Top 10: Greatest Boxers of All Time

wmmattler May 2, 2010 52

Boxing has been called everything from barbaric to a gentleman’s sport. Either way these men represent a spirit and amazing, near super-human endurance. Here are 10 of the greatest of the 20th century.

10. Sam Langford

Langford stood only 5 ft 6½ in and weighed 185 lb in his prime. Though not even considered medium sized by today’s heavyweight standards Langford retired with a 214-46-44 record. Heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey said “The hell I feared no man. There was one man I wouldn’t fight because I knew he would flatten me. I was afraid of Sam Langford.”

9. Jack Dempsey

Speaking of Jack Dempsey, this 6′ 1″ heavyweight was known for his punching power and tenacity. Not many were as tough as Dempsy. His final record was 66-6-11, for this day and age that’s a fairly long record. After a controversial loss to Gene Tunney, Dempsey retired from boxing, but the name Jack Dempsey is still very much associated with boxing some 80 years later.

8. Jack Johnson

No, not the performer. This Jack Johnson was known as the “Galveston Giant.” Having won the heavyweight title in 1908 beating Tommy Burns, the world was so shaken by such a dominant black boxer Jack London called out for a strong challenger, thus coining the phrase “The Great White Hope.” That hope appeared as the undefeated James J. Jefferies who came out of retirement in 1910 to fight Johnson. The result was a Johnson victory and race riots across the country.

7. Benny Leonard

Known as the “Jewish Wizard” this boxer went a total fights of 217 with 183 wins (70 by KO) 19 losses and 11 draws. Leonard was a dominate lightweight known for speed and power. Shortly after coming back out of retirement his career ended on October 7, 1932 when he was TKOed in 6 rounds by future champion Jimmy McLarnin.

6. Roberto Duran

The unorthodox stanced Panama born Duran retired with a record of 103 Wins, 16 Loss, 69 Knockouts in 2002 at the age of 50. Yes, that’s a five with a zero behind it. Duran was a serious ring mixer who only knew how to punch three ways: hard, fast and often. As a welterweight he beat the incomparable Sugar Ray Leonard before becoming a dominant middleweight.

5. Willie Pep

Having once actually won a round without throwing a punch, Willie Pep was beyond the exemplification of grace and fluidity. In that moment, that 180 seconds, he was the greatest boxer of all time. His record came out to 229 wins, 11 losses and 1 draw, with 65 wins by knockout.

4. Joe Louis

“The Brown Bomber” is probably one of the most recognizable names on this list, Joe Louis was an everyman to a lot of boxing fans. This 6′ 2″ heavyweight boxing legend was known as a hard worker inside and outside the ring. Finishing out his careers at 65 Wins (51 knockouts, 13 decisions, 1 disqualification), 3 Losses (2 knockouts, 1 decision) Louis lost his last fight in 1951 to Rocky Marciano, but not before he had defeated the likes of Max Schmeling and Max Baer.

3. Henry Armstrong

Armstrong has the distinction of being the only boxer to hold three world championships at the same time. He also defended the Welterweight championship more times than any other fighter. With a career record of 181 Fights – 151 Wins, 101 KOs, 21 Losses, 9 Draws Hurricane Henry still remains of of the most famous boxers in boxing history.

2. Muhammad Ali

Ali was impressive as both a boxer and a promoter… of himself. Despite how anyone might feel about him on a personal level, Ali did 2 things; kept the world interested and fought in some of the most interesting fights in boxing history. To be honest his record of 56 Wins (37 knockouts, 19 decisions), 5 Losses (4 decisions, 1 retirement), 0 Draws doesn’t seem too impressive until you look at who he fought; Ken Norton (2x), Sonny Liston (2x), George Foreman, Leon Spinks and Joe Frazier. His class was a tough one.

1. Sugar Ray Robinson

The original Sugar Ray saw 200 fights in his career and inspired the next two or three generations of boxers after him. Robinson retired from boxing with a record of 175-19-6 with 110 knockouts in 200 professional bouts, ranking him among the all-time leaders in knockouts.


  1. Watch Pacquiao vs. Margarito October 26, 2010 at 8:06 am -

    The list is right and detailed. I do really like to see the top 10 boxers of todays era. I love Ali, Robinson and quite wondering if Dempsey authored the Dempsey Roll?

    • nebert December 4, 2010 at 7:27 am -

      this page is racist they didnt include manny!!!!

      • mike gee December 5, 2010 at 12:48 pm -

        you got to be kidding ? Paquiao is GOOD, for now, but he hasn’t stood the test of tiem with as MANY consistent QUALITY fighters as the “top 10 list”. Easy to yell “racism” cause you personal favorite isn’t in there.Many of the figher in this list FOUGHT top tier fighers for decades- when Manny has done this he’ll get his shot at the list.

