Top 10 Greatest Boxers of All Time

From the shadows of the dimly-lit ring corners to the dazzling limelight of the world's most iconic arenas, we're talking about the electrifying thrill of the "sweet science" and the larger-than-life legends who've mastered it. We're talking about the pugilists who have earned the right to be named the absolute best boxer of all time.

Determining who the best boxers are is no simple task. There's a multitude of factors at play here. Are we talking raw punching power? Or is it the finesse and the footwork that makes the champion? Perhaps it's the strategic acumen, the kind of ring generalship that sees five moves ahead and turns bouts into a chess match. Or maybe, just maybe, it's about the heart, the kind of iron will that turns underdogs into legends, makes giants topple, and fans roar with euphoria.
The Top Ten
1 Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. (January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer, activist, entertainer, poet, and philanthropist. Nicknamed The Greatest, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sporting figures of the 20th century, and... read more

If Ali were in the same weight class as Manny, he would destroy him. Ali would dissect Manny's brains and make him believe he was invincible. Physically, Ali had faster hands, better footwork, the best jab of all time, a diamond chin that was unbreakable, and a heart that wouldn't give in.

Mentally, he is just too smart for Manny. He would psych Manny out and toy with him before and during the fight. He is a genius, and that can't be beaten.

Muhammad Ali, this man is my role model. He was a boxer like no other and always gave others belief when they thought there was none. He will never be forgotten in this world and will always be loved. He stood his ground and fought to keep black and brown people safe. He wasn't just a boxer, either. He was a hilarious comedian and a fantastic man for quotes. Such a shame he had to pass away. It wasn't just a shock for his family, it was a shock for the whole world. A part of me is gone. A part that will never be there again. There will never be another Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali, a super role model. Rest in peace.

2 Sugar Ray Robinson Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional boxer who competed from 1940 to 1965. Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create "pound for pound" rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight.

I'm an elite boxer, and this list is somewhat accurate. Most modern boxers don't have the skill and heart that old-school boxers do. It's mainly about willpower and your ability to believe in yourself.

There's a reason legends like Ray Robinson and Muhammad Ali are at the top of their game. It's because of their confidence and belief that they can win.

Saying Mike Tyson is better than Sugar Ray Robinson is a joke. The comments defending Tyson's position only serve to highlight their own ignorance and attraction to hype. It's worth mentioning that Larry Holmes, who is also a better champion than Mike Tyson, is unfairly only known for defeating a past-his-prime Muhammad Ali. That alone should speak volumes.

As for Robinson, there's a good reason why anyone not currently more popular, and even several who are, rank below him. The term "pound-for-pound best" was created specifically for Robinson. He was one of the fastest fighters of all time and had remarkable durability and knockout power to go with it.

He could fight in virtually any style, was equally skilled with both hands, and won championships in two different weight classes. He lost only once to his biggest rival, another all-time great, while defeating him five times. So, who else managed to beat Robinson? In his first 131 fights, no one did. Until his first retirement, past his peak, he was defeated only by one of Europe's better middleweights in history (who he knocked out in the rematch) and a larger light-heavyweight champion. The latter was getting pummeled until 103-degree heat caused the smaller, faster Robinson to collapse after the 13th round ended.

It's doubtful whether anyone, at the same size, could have outperformed Robinson. But what is certain is that only one of the people ranked above him could be argued to have proven his greatness to the same extent. Even with victories over George Foreman, Joe Frazier, and Sonny Liston, that argument remains questionable.

3 Mike Tyson Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title at 20 years, four months and 22 days old.

When it comes to the two best of all time, there's no doubt it's Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. When it comes to Ali vs. Tyson, I pick Tyson every time. Tyson won against opponents often dismissed as weak, but he also secured many significant victories. If Tyson and Holyfield had fought in 1991, I believe the fight would have had a different outcome.

You say Tyson never won against anybody too good and lost to the best competition. That's not entirely true. Tyson is the youngest man on Earth to have ever captured all three heavyweight belts, and he is a two-time world champion. Tyson competed in an era of newer and improved fighters, while Ali faced opponents who were not in his league.

