Rating The Heavies

By David Martinez, Boxing Historian

Selecting the best heavyweight champions of all time is a task I have been asked to do many times in my many years as a boxing historian. There seems to be no set formula for rating them, but I have researched this topic from top to bottom and have come up with my own top 10 list of the best heavyweight champions “pound for pound” going back as far as February 8, 1882, when John L. Sullivan knocked out Irish Paddy Ryan in nine rounds in Mississippi, and forward to our current array of WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF champions.

In rating the best heavyweights, I took a lot of things into consideration 다운로드. Comparing them from their different eras has to be the most difficult evaluation. Figuring how the fighters of the past would do today is the logical basis to compare these champions, but I’m putting that same question in reverse. How would the champions of the present have done in a past era, let’s say back to the turn of the century, with all training factors and tangibles equal?

Here is my rating of the greatest “pound for pound” heavyweight champions of all time, if they were all in the peak of their careers, all at the same time (years held heavyweight title in parentheses):

(1908-1915) Nickname: The Galveston Giant
Master defensive fighter and well ahead of his time 윈도우 10 지뢰찾기 다운로드. Because Johnson was the “first” black champion, it was unfortunate that he did not fight everyone in his prime. Won the title when he was 32 years old; Ali was 22 and Louis was 23.

He was the central figure in the most dramatic event in boxing history; his 1910 bout with Jim Jeffries caused more national repercussions than any other in the history of the sport. Because of his problems with the law, he had to fight out of the country often. Lost his championship to Jess Willard on a controversial knockout. According to the late Nat Fleischer, Ring Magazine founder and foremost boxing historian ever, simply the best heavyweight he had ever seen 윈도우 10 설치파일 다운로드.

Jack Johnson

(1964-1970, 1974-1978, 1978-1979) Nickname: The Greatest / aka Cassius Clay

Muhammad Ali

Certainly the most gifted champion with quickness, the best left jab ever and footwork beyond any heavyweight of our time. A fighter with ring movements as sooth as any. His three-and-a-half-year layoff for refusal of military service was taken in the pinnacle of his career. Certainly the most recognized sports figure over a three decade period of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and maybe ever. Fought Joe Frazier in three epic’ bouts, with the March 8, 1971 fight between two undefeated champions – the “fight of the century” lightworks. He also had a most historical bout with, then, undefeated George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire, Africa, handing Foreman his “only” knockout loss in, his 81 total bout career.


(1937-1949) Nickname: Brown Bomber

Joe Louis

A people’s champion, he dominated the heavyweight division for 12 years, losing only once to Max Schmeling in his prime, then during his comeback career lost to Charles and Marciano. The longest reigning champion (25 successful title defenses, 21 by knockout), he possessed the best two-handed attack, a crushing left hook and a deadly right hand punch 시스코 패킷트레이서 다운로드. His second fight with Schmeling gained worldwide recognition and set back the cause of a German master race with his rematch win by a convincing first round knockout!

(1919-1926) Nickname: Manassa Mauler

Jack Dempsey

The most savage champion and certainly the most aggressive, he fought like a tiger going in for the kill. He was the perfect picture of a ring warrior. From 1923 to 1926 inactivity and just fighting exhibitions for three years proved to be his downfall before the Tunney fights 오토캐드 2012 64비트 다운로드. He was involved in the all-time two best first rounds in heavyweight title history: Willard (1919) and Firpo (1923). In 1921 Dempsey fought in boxing’s first million dollar gate versus Georges Carpentier.

(1952-1956) Nickname: Brockton Blockbuster / The Rock

Rocky Marciano

Indestructibility, durability, pure perseverance, determination and the strongest will to win of any champion. A fighter who would “pivot” towards any direction his opponent would turn and apply pressure by throwing punches on every part of the body (i.e.) arms, chest,haed 다운로드. The only heavyweight champion in the history of boxing to retire undefeated (49-0). Behind on all scorecards in the 13th round, he knocked out Jersey Joe Wallcott with the single best right hand punch in heavyweight history.

(1926-1928) Nickname: The Fighting Marine

Gene Tunney

A pure artist of the game and a boxer who studied every opponent he would fight. He would analyze his foe’s strengths and weaknesses, plan his best attack and how to defend. He idolized former champion Corbett. Won the title from Dempsey, also won in rematch, precipitating the famous “Long Count” controversy 다운로드. Fought one of the greatest Middleweight and Light-Heavyweights ever, Harry Greb, five times, winning four bouts. A decision loss to Greb was the “only” defeat in his career in 76 bouts. Retired while still undefeated champion; the fact that he quit while still on top helped him preserve his stature among one of the best of all time.

