Who is the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time? Which brother Klitschko is ranked higher? Which Tyson – Mike or Fury – comes out on top? And where the hell is Apollo Creed?
Ranking the best great men in boxing isn’t an easy task, so to make it more manageable, talkSPORT has stuck with it for the past 50 years and – with my apologies to Jack Dempsey, Jack Johnson and whoever called Jack – has listed the 20 best modern heavyweights.
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‘The Dark Destroyer’ razors connected to Ali’s chin countless times in the 13th and 14th rounds when they met in the ring
Although one or two still have time to put this list together.
W: 74 (68 KO), L: 14, D: 1
1969-1995 (United States)
A completely ordinary heavyweight with a trick: “The Acorn” could hit as hard as any born man. Two-time world title challenger Earnie Shavers scored 68 KOs (46 in the first three rounds) and every opponent – from Muhummad Ali to Larry Holmes – was rocked by his nuclear right hand.
W: 52 (40 KO), L: 4, D: 1
1988-2008 (United States)
A top light heavyweight who upset Evander Holyfield in 1994 to become the first left-handed heavyweight champion. Sadly, best known for losing the title to a former George Foreman, which is a shame as Michael Moorer was a surly, enigmatic but undeniably skillful fighter.
Moorer lost his title to Foreman, but let’s not forget it was a man who stopped Holyfield Chris Byrd
W: 41 (22 KO), L: 5, D: 1
1993-2009 (United States)
A middleweight at the 1992 Olympics, even Chris Byrd knew he wasn’t much of a heavyweight. Which makes the southpaw’s accomplishments skillful in mixing him up with much bigger guys – beating David Tua and even Vitali Klitschko (admittedly through injury) while winning two world title belts – very impressive.
W: 42 (41 KO), L: 1, D: 1
2008-present (United States)
The limits as a boxer were clear even before Tyson Fury’s brilliance made them obvious, but Wilder’s elastic and unorthodox power is truly extraordinary. Boasting a 93% KO rate, two impressive wins over Luis Ortiz and – if he manages to turn his trilogy fight with Fury upside down – skyrockets that list.
Everyone thought Fury had been beaten when Wilder shot him young jimmy
L : 35 (11), L : 3, D : 3, N/C : 1
1969-1990 (United States)
Don’t judge Jimmy Young on his record, lost four of his first 11 fights and, in the 1980s, was sadly a journeyman. But in his heyday of the 1970s, this elite boxer beat George Foreman, Ron Lyle and lost some very questionable decisions (including against an aging Muhammad Ali in 1976). Underestimated.
F: 31 (21 KO), F: 1
1977-1998 (United States)
Hard to classify because his heavyweight career was so short, but “The Jinx” – an all-time record at 175 pounds – scored a famous victory when he ended Larry Holmes’ long undefeated reign as that heavyweight champion. Sadly, most fans now know him for his last fight and only career loss: 91 seconds with an angry Mike Tyson. Ouch.
Sports Illustrated – .
Spinks was a dangerous heavyweight, but Tyson did a light job of him Tim Witherspoon
W: 55 (38 KO), L: 13, D: 1
1979-2003 (United States)
“Terrible Tim” lived up to his nickname both ways: he could be a formidable opponent or he could be downright awful. Unlucky to lose a split decision to Larry Holmes, the slippery ‘Spoon won the world title belts and beat the best of the rest. He never got the shot on Mike Tyson he always wanted (and some say Don King made sure he did).
W: 42 (33 KO), L: 7, D: 1
1967-1981 (United States)
This awkward, muscular heavyweight was a top contender in the heyday of the 1970s. Slugfest with a Larry Holmes debut is classic fight and proof of his elite abilities.
F: 24 (22 KO), F: 1
2013-present (Great Britain)
Olympic gold medalist with a flick of the baton and knockout power that’s proven to crush a solid cast of contenders. The shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr gave critics ammo to question AJ’s chin and intelligence in the ring, but he looked slimmer and better afterwards. Oleksandr Usyk’s tricky challenge is as follows.
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Joshua took down Wladimir Klitschko in 2017 to begin his rise to the top of the game Rididick Bowe
L : 43 (33), L : 1, N/C : 1
1989-2008 (United States)
‘Big Daddy Bowe’ had the skills, the frame and the power to be a true all-time great, but preferred to go to the fridge rather than the gym (understandably). He still has an incredible record and won his epic trilogy with Evander Holyfield 2-1, but there should have been so much more to come from this gifted and struggling heavyweight.