Ali is good, no doubt, but could Ali deal with what Tyson dealt with? Ali beat Sonny Liston, who was just a regular brawler. Floyd Patterson was not much different than Liston. He didn't move very well and was very slow. Have you seen how George Foreman fights? As Ali said, he fights like a mummy, and you can outrun a mummy. George was successful mostly because of his strength and size. Otherwise, he had terrible defense and was a slow fighter.

No Ali fan seems to bring up the Frazier fight too much, but my point is that all the opponents Ali faced might have been more famous than Tyson's opponents, but were they better? Could Ali handle Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Razor Ruddock, or any of the other tough competitors? They were better than all of Ali's opponents, except maybe Frazier and exceptionally Foreman.

You might say that Tyson was a brawler and that he relied completely on his strength. If you say that, then you do not understand his style. Look at Tyson's highlights: strength, speed, heart, accuracy, fitness. He had it all. In every aspect, including punching power, he appeared superior to Ali.

4 Manny Pacquiao Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao is a Filipino professional boxer and politician, currently serving as a Senator of the Philippines. He currently ranks #4 in BoxRec's ranking of the greatest pound for pound boxers of all time.

Manny transcended the sport of boxing in a time when boxing is on a decline. He fought with a brave heart and fierce spirit. He keeps you at the edge of your seat whenever he fights.

He carries with him the hope of his nation and the joy of his fans inside the ring. He conducts himself in a very respectable and friendly manner outside the ring. He never trash-talked any of his opponents.

He never fought dirty despite his opponents fighting dirty. His passion for boxing never diminished despite the corruption and unfair decisions of the judges and referees. He is the glimmer of light in the darkness that surrounds the world of boxing.

5 Rocky Marciano

Didn't box until he was 25 after being enlisted in the US Army. Hard as nails, powerful, and devastating, having an undefeated boxing record of 49 victories and 43 knockouts speaks for itself. An absolute warrior of a man.

In my opinion, Rocky was the greatest puncher of all time, although I'm not sure about him being the greatest boxer given that his style was so unorthodox. The Rock would fight low to the ground, trying to dismantle his opposition's body. Rocky was the best to me. He retired at 49-0. He fought the best at that time and beat the best.

He and Ali were separated by a few decades, but it would have been interesting to see skill vs. will, speed vs. power, and at the time, folks would have made it a black vs. white issue. They're both 1A and 1B. To a lesser perspective, Sugar Ray Robinson was super, so he might be 1C as well. But those three were and still are head and shoulders above everyone else.

6 Joe Louis

Joe Louis is, or was, my number one. No one did it better. He held the title for almost 12 years.

The problem was he had no one to fight. The three fighters that beat him all became heavyweight champions. He was the prettiest hard puncher ever. Ali, no doubt, was the prettiest boxer. Two out of three times, I'd take Louis.

You couldn't give rounds away to the Brown Bomber. You couldn't play around, like Norton and Frazier did. Ali didn't play with them, and he certainly couldn't have done it with Louis. The night Ali beat Cleveland Williams, he would have beaten anyone. But with records stretched out over time, there will never be a way to compare. Jack Dempsey, where are you now? The heavyweight division needs you.

7 Floyd Mayweather Jr. Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. is an American former professional boxer and current boxing promoter.

"Pretty boy" Floyd or "Money" Mayweather is widely considered to be one of the greatest if not the greatest boxer in boxing history. Floyd Mayweather has had success not only inside the ring, but outside... read more

Mayweather should be higher than number 7 and definitely higher than Manny Pacquiao. He beat many champions in their weight class. He didn't have to weight drain them in order to beat them.

Not only did he beat everyone he faced, but he also outclassed them. The fighters he went up against never recovered from the defeats he handed them. It's one thing to lose by a knockout, but it's another to have all your boxing skills showcased by a master like Mayweather.

Anyone who says Mayweather doesn't deserve a top 10 position clearly doesn't know boxing or is a one-eyed Pacquiao fan - or in most cases, both. Love him or hate him, the man is a master boxer, and his record shows that.

