• March 19 down the years

Pacquiao made to look human

Manny Pacquiao is not used to taking a beatin © Getty Images

The night Erik Morales made Manny Pacquiao look human. Having just lost his WBC super-featherweight belt to Marco Antonio Barrera, Morales met the brilliant Filipino for a thing called the IBA title, which was rightly vacant. The result was close but unanimous: all three judges gave it to Morales 115-113. Unfortunately for him, Pacquiao wasn't human for long. The following year, he won two rematches by stoppages, and Morales retired soon after that.

After their preliminary bout at the press conference on January 10, Herbie Hide and Michael Bentt waited until they got in the ring this time. And that's where the jokey asides end. This was a fight that nearly ended in a death. Making his first defence of the WBO heavyweight title, Bentt looked listless throughout. A left hook put him down in the third, and two right crosses left him flat on his face in the seventh. He collapsed in the changing room and spent four days in a coma. He'd had dizzy spells in training the month before, which some put down to dehydration during fasting for Ramadan, though he ended the fast a week before the fight. It was his last, but he recovered and went into acting, playing Sonny Liston in the film Ali, starring Will Smith. The real spelling of his surname is Bent. Hide's is Maduagwu.

The day John Ngugi walked on water. Kenya's finest became the first man to win the World Cross-County title four years in a row. And he did it on terrain that wasn't supposed to suit him, sloshing round a golf course that was waterlogged and ankle-deep in mud after torrential rain. He finished 28 seconds ahead of Britain's Tim Hutchings, who struggled to keep his feet like everyone else. Annette Sergent of France regained the women's title after finishing third the year before.

By the same day in 2000, Paul Tergat had broken Ngugi's record by winning the World Cross-Country for the last five years. Going for a sixth, he finished third, only two seconds behind the winner Mohammed Mourhit, who was born in Morocco but ran for Belgium. Paula Radcliffe, fifth in the long race the day before, was fourth in the short race.

Bookmakers won the battle with the punters at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival and it was sealed when Imperial Commander claimed the Gold Cup. The race had been billed as a battle between Kauto Star and Denman, but the former fell at the fourth last and the latter found Nigel Twiston-Davies' Imperial Commander too strong at the finish.

JH Taylor was born in Devon. John Henry Taylor was part of the Great Triumvirate - and great they were. Harry Vardon won the British Open a record six times, Jimmy Braid and Taylor five each. Braid's wins were concentrated within ten years, while Taylor's were spread over a longer period of time. The longest, in fact. No other golfer has won his last British Open 19 years after his first. He won all five by big margins. In 1894 the Championship was held outside Scotland for the first time. Taylor won it by five shots. The following year, he was three behind going into the final round - and won by four. In 1900 he stopped Vardon winning it for the third year in a row - and did it emphatically, beating him by a whopping eight strokes and becoming the only golfer to shoot the best score in every round of a Major. In 1909 he won by six, with Braid in joint second, and in 1913 by eight again. He also finished runner-up six times, including four in a row. Unlike Vardon, he was no stylist, but his short punchy swing was ideal for links courses. In his only visit to the US Open, he finished second in 1900 - two strokes behind Vardon. Taylor designed the course at Birkdale and was non-playing captain of Britain & Ireland when they won the Ryder Cup in 1933.

Ireland won a rugby match in Paris for the first time since January 29, 1972. It was also their first win against France, home or away, since 1983. They trailed 13-7 at half-time and 19-7 with just over twenty minutes left - then a 21-year-old Brian O'Driscoll scored his second try of the match, then David Humphreys came on for Ronan O'Gara and kicked Ireland's first penalty goal. But GĂ©rald Merceron kicked his fifth and six penalties to put France 25-17 ahead. With only six minutes left, O'Driscoll picked up a loose ball and scored his third try, and another Humphreys penalty won the match 27-25 with two minutes to go. Substitute Paddy Johns was the first player to be sin-binned while playing for Ireland, but that just gave them more to sing about.

Kerryn McCann of Australia won the Commonwealth Games Marathon for the second time in a row. In a exciting race, she ran the last three kilometres with Kenya's Hellen Cherono before pulling away in the stadium to win by just two seconds. England's Liz Yelling was third. And you can forgive the slow time: McCann was nearly 39, the oldest woman to win a running event at any Commonwealth Games. She died of breast cancer only two years later.

Mark Foster claims silver in the 50m butterfly © Getty Images

The closest Colin Jones came to winning a world title. It was a classic match-up. Hard-punching Welshman against skilful American boxer. Too skilful for Jones, who won only one round clearly. Milt McCrory spent a lot of time on his bike, scoring with combinations then moving away. He didn't punch hard but he punched often. On the same night, his brother Steve became world amateur champion at flyweight - but big bro managed only a draw against Jones. Still, the result suited their bank managers: the fight was for the vacant WBC welterweight title, so they had to do it all again. Later that year, in an even better fight, McCrory won a close - and split - decision. A distraught Jones had one last chance at a world title, on January 19, 1985.

Talk about a game of two halves. Alright, let's do that. Ireland led 3-0 at half-time - and lost 35-3! Five of England's sudden six tries were scored by their wingers: two by Rory Underwood and three by Chris Oti, who was winning his second cap. He was the first black player to be picked for England since Jim Peters. When he scored his third try, the Twickenham crowd sang Swing low, sweet chariot for the first time. So it's his fault. The winger marking him, the experienced Trevor Ringland, wasn't capped again. Nor was England captain Nigel Melville, who picked up yet another injury.

At the World Short-Course Championships, Mark Foster retained his 50 metres butterfly title. It was his second gold medal at these Championships, two days after his first.

Jennie Fletcher was born in Leicester. In 1912, women's swimming events were included at the Olympic Games for the first time - and Fletcher's bronze in the 100 metres freestyle was the first medal won by a British woman in the sport. Three days later, she swam a strong second leg to help Britain win the 4x100 relay in a world record time. One of 11 children, she trained after working twelve hours a day, six days a week. She set a world record for the 100 yards freestyle in 1909.

Wilson Shaw's Match. Firmly established in the Scotland hall of fame. Shaw was a running fly-half with skill and especially pace. Here at Twickenham, he made the first try with a kick that sat up for his right wing. Grahame Parker kicked two penalties for England, but Scotland scored two superb tries to lead 9-6. There was some marvellous running by the backs on both sides. England wing Jimmy Unwin finished a classic passing move with a dive in the corner - but Shaw regained the lead by swerving past Parker. Scotland would have led by more than 12-9 at half-time if they'd kicked a single conversion. England went back in front, but flanker Wilf Crawford kicked two penalties for Scotland, the second from 50 yards. Parker kicked another one to reduce the gap - but then Shaw scored the most famous try of his career, swerving and sidestepping through the mist to clinch the match 21-16. England's points came from Parker, Unwin, and a drop goal by Jeff Reynolds. None of them played for England again. It was Scotland's last win at Twickenham until 20 March 1971.