The Top 10 Greatest Male Boxers of All Time

The Top 10 Greatest Male Boxers of All Time

The debate of “Who is the Greatest” is never going to come to an end. Although, some of the names are very prominent and the history of boxing enlightens them by keeping them at the top of the list.

However, to find the answer to that particular question “How to decide the Greatest of All Boxers” is actually the world’s most difficult task and you’ll remain empty-handed.

Although, boxing has a rich history, so instead of arguing about the greatest, the best way is to list out all who have done a lot for boxing and lived a legendary life.

Arguably, this list has been written under the possession of some interesting factors. There are multiple things that count as essential to add each name to the list.

This analysis of the top 10 greatest male boxers of all time is made upon considering the fundamentals like the weight category, premier division, skill level, bouts and knockouts ratio, and their attractiveness of fighting. These were the criteria behind listing down the names of these legends.

Within this eminent analysis, you will find boxers that excelled in various weights. Therefore, they are ranked on the basis of how they did in their premier division and also did their comparison with the other fighters who fought in the same division. Dive in and enjoy reading this article.

1. “Sugar” Shane Mosley

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses Draws No Contests
61 49 41 10 1 1

Shane Andre Mosley with a fan given name “Sugar” Shane Mosley competed from 1993 to 2016. He is an American former professional boxer with a huge fan base. Shane held World Records in three weight classes, including the IBF lightweight title, the WBA welterweight title, and the WBC welterweight title. Moreover, he has set the stage as the lineal champion at welterweight (twice) and light middleweight.

In 1998, “Sugar” Shane Mosley was rewarded by the Boxing Writers Association of America with the title of the “Fighter of the Year.” Later on, he was awarded the same tribute by the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2000. He carried the title as the world’s best active boxer, pound for pound, for two years (2000 and 2001).

Shane possessed tremendous power during his career in all weight classes. His power in the division of 135 pounds may be unmatched in the history of boxing.

Larry Merchant admiring Shane’s capabilities states: Shane is the most physically dominant lightweight he has ever covered. Shane has all the capabilities to be counted as one of the greatest boxers of all time due to his high-profile patronage that has visited the division throughout the years.

2. Larry Holmes

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses
75 69 44 6

Larry Holmes stood his chance as a boxer from 1973 to 2002. Larry’s jab is rated as the best in the history of boxing. From 1973 to 2002, he held the WBC heavyweight title, the Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles from 1980 to 1985, and the invitational IBF heavyweight title from 1983 to 1985.

Larry stood against 19 opponents to defend his title during his only title reign. Another interesting fact about Holmes is that he was the only boxer who has knocked out Muhammad Ali. Still and all, he is the only man alive who has beaten Muhammad Ali.

In his overall professional boxing career, Holmes won 48 bouts, including his victories over Ken Norton (he defeated in 1978 for WBC Championship). Muhammad Ali, Mike Weaver, Gerry Cooney, Earnie Shavers, Tim Witherspoon, Carl Williams, and Marvis Frazier, are some big-name who have been beaten by Larry.

Although, there are only a few numbers of losses he faced in the effort of regaining the heavyweight title, from Michael Spinks (1985), Mike Tyson (1988), Evander Holyfield (1992), Oliver McCall (1995), and Brian Nielsen (1997).

 Larry fought for the last time in 2002, at the age of 52, against the 334lb Eric Esch, and ended his career as the greatest fighter with a record of 69 wins and 6 losses. Larry Holmes is frequently ranked as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and has been inducted in the both World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Hall of Fame. 

3. Joe Louis

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses
69 66 52 3

Joseph Louis Barrow was an American professional boxer who reigned the ring from 1934 to 1951. He had the nickname “Brown Bomber” which quite suits his personality and his record. Joe is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential boxers of all time, the reason behind which you’ll find by further reading the text.