        I’d put him in the Top 25 though just for his work ethic and power, BUT there have been PLENTY of fighters in history that would have EATEN Manny for breakfastt. Don’t confuse big media promotions and Multi Million dolllar fights for ” Top 10″ performance. A young De la Hoya would have SPANKED and equally sized Paqiioua, and there have been plenty of fighter, especially Fillipino fighers, over the decades that would have given him a bloody beating…..

      • jamesryan February 18, 2011 at 11:46 pm -

        cmon dudes!manny pacquiao doesnt belong to the 20th century best fighter cause he only excel in 21st century…try to read first before you make a comment…idiot person!

  2. efran garcia November 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm -

    good list however jc chavez needs to be in there some where

  3. RJ November 8, 2010 at 2:48 am -

    Where’s the 7 world title holder?

  4. czych November 14, 2010 at 3:40 am -


    • Na3rb November 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm -

      yah right!!

    • jamesryan February 18, 2011 at 11:48 pm -

      not before 20th century buddy

  5. shieldwolf November 14, 2010 at 5:15 am -

    Sugar Ray Robinson and Manny Pacquiao are both the Greatest Boxer of All time by ERA.

  6. hey November 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm -

    Pacman is great but he is around top 20 at best. Consider Pacquiao fighting in the same era as Sugar ray robinson, sugar ray leonard and tommy hearns and you get the point.

    Im a big fan of pacquiao but making him a G.O.A.T is just fan boy kitkat lol.

  7. chiver November 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm -

    list should be updated..pacman sould be sumwer in the top 3…;)

  8. JAB December 2, 2010 at 10:12 pm -

    You forgot Larry Holmes! Best Jab of all time!

  9. vanguard!!! December 17, 2010 at 3:37 am -

    middle weights are great! sugar ray leonard is increadibly fast as well as hearns, golden boy in his 20,s is phenomenal he beat chavez the mexicos best, pacquiao is an achiever hes one of the best but mike should be still in number one!! new styles, equipments, tactics and fighting styles contributed by boxing hall of famers makes the new boxers more better, if ask me if robinson can beat pacquiao? play fight night ps2 or psp…and ull know s outcome.

  10. DJ December 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm -

    Ok i understand people bitching over the pacman. But , why the hell is no one aking why Rocky Marciano isnt on here!? Plus…..alot of people say people just throw Ali to the top… but I mean geeze the man threw a jab running backwards. Wtf??? no Marciano why? the guy was 49-0 with 43 ko’s. This list misses the bar.

  11. P4P December 21, 2010 at 8:34 am -

    Pacquiao should crack the top 3. Why? Because he is the only boxer to win 8 title in 8 division.It’s very hard to win title in 1 division, what more when eight divisions?

    • Shieldwolf May 7, 2011 at 5:10 am -

      Pacquaio a market tool? So why Gayweather can’t even stop up to the ring and has too many alibis?

  12. NEFAY January 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm -

    U are wrong the best of all times was Rocco Francis Marchegiano (Rocky Marciano)
    and he is not on the list, u are crazy

    Total de peleas 49
    Victorias 49
    Ganadas por KO 43
    Perdidas 0
    Empates 0

    he was and ever be THE BEST!!!! ^^

  13. 88Chris January 18, 2011 at 7:25 am -

    The lack of boxing knowledge on here judging by some of the above ‘contributions’ is absolutely alarming. These lists always tend to be too biased towards the Heavyweights. First off, Heavyweight is actually one of the poorer of boxing’s eight ‘classic’ weight divisions. In particular, Light-Heavyweight, Middleweight and Welterweight have always produced more skilfull fighters, have had a better depth to their talent pool, and have produced far fewer poor / paper champions. Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis would be the only natural Heavyweights to crack my top thirty (I’m not including the likes of Langford, Fitzsimmons, Charles or Tunney as proper Heavyweights here).

    Now then, the Tyson myth. As I said, Heavyweight is one of the poorer of the original divisions, and Tyson doesn’t even make my top ten in that weight class alone. His fanatics like to bang on about what he COULD / WOULD have done, rather than what he actually DID do. Since when was greatness decided on what MIGHT have happened? If it was, you could make a claim to greatness for just about any fighter. Tyson’s early career was very impressive; but what truly ‘great’ wins does he have? None, in all honesty. Yes, he beat Larry Holmes…A 38 year old Larry Holmes, who was past his best, fat and out-of-shape, and who hadn’t fought in two years. Now we often hear from Tyson fan boys that Danny Williams and Kevin McBride beating him means nothing, because Tyson was old then. And how old was he, exactly? That’s right, 38 – the same age as Holmes was when he beat him. So how can they big up the Holmes win so much?

