The 25 Greatest Boxers of All Time

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By David Martinez / Boxing Historian / dmboxing.com

I have been asked by many who I consider the greatest boxers of all time. I have my top, dynamite-dozen (12), greatest “pound for pound” listed alphabetically in my bio in the menu section of this website since its inception in July 2007, but not in order by ranking.

In this article, I rank these great fighters at the absolute prime/height/peak/pinnacle of their careers. I am not concerned with who-beat-who, and there is no bias shown for favorite fighters. ¬†For example, my two personal favorites are Marvin Hagler and Alexis Arguello; they were great but didn’t make the list.

The fighters that I have listed can be switched around to suit your ranking, but I truly believe that these twenty-five are in that first tier. The second tier of twenty-five includes, just to name a few, Hagler, Arguello, Sugar Ray Leonard, Aaron Pryor, Julio Cesar Chavez, Ruben Olivares, Carlos Zarate, George Dixon, Abe Attell, Jose Napoles, Terry McGovern, Bob Foster, Sandy Saddler, Fighting Harada, Flash Elorde and Tommy Ryan.

I have been involved in boxing for 55 years, since 1961, and I have been blessed with the opportunity within my work to research and interview many that actually lived in the eras before my time. I have interviewed three boxing historians – Al Nelson, Bert Sugar and Hank Kaplan – and I consider their opinions to be of the highest level of expertise. They each have helped me draw my conclusions, and this following much in depth study of my own.

Please know that I respect everyone’s opinion, and I have seen many on this very subject. Also, please note that this list does not include any currently active fighters. So, here are my twenty-five greatest boxers of all time:

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1) Sugar Ray Robinson

2) Benny Leonard

3) Henry Armstrong

4) Willie Pep

5) Jack Johnson

6) Muhammad Ali

7) Joe Louis

8) Roberto Duran

9) Joe Gans

10) Harry Greb

11) Eder Jofre

12) Carlos Monzon

13) Jack Dempsey

14) Jimmy Wilde

15) Harry Wills

16) Barney Ross

17) Sam Langford

18) Tony Canzoneri

19) Jimmy McLarnin

20) Kid Chocolate

21) Rocky Marciano

22) Mickey Walker

23) Gene Tunney

24) Stanley Ketchel

25) Archie Moore

6 thoughts on “The 25 Greatest Boxers of All Time

  1. I can’t argue with anyone on the list. I have been waiting to read this. I am surprised you ranked Jack Johmson above Ali. Not that I disagree, but it’s rare that anyone rates Ali below any other heavy champ. Great article !!

  2. ranking Johnson over Ali should NOT be any surprise if you ever read my article originally posted on this website on August 5, 2007 Rating The Heavies … I had Johnson #1 then, as I do now of the heavyweights … Ali was #2 … Louis was #3 – nothing (ZERO) has changed … rare that anybody rates Ali below any heavyweight – I am NOT just anyone!

  3. Hard to disagree with any of your picks. Would like to see a few more names on your second tier make it to the top 25, but don’t know who I’d take off to make room for them. Very good job, on a difficult task.

  4. Not a terrible list . Not a great list either in my opinion .
    My Top 25 boxers of all-time

    1. Ray Robinson
    2. Henry Armstrong
    3. Muhammad Ali
    4. Joe Louis
    5. Harry Greb
    6. Ezzard Charles
    7. Sam Langford
    8. Willie Pep
    9. Roberto Duran
    10. Benny Leonard
    11. Ray Leonard
    12. Archie Moore
    13. Jimmy Wilde
    14. Jack Johnson
    15. Gene Tunney
    16. Floyd Mayweather
    17. Marvin Hagler
    18. Pernell Whitaker
    19. Barney Ross
    20. Tony Canzoneri
    21. Manny Pacquiao
    22. Charley Burley
    23. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr.
    24. Carlos Monzon
    25. Bernard Hopkins

    Honorable mentions:
    Joe Gans, Jimmy McLarnin, Aaron Pryor, Tommy Hearns, Roy Jones Jr., Salvador Sanchez .

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