By Andrew McCart (@Andy_FCBoxing)
The heavyweight champion of the world was always considered the king and the baddest man on the planet, but there’s always one question which is sure to spark up a boxing debate. Who are the top 10 greatest heavyweights of all time? Here’s mine:
10. Larry Holmes – 69-6, 44 KO’s
Holmes won his first 48 professional fights, needing only one more to match Rocky Marciano’s record. He fell just short, losing to Michael Spinks in 1985, losing The Ring and IBF heavyweight titles. Holmes made 20 successful world title defences. Second only to Joe Louis who made 25.
9. Jack Johnson – 80-13-12-14NC, 45 KO’s
At the time of the Jim Crow era, Jack Johnson became the first African American Heavyweight Champion from 1908-1915. Johnson had great speed and power in both hands and was a defensive genius. The Galveston Giant wasn’t just the first African American world champion, but the first modern day champion, and in my opinion is the only heavyweight boxer born in the 1800’s that would of been a match for any of the champions listed below.
8. Joe Frazier – 32-4-1, 27 KO’s
Frazier is most famous for his trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali. It was Frazier who handed Ali his first loss in their first fight in 1971. A fight many people believe to be one of the greatest fights in history. Frazier only ever lost to two fighters in his career – Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. He was diagnosed with liver cancer in September 2011. He died November 7th 2011. Smokin’ Joe Frazier will always be remembered as a true legend of the sport.
7. Rocky Marciano – 49-0, 43 KO’s
With a record of 49 fights, 49 wins with 43 by way of knockout, Marciano should make the top 10 on everyone’s list. He still remains the only heavyweight champion to retire without a blemish on his record. A perfect 49 fights, 49 wins.
Tyson holds the record as the youngest ever heavyweight boxer to win a world title, at the tender age of 20. Tyson won his first 19 fights as a pro by knockout, 12 of them coming in the first round. Earning him the nicknames ‘Iron Mike’ and ‘The Baddest Man On The Planet’. He did however serve three years in prison in 1992, and biting Evander Holyfield’s ear in their 1997 rematch. Tyson was a controversial figure in and out of the ring, but he is considered by many one of the greatest heavyweights, if not boxers, to ever lace up a pair of gloves.
Holyfield is a two time undisputed world champion in both the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions. He also won a bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics in the light heavyweight division. Holyfield holds notable victories over, George Foreman, Riddick Bowe and Mike Tyson (twice). The second being the infamous ‘Bite Fight’.
Big George Foreman’s knockout power was legendary. An Olympic gold medalist in the 1968 Olympics, and won the world heavyweight title against the then undefeated Joe Frazier in 1973. He lost that title to the great Muhammad Ali in the famous ‘The Rumble In The Jungle’ fight in 1974. Unable to secure another title shot, Foreman retired in 1977. Ten years later he made a comeback in 1987, and 1995 Foreman knockout Michael Moorer to become the oldest ever world champion. A record he has lost now to Bernard Hopkins.
Lewis dominated the heavyweight division in the 1990’s, and is the last undisputed heavyweight champion. Lewis stopped Donovan Ruddock in October 1992 to become ranked number one with the WBC. He was then declared WBC champion in the December 1992 after then champion Riddick Bowe refused to fight Lewis. Only ever losing two fights, Lewis avenged both these losses by knockout. He holds notable victories over great fighters like – Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and reigning WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.
2. Joe Louis – 69-3-1NC, 57 KO’s
Louis was heavyweight champion from 1937-1949. He made the sport of boxing popular again after the Jack Dempsey era. Simply by being an honest, hard working fighter in a time when boxing was dominated by fixed bouts and mafia influence. His 1938 victory over Max Schmeling was seen as a massive blow to the Nazi regime, and made Louis a national hero. Louis held the world heavyweight title for eleven years, eight months and seven days, making 25 defences. Joe Louis is a legend.
Muhammad Ali always said he was the greatest, and he undoubtedly is. He won Olympic gold when he was just 18. He became world champion at 22 when he beat Sonny Liston in 1964. Three years after winning the title, Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam war and was stripped of his titles. It was nearly four years before Ali regained his boxing license. It was another three before he regained his titles, beating George Foreman in the famous ‘Rumble In The Jungle’ fight. Ali was involved in another historical fight when he took on old rival, Joe Frazier in the ‘Thrilla In Manilla’. Ali won that fight by TKO in the 14th round. Muhammad Ali had it all, charisma in and out of the ring, great boxing skills and he was always entertaining. He was definitely one of a kind. Living legend.
If you agree or disagree feel free to leave a comment and tell us your views.by