    Who else did Tyson beat? A natural LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT in Spinks, and then a collection of average Heavyweights such as Biggs, Berbick, Thomas, Seldon, Bruno and so on. His ‘win’ column is very poor compared to Heavyweights such as Ali, Holyfield, Louis, Jeffries, Johnson and Foreman, never mind other pound for pound greats from the lighter divisions. Tyson fought two great Heavyweights who were anywhere near their prime; Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis. And guess what? He was 0-3 against them, failing to see the final bell in all three fights. Again, Tyson fans will moan that he was old (he was only 30 against Holyfield, while Holyfield was 34. Likewise, Lewis was also older than Tyson) when these fights happened. The idea that Tyson was ‘shot’ by the time he fought Holyfield is pure fallacy; he was the huge betting favourite, had just blitzed Bruno and Seldon in three and one rounds apiece to complete the WBC and WBA double, and was seemingly set for a new reign of terror. Holyfield, on the other hand, had looked poor in his previous fight, was returning from a short retirement due to a heart condition and had been beaten in his last two meaningful fights, against Michael Moorer and Riddick Bowe. If anyone was over-the-hill, it was Holyfield. And yet he still boxed Tyson’s ears off. Granted, the 2002 version of Tyson which fought Lewis was legitimately shopworn – but he has no grounds to complain. He was supposed to fight Lewis in 1996, but instead ducked the challenge, paid Lewis $4million to “step aside” and vacated the WBC belt so that he could take the easy option of Seldon instead. In short, Tyson never wanted to fight Lewis, and ducked him until it became a financial necessity.

    Tyson was a very fine fighter, who for a while looked like he could have been great. It was simply a false dawn. Let’s also not forget that he was the typical ring bully; a great “on top” fighter, but when the going got tough he always crumbled and fell apart, time and time again. He lost every close fight he was in, and could never adapt to turn around a losing situation when it mattered. The idea of him being the ‘greatest’ is ridiculous, and is only spouted by people who know nothing of boxing history and think they are experts because they’ve watched a few YouTube KO reels and have heard the same old pathetic lines regurgitated such as “Oh, if only Cus hadn’t died, if only he hadn’t married Robin Givens, if only he hadn’t gone with Don King blah blah blah…” People forget that compared to some fighters, Tyson’s life has been a stroll in the park. We don’t use other fighter’s personal problems as an excuse for their shortcomings in the ring, and neither should we for Tyson.

    Superb fighter, but strip away all the hype and notoriety and actually look at his record. He doesn’t make my top 10 Heavyweights, and pound for pound, wouldn’t make my all-time top 100.

  14. dotkom January 20, 2011 at 2:42 am -

    by the way,,,every people in this world has a diferent ideas,opinion and they idolized many diferent boxers.
    but,for me,, i will choose MANNY PACQUIAO,as THE GREATEST BOXER OF ALL TIME!
    not only he won 8th world title in 8th diferent division, he also the savior of the boxing world b’coz he help to increase
    the income of the boxing scene!

  15. ephraim January 28, 2011 at 8:29 am -

    Manny Pacquaio should be breakthrough in top 3 in my opinion,.He is the only 8 division champion in history and also he is the savior of boxing today.

  16. jamesryan February 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm -

    no, because he still not the best in 20th century, u idiot…

    • Shieldwolf May 7, 2011 at 5:16 am -

      Yeah! Please change your title, it should be the “Top 10: Greatest Boxers of All Time of the 20th century”

    • Ken May 7, 2011 at 5:22 am -

      Please change your title to “Top 10: Greatest Boxers of the 20th Century”.

  17. jamesryan February 18, 2011 at 11:53 pm -

    To all those persons who always ask why manny pacqquiao is not on the list, i would like to emphasize that this best boxer excel during the 20th Century….Manny pacquiao only excel during the 21st century…so if you are saying that the author is racist, i would like to say that read first and understand before you are going to make some comments…

  18. kjv007 February 20, 2011 at 3:02 am -

    the title is very confusing, “Top 10: Greatest Boxers of All Time”, if this list would be only for the 20th century, it should be just “Top 10: Greatest Boxers of the 20th Century”, that’s why some of the boxing fans here are looking for names like manny…. but a good list indeed.

  19. vesey April 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm -

    Rocky Marciano with a 49-0 record with 43 ko who defeated 3 heavyweight champions is the greatest ever……..

  20. VC April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm -

    Where is Gene Tunney in this ranking? He was easily one of the best.

  21. kartik May 20, 2011 at 10:27 am -

    Where is MIKE TYSON ?????

  22. Kris June 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm -

    What about Rocky Marciano he never lost a match?

  23. veerendra September 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm -

    i dont know too much about boxers so nice information!!! still rocky(from movie) is best boxer

  24. Mehdi Ali Kazmi September 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm -

    The Great Muhammad Ali is the best Boxer for me. Its because of Ali i started watching Boxing. He was lightning quicker and his powerful punches were too awesome.

