The title is a reference to the 1970 film, The Great White Hope, which was directed by Martin Ritt.
There is an ad on a billboard that says "When a Man Gloves a Woman." This is an allusion to the 1966 song by Percy Sledge called "When a Man Loves a Woman" and also a 1994 film of the same name. The song is also referenced in "A Star is Torn," but is cut short when Lenny shouts: "Which are you, the man or the woman?"
The ending is a spoof of the ending of Rocky III , when Rocky and Apollo Creed are caught in a freeze-frame as they start a friendly fight in an empty gym. This was parodied in Dragonball Evolution where Goku and Chichi jump up in the air aiming kicks against each other and the camera freezes. What they say just before is pretty close to what they say in Dragonball Evolution.
The music that Mr. Burns fights to and that is heard in the end credits is "Boola Boola/When the Saints" performed by the Sing-A-Long Gang. "Boola Boola" is the fight song for Yale University.
When Marge is being introduced before the fight, the announcer calls her "the mother I'd like to fight". This is a reference to the illicit acronym, M.I.L.F.
At the beginning of this episode, there was a record that kept jumping at Moe's Tavern. If you listen carefully, it's "The Monster Mash" a popular Halloween song that was written by Bobby "Boris" Pickett in 1962.
The mother's organization to stop the sport is similar to MAC, Mothers Against Canada, from South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. Also, Marge acts like Sheila Broflovski did in the earlier episodes, especially "Death," in which South Park adults, led by Sheila, attempted to get Terrance and Phillip off the air, but ultimately failed.
On the door at the police station, the sign says No Cops, Be Good.
This is the second episode which revolves around a Simpson getting into a fighting match. The first was The Homer They Fall. The boxing trainer in this episode, Drederick Tatum was the main opponent in The Homer They Fall.
This is the only episode where Bart and Nelson have a real fight; in other episodes, Bart would attempt to escape. (But, in the "24 minutes" episode, Bart repeatedly beats Nelson to gain information.)
Expanding on this, during the bouts between Nelson and Bart in previous episodes, Bart attempts to escape, and is shown to be very scared of Nelson, so it is unknown why Bart would agree to fight Nelson.
In the opening scene, Where Marge and the other mothers are bowling, Marge is seen wearing socks in her bowling shoes. This is a call back to the season 1 episode "Life on the Fast Lane" where before Marge wore bowling shoes with no socks on, risking her having foot fungus on her feet.
In the beginning where the women were bowling, you can see Sarah Wiggum despite the fact Marge Simpson doesn't get along with her.
During the final battle we see Barney in the crowd. But in the next scene we see him in Moe's Tavern.
Krusty claims to be having an affair with Sideshow Mel'swife. However, in Colonel Homer, it is mentioned that Barbara is Krusty's sister. (However, Mel may have divorced Barbara and remarried.)
When Bart walks up to Nelson and bumps fists with him, Bart's belly moves to the right as if he turned around. This is only noticeable if one sees Bart's navel.
After Milhouse collapses after Nelson defeats him, Nelson's navel and nipples disappear.
When Bart walks up to Nelson before they fight, Bart is shirtless. In wrestling, a contestant would normal walk into the arena with a shirt and take it off as they enter the arena.
Bart's facial expression changes between shots during his fight with Nelson: When Bart walks up to Nelson, he looks scared and nervous. When Bart and Nelson bump their fists, Bart's eyes are wide and his expression is normal. Then, when Bart and Nelson stare each other down before the fight, Bart looks brave and fearless.