Nicknamed the Mecca of boxing owing to its rich history of legendary boxing matches

There is under a week to go until Anthony Joshua makes his United States debut against Andy Ruiz Jr in New York City, and what better arena to do it in than Madison Square Garden? The world famous arena has hosted some of sport’s biggest events and has certainly played home to some of boxing’s most iconic moments, and this will provide the perfect certain for AJ come 1st June.

The undefeated Brit will be looking to continue his perfect record of 22-0, with all the latest Anthony Joshua v Andy Ruiz Jr boxing match odds now available, the bookies certainly predict a win for the WBA (Super), WBO AND IBF champion but Ruiz Jr won’t be a pushover. Whatever happens on the night, you can be sure that MSG is the perfect setting for Joshua to make his US bow. 

History of Madison Square Garden III 

Opened in 1968, Madison Square Garden is the oldest and most prestigious sporting arena in New York City. The Garden is the home ground of NHL side New York Rangers and the New York Knicks of the NBA, and was the home for WNBA side New York Liberty for ten years. 

As you’d come to expect, it wasn’t cheap to build the Garden ($123 million) but over the years, its reputation and prestige for holding famous sporting events has skyrocketed and it really is the go-to place for sporting fixtures. In particular heavyweight boxing bouts. 

The Mecca of boxing 

Unsurprisingly, Madison Square Garden has been nicknamed the Mecca of boxing owing to its rich history of legendary boxing matches, where boxers from yesteryear typically derive the ‘legend’ tag from. Some of the most famous bouts have occurred under the bright lights of MSG, and although AJ is fighting a so-called lesser opponent, he’ll want to mark his debut with a win nonetheless. 

The arena itself is littered with a wide range of sporting memorabilia to remind every fan and spectator just what has happened there, and this includes basketball, ice hockey and a plethora of boxing collectables, such as shorts worn by Muhammad Ali and gloves from Joe Frazier. 

Iconic boxing matches 

To get you in the mood for AJ’s title fight against Ruiz Jr, it would be foolish not to have a look back at some of the most iconic fights to have taken place at MSG. Ali’s fights are synonymous with Madison Square Garden and his most famous bout is arguably his 1971 defeat to Frazier, dubbed the ‘Fight of the Century.’ 

British boxers have certainly left their mark on MSG but perhaps none more so than Lennox Lewis, who beat Ray Mercer (1996) and Evander Holyfield (1999) during his heyday. The chances are that AJ will be making more than one appearance at the Garden, so he certainly has the opportunity to create his own legacy. 

Joe Frazier vs. Buster Mathis – 1968 – Frazier won via KO in the 11th round, sending a bloodied Mathis through the bottom rope 

Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier II – 1974 – Ali exacted revenge for his defeat three years previous 

Mike Tyson vs. Mitch Green – 1986 – Tyson won on his MSG debut after beating fellow New Yorker Green via unanimous decision.

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