-around, Diego Maradona let out his darkness while playing for Barcelona against Bilbao. This is one of the most well-known fights in football, and for good reason.
Malice at the Palace
The Indiana Pacers took on the Detroit Pistons in a match that would become known as the ‘Malice at the Palace’. There’s a scuffle on the court, which ends up moving into the stands, with Ron Artest fighting members of the crowd. Absolutely insane.
Ivan Rovny v Gianluca Brambilla
Cycling is a ruthless and cruel sport, but there’s not many fistfights. That’s why everyone was so shocked when Rovny and Brambilla started trading blows in the 16th stage of the Vuelta a España. As if they hadn’t put their bodies through enough.