5 of the Most Heated Rivalries in Sports History
Sports rivalries have always enthralled fans and intrigued sports pundits. Some of the sports rivalries have also ensured some of the most memorable sports moments of all time. Take a look at some of the most heated rivalries in sports history that have got people talking over the years.
5. India-Pakistan cricket rivalry
The India–Pakistan cricket rivalry is one of the most intense sports rivalries in the world. The tense relations between the two nations, resulting from bitter diplomatic relationships, have laid the foundation of an intense sports rivalry. At the same time, India–Pakistan matches have also offered opportunities for cricket diplomacy as a means to improve relations between the two countries by allowing heads of state to exchange visits and cricket followers from either country to travel to the other to watch the matches.
4. Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics
One can say that this rivalry is less about hatred and more about success. They are two of the most successful teams in NBA history. They have met an incredible 12 times in the NBA finals, with the Celtics holding a 9 to 3 advantage. The rivalry reached its peak in the 80s when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird clashed in the NBA finals.
3. New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox
This rivalry dates back to 1919, when the Red Sox sold the legendary Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, kicking off the curse of the Bambino, and a decade long drought for Boston. The animosity really escalated in the early 2000s however, with multiple on-field fights and confrontations.
2. Real Madrid and FC Barcelona
As they are two of the most popular and valuable teams around, their match-up always instills stress among fans. These two teams represent the two largest cities in Spain, and historically, two different sides of the political spectrum. Verbal jousting has occurred many times between the two teams.
1. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier
Race was also central to boxing’s greatest rivalry—Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier—even though both men were African American. Privately, they had been friends before their first match in 1971, but that changed after Ali—both an outspoken champion of black power and a master of gaining psychological advantage—went to great lengths to depict Frazier, who was largely silent on the issue of civil rights, as a patsy for the white establishment. These two survived three murderous attempts from each other and remain the greatest rivalry ever.