Sports

From Wilt Chamberlain To Muhammad Ali: Valentine's Day Sporting Feats That Had Fans Falling In Love

Boxing greats laying down the marker, an Olympic accomplishment like no other, and a footballing incident that had supporters of other teams going gaga - here are five Valentine's Day events that have gone down in history

Yuzuru Hanyu celebrates winning the Winter Olympics Gold (Photo: X/ Hachi Saw TWICE)
info_icon

St Valentine's Day, the day designated for the celebration of love, has given plenty to sports fans to remember, reminisce, and cheer about over the years. From historic boxing bouts to broken records, from feats of much greatness to a collective catharsis brought upon by the prosecution of a single entity, here are the most significant sporting events from February 14 over the years. (More Sports News)

Advertisement

1. Sugar Ray Robinson Fights Jake LaMotta

Sugar Ray Robingon sparring with Jake LaMotta
Sugar Ray Robingon sparring with Jake LaMotta (Photo: X/ Dan Frost)
info_icon

The name Jake LaMotta rings loud in the cinephilia community, for it earned the legendary Robert de Niro his second Oscar. Stepping into the shoes of this boxer from Bronx, De Niro, under the stewardship of the equally revered Martin Scorecese, brought the life and times of LaMotta under the spotlight in Raging Bull, a piece of art many consider to be among De Niro and Scorcese's finest.

Raging Bull is a retelling of LaMotta's career, which dived toward its nadir with a beating the Bronx native took at the hands of Sugar Ray Robinson on St Valentine's Day in 1951. Sustaining blow after blow in the 15-round fight, LaMotta stayed tall until the 13th round, when a punch from Robinson flattened him onto the mat for good. It was the sixth time the pair had met in the ring and it was to be the last.

Advertisement

2. Wilt Chamberlain Breaks NBA Record

The modern era of NBA has left its past variants behind, both in terms of star quality and global reach, but one name that continues to echo through the ages is that of Wilt Chamberlain.

Considered amongst the greatest basketball players in history, Chamberlain was, perhaps, the first true worldwide superstar the league produced. While he would go on to set and break several records, his elite status was cemented with a Valentine's Day feat in 1966. A fortnight short of four years since he recorded 100 points in a single game, Chamberlain surpassed the NBA scoring record with 20,884 points, treading territories where none had gone before.

He would finish his career with 31,419 points, but would subsequently be leapfrogged by many of his contemporaries. At the time of writing, he resides in the seventh spot on the rankings.

3. Muhammad Ali Beats Joe Bugner

Age catching up with him, a 31-year-old Muhammad Ali fought British heavyweight champion Joe Bugner on this day in 1973. Ali, who is considered to be the greatest boxer of all time, will have retained fond memories from his bout even later in his life, as he took Bugner to 12 round before winning by a unanimous decision.

The Bugner triumph was the 41st victory of Ali's career, who had only lost once hitherto in his career. However, just weeks after his win, the boxer would fall for a second time; a 12-round split decision loss to Ken Norton would not only snatch away his NABF heavyweight title, it would also push Ali into the twilight of his career.

Ali would finish at 39 years of age with a record of 56-5.

Advertisement

4. Asian First In Winter Olympics

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Yuzuru Hanyu (Photo: The Olympic Games)
info_icon

His young age aside, Yuzuru Hanyu has left a lasting legacy in the Olympics. Twenty-nine at the time of writing, Hanyu, a figure skater, is a two-time Winter Olympic Games gold medallist, lading the top podium in 2014 and 2018, respectively. While his maiden win in Sochi on te Valentine's Day in 2014 was remarkable on its own, the bigger picture from the day ensured that it would go down in history as a first for Asia.

With a total score of 280.09, Hanyu grabbed the gold with a world record in tow. Finishing behind him were Canada's Patrick Chan and Kazakhstan's Denis Ten. The trio's podium finish marked the first time in history that three men of Asian origin had claimed a medal each in the event, a record that underlined the continent's growing prowess in the competition.

Advertisement

5. UEFA Bans Manchester City

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (Photo: AP/Dave Shopland)
info_icon

Much of Manchester City's competitive success has collided with exorbitant spending and allegations of sporting fraud. As such, this day in 2020 was remarkable not for the Citizens, but for supporters of other clubs, who, after years of envy, were given a dose of satisfaction when UEFA placed the perennial English champions under a two-year embargo from its flagship competition, the UEFA Champions League.

Though the decision was later reversed by the Court of Arbitration for Sports, the landmark verdict from UEFA marked a significant change in the narrative around Manchester City. For the first time since their takeover, an organization had conclusively declared that the club had, in fact, breached the rules that bound all.

In the present day, while City continue to compete in UEFA competitions, they remain under investigation by the Premier League for the same breaches, providing fans of rivals clubs much to look forward to.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement