Top 10 Greatest Heavyweight Boxers Of All Time
It was during the 1970s that we got to see some of the best heavyweight boxers who have ever worn boxing gloves. Many boxing analysts and sports historians consider this era to be the Golden Age of the heavyweight division.
Of course, there are important fighters before and after this era that we can count on as well. But it was in the 1970s that the heavyweight division has become increasingly popular thanks to the growing talent pool packed to the brim. During that time, the heavyweight division became the glamor of the sport, and it continued to be so for many years until it reached a point of decline.
The following 10 men were considered boxing’s greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, not only because they changed the world of sports, but also because they were able to put up great fights and lived up to everyone’s expectations:
- Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Clay Jr., and only adopted the name Muhammad Ali, for which he would be famous, in 1964. Ali has a notoriety for reinventing himself over and over again. His nickname “The Greatest” reflects him as the man who would be the most recognizable name in boxing history, and even in the entire world of sports. When Ali fought Sonny Liston, he was a 7-1 underdog, and yet he has beaten Liston to claim his first championship belt. His fighting style is best described in this paradigm: “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” But what made Ali superior to the rest was that he fought and won top-tier fights during the sport’s most competitive era.
- Joe Louis. Joe Louis’ boxing career has blossomed during one of the most disturbing moments in his country’s history. World War II was in full swing in Europe and it’s only a matter of time before his country, the United States, gets involved in the war. He was dubbed the “Brown Bomber” and became the undisputed heavyweight champion for 12 years and met everyone who comes to challenge him.
- Rocky Marciano. Rocky Marciano holds the record for the highest knockout percentage of all heavyweight champions and has beaten boxing greats such as Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, and Archie Moore. He was considered a small heavyweight, standing only five feet ten inches tall and weighed 185 pounds, which is too light for a heavyweight. But what he lacked in size and height, he made up for in punching power. Nicknamed the “Rock”, he was the only heavyweight boxer to retire undefeated.
- George Foreman. George Foreman is one of the hardest punchers in boxing history, and he can take punches too. He became an Olympic gold medalist at the age of 19 during the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. “Big George”, as people also called him, was able to make history unmatched by any other athlete in world-class sports. He would always be revered both for his incredible punching power and for his truly incredible comeback that culminated in his recapture of the heavyweight championship some two decades after losing it to Muhammad Ali.
- Jack Dempsey. Jack Dempsey reigned in boxing’s heavyweight division from 1914 to 1927 with an impressive career record of 61 wins, and 50 of these wins are by knockout. The “Manassa Mauler”, as he was also called, has fought in a time when the Yankees were kings and baseball was the most popular sport. Dempsey’s fighting style is a combination of speed, power, and aggressiveness. The “Manassa Mauler” has helped popularize boxing as a sport and was regarded as one of boxing’s first superstars.
- Joe Frazier. “Smokin ‘Joe”, as they used to call him, was one of those who fought all the great heavyweights of the Golden Age and has beaten all but George Foreman. Can you imagine that he’s fought through the greatest heavyweight boxing generation of all time and the four losses he’s had in his entire career have come from just two opponents: Ali and Foreman? His third fight with Ali, which took place in Manila in 1975 and was called “Thrilla In Manila”, was considered by many boxing columnists to be the greatest heavyweight title fight of all time.
- Larry Holmes. Nicknamed the “Easton Assasin,” Larry Holmes was known for his staggering jab, brave heart, dangerous right hand, and astonishing resilience. He was Ali’s former sparring partner and came to dominate everyone except Michael Spinks during his seven-year reign as heavyweight king (1978-1985). Holmes had a career record of 69 wins, with 44 of these wins coming by knockout. He would be most remembered as someone who defended his title 20 times, going 48-0 before losing a points decision to Michal Spinks.
- Evander Holyfield. Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield will be remembered as one of the greatest heavyweight champions and overall great fighters the sport of boxing has ever produced. He was the only man to win the heavyweight title four times. He was also an Olympian, competing as a light heavyweight in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He was able to capture major cruiserweight titles as a professional before moving up to the heavyweight division and winning fights.
- Mike Tyson. At age 20, “Iron” Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history. He was undefeated, going 37-0 before losing for the first time in a title fight to Buster Douglas in 1990 in Japan. His tremendous punching power combined with blinding speed helped him break through the ranks of the greats in the heavyweight division. He has a career record of 55 wins, and 44 of these wins are by knockout.
- Lennox Lewis and Jack Johnson. At six feet five inches tall and weighing 250 pounds, Lewis was a physically superior heavyweight boxer. His athleticism was excellent and he used his height and size advantage to dominate his opponents. His notable victories are those that he has fought against Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Andrew Golota, Vitali Klitschko, and David Tua.
The six-foot tall, 200-pounder “Galviston Giant” was the first black heavyweight champion in boxing history. Jack Johnson dominated the heavyweight boxing of the 1900s through ring skills combined with raw power. He has a career record of 77 wins, of which 48 are by knockout. He’s one of those who helped transcend boxing in its early years.