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The Boxing Venue Bucket List

It takes a great deal of self-discipline and willpower to stick with a workout routine — especially a boxing routine. Boxing is strenuous on the mind and body, and learning new skills can be stressful. Watching the top professionals in the world, though, can teach you about the technical side of the sport, since most pros are smooth in their presentation. This guide outlines some of the top boxing venues in the world where you can watch professional warriors compete.

Top Venues

If you’re a boxing fan, then one of your life missions might include watching a championship match in person. And there aren’t any better boxing venues in the world then the ones listed below:

Madison Square Garden

The current Madison Square Garden (MSG) opened in 1968 and is the fourth incarnation of the New York City arena. The first version of The Garden opened in 1879, but was located elsewhere in the city. MSG currently sits above the Pennsylvania Train Station and exists as one of the busiest arenas in the world.

Boxing holds a long history in MSG. In fact, the original ring from Madison Square Garden II (1890-1925) was renovated and used through September 2007, at which point it was donated to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The Garden has hosted some of the greatest bouts of all-time including:

  • Sugar Ray Robinson vs. Jake LaMotta (1942)
  • Rocky Marciano vs. Joe Louis (1951)
  • Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frasier (1971)

The finals for the New York City Golden Gloves Amateur Tournament occur in the adjacent Theater at Madison Square Garden. MSG provides boxing entertainment on the amateur and professional levels, and is located in one of the greatest cities in the world.

Las Vegas

Nowadays, Vegas usually hosts the most prominent professional fights. Some of the more well-known venues in Vegas include:

  • MGM Grand Garden Arena
  • Mandalay Bay Events Center
  • Caesars Palace Events Center

These arenas, all inside their respective casino and hotel resorts, have a storied history and have all hosted high-profile championship fights.

The MGM Grand started hosting professional bouts in the early 1990s, but has seen its fair share of well-known competitors. Mike Tyson, Oscar De La Hoya, and Manny Pacquiao — to name a few — have all fought here. The arena is located on the Vegas strip and often attracts celebrities for big bouts.

The Blue Horizon

If you’re not a passionate boxing fan, it’s easy for the Blue Horizon to fly under the radar. The Ring Magazine voted it the number one boxing venue in the world, though. The 1,500 seat venue opened in 1865 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but did not start hosting boxing matches regularly until 1961. Most matches involve local professionals who show significant potential. In fact, Bernard Hopkins fought in this venue when he was an up-and-coming pro.

Unfortunately, The Blue Horizon has come under attack since the summer of 2010 when city officials prevented bouts due to a lack of food and drink permits. The owner of the building allegedly also failed to pay taxes. The building closed down, and in January 2011 a developer was granted permission by the city to build a multi-million dollar hotel-restaurant complex on the site — a huge disappointment for the sport of boxing.

Boardwalk Hall

Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall, colloquially known as “Boardwalk Hall,” is located in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The venue opened in 1926 and was used as the main convention center in the city until the Atlantic City Convention Center opened in 1997.

Arturo Gatti must be credited for reinvigorating boxing in New Jersey and vaulting Boardwalk Hall and Atlantic City back into that sport’s spotlight.

Greg Tesone, General Manager for Boardwalk Hall

The first bout at Boardwalk Hall took place in 1930. Many professionals have fought at the venue including Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Cesar Chavez, and Mike Tyson. Arturo Gatti entered the ropes 15 times at Boardwalk Hall — a venue record — including his last two fights of the Gatti-Ward trilogy. Many boxing enthusiasts referred to Boardwalk Hall as “The House of Gatti” throughout his career.

The Best of England

England often plays host to highly-touted European bouts. The top three boxing venues in England are the Manchester Evening News Arena (M.E.N. Arena), the O2 Arena, and York Hall. The first two aforementioned venues are relatively new arenas, and they opened in the 21st century.

Although relatively young, M.E.N. Arena has hosted the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Ricky Hatton, and Amir Khan in its short history. York Hall, on the other hand, has an extensive history. The building opened in 1929. It’s a historical landmark in London, and continues to host aspiring local boxers who appear to have promising careers ahead of them.

Watch & Learn

Watching boxing matches can certainly help you develop as a boxer. Familiarize yourself with various techniques by reading other iSport boxing guides, and then check out an amateur or professional bout to see the skills firsthand. The combination of participating and watching helps you become a better all-around boxer with considerable boxing knowledge.

Learning to box requires work in the gym, but watching the best fighters in the world helps too. Here's a list of the top boxing venues to watch a pro match.
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