The Greatest Boxers of All Time

Boxing legends of the past

In anticipation of the Mayweather Pacquiao bout we look at the 12 Greatest boxers of all time. 

Boxing has always been considered a gentleman’s sport. Its roots go back as early as its acceptance as an Olympic game by the Greeks in BC 688. Prizefights came out mainly in Great Britain between the 16th and 18th centuries. Modernized boxing as we know it formalized in the mid-19th century in Great Britain and then the United States. The sport is part of the foundation of most international sport.

• Mayweather vs Pacquiao May 5th
• Boxing has produced many greats
• The greatest boxers of all time

In the modern era, boxing has produced a lot of enthusiasts, critics and revenue. It has also produced some incredible fighters throughout the ages. Many of these fighters had to combat adversaries more out of the ring and in it. As we approach the Manny Pacquiao Floyd Mayweather bout, considered the highest grossing fight of all time, let’s look at some of the greatest fighters throughout the ages that boxing has produced.

Boxers from an earlier era

Jack Johnson, born in Galveston, Texas in 1878, was called “The Galveston Giant.” This was obvious since he stood at 1.87 m and weighed 91 kg. At the height of the Jim Crow era, Johnson was able to become the first African American to win the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in 1908. Holding the title for 7 years, Johnson was feared and stirred much controversy. His record is 73 wins, 13 losses and 10 draws.

Jack Johnson

Jack Dempsey, born in Manassa, Colorado in 1895, was called “Kid Blackie.” Standing at 1.85 m and weighing 87 kg, Dempsey was known for his tenacious spirit, aggressive style, and punching power. He held the World Heavyweight Championship from 1919 to 1926. Dempsey broke attendance and sales records as well as had the first million-dollar gate. Through the 1920’s Dempsey achieved folklore status in the United States.

Rocky Marciano, born in Brockton, Massachusetts in 1923, was the only person to the World Heavyweight Boxing title without losing or drawing in a fight throughout his whole career according to the Guinness Book of World Records. He defended his title 6 times and finally retired in 1956 with a record of 49-0. Marciano was an inspiration for the Rocky films that popularized boxing in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.

An evolution in form

Joe Louis, born in La Fayette, Alabama in 1914, was called the “Brown Bomber.” He held the World Heavyweight Championship between 1937 and 1949. At 1.88 m high and 97 kg, Louis was widely considered an honest and hardworking fighter which helped him become the first African American to have status as a national hero in the United States. His bouts with Max Schmeling were used by the U.S government for anti-nazi sentiment.

Cassius Marcellus Clay, known as Mohammed Ali, was born in 1942. He is considered by most as the greatest boxer of all time. There isn’t a fighter that has come close to the style and skills Ali presented in the ring. He not only elevated his sport but raised awareness in religious freedom and racial justice. Known to U.S. gambling news, he was named by Sports Illustrated as the “Sportsman of the Century.”

Muhammad Ali

Joe Frazier, known as “Smoking Joe”, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1944. Like Ali, Frazier was an Olympic gold medalist. He has an impressive record of 32 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw. Ali and George Foreman were the only fighters ever to defeat Frazier. He’s was known for his power “Philadelphia left hook.” He was in another high profile bout called the “Thrilla in Manila in 1976.”

George Foreman, born in Marshall, Texas in 1949, was a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Standing at 1.92 m and 118 kg, Foreman was an imposing figure whose punch was often considered the hardest ever in a boxer. He won the heavyweight title by knocking out Frazier in Jamaica in 1973. At 76 wins and 5 losses, Foreman is also the oldest Heavyweight champion in history at 45 years old.

Four more for the record

Sugar Ray Leonard was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina May 17th. He is the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in purses and won world titles in 5 different weight divisions. This money was made way before online betting. Julio Cesar Chavez, born in Sonora, Mexico in 1962, had a record of 107 wins, 6 losses and 2 draws. He holds the record for most consecutive title defenses (7), most title fights (37), most title-fight victories (31) and second to Joe Louis in most title knockouts.

Iron Mike Tyson, born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York in 1966, was the youngest boxer to win the heavyweight championship title at 20 years old. He unified all the titles with the 91-second knockout of Michael Spinks in 1988. Known for his awesome punching power, Tyson’s quick knockouts gave him superstar status and a credibility unique to any boxer ever in the history of the sport.

Pacquiao vs Mayweather

Manny Pacquiao, born in Kibawe, Phillipines in 1978, has won 10 world titles. He’s the only boxer to have won the world championship in 8 divisions with a record of 57 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws. Floyd Mayweather, born in 1977 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is currently undefeated. He is a world champion in 5 divisions having won 10 world titles with a record of 47-0. For some odds, check with your favorite internet sportsbook.

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