W: 64 (53 KO), L: 5
A title reign of impressive length and a rare combination of ballet footwork and brutal power. However, he was stopped in several fights that he should never have lost early in his career and the young Klitschko was a dominant champion but in a rather weak heavyweight era.
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Klitschko was one of the most dominant heavyweights alongside his brother
Fury dethroned Klitschko despite being a huge underdog, ending his long reign as champion Tyson Fury
W: 30 (20 KO), L: 0, D: 1
2008-present (Great Britain)
The delicate, gigantic and versatile “Gypsy King” was brilliant in outsmarting Wladimitr Klitschko in 2015 and bludgeoning Deontay Wilder in 2018. But his career in this field is frustrating; with weak opponents and layoffs. If he can step into the ring with – and beat – Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury enters the argument for the very top spots.
W: 45 (41 KO), L: 2
Unlike his younger brother (except for Herculean height), Wladimir had less silky skills but possessed an iron jawbone. His two losses were excusable, due to cuts (to Lennox Lewis in a war) and a shoulder injury – and he beat everyone he faced. A heavyweight difficult to fight and even to classify.
W: 50 (44 KO), L: 6, N/C: 2
1985-2005 (United States)
The fierce, fast-firing, sawn-off demolition machine that came in at 37-0 was one of the most feared heavyweights to ever live. Critics will say ‘Iron Mike’ peaked early and never beat a great opponent in his prime, but his early dominance was a wonder to see even though it all started to unravel at the age of 23. years.
Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history at age 20
Holyfield’s fights with Tyson are legendary, with the former winning both in the heyday of the 1990s Evander Holyfield
W: 44 (29 KO), L: 10, D: 2, N/C: 1
1984-2011 (United States)
The big teak heavyweight stepped up and mixed it with the best heavyweights of his day, having memorable rivalries with Riddick Bowe, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. Sadly, the “Real Deal” didn’t know how to stop inside and outside the ring, as his career has lasted far too long, even before 2021 rears its ugly head.
W: 32 (KO 27), L: 4, D: 1
1965-1981 (United States)
Half of the greatest boxing trilogy ever and an awesome fighter in his own right. “Smokin Joe” was the first man to defeat Muhummad Ali, possessed a pulverizing left hook, exceptional will to win and only lost to two heavyweights: Ali in memorable rematch and George Foreman.
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Ali had three legendary fights with Frazier, the first of which was known as “The Fight of the Century” in New York City at the legendary Madison Square Garden Lennox Lewis
W: 41 (32 KO), L: 2, D: 1
1989-2003 (Great Britain)
Lewis had the perfect combination of size, skill and power. He could also be his own worst enemy, fighting at his opponent’s level, especially in his two upset defeats. But at his best, when he used his sublime jab and crushing right hand, he was up to anyone. Retired after beating all his opponents.
Lewis is the last undisputed heavyweight champion Georges Foreman
F: 76 (68 KO), F: 5
1969-1997 (United States)
Two amazing careers in one for this formidable puncher. The angry young Foreman destroyed enemies as powerful as Joe Frazier and Ken Norton in two rounds each. The charming and older Foreman took a little longer to knock out Michael Moorer and shocked the world by taking back the world title at 46. Unreal.
In his heyday, Foreman was a dominant champion who possessed one of boxing’s toughest punches. Larry Holmes
W: 69 (44 KO), L: 6
1973-2002 (United States)
The “Easton Assassin” was underrated in his day, not as flashy or popular as # 1 on this list. But he could certainly box. A sharp blow, boxing brain, size and miraculous recovery powers saw Larry Holmes win 48-0 and 20 heavyweight title defenses before ultimately losing a decision to Michael Spinks, just weeks away. his 36th birthday.
F: 56 (37 KO), F: 5
1960-1981 (United States)
Forget the fame, social impact, beauty, charisma and unique style that saw this 6ft 3in Adonis float around the ring like a featherweight: Muhummad Ali’s list of defeated enemies puts him at the top of the this list alone. From the dazzling Sonny Liston with his brilliance to the shocking George Foreman with his resilience, the three-time world champion is clearly the No.1.
There is a reason he is still known as “the greatest”