Who is the Greatest Boxer of All Time?

By Steve Tsilimos | Posted 4 months ago

“To be a champ you have to believe in yourself when no one else does.” If you know who said the previous quote then you know who took the number one spot on my list of greatest boxers. 

 

 

Hand-to-hand combat has conceivably been around as long as humans have been walking the earth. The beginning of boxing as a sport dates to 688 B.C. when it was started by the Greeks for the 23rd Olympiad. The term ‘boxing’ is used to describe many different combat sports in many countries. Western boxing or pugilism is the ‘boxing’ that I will be making the greatest of all-time list. 

 

This is a pound-for-pound list of the greatest boxers to grace the ring. It's hard to conceive a lightweight would ever beat a heavyweight in a boxing match but that is why the sport has weight divisions. There have been many great fighters throughout the years who helped the sport evolve and gain popularity, but it is believed that former President Theodore Roosevelt was one of the biggest factors in the sport’s original popularity in America. 

 

 

What makes a boxer a GOAT? Overall record, championships, wins over other great boxers, and impact on the sport/world all are what make a boxing GOAT. Before I get to the top seven boxers of all time let me give you some guys who almost made the list.

Honorable Mention

Henry Armstrong, Willie Pep, Ezzard Charles, Manny Pacquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr., Rocky Marciano, Jack Dempsey, Roberto Duran, Jack Johnson, Bernard Hopkins, Julio Cesar Chavez

No. 7– Carlos Monzon

Record: 87-3-9, (59 KOs)

Years Active: 1963-1977

Championships: WBA/WBC Middleweight Champion

 

Carlos Monzon (“Escopeta,” shotgun in Spanish) was an Argentinian pretty boy with a troubled side who was an absolute monster in the ring. Before he was sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing his girlfriend Alicia Muniz in 1988, he held the undisputed middleweight championship for seven years. Monzon is known for becoming the unified WBC/WBA middleweight champion and defending it a then-record 14 times. Some boxing lists keep Monzon off because of his troubled out-of-the-ring life. Others recognize that Monzonwas one of the greatest. 

No. 6 – Mike Tyson

Record: 50-6, (44 KOs)

Years Active: 1985-2005

Championships: Undisputed Heavyweight Championship, IBF Heavyweight, WBC/WBA Heavyweight (2X each)

 

"Iron Mike" Tyson was known as the “The Baddest Man on the Planet” during his heyday because of the power he displayed in the ring. Tyson became the youngest person tor win the heavyweight title when he did it at 20 years, 4months, and 22 days old. He won his first 19 professional fights all by knockout, and only seven of those fights made it past the first round. He became the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, as well as the only heavyweight to unify them in succession. Although he has a great resume, what really made me have Tyson on this list, is that in his prime he could hit harder than anyone else, ever. 

 

No. 5 – Henry Armstrong 

Record: 150-21-10, 101 KO

Years Active: 1931-1945

Championships: World Featherweight, World Lightweight, World Welterweight

 

Born Henry Jackson Jr. and known as “Homicide Hank,” Armstrong was no doubt one of the greatest fighters. Back when Armstrong was in the ring there were only eight recognized weight divisions and he held the world championship in three of them. He had to take down some of the greatest fighters of the era to become world champions in these weight divisions. Armstrong fought over 180 professional fights, winning 150 of them, and defended his welterweight title 19 times. 

No. 4 – Joe Louis

Record: 66-3, (52 KO)

Years Active: 1934-1951

Championships: World Heavyweight

 

Joseph Louis Barrow, or “The Brown Bomber” reign as the heavyweight champ was legendary. He reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1937 until his temporary retirement in 1949, which is the longest anyone has ever been a boxing champion. His 25 consecutive title defenses are still a record for all weight classes. Luis’s cultural impact was quite possibly the greatest by any athlete ever and he is widely considered the first African-American to become a national hero. Given the nickname “The Man Who Beat Hitler” because of his first-round knockout over German fighter Max Schmeling at Yankee stadium in 1938. The fight has been widely regarded as one of the most important or historic sports events of all time.

No. 3 – Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Record: 50-0, (27 KOs)

Years Active: 1996-2017

Championships: Eight in five weight divisions (WBC Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight, WBC Junior Welterweight, IBF Welterweight, WBC Welterweight (2X), WBC Junior Middleweight, WBA Junior Middleweight)

 

Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. is the most scrutinized boxer on this list. “Money Mayweather” is the most lucrative fighter in history. Some websites and journalists considered Mayweather to be the best because of his undefeated record. Others think he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned with the all-time greats. Either way, he is the best defensive fighter and possibly the most accurate puncher to ever step foot into a ring. In all 50 of his fights, he never took much damage and his only technical knockdown was because he touched his glove to the mat after fracturing his hand on an opponent's forehead. Say what you will about his opponents or how he fights but no one ever finished their career undefeated and was as untouchable as Mayweather.

 

No. 2 – Muhammad Ali

Record: 56-5, (37 KO)

Years Active: 1960-1981

Championships: WBA Heavyweight (4X), WBC Heavyweight (2X)

 

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., and later changed his name to Muhammad Ali, is the greatest heavyweight fighter ever. He talked the talk and walked the walk and is remembered for his spoken word trash-talk and smooth never-seen-before style. Standing at 6-foot-3, he demonstrated the movement of a dancer, the power of a heavyweight, and the technical skill and speed of a lightweight. 

 

 

Beyond his dominance in the ring, he is quite possibly the most influential athlete ever. In 1999 he was crowned BBC’s Sports Personality of the Century and Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated. Muhammad Ali was undefeated in his prime before his boxing license was canceled due to him refusing military service during the Vietnam War. "The Greatest" was not able to fight during four years of his prime because of his stand against being drafted. Ali is known for his trilogy with Joe Frazier where he won the last two fights, and “The Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman – utilizing his famed "rope-a-dope" style to upset Forman and regain his titles.

 

No. 1 – Sugar Ray Robinson

Record: 173-19-6, (108 KO)

Years Active: 1940-1965

Championships: World Welterweight, World Middleweight (5X)

 

 

Who am I to argue with Muhammad Ali who publicaly called Sugar Ray Robinson the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time? Robinson’s all-time record is insane, but to add to it he had a 91-fight winning streak. If we look at his amateur career where he was undefeated, winning all 85 of his fights, he put together a stretch of 126 straight victories before he was defeated when he faced Jake LaMotta in his 41st pro fight. He eventually avenged that loss on five occasions. 

 

At his peak, he was 128-1. He finished his career with over 200 fights and was never knocked out once. What’s even more impressive is that Robinson fought during arguably the best era in boxing and beat all of the greatest fighters around his weight. Nearly untouchable as a welterweight he moved up to middleweight in 1951 and won the title. Robinson did it with speed, a head-jerking jab, and power in both hands. He had the power of a heavyweight but was smooth and quick. There was never a fighter like him before and there will never be someone like him again. 

 

 

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