From fighting racism and knocking their opponents out cold to inspiring the world and running mega-successful businesses, the world’s greatest boxers have done it all. They charm us with their raw strength, larger-than-life personalities and jaw-dropping records.
Boxers are adored by millions all over the world and today, the COUNT DOWN crew brings to you the Top 10 Greatest Boxers of all time. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s show time!
John Arthur “Jack” Johnson (1878–1946)
John Johnson, nicknamed ‘the Galveston Giant’ was an American boxer , who—at the height of the Jim Crow era —became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion (1908–1915). Johnson made his debut as a professional boxer on November 1, 1898 in Galveston, Texas when he knocked out Charley Brooks in the second round of a 15-round bout for what was billed as “The Texas State Middleweight Title”. Johnson won the world heavyweight title on December 26 1908 making him the first African-American to win the title all over the world.
Boxing Record: Wins- 73, Wins by KO- 40, Losses- 13, Draws- 10, No contests- 5
Ray Charles “Sugar” Leonard (1956 – present)
Ray is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker and occasional actor. Often regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Leonard was also the first boxer to earn more than $100 million in purses, won world titles in five weight divisions , including a run as the undisputed welterweight champion, and defeated future fellow International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees Hearns, Duran, Hagler, and Wilfred Benitez. Leonard was named “Boxer of the Decade” in the 1980s.
Boxing record: Total fights- 40, Wins-36, wins by KO- 25 knockouts, Losses- 3, Draw- 1.
Henry Armstrong Jr (1912 – 1988)
Born Henry Jackson Jr, He was born on December 12 1912 in Columbus Mississippi. Henry had the distinction of holding three world championships at the same time, consisting of the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight world titles for a brief period in 1938. Armstrong registered an official record of 150 wins, 21 losses and 10 draws, with 101 knockout wins. Before dying at the age of 75, Armstrong was a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and a youth advocate like the PROJECT X team.
Boxing record: Total fights- 191, wins- 151, losses- 21, draws- 9.
Manny Pacquiao (1978 – present)
Manny Pacquiao was born on December 17, 1978, in Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippines. He started his professional boxing career when he was just 16 years old. Pacquiao is generally considered to be one of the greatest boxers of all time as he is the first and only eight-division world champion, in which he has won ten world titles, as well as the first to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes. He is also the third fighter in boxing history to win three “Glamour Division” titles (flyweight featherweight, and welterweight). According to Forbes, he was the second highest paid athlete in the world as of 2015. He has won several titles. Outside boxing.
Pacquiao is an actor, singer and a politician (Senator in the Philippines). At the age of 37, Pacquiao has achieved these incredible feats, what an inspiring figure!
Boxing record: Total fights- 66, Wins- 58, Wins by KO- 38, Losses- 6, Draws- 2.
George Edward Foreman (1949 – present)
In his boxing career, he was a two-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist. Foreman took up boxing and was a gold medalist at the 1968 Olympics. He won the World Heavyweight title with a second-round knockout of then-undefeated Joe Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1973. He made two successful title defenses before losing to Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle” in October 1974. Foreman is the oldest Heavyweight Champion in history, and second oldest in any weight class after Bernard Hopkins . He retired in 1997 at the age of 48, with a final record of 76-5, including 68 knockouts.
Foreman has been inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. The International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) rates Foreman as the eighth greatest heavyweight of all-time. In 2002, he was named one of the 25 greatest fighters of the past 80 years by The Ring magazine. The Ring ranked him as the 9th greatest puncher of all-time. Outside of boxing, he is a successful entrepreneur and is known for his promotion of the George Foreman Grill which has sold over 100 million units worldwide before selling it in 1999.
Boxing record: Total fights- 81, Wins- 76, Wins by KO- 68, Losses- 5, Draws- 0
Rocky Marciano (1923 – 1969)
Rocky Marciano held the heavyweight boxing title for four years in the 1950s. Marciano faced his most formidable opponent in former heavyweight champion Joe Louis and knocked him out. This fight established him as one of the marquee fighters in the heavyweight division. He was known for his relentless fighting style, stamina and an iron chin. He was the only one that retired without being defeated. He spent his retirement days making money from personal appearances. What a smart boxer!
Boxing record: Total fights – 49, Wins – 49, Wins by KO – 43, Losses – 0.
Michael Gerard ‘Mike’ Tyson (1966 – Present)
When Tyson first stepped into the ring for a professional boxing match, on March 4, 1985, there was no fanfare or boasts before the cameras. Tyson didn’t even have a robe to cast off dramatically before the match. But he did have something. He had a menacing glare that would intimidate many fighters in the years ahead, sometimes defeating them before they even stepped in the ring. If that did not work, a single, stunning blow usually did the trick.
Mike Tyson holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at the age of 20. Tyson was well known for his ferocious and intimidating boxing style as well as his controversial lifestyle inside and outside the ring. Due to his strength, accuracy, coordination, power, timing and his outstanding hand speed, many fighters feared him. He was also noted for his defensive ability. One of his trademark combinations was a right hook to his opponent’s body followed by a right uppercut to his opponent’s chin. Very few boxers would remain standing if caught by this combination. One punch of ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson is rumored to have an impact on par with having a 50kg bag thrown at you.
Boxing record: Total fights – 58, Wins – 50, Wins by KO – 44, Losses – 6, No contest – 2
Joe Louis (1914 – 1981)
The son of Alabama sharecropper, Joe rose through the ranks of professional boxing to become the world heavyweight champion. He held the title from 1937 – 1949. Louis lifted the spirits of the black masses in an era where blacks were shut out of most opportunities for social equality. He became the first black to hold the heavyweight championship in twenty two years with his victory over his opponent James Braddock in 1937 during the great depression.
Boxing record: Total fights – 70, Wins – 66, Wins by KO -52, Losses – 3, No contest – 1
Sugar Ray Robinson (1921 – 1983)
An American professional boxer who lit up headlines all around the world and made sport writers to create pound to pound rankings where they compared fighters due to his exceptional performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions. He turned professional at the young age of 19 in 1940. Between 1943 – 1951, he went on a 91 fight unbeaten streak, the third longest in professional boxing history! At his peak, Ray’s record was 128-1-2 with 84 knockouts. He never took a 10-count in his 200 fights! It was said that Robinson could deliver a knockout blow going backwards. In his later years, Robinson left boxing and went into show business.
Boxing record: Total fights- 200, Wins- 173, Wins by KO- 108, Losses- 19, Draws- 6, No contest- 2.
Muhammad Ali (1942 – 2016)
He was an American professional boxer whose inspiring, outspoken and controversial personality was just as popular as his boxing prowess. Originally named Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, He later changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Ali began training when he was only 12 years old and was fiercely competitive all through his career. He loved the game and is considered by many to be the best of his time. Ali used words to terrorise his opponents with devastating effect and He almost always kept his word. Ali ‘floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee’ and lived up to his own hype as ‘the greatest’. Ali was more than a boxer: he was an icon and an A- list celebrity. The world just lost a true hero. May his soul rest in peace
Boxing record: Total fights- 61, Wins- 56, Wins by KO- 37, losses- 5.
Is a remarkable boxer missing on this list? Pls feel free to agree or disagree with us in the comments section.