8 Sugar Ray Leonard Ray Charles Leonard, best known as "Sugar" Ray Leonard, is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker, and occasional actor.

He doesn't get enough respect. He beat Duran in their first fight and, had he been on his toes, it would have been like the second fight. Duran got away with so many low blows and elbows.

He was the biggest dirtbag in boxing history. Not even in his book did he give any credit to Leonard, coming up with the lame excuse that he didn't train and ate like a pig. He never gave credit to any of the fighters that beat him, not even Hearns, who knocked this dirtbag flat on his face. Benitez kicked Duran's butt too, but stupid ESPN lists Duran in the top ten. What a joke.

9 Henry Armstrong

He held the 125, 135, and 147 titles at the same time and just missed winning the 160 crown by points! Most fighters today sleep in their dressing rooms until it's time to fight. Hammering Hank would shadow box 15 three-minute rounds to warm up, then go fight 15 three-minute rounds in the match.

Other than the larger heavyweight fighters of today, the lower weights would get their rear ends handed to them by the old-timers, including Jones, Mayweather, and Pacquiao.

No one in the history of boxing has accomplished what Hammering Henry was able to. Enough said.

10 Roy Jones Jr. Roy Levesta Jones Jr. is an American former professional boxer, boxing commentator, boxing trainer, rapper, and actor who holds dual American and Russian citizenship.

Pound-for-pound, he possessed the best combination of reflexes, punching power, and hand and foot speed in boxing history. He was probably the most dynamic puncher as well, considering the speed and power he possessed in both hands. Throughout his career, he consistently embarrassed world-class opponents.

In his prime, not only did he remain unbeaten, but it was also rare for him to even lose a round. However, his legacy is hurt due to staying in the game too long and being unwilling to take risks in the ring. In my opinion, he would have outclassed Robinson!

The Contenders
11 Willie Pep

This was difficult, to pick anyone over Rocky Marciano, the greatest heavyweight of all time at 49-0. Pep was the most dominant fighter I ever saw. He was the most athletic and the best fighter ever.

With 242 fights and only 10 or 11 losses, eat that! He would have smoked all of the boxers of today in the featherweight division. Also, he, not Roy Jones Jr., was the first fighter to win a round not only by not getting hit but also by not throwing a single punch!

He made opponents look like clowns in the ring.

The best fighter ever. Anyone who knows real boxing and boxing history knows this.

12 Roberto Duran

Duran, if handled by superior American management and a media-savvy marketing team, would and should have ranked among the top 5 boxers in any weight class in history. With his killer instinct and his genius for cutting off the ring, he was unbeatable. Ray Leonard won the second match through his own genius, frustrating Duran beyond his emotional limit.

Now, the question is how Ray did that compared to how Duran forced his fight. In my opinion, Ray did it through showmanship, while Duran used physical skill and sheer determination. So you be the judge of which of those is more admirable for a boxer. As for "fighters," Duran was better than Leonard, and that's what the world really wants to see - a real fight.5

13 George Foreman George Edward Foreman is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1969 to 1977, and from 1987 to 1997. Nicknamed "Big George", he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist.

Foreman was the most feared fighter of his day and retired for ten years during his absolute prime. He returned to the ring in poor shape, motivated only by the money, during Tyson's reign. Don King knew that the matchup of styles would not be in Tyson's best interest, and so he avoided making the dream fight happen.

When an interviewer asked Foreman if he thought he could beat Tyson - whom Tyson had dismissed the prospective match as a "piece of cake" - the interviewer said, "You must admit, he's a pretty tough cookie." Foreman replied, "Yeah, but that tough cookie is afraid of this piece of cake!"

Foreman's power, longevity, jab, chin, and second-career success rank him among the top five fighters ever. The other four, in no particular order, are Jack Johnson, Roberto Duran, Teofilo Stevenson, and Sugar Ray Robinson.

14 Marvin Hagler Marvelous Marvin Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns, was a world middleweight championship boxing match between undisputed champion Marvin Hagler and challenger Thomas Hearns, the then reigning world's junior middleweight champion, who had gone up in weight for the bout.

