Throw politics into the mix and you get a recipe for some serious bad blood. And, be honest, you love it. You eat it up and savor every moment. Rivalries make things more exciting, right? Of course, as we’ll soon see, sometimes these rivals can go a bit too far. These heated sports rivalries have created some of the most controversial and talked-about moments in sports history.
Evander Holyfield vs. Mike Tyson II
While everyone was hyped during a rematch of long time rivals Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield on June 28, 1997, nobody was prepared for the match’s intensity. Tensions rose to unprecedented levels when Tyson unexpectedly bit off a portion of Holyfield’s ear, which cemented the match as one of the strangest in boxing history. Tyson was sanctioned with permanent suspension from boxing and his license was indefinitely cancelled following the fight.
Yankees vs Red Sox
More than just another case of baseball competition, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry has gone on for nearly a century and featured such accounts of on-field violence as Pedro Martinez’s beating of the 72 year old Yankee’s coach, Don Zimmer. It doesn’t make things easier that the Yankees have amassed 27 championships since 1923, while the Red Sox struggled to gain a title until finally making their comeback in 2004.
New Jersey Devils vs. New York Rangers
Starting after the Devils’ move from Colorado to the Metro area in the 1980s, these two clubs have been at each other’s throats over territory ever since. The rivalry reached new heights when the Rangers won the Stanley cup in 1994, and made headlines once again when the Devils took it home just one year later.
Brazil vs Argentina
Loosely referred to as “The Battle of the South Americans,” the worst manifestation of this rivalry occurred in 1946, when a riot broke out during a match and fans rushed the field. Although recent matches are usually much less chaotic, the rivalry is still very strong and the games are always intense.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona
Barcelona is an immensely independent Spanish region, so it makes sense that FC Barcelona has become a sort of poster child for the nation’s aspiration. It’s also the reason behind the fierce rivalry between them and the other Spanish team, Real Madrid. Real Madrid has always been the bastion of superiority in both Spain and world soccer, however, with FC Barcelona looking to expand its ever-growing trophy case, the rivalry between these two teams is expected to become even stronger.