However, he is one of the top three greatest power punchers who have ever lived. Joe Louis reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1037 to 1949 (took his temporary retirement). He held the record of 25 consecutive title defences, a record for all weight classes. He has the longest single reign as champion of any boxer in history.

Joseph was an African-American and his cultural impact was felt well outside the ring. Although, he made big achievements and was entitled as the first African-American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero within the United States.

4. Roberto Duran

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses
119 103 70 16

Roberto Duran Samaniego is a Panamanian former professional boxer who continued his career from 1968 to 2001. He reigned as the undisputed and lineal lightweight champion and the lineal welterweight champion. Also, he held world championships in four different weight classes: lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight, and middleweight.

Moreover, after Jack Johnson, he is the second boxer who has competed over the span of five decades. Duran was recognized for his versatility, earning the nickname "Manos de Piedra" (Hands of Stone) for his powerful punching power and excellent defense.

In 2002, he was voted by a magazine entitled The Ring as the fifth greatest fighter of the past 80 years. Whereas, Bert Sugar (a boxing historian) rated him as the eighth greatest fighter of all time and the Associated Press voted him as the best lightweight of the 20th century. However Lightning-quick, his allies consider him the greatest lightweight of all time.

5. Jack Dempsey

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses Draws
85 68 53 6 9

William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey, was an American professional boxer and he continued his boxing career from 1914 to 1927. Kid Blackie and The Manassa Mauler were the nicknames given to him because of his tremendous performance in the ring. Jack reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926 and became a cultural icon of the 1920s.

Certainly, Dempsey had an aggressive fighting style and exceptional punching power which leads him here in the list of the greatest male boxers of all time. Most of his fights set a financial and attendance record that permanently shows his popularity. The first million-dollar gate has popularity driven by him. He also pioneered the live broadcast of sporting events in general, and boxing matches in particular.  

In the Rings magazine’s list, Dempsey ranked tenth of all-time heavyweight and seventh among its top 100 greatest punchers. Meanwhile, in 1950 the Associated Press voted him as the greatest fighter of the last 50 years. He is currently a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and was in the previous Boxing Hall of Fame.

6. Guglielmo Papaleo

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses Draws No Contests
241 229 65 11 1 0

Guglielmo Papaleo aka Willie Pip held the world Featherweight championship twice during the time span of 1942 to 1950. Willie fought a total of 241 matches and 1,956 rounds in his 26-year career, which is a lot of bouts and rounds for a fighter of his period.

He was known for his speed, elusiveness, and finesse, which made him one of the best fighters of the 20th century.

Kid Campeche shared his experience by saying, “Fighting Willie Pep is like trying to stomp out a grass fire.” Willie was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (1990) and was voted as the No. 1 featherweight of the 20th century by the associated press. In 2005, he ranked No. 1 as the greatest featherweight of all time by the International Boxing Research Organization. He is frequently ranked by Boxer as the 31st greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time.

7. Sugar Ray Leonard

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses Draws
40 36 25 3 1

Leonard was a mini-Ali. At that time boxing needed to be revolutionized, Sugar fired it up with his spark. Sugar Ray Leonard is a former American boxer and frequently serves as a motivational speaker and occasional actor as well. He is often renowned as one of the greatest boxers of all time. His competent reigns were from 1977 to 1997. He indulged himself in boxing and became famous by winning world titles in five weight divisions: the lineal championship in three different weight divisions, moreover, the undisputed welterweight title.

He has been playing roles since his boxing days and he was a part of “The Fabulous Four”, based on a group of four who all fought each other throughout the 1980s, including Leonard, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, and Marvin Hagler.

Sugar Ray Leonard was great during the time of great fighters and he did well in a glamour division. He saved boxing at the time of need with his talent and smile and showed up as a rising star with new energy and potential. His legacy is sealed.

8. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses
50 50 27 0

Here comes the undefeated champion FMJ (Floyd Mayweather Jr.). It is really hard to find the same skill set as Mayweather Jr. His radar-like senses are so sharp, lightning-quick reflexes and boxing intuitions are fast enough to track with a simple eye.

