Boxing is one of the most popular sports the world over and is a multibillion-dollar industry.
This combat sport involves two people indulging in a contest of speed, strength, will, endurance and reflexes, by using gloved hands to throw punches at one another. This sport is one of the greatest paying but very difficult as well.
Professional boxing comes in both Commonwealth and Olympic sports forms and has its place in almost all international games. The most historic and famous sport of boxing features world-famous boxers known for their individual styles and performance.
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Top 10 – Greatest Boxers of All Time
Over the decades, we have seen an evolution of this fighting sport that has paved way for low to high-level boxers making their way into the ring. Countless rounds of fighting and controversial decisions make impression on every boxing fan. A sport replete with legendary figures, let’s take a quick look at the top 10 boxers of all time.
1. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson is probably best known for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear during their infamous 1997 match, but there can be no disputing the fact that the 51-year-old is one of the greatest boxers of all time, having become the first heavyweight fighter to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles. He is considered as the hardest hitting heavyweight ever in the history of boxing. What made him so successful and famous is the amazing mix of fast heavy hands and quick weaving and bobbing reflexes.
By winning the first 19 bouts through knockout, could impress boxing aficionados. In 1986, he defeated Trevor Berbick in only two rounds and became the youngest heavyweight champion. In the same year, he won both the IBF and WBA heavyweight championship to become the first heavyweight to unify the WBA, WBC and IBF heavyweight titles.
2. Manny Pacquiao
Now serving as a Senator in the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao is the greatest boxer to have come out of the country. This actor, politician, singer, and boxer possessed special ability to fight and win in varying weight classes. During his fighting career, the 38-year-old won 11 major world titles. He was also the first boxer to win the Lineal Championship in five different weight classes.
After defeating a line of tough Mexican boxers like Eric Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, David Diaz and Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao achieved popularity in the United States. In 2008, the boxer defeated Oscar Dela Hoya in eight rounds and acquired the superstar status. This victory made him one of the highest paid athletes of the time.
3. Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali, listed deservingly amongst the most inspiring athletes by Lottoland, is arguably the greatest boxer of all time. Not only did the American champion excel at boxing, but he also promoted several social issues and is widely recognized as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. The inspiring boxer was able to defeat many tough opponents such as George Foreman and Joe Frazier during his best year in the heavyweight division.
The boxing era of Muhammad Ali was from 1960 to 1981 and he excelled in all the aspects of the sport. He was also a charismatic personality and known as a great entertainer of the time. He holds a record of a total of 56 wins of which 37 were knockouts. He had only 5 losses in his entire career.
4. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Now a professional boxing promoter, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was hugely successful during his boxing career from 1996 to 2007 and 2009 to 2015. The 40-year-old held 15 world titles in five weight classes and the lineal championship in four different weight classes. He retired with a stunning 50-0 record.
Mayweather won The Ring Magazine’s Fighter of the Year award twice and the Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year award thrice. In 2016, ESPN ranked him as the greatest boxer, pound for pound, of the past 25 years. He is regarded as the best defensive boxer in the history of the sport and the most accurate puncher with the highest plus-minus ratio in the history of boxing.
5. Evander Holyfield
The American professional boxer, Evander Holyfield, had his boxing career from 1984 to 2011. He ruled the sports industry as an undisputed champion in both the heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions. He was the only boxer in history up to date to be able to do so. This won him the title of ‘The Real Deal’.
Holyfield is the only boxer to have won the World Heavyweight Championship four times. He held the WBC, WBA, IBF and lineal titles from 1990 to 1992.
After moving to heavyweight in 1988, he could successfully defend the undisputed heavyweight title three times by winning over former champions Larry Holmes and George Foreman.
6. Lennox Lewis
The professional boxer who competed from 1989 to 2003, Lennox Lewis won the world heavyweight championship thrice and the lineal championship twice. He is the last heavyweight to hold the undisputed title. The 52-year-old boxer who holds dual Canadian and British citizenship won a gold medal at the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Lewis is renowned as the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. In 1999, the Boxing Writers Association of America named him Fighter of the Year. He was also bestowed the title of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
7. Sugar Ray Robinson
Many would claim that Sugar Ray Robinson is the greatest boxer of all time. Born as Walker Smith Jr, this boxer’s era was from 1940 to 1965. Ray holds a record of 173 wins of which 108 were knockouts. It was his performances that saw the creation of ‘pound for pound’ rankings.
Sugar Ray Robinson was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. He considered Joe Jouis and Henry Armstrong as his inspirations during his early years in the field. What made him highly popular was his fight with Jake Lamotta. Out of the six fights with this raging bull, Ray won five matches.
8. Rocky Marciano
One of the hardest punchers of all time, Rocky Marciano was a great boxer without a doubt in his time. He is popular for being a heavyweight champion who is undefeated. He was known for his unique fighting style, stamina, punching power and iron chin. His knockout to win percentage of 87.75 is one of the highest in the history of heavyweight boxing.
Rocky Marciano’s professional boxing career lasted from 1947 to 1955, but despite his short career span, he is a legend of the sport. Marciano held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956 and did not lose a single bout.
9. Roy Jones Jr.
A six-time former world champion in four weight classes, Roy Jones Jr. was arguably the best fighter in the world in the 1990s. The 48-year-old is the only fighter in the sport’s history to start his professional career at light middleweight and go on to win a heavyweight title. Of the 74 fights, Roy Jones Jr. won 65 and lost nine.
Apart from boxing, Roy Jones Jr. is famous for boxing commentary, rapping, boxing training and acting. He holds dual Russian and American citizenship. What made this great boxer so popular was his victory in the WBA heavyweight championship in 2003. He was the first former middleweight champion to win a heavyweight title in 106 years.
10. Julio Cesar Chavez
Julio Cesar Chavez is arguably the greatest boxer to have come out of Mexico. This boxer is known not for just his win streak but also famous for his exciting matches. Chavez is regarded for his slugger mentality and technical ability which has impressed both casual and amateur boxing fans equally.
He has a unique strength of trading and accepting punches from the toughest opponents. During his career from 1980 to 2005, the 55-year-old won the world championship six times in three weight divisions. Chavez lost just six of his 115 fights. He has also received the 1988 Ring Magazine Lightweight Championship.
Among those who failed to make the list but should be mentioned amongst the best boxers in history are Marvin Hagler, Jack Johnson and Bernard Hopkins.