(1892-1897) Nickname: Gentleman Jim

James Corbett

Was the first man to win the heavyweight title under the Marquess Of Queensberry Rules. His technical virtuosity and footwork at the turn of the century will always be remembered as the beginning of the “scientific school” of boxing 킹덤스토리 다운로드. He simply was among one of the greatest boxers of all time and a complete ring general in his fights. His bout with Joe Choynski is compared to Ali-Frazier III as one of the hardest-fought bouts in heavyweight history.

(1978-1985) Nickname: Easton Assassin

Larry Holmes

Had the misfortune of following one of the greatest fighters of all time, Muhammad Ali, who he beat mercifully at the end of Ali’s colorful career. Ironically possessed the best left jab ever, next to Ali. Won the “first” official version of the WBC title in a nothing less than spectacular bout with Ken Norton 다운로드. He won his first eight title defenses all by knockout, a record for most consecutive heavyweight title defenses by knockout. He won 48 consecutive bouts, one shy of Marciano’s record, when he lost for the first time, and lost his title via a controversial decision to light-heavyweight champion Michael Spinks. Holmes made 20 successful title defenses.


(1899-1905) Nickname: Boilermaker / Great White Hope

Jim Jeffries

He retired as undefeated champion after 20 bouts, with wins over greats as Fitzsimmons, Corbett, and Peter Jackson. His “only” loss was six years after his initial retirement in a bout that was billed as the “first” fight of the century against the “first” black champion Jack Johnson. Jeffries was a magnificent athlete, fast and very agile for his 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. He could run 100 yards in 11 seconds and high jump almost 6 feet, which were definitely feats in themselves in the days of the turn of the century.


( 1949-1951) Nickname: Cincinnati Cobra

Ezzard Charles

Certainly one of the most underrated boxers of all time, heavyweight or otherwise. A boxing great who certainly deserves more recognition than he receives. Unfortunately he followed in the footsteps of Joe Louis in the heavyweight division. Won Louis’s vacated title with a decision over Jersey Joe Wallcott. He was involved in more heavyweight title fights (13) than any champion other than Louis, Ali, Holmes, Tyson, and Lennox Lewis. Charles had an amazing 122 total bouts in his career, which spanned from 1940 to 1959.

If I had to list a group of heavyweight champions that I consider to be next in line to my top ten, not in any particular order, they would have to be: Bob Fitzsimmons (1897-1899), Sonny Liston (1962-1964), Joe Frazier (1970-1973), Lennox Lewis (1992-1994, 1997-2001, 2001-2003).

Liston was certainly a heavyweight champion that “nobody” knew how great he really was, or could of been. I would rate him as good as any heavyweight champion that I listed in my top 10 “pound for pound” with the exception of my top four (Johnson, Ali, Louis, Dempsey), who in their prime were certainly in an elite class by themselves.

7 thoughts on “Rating The Heavies

  1. Ali was one of the greatest boxing stars of all time. He dominated his opponents in impressive fashion. He has transcended the sport of boxing.

  2. at 6foot 7 and 18 stone arguably the best jab ever and the longest reach, lennox lewis must be considered one of the best ever he’d have annialited most of these!!

  3. Jack Johnson was actually 30 years old when he won the title and 37 when he lost it. He lost to Marvin Hart while he was in his absolute prime (just before his 27 birthday). Hart wasn’t even the champ at the time and was one of the weakest heavyweight champs in history. Can you imagine Ali of 1967 having any trouble with Hart? Putting Johnson ahead of Ali is highly questionable. Not putting George Forman in your top 14 is just plain silly. Putting James Corbett and Ezzard Charles and in the top 10 also very questionable. Jack Dempsey is the most overrated boxer in history (like Marciano — who did he beat?). He would not even defend his title against the best heavyweights of his time, successful avoiding Harry Wills (the # 1 contender) and the great Sam Langford. By the way, there are lots of boxing ranking questions at my site, UltimateSportsRankings.com

  4. Lennox Lewis is the best heavyweight fighter ever

    A legit 6’5″
    250 lbs.
    84 inch reach
    The most recent Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion
    Lewis suffered only two losses, both of which he avenged in rematches, both by knockout

    He would knock anyone of these pranksters out.

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