With a cat-like spring, he could close the gap on an opponent in an instant, delivering a stunning blow with either hand. Yet he never lost his balance while switching stances or even when airborne. Truly the greatest middleweight ever.

One of the only truly complete fighters. Guys like Ali, Frazier, and Tyson are good, but not complete. Guys like Hagler and McCallum are complete boxers.

Hard as nails, with a big punch and great defense, he was fearless and was the best of the bunch among Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran.

15 Jack Johnson

He was the first African American Heavyweight Champion of the World at a time when the race line was in full force. To achieve what he did during an era of tremendous racism, he attained and retained the crown for eight years. He never had the chance to become a "2-Time Heavyweight Champion" either.

He's totally underrated and deserves to be ranked higher. Long before Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, or Ali, there was Jack, and he is my number 1 boxer of all time. With 32 years and a record of 77-13, yeah, that says it all.

He should be ranked much higher, probably in the top 5 of all time. If you watched the many bouts he fought way back in the day, most heavyweights today would have struggled to beat him. They were out there fighting 20 rounds in hot elements, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees in many of his fights.

That's unreal when you think about it. He was a true beast of a fighter who was shockingly good on defense and smart.

16 Joe Frazier Joseph William Frazier, nicknamed "Smokin' Joe", was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, and as an amateur won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics.

I think Joe at his best would be a good bet to beat Ali. He was too ferocious for Ali in that first fight. Ali waited three years to fight Joe again, and then another year and three-quarters to fight again. Joe retired shortly after that.

Joe crushed Ellis twice, Quarry twice, and Chuvalo, who was never knocked down in his 93-fight career. George Chuvalo fought Patterson, Quarry, Ali twice, and Foreman. Joe also beat Oscar Bonavena twice, along with his victory over Ali.

In my opinion, the best heavyweight is between Marciano, who was 49-0, and Louis, who was 66-3. Louis lost to Schmeling and avenged it with a first-round knockout. His other two losses came when he was old and about to retire. The best fighter ever is Sugar Ray Robinson. At one point in his career, Ray was 129-1, with his only loss to LaMotta, whom he beat five times. I also think Roberto Duran, who won 103 fights, deserves a place. He was 72-1 at one point.

17 Julio César Chávez

He got the record and longevity as champion that nobody in history is going to match ever, especially nowadays where champions last only a couple of years and choose and pick who they want to fight so they can be sure they're going to win. Just look at Mayweather. He refuses to fight Manny so he won't tarnish his record. But what is an undefeated record when you've fought no top contenders?

That's why Julio Cesar Chavez is the best. Because he fought the best there was.

Chavez has the longest undefeated streak in boxing history, the most title defenses in boxing history, and the most ticket sales in boxing history. With the highest knockout percentage in boxing history, Chavez ducked no one in his career. Truly, Chavez is the best boxer in history. No one will ever do what he has done.

18 James J. Jeffries
19 Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey was a hard-hitting, fleet-footed, constantly moving pressure fighter. He is often unfairly considered an unsophisticated brawler, even though he innovated many techniques. These include punch throwing, head movement, footwork, and weight transfer. In fact, Bruce Lee got his punch technique from Dempsey. He also popularized the effective bob and weave style, all of which greatly affected the development of boxing technique. His left hook is arguably the greatest in boxing history.

Known as a giant slayer, Dempsey defeated such large, strong men as KO artist Fred Fulton, the powerful Carl Morris, Wild Bill Luis Firpo, and of course, big Jess Willard, among others. He outboxed top contender Gunboat Smith twice and the slick Tommy Gibbons. He KO'd future champ Jack Sharkey, knocked out Bill Brennan twice, and avenged a loss against Fireman Flynn with a first-round KO.

In fact, of Dempsey's many knockouts, over half were in the first round, making approximately 47% of his victories first-round KOs. Fighters like Patterson, Frazier, and Tyson modeled their styles after Dempsey. The Manassa Mauler was both a vicious killing machine and a true innovator of the sweet science.

