1. World Championship Boxing Manager
World Championship Boxing Manager is a sports-themed title released in 1990 by Goliath Games. Instead of being a boxer aiming for the top of his division, this game puts you in the shoes of a promoter trying to make a name for himself. However, you don't get to start the game managing well-known boxers off the bat, you will need to sign a handful with potential and build their career along with yours.
Once you've picked a guy, you will need to sign a contract which outlines the amount of matches per season, their rank details as well as the projected number of wins you will secure when the season is over. From there, you will be in charge of your boxer's training schedule by planning activities which will target the stats you want to develop. Like say, weight training to build your guy's strength or running to add to his stamina. To add to the challenge, you will need to watch out for injuries such as cuts or pulled muscles especially towards the date of a match. In an actual bout, you are also responsible for his tactics and you must also tend to his injuries in between each round.
World Championship Boxing Manager has the depth of a modern-day title. Throughout the course of the game, you will be going up against 17 CPU managers who will have a whopping total of a hundred boxers signed under them. If you want your guy to climb the ranks fast then you will need to have great negotiating skills to secure fights against rated boxers and win the judges over by taking note of the commentator's expert opinion.
2. 4D Sports Boxing
For those who are tired of simplistic boxing games, 4D Sports Boxing may just be the title for you. Developed by Distinctive Software, this classic isn't your average arcade sports title. It attempts to recreate the elegance of the sport by including all the hooks and uppercuts of an actual bout as well as multiple view points. By visiting the Gym, you can create your own boxer by specifying his height, weight and fighting style.
Progressing through the game means duking it out with a slew of skilled fighters, all the while training your boxer to be the best there is. The complexity of the move sets offers depth to the fights. Choosing which matches to go for in order to progress your career adds a strategy element to this heavyweight boxing simulation. If at first you don't succeed or you feel that you're not quite at the level you want to be, you can simply review what happened through the advanced action replays.
In addition, 4D Sports Boxing offers a local two-player mode which allows you to get into the ring with a friend. A third person may even join in as a "Vision Director" in charge of changing the camera angles during and in between rounds.
3. TV Sports Boxing
Published by Mindscape, TV Sports Boxing follows the same pattern as 4D Sports Boxing. The game's Career Mode allows you to step into the shoes of a fighter you either created yourself or is generated by the computer. You will need to come up with strategies on how to make him stronger such as choosing a manager to represent you, a personal trainer, the rank matches to fight in and which legal (but a bit magical) performance enhancing items to buy. The classified ads even offer boxing aids such as a home gym as well as ballet lessons, if you think that will help.
Once you get more money, you may choose to fire your existing employees and hire better trainers or managers to help you up the ante. A nice touch is that after you've taken your boxer's stats as far as you possibly can, you will then be able to view your creation counted among the game's list of roster of formidable fighters.
4. ABC Wide World of Sports Boxing
Released in 1991, ABC Wide World of Sports Boxing is based on the Wide World of Sports television program from the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). This was released as TV Sports Boxing for the European market as part of the TV Sports series by Cinemaware.
Just like its counterpart, it allows players to create their own boxer and manage his whole boxing career during bouts as well as outside the ring. The visuals are somewhat reminiscent of Rocky on the Master System There is a role-playing aspect to the game which involves taking a boxer from the lowest rank to get the title of "World Champ".
5. Panza Kick Boxing
Based on the French martial art called savate, Panza Kick Boxing is a classic title for the Amiga created by Futura. The story is a familiar one: you are a hopeful young athlete who aims to make it big in order to face the great Andrea Panza himself. What sets this apart from the competition though is the level of realism when it comes to dishing and receiving damage. The characters all react as they should, cringing from blows, landing them within a reasonable distance and tripping over when hit by a sweep.
The game is one-on-one beat 'em up at its core but is filled with special features such as being able to choose the moves your fighter can use and a training camp where your fighter can use the attack-reflex training dummy or use some weights. Unlike most games in the genre which only have a dozen or so moves available, Panza Kick Boxing has a grand total of 56 punches and kicks for you to choose from.
Despite the age of these boxing games, none of them have yet to stay out for the count and would even given the modern day Rocky a run for his money. Expect the mat to be clear for a long time as retro titles like these still manage to pull out some of the frustratingly fun battles. Sure, the AI can be cheap, but the skill-centric gameplay will certainly keep you coming back to enjoy the virtual beating.