Boxing has always been a man’s sport. With the recent welterweight ‘Fight of the Century’ between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao coming to a somewhat unsatisfactory closure we decide to take a look back at the most popular weight division that produced the most charismatic and greatest boxers the world has ever known.
5. Rocky Marciano
Most Combat sports athletes can only dream of retiring undefeated, but the “Brockton Blockbuster” is the only one to have done so, that to with a 49-0 record. What makes it more astounding is that Marciano was just 5’11 in height and around 185 pounds, However it was his unmatched resilience, ferocity and the heavy “Suzy Q” right hand that leveled the playing field. Rocky’s Opposition is often disregarded as ‘tomato cans’ and not quality opposition, however he was the first white champion to consistently defend his championship against black fighters. He went into defend his championship title six times. He also has a win over a faded Joe Louis in 1951, his last bout.
4. Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson’s personality was something to behold. Before Jackie Robinson was hailed for breaking the ‘color barrier’, Johnson knocked out Canadian boxer Tommy Burns in the year of 1908. Johnson’s bravado would give the modern day athlete a run for their money, as he engaged in verbally taunting his white opponents, openly confessing to sleeping with white women, and living the high life to its excess. All those in a country where black men were sometimes executed for arousing the slightest suspicion gazing at white women. But his draw was also due to his in ring capabilities as he was credited with bringing a more scientific and modernizing approach to boxing. His style helped him beat the best at the time including Bob Fitzsimmons, Sam Langford, Jim Jefferies, and Stanley Ketchel.
3. Larry Holmes
People don’t remember Larry Holmes that much simply because of the shadow cast by Muhammad Ali’s departure. Holmes is number three because of his all round boxing skills, and under appreciated toughness and display of heart. Holmes took the reigns of the heavyweight championship from Ken Norton in slug-fest that became an instant classic, and then defended the title a record 20 times second to only the great Joe Louis who managed 25. Holmes went undefeated for the first 48 fights of his career by using one of the best jabs in the sport. Larry Holmes’ boxing record of 69 wins and just 6 losses is one of the greatest ever amongst his peers.
2. Joe Louis
Joe Louis was the most prominent and first American Black sporting hero, who became the embodiment of a new heavyweight, whose skill, size and talent were unmatched by any other heavyweight at that time. Joe Louis defended the reigns to the heavyweight championship for a record breaking 12 years, through 25 title defenses. In what became a moment of national symbolism, Joe Louis avenged an earlier defeat at the hands of German boxing heavyweight Max Schmeling in 1938 just before World War 2 broke out, increasing American Morale and falsifying Hitler’s myth of Arian supremacy. In all of this, Joe Louis’ opposition has been best described as mediocre and is what truly holds him back from being number 1.
1. Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is revered not just amongst fighting fans, but amongst the fighter and athletes from other sports as well. Muhammad Ali’s quality opposition is what plays a big part in landing him in the number 1 spot. The heavyweight division was beyond a doubt at its finest in the 1970s, and within that very time period, Muhammad Ali asserted himself as the greatest athlete of that or, arguably, of any generation.. Beating Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, Ken Norton twice each, along with Floyd Patterson, and a knockout victory over the hulking George Foreman. Ali’s title defenses totaled at 21 while winning the heavyweight championship on three separate occasions. And that was not all, Ali’s skills in promoting his fights through trash talking, witty confidence and bravado with unmatched charisma to boot, served as lessons for countless others that were inspired by him.
Greatest Boxing heavyweights by Essivilil