20 Harry Greb

If his current spot makes it seem like he was just an above-average boxer with a small fan following, think again. Harry Greb is considered possibly the greatest middleweight of all time, perhaps even surpassing Sugar Ray Robinson. He once won 45 fights in a row, an achievement significant enough for an entire career, all within just one year. That's almost one fight per week.

In addition to his middleweight accomplishments, he was also the light heavyweight champion. He defeated enough top contenders to be considered one of the best heavyweights in the world. Moreover, he was the only fighter to beat Gene Tunney, who would go on to defeat the legendary Jack Dempsey twice.

Greb's placement on this list is entirely a matter of popularity, a situation not helped by the fact that no footage of his fights is known to exist. The fact that he beat, and sometimes crushed, fighters who demonstrated legendary skill on tape leaves boxing fans eager to see even a single recording. To hardcore boxing aficionados, he is one of four boxers who stand in a league apart from everyone else, pound for pound. The other three are Sugar Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong, and Sam Langford. Muhammad Ali, although close, does not quite make this exclusive group of legends. This is largely due to his three-year ban and the fact that he could only compete in the heavyweight division.

21 Evander Holyfield

He's top for sure, if he's not number 1. The only 4-time heavyweight champ. He should have won the gold in the Olympics but was disqualified for knocking the guy out, at which point the guy who "won" the gold raised Holyfield's hand. He destroyed Tyson the first time, and to this day, Tyson admits Holyfield was the better boxer in both fights.

He's simply not as famous as Ali or Tyson because he wasn't a big or fast-talking hype fighter. He was simple, and yet a great fighter. Watch the tapes.

Holyfield is the best ever. He won the title in cruiserweight and then heavyweight. He fought everybody in his prime and had health problems when he did it.

Where was Lewis in '94 when Holyfield was regaining the title? Getting TKOed by Razor Ruddock, Tyson's old sparring partner. Lewis and Tyson didn't even fight a 40-year-old Foreman or Riddick Bowe, but Holyfield did.

Holyfield should have retired after beating Tyson, who was still 3 or 4 years younger than him even after prison. Holyfield took everything from big guys like Foreman, Bowe, Douglas, Mercer, and anyone in front of him. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches and weighing around 210 lbs, he's the best pure pound-for-pound heavyweight.

22 Benny Leonard
23 Lennox Lewis

I didn't vote for this one, but he should definitely be in the top 5. My trainer is always showing me fighting clips of this British icon because, unlike Ali, whose only defense was speed, or Marciano, who lacked footwork, this legend had a great balance of all the crucial points of boxing. He was smart too. He quit on top and stopped boxing at the right time, rather than prolonging his career excessively, unlike two fighters I will not mention. He is criminally underrated!

He had the body, technique, art, and discipline. He's undeniably the greatest in his own era, tested against all fighters that count. He is one of the very few boxers who has defeated everyone he has faced.

He was a world champion three times. Well, what else can you say? He should be in every top 5 list.

24 Sonny Liston

Sonny Charles Liston's reputation was tarnished by the sports journalists of the day. Everyone talks about Muhammad Ali beating him, but Liston was an old man when he lost. Let's be fair. Every great fighter loses in the end, Muhammad Ali included.

The quality of the opponents that Liston defeated was far higher than other heavyweight fighters in the top 10.

Most feared heavyweight since Jack Dempsey, Sonny Liston ruthlessly dominated his era despite his age. He was a master of the jab and uppercut. Liston completely obliterated the division and was avoided by the reigning champ, Patterson, for several years.

When he finally fought him, it was lights out in round 1.

25 Sam Langford

Perhaps the best boxer to never receive a title shot, Sam Langford was the best of his era. The great Jack Johnson, whom Langford had fought, beaten, and lost to multiple times, avoided him after winning his title against Tommy Burns. Despite being a natural super middleweight, Langford was regularly knocking out heavyweights.

Even as an aging fighter, he managed to defeat Harry Wills, who would later beat him. The legendary Jack Dempsey exclaimed that Langford was the only boxer he would have feared.

The greatest uncrowned boxer of all time. In 1915, Sam Langford went against the greatest boxer at that time, Jack Johnson. Johnson won, but Langford put a cut the size of a hotdog on Johnson's left cheek.

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