January 16, 2012
10. Evander Holyfield – Evander Holyfield is one of the most enduring fighters of the modern era of boxing. He won a heavyweight title three times and has showed the most stamina of any boxer of his generation. Holyfield kept good pace throughout fights and generally wore his opponents down with endurance and tenacity. His fight with Mike Tyson is thought to be the fight that ended his career.
Record: 44-10-2 (29 KO) 1 NC
9. Jack Johnson – Jack Johnson was the predecessor to Joe Louis. He was a big guy and a hard puncher. But, where Louis was a light-skinned quiet guy that made him marginally more acceptable despite being African-American, Johnson was dark-skinned, loud, and brash. Both were disrespected and He had stellar footwork and heavy hands which helped him fight for a decade without a loss.
Record: 73-13-9 (40 KO) 2 NC
8. Joe Walcott – Joe Walcott threw the perfect hook, and could knock out opponents with either hand. He hit Ezzard Charles, who had one of the strongest chins in boxing, with a hook that onlookers thought broke his neck. Walcott was a great counter puncher and a great tactician goaded opponents into his great hook.
Record: 51-18-2 (32 KO)
7. Jack Dempsey – Dempsey is one of the hardest hitters ever to fight in the heavyweight division though he only had one punch. His left hook mangled fighters, but none more than Jess Willard to win the title. He knocked out some of his teeth, broke his jaw, both cheekbones, and a few ribs for good measure. Dempsey was one of the most brutal pugilists and held his title for seven years.
Record: 66-6-9 (51 KO)
6. George Foreman – Big George is considered by many to be the most powerful puncher that boxing has ever seen. If a man had it in the ring across from Foreman, then he broke it. He defeated Joe Frazier twice, including a second round knockout. After a ten year retirement, George became the oldest man at the time to win the heavyweight boxing title at 45 years of age against Michael Moorer.
Record: 76-5 (68 KO)
5. Rocky Marciano – Rocky Marciano is the only undefeated heavyweight champion. Had he been a more pure boxer or beaten some of the same boxers that he defeated in their prime, he would be at the top of this list. Marciano’s form, footwork, and technique were terrible, but he trained like no boxer before him. He was better conditioned than all the boxers of his era, had the hardest chin, and threw some of the hardest punches. He left Carmine Vingo in a coma, beat an old Joe Louis, and hit Joe Walcott so hard that people thought he broke his neck.
Record: 49-0 (43 KO)
4. Joe Frazier – Joe Frazier is the first guy to beat Muhammad Ali. He fought him in the “Fight of the Century,” and beat him in a decision with his steel chin and mean left hook. With that fight he became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. He is known as one of the toughest fighters ever to get into the ring. Frazier fought in the deepest talent pool of the heavyweight division against Ali, Foreman, Jerry Quarry, Buster Mathis, and many more. He was known for his tough chin and relentless, aggressive approach.
Record: 32-4-1 (27 KO)
3. Mike Tyson – Boxing aficionados may not agree with Tyson’s high rating on this list and the younger generation never witnessed his brilliance in the ring, but Mike Tyson was one of the best boxer’s that the world has seen before he lost his trainer Cus D’Amato and was put in jail. He was the youngest heavyweight champion ever and was the first and youngest guy to hold the IBF, WBC, and WBA titles at the same time. Mike Tyson was one of the hardest-hitting and most fear-inspiring fighters ever. People compared his knockout power to George Foreman in his prime. Tyson’s hands were like sledgehammers, but he had the hand speed of lightweights.
Record: 50-6 (44 KO) 2 NC
2. Joe Louis – Joe Louis was one of boxing’s greatest champions. He dethroned the great German champions, undermined the notion of Nazi invincibility, and became a symbol of nationalism for Americans. Louis was a devastating puncher and was an enormous man for his era. He overpowered boxers with his reach and hitting power. His only loss in his prime was to Max Schmeling and he knocked him out in the 1st round of their rematch.
Record: 66-3 (52 KO)
1. Muhammad Ali – Ali is one of the most celebrated boxers in its history. He had a rare combination of speed and power in the ring, exceptional footwork, and was possibly the most cerebral boxer to grace the ring. He went against all convention when he fought against George Foreman and opted to let him punch himself out. Everyone including his trainers thought that he would be knocked out before could finish Big George. He told his trainer in the fourth that the plan was working and that he would knock him out in the 8th. Ali delivered just as he promised. Ernie Terrel vowed not to call Ali by his Muslim name once he converted to Islam and changed his name from Cassius Clay. Ali pummeled him, taunted him, and asked him what his name was until he conceded and called him Muhammad Ali. Ali fought in the hardest time period of the heavyweight division and beat every big name that he faced. He beat Foreman, Frazier, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, Leon Spinks and countless other great boxers in his career. Muhammad Ali is the best boxer ever to step in the ring.
Record: 56-5 (37 KO)