However, Floyd is a real talent that is unsearchable even in the torchlight. Anyhow, he holds the record of winning fifteen major world championships from Super featherweight to light middleweight, including the Ring magazine’s title in five weight classes, the lineal championship in four weight classes and he has made uncountable achievements during his reign.

He was named “Fighter of the Decade” by the Boxing Writers Association of America in the 2010s. Moreover, he is a two-time winner of The Ring magazine’s Fighter of the Year award (1998 and 2007), a three-time winner of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year Award (2007, 2013, and 2015), and a six-time winner of the Best Fighter ESPY Award (2007 - 2010, 2012 - 2014).

Furthermore, he is often referred to as the best defensive boxer in history, also being the most accurate puncher holding the record of 26 consecutive wins in world title fights. 

9. Muhammad Ali

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses
61 56 37 5

Muhammad Ali is the undisputed people’s champion and was a true work of art. At six foot 3, he had the movement of a dancer, the power of a heavyweight, and the skill tact, and the speed of a light-middleweight.

As far as his boxing skills or personality are concerned, his level is hard to compare. Although, he was an inner fighter and had no fear, as well as his technique was fair and he always knew where to hit and how to knock out his opponent.

He won the title three different times and took on anyone that ever tried to step in. However, there were no fighters who fought a wider range of heavyweights but Muhammad Ali. He fought a wide range of heavyweight fights during the course of his career while traveling throughout the world.

The essence of his fighting style is still alive along with his greatest name, therefore, he was a part of several historical boxing matches and feuds, most notably his fights with Joe Frazier, the Thrilla in Manila (Fight of the Century), and his famous fight with George Foreman known as “The Rumble in the Jungle” which was watched by a record estimated television audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide, remembered as the world’s most-watched live television broadcast as the time.

Except for these tremendous boxing skills, Ali was famous for a lot many things like trash-talking, but with style. He used to trash talk or free-styled rhyme schemes and spoken word poetry, anticipating elements of hip hop. This is true, a unique mixture that never gets old like his remembrance. 

10. Sugar Ray Robinson

Total Bouts Wins KO Wins Losses Draws No Contests
201 174 109 19 6 2

Ladies and gents! I present to you the greatest pound-to-pound boxer that ever lived. He fought in more than one category and won titles at lightweight and light heavyweight. Moreover, he significantly provided his benevolent service in the welterweight division as well.

Walker Smith Jr better known as Sugar Ray Robinson competed from 1940 to 1965. In 1990, he was inducted by the International Boxing Hall of Fame and often regarded as the greatest boxer of all time.

Robinson has also an amateur division history but his exact record is not known, that would be exceptionally unbelievable if recorded. Though, the estimated record is usually listed as 85-0 bouts with 69 knockouts, 40 in the first round.

In 1940, Robinson turned professional at the age of 19 and by 1951, he had a professional record of 128-1-2 with 84 knockouts. His record carries a tremendous record list, one is from 1943 to 1951 he went on a 91-fight unbeaten streak, the third-longest in professional boxing history. He held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951 and won the world middleweight title in the latter year. He retired in 1952 and after giving rest to his ribs, he came back two and a half years later just to regain the middleweight title in 1955.

After that win, he became the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times. Sugar Ray Robinson was named “fighter of the Year” twice: first for his legit performance in 1942 and for his efforts (over 90 fights later) in 1951. Later on, Robinson was entitled as the greatest fighter of all time and in 2002, he was ranked number one on The Ring magazine’s list of “80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years.”

Outside the ring, apart from his professional life, Robinson was known for his classy and flamboyant lifestyle. After his retirement as the greatest boxer of all time he ended his career and attempted a career as an entertainer, but he could not find success.

Photo credit: newshive , talksport , networthspot , sugar-ray-leonard , gambla , ringtv , pinterest , pinterest , bracketfights

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