Five Greatest Heavyweight Boxers of All Time

The heavyweight division is looking stronger than it has for many years and we take a look at five of the best heavyweights in history

Mike Tyson

Heavyweight boxing has come back into the spotlight over recent years, but how do the modern-day competitors rank up against the greatest of all time?

The Klitschko brothers, Vladimir and Vitali, dominated the heavyweight scene for over a decade, and many fans started to lose interest in the division.

However, British pair Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua came hurtling through to upset the status quo and stamp their mark.

With the likes of Deontay Wilder, Oleksandr Usyk, Andy Ruiz Jr and Joe Joyce, the division looks competitive and has drawn fans back in.

We take a look back at the five greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

5) Rocky Marciano – 49-0

The Brockton Blockbuster, known for his formidable punching power and stamina, retired with a perfect record in 1956.

Many would argue that he didn’t compete in the golden era of the heavyweight division and, therefore, can’t be regarded as the best to ever step into the ring; however, he is still fully deserving of a spot on this list.

Marciano won 43 of his 49 bouts via knockout and still to this day holds the highest knockout-to-win ratio as a heavyweight.

He won the heavyweight title when knocking out Joe Walcott in 1952 and went on to enjoy six successful defences before retiring in 1956.

4) Mike Tyson – 50-6 (2)

Tyson burst onto the professional scene in 1985 with a TKO victory over Hector Mercedes, and he went on to win his first 19 fights via KO/TKO.

He won the WBC title in 1986 and added the WBA and IBF belts to his collection over the next couple of years, before eventually losing to Buster Douglas when tasting defeat for the first time in Tokyo.

Iron Mike was back on top in 1996, beating Frank Bruno and Bruce Seldon to pick up the WBC and WBA belts, respectively; however, he lost them to Evander Holyfield later that year.

His career was always shrouded in controversy, and Tyson will be remembered not only for his ability in the ring but also his antics outside.

3) Larry Holmes – 69-6

Holmes made his professional debut in 1973, and his career went on to span across 29 years after eventually deciding to hang up his gloves in 2002.

The Easton Assassin held the WBC title from 1978 to 1983, The Ring magazine and lineal titles from 1980 to 1985 and the inaugural IBF strap from 1983 to 1985.

He was known primarily for his fearsome left jab, which is rated as one of the best in boxing history, and he’s the only man to have stopped Muhammad Ali.

2) Joe Louis – 66-3

Louis possessed deadly power, astonishing timing and sniper-like accuracy.

He picked up victories over the likes of Max Baer, Billy Conn, Max Schmeling and is widely regarded as one of the greatest-ever to lace up a pair of gloves.

An eighth-round knockout win over James Braddock in 1937 landed him the NBA, NYSAC and The Ring titles, and he was victorious in 25 consecutive defences, a record for all weight classes.

The Brown Bomber became a national hero in the US and had the longest reign as champion of any boxer in history.

1) Muhammad Ali – 56-5

Ali won a gold medal as a light heavyweight in the 1960 Olympics before turning professional later that year when beating Tunney Hunsaker by unanimous decision.

He claimed the WBA, WBC, NYSAC and The Ring heavyweight titles in 1964 in his 20th bout, beating Sonny Liston in a fight that was surrounded by controversy,

The People’s Champion beat Liston again the following year and went on to make a further nine successful defences.

After refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, Ali was suspended from boxing for four years, but he returned early in 1971 and lost to Joe Frazier in what was named the “Fight of the Century”.

In 1974, he stunned the world when beating rising star George Foreman to regain the titles and this time; he made ten defences.

The outspoken American retired in 1981 as the first heavyweight to win the world title on three separate occasions and countless other accolades to his name.

Bobbie is a big football fan across all levels, and he also has an impressive background in martial arts and is a regular provider of quality boxing and UFC content.
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