  25. Cecil richardson September 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm -

    the list looks great and collection the people in the list looks apt…

  26. dinesh September 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm -

    Sam Langford is my all time favorite boxer. He was rated second by The Ring on their list of “100 greatest punchers of all time”

  27. SREERAJ September 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm -

    Good information for me.. Good to see all the titans of boxing in a post.. Nice job… :)

  28. Bharti September 2, 2011 at 12:04 am -

    Gathered a nice piece of article and good collection of information about the boxer. Appreciate your work and Salute all these boxers.

  29. Diana Milenkova September 2, 2011 at 2:05 am -

    I think that Dan Koloff should also be included in this great list.

  30. Koushal September 2, 2011 at 5:48 am -

    Wow……It is the great collection of Boxers. I think Willie Pep is the best boxer.

  31. Cecil richardson September 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm -

    the list is awesome i love all of them

  32. Amm September 12, 2011 at 7:41 pm -

    I came to learn more about the boxers of all time.. Thanks

  33. Dinesh Shetty September 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm -

    Sam Langford, I am really fan of this boxer. He is all time hero.

  34. amay September 13, 2011 at 2:50 am -

    sam is relly a good boxer:)

  35. Kenneth September 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm -

    Hey author change your title..make it TOP 10: BOXER OF ALL TIME OF THE 20TH CENTURY..

    • Peter November 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm -

      Nah, no need to say Top 10 Boxers of all time of the 20th century, because if you say Top 10 boxers of all time, it is “of all time” regardless of centuries. I mean, “OF ALL TIME”

  36. remanutd November 13, 2011 at 6:07 pm -

    man these pacman fans are smoking too much , who pacquiao have fought ? he fought 3 times Marquez and the 3 times have been a controversial decision , pacman wouldnt last 6 rounds against ” Hands of Stone ” Duran , Sugar Ray or even Julio Cesar Chavez Sr in his prime

  37. jebhee December 4, 2011 at 10:45 am -

    Maybe,, just maybe Pacquiao should be in the top 10 list,, imagine 7 weight class belt, from 116 pounds to 150 pounds he reign supremacy, he out class champions among champions in 21st century era, gaining 34 pounds and beating all in his way, imagine who among of you knws someone in all kinds of contact sport would do such suicide ,, Guinness world of record says Only one man can do it.. .

  38. Mooney December 21, 2011 at 3:44 pm -

    OP is nothing but a dumb ass. I have never seen a more horrible list of a top 10 boxing kings. There are shit loads of key names missing,Rocky Marciano,George Foreman,Mike Tyson,Joe Frazier,Manny Pacquiao,Julio Chavez,.. If Marciano ain’t on the list,then I don’t think you’re even worth a debate here.

    Go stab yourself in your left eye with a knife you moron.You owe us all a blow job for wasting our time you low life ugly worthless ignorant bastard( I kid )

    Robinson was GREAT, but ALI was,and always will be, the GREATEST!! The entire fucking world knows that.

  39. ben 10 January 7, 2012 at 6:20 am -

    imagine who among of you knws someone in all kinds of contact sport would do such suicide ,, Guinness world of record says Only one man can do it.. .

  40. Charles January 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm -

    The list can’t be definite as in, here are the 10 largest states in the union by square miles. Duran was something. Many names could have moved these guys off the list including “supersock” Guadalupe Robledo (“Jose Lothario”). Then there were men who never boxed who could have ended it fast for any of them—Roman military governor of Mesopotamia, Maximinus Thrax, who stood 8 feet 6 inches, outran a racehorse, overcame the pull of a chariot team, wore a bracelet as a ring and knocked out a horse’s teeth with one punch. See “Historia Augusta” and statue of Maximinus Thrax in Vatican Museum. Tom Topham brought the top 6 wrestlers in England “to the ground in a lifeless form,” in one minute, circa 1733. Topham’s tendons and ligaments on autopsy were found to be three times thicker than normal and his glandular activity was such that when he spoke, he did not sound human. He used to have men dance on each of his outstretched arms. Either of these two freaks could have killed all 10 of these boxers within minutes—10 on one. But the list did say 20th century only. Those who saw the Ali vs Gorilla Monsoon match knew Monsoon could easily have killed Ali.

  41. Dviad Ken April 3, 2012 at 8:01 pm -

    I often watch the vedio at the old background.
    Known as the “Jewish Wizard” this boxer went a total fights of 217 with 183 wins (70 by KO) 19 losses and 11 draws. Leonard was a dominate lightweight known for speed and power.

  42. Dani April 18, 2012 at 1:35 pm -

    I would have like to have see John L Sullivan on this list..He was and is considered the finest late 19th century boxer of all time.

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