No Limit: The Longest Matches in Sports

Ever watch a game or match in your sport of choice where two competitors or teams are so perfectly matched that you just don’t want it to end? Whether it is hockey, baseball, basketball, tennis, or football, there’s nothing like an evenly balanced match between passionate competitors showcasing the best of their talents, all in the pursuit of a win.

In sports, everything has a time limit. However, there are matches that have no limit. Matches that land in the history books as the longest ever.

Andy Bowen vs. Jack Burke

These days, most boxing matches last seconds, leaving fans wanting and yearning for more action.

Well in 1893, Andy Bowen battled Jack Burke in a match that went an incredible 110 rounds! With each round equaling three minutes, Bowen versus Burke took seven hours and 19 minutes to complete. When all was said and done, the referee called the bout a no contest.

A no contest doesn’t seem right for such a long bout. Perhaps Bowen and Burke were fine with the result. It meant they could finally have a rest.


Chicago White Sox vs. Milwaukee Brewers

Since it took place only a few decades ago, some baseball fans may recall the longest game in MLB history. It happened on May 8, 1994 when the Chicago White Sox went head-to-head with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The game lasted eight hours and six minutes. It was split up over two days, as MLB rules did not allow innings to go past 12:59 a.m. Therefore, both teams stopped playing as of that time and resumed their 18th inning the next day. The game would continue and go for another seven innings until White Sox’s Harold Baines hit the winning home run during the 25th inning.

Martin Klein vs. Alfred Asikainen

Fans of professional wrestling are used to matches that may last anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes maximum. However, when it comes to Olympic wrestling, the rules are so much different.

During the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Martin Klein and Alfred Asikainen locked up for an incredible 11 hours and 40 minutes during their semi-final match. While Klein would emerge victorious, he was exhausted by the match. So exhausted, in fact, that Klein forfeited the finals to Sweden’s Claes Johansson.

Indianapolis Olympians vs. Rochester Royals

Way back in 1951, fans of the NBA witnessed history when the Indianapolis Olympians faced off against the Rochester Royals. On January 6 of that year, the two teams battled it out in a game that went into six rounds of overtime. The game lasted 78 minutes of official game time.

When all was said and done, the Olympians won the match with 75-73.

Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs

Americans are obsessed with their football. So, many would love the idea of watching a game that hit close to two hours of official game time.

Well, fans of the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs were in their glory back in 1971. Before the NFL changed its overtime rules to a single overtime session, this AFC Playoff game would go for two rounds of overtime. Ultimately, the game lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds with the Dolphins winning over the Chiefs 27-24.

1931 U.S. Open

It was the 1931 U.S. Open in Toledo, Ohio where it took two days and 72 holes for Billy Burke to beat George Von Elm. This stands as the longest golf playoff in the history of the game.

Von Elm would tie Burke on the final regulation hole. The two would play 36 holes the next day, only to tie at the last hole once tying again. This set up another 36-hole playoff, where Burke won by a simple stroke.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Maroons

On March 24, 1936, the Detroit Red Wings battled the Montreal Maroons in game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Although the game started on the 24th, it would not finish until the wee hours of the morning on the 25th. Going for a total of 176 minutes and 30 seconds, the Detroit Red Wings would score the only goal of the game in the sixth overtime period.

Nicolas Mahut vs. John Isner

Nicolas Mahut and John Isner made tennis history during the 2010 Wimbledon tournament when they competed in the longest match ever. The Frenchman and American played for an outstanding 11 hours and five minutes. Due to inclement weather, the match happened over the course of three days.

After all that, Isner would emerge the victor with a score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7, 7–6, 70–68.

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