Since its founding, Top Rank has promoted many world class fighters, including Muhammad Ali, Alexis Argüello, Oscar De La Hoya, Roberto Durán, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Marvin Hagler, Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Erik Morales, Thomas Hearns, Paulie Ayala, Iran Barkley, Michael Carbajal, Larry Holmes, Ray Mancini, Carlos Monzón, Terry Norris, Gabriel Ruelas, Rafael Ruelas, and James Toney.
The company has promoted such superfights as Hagler vs Leonard, Chavez vs De La Hoya, Holyfield vs Foreman, Foreman vs Moorer, Leonard vs Hearns, Hagler vs Hearns, Ali vs Frazier II and both Ali vs Spinks fights. The company also promoted George Foreman's comeback to regain the world championship, culminating in the knockout of then IBF/WBA champion Michael Moorer on November 5, 1994.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPNEdit
In the early 1980s, Top Rank Boxing and then-fledgling ESPN formed a partnership to bring a weekly boxing to the cable network which culminated with the first regularly televised boxing series since 1964. The first event was held on April 10, 1980 in Atlantic City, when middleweight Frank Fletcher decisioned Ben Serrano. The original Top Rank Boxing on ESPN was the longest running cable series and weekly boxing series in history, after celebrating its 16th consecutive year in 1996.
On June 17, 2017, The Ring reported that Top Rank was nearing a two-year deal to air a package of fights on ESPN, citing growing dissatisfaction with cuts to HBO's boxing coverage that limited scheduling options for fights. Top Rank had declined to give HBO the rights to Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn. The partnership was also said to include access to ESPN's archives for a planned over-the-top service. On June 19, 2017, ESPN confirmed that it would broadcast Pacquiao vs. Horn, which will launch a revived version of Top Rank Boxing.
Top Rank was involved in a legal dispute with Golden Boy Promotions (owned by De La Hoya, whom the company formerly promoted) involving eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao which was settled to allow for future Top Rank fighters facing Golden Boy Promotions fighters starting in Oct 2007 with Manny Pacquiao vs Marco Antonio Barrera 2, Miguel Cotto vs Shane Mosley in November 2007, Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Márquez 2 on March 8, Bernard Hopkins Vs Kelly Pavlik in Nov 08, De La Hoya vs Pacquiao in Dec 08, Mosley Vs Antonio Margarito in Jan 2009, and Pacquiao vs Ricky Hatton in May 2009.
Top Rank owner Bob Arum has also had a long-standing feud with owner of Don King Promotions, Don King. The two have been accused of having a strangle hold over the sport of boxing and have had several altercations over the forty plus years they have been competing with each other.
Early in its history, Top Rank promoted the Snake River Canyon jump of daredevil Evel Knievel in September 1974. The event, at Twin Falls, Idaho, was shown live on paid closed circuit television in hundreds of theaters, for about ten dollars each. The steam-powered Skycycle X-2 had a premature deployment of its parachute and Knievel survived.
- "ESPN to televise Manny Pacquiao's next fight as part of new Top Rank agreement". Bloody Elbow (SB Nation). Vox Media. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
- "Is he an athlete, daredevil, promoter, hoax, or a nut?". Spartanburg Herald. South Carolina. Associated Press. June 25, 1974. p. B2.
- "Congressman says Evel bad influence on kids". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 4, 1974. p. 2.
- "Evel Knievel canyon leap today". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. September 8, 1974. p. 16.
- Sellard, Dan (September 9, 1974). "Evel Knievel's leap at canyon ends in draw". Eugene Register-Guard. Oregon. p. 1B.
- "Snake River Canyon Jump". Chicago Tribune. (advertisement). September 6, 1974. p. 2, section 3.