Boxing is all about defeating, knockouts, and proving oneself the best in the ring. But the platform of heavyweight boxing offers more than that as it gets intense and creates exciting rivalry among the fighters. The above 200 pound boxers create quite a show in this boxing class, showing off their talents, skills, innovation explicitly to the hustling crowds. The die-hard fans always recognize the greatest heavyweight boxers as heroes as all of them have created history, broken records, set new milestones that were never touched by another soul, while some of them unleashed their latent talents.
This is all about heavyweight boxing. Don’t you think?
The ranking of the top 10 heavyweight boxers has never been easier as every one of them deserves to be on the topmost positions. But someone’s got be the no 1 of all time, right?
Let’s have a look and see what you think about the following list of top ten greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
#10. Wladimir Klitschko
There are only a few boxers who have held the longest title reigns in the heavyweight class. Among those boxers, the great Wladimir Klitschko is one glinting ray of sunlight, also known as ‘Dr. Steelhammer’.
Known for his out-boxing style, Klitschko used to keep a distance from his opponents while throwing long and fast punches. One of the famous heavyweight boxers Wladimir could knock out his opponents with both his hands.
On the list top 10 greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, Klitschko secures his place for his outstanding achievements in this field, which he proved in his career. Out of the 69 matches, he managed to win 64 matches with 53 knockouts and only 5 defeats.
There were controversies regarding his boxing styles as many thought it was boring. They called it ‘jab and grab’ but it was never about the excitement of the technique; instead, it focuses on winning without taking much damage from the opponent.
Undoubtedly it is one of the reasons Klitschko managed to be one of the greatest heavyweights. The boxing career of the star ended in 2017.
#9. Mike Tyson
Have you ever wondered who the youngest heavyweight champion is in boxing?
Well, the answer is Mike Tyson, who mesmerized people showing how a 20-year-old kid can win the heavyweight champion at such a young age. On a fine day of June 1966, Tyson saw the light of the world in New York, United States.
Having the thirst to achieve more and more is not something seen in every boxer. That was proved again when he became the first heavyweight boxer who won the WBC, IBF and WBA titles.
It did not take a lot to prove himself worthy of being on the list of the top ten heavyweight boxers; he had the ability. Having some of the fanciest nicknames including ‘Kid Dynamite’, ‘The Baddest Man on the Planet’ made him even more relaxed within the younger generation.
One of the most popular heavyweight boxers started his career in 1985 which ended in 2005. Being an aggressive puncher was something he was famous for. The quick head movements and his unique techniques made his opponents hard to catch him.
Out of 58 matches, Mike won 50 of them. There were 44 knockouts and 6 defeats in his entire career. One of the reasons Mike Tyson was one of the greatest heavyweight boxers was because of the combination of his reflexes, timing, and speed.
#8. Lennox Lewis
Out of all the legendary heavyweight boxers, Lennox Lewis inhabited his name on the list at number eight. So, what is so special about this guy?
One of the greatest heavyweights of all time proved his worth by defeating the mighty Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, and Vitali Klitschko. It was established that he used to follow the combination of slugger and out-boxer. The world heavyweight champion was won by him thrice and the lineal champion twice.
Playing a total of 44 matches in his career, out of which he won 41 matches, thirty-two of them were won by knockouts. There were a total of two defeats and only one draw in his career. He can easily be attributed to one of the best heavyweight fighters of all time, don’t you think so?
It is needless to say that not all boxers used to play from long distance, and he was one of them. Such a style of boxing helped him to deliver his signature uppercut with uttermost power. Most of the knockouts were ensured with his right hand.
Being born in September in London, England in 1965, Lewis was given the nickname ‘The Lion’. The professional career of the boxing legend started in 1989 and he retired in 2003. The Boxing Writers Association of America entitled him the ‘Fighter of the Year’.
#7. Joe Frazier
If anyone is looking for the toughest boxers of all time, he may find Joe Frazier to be the perfect example. The golden era of boxing allowed him to fight with the greatest boxers of all time and prove his worth.
Engaging in pressuring and explosive fights was one of the characteristics of Frazier. Moreover, his signature move was his left hook. With the usage of his persistent pressure, he adopted the strategy to make his opponent stepping back.
Born in January 1944 in Pennsylvania, United States, he was popular with his nickname ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier’. The professional career of this boxing superstar started in 1965. Perfection in both offensive and defensive styles in boxing was offered none but Frazier.
One of the biggest heavyweight boxers of all time had defeated other boxing legends including Buster Mathis, Jerry Quarry, George Chuvalo, Eddie Machen, and Jimmy Ellis.
The boxing style of Frazier was quite similar to Henry Armstrong and sometimes Rocky Marciano, depending on how much he wanted to pressurize his opponents. There were 32 wins, 4 defeats, and only 1 draw in his entire career.
At the age of 67, Frazier breathed his last in 2011.
#6. Evander Holyfield
Without any doubt, Evander Holyfield was one of the best heavyweight boxers ever who showed his skills and abilities irrespective of the boxing styles and categories. Our number six pick was born in Alabama, United States, whose technique was fighting from long distance. However, he proved his excellence too when he fought from the inside. Among many, some of his popular nicknames were ‘The Real Deal’ and ‘The Warrior’.
The boxing journey of the megastar started in the cruiserweight category and gradually proved himself worthy of playing in the heavyweight boxing. Adding more to the context, he is the only boxer in the boxing history who won the undisputed championship in both cruiserweight and heavyweight classes.
Being listed as one of the top greatest punchers of all time by many publications was another achievement of Holyfield. The boxing talent of the superstar was brought under the spotlight when he used to adjust his style based on his opponents.
Starting in 1984 as a light heavyweight player, he played a total of 57 matches, out of which he won 44 of them. There were 29 knockout wins, 10 losses, and 2 draws in his career. In 2014, he retired from all kinds of boxing.
#5. Rocky Marciano
Can anyone remain undefeated in his entire boxing career? Is it even possible that he has never lost a single match?
It might sound impossible to achieve. But the great Rocky Marciano created history, becoming the only boxer with zero defeat till the end of his career. Such an unbelievable achievement was made possible by one of the biggest heavyweight boxers making the impossible to be possible.
The relentless fighting style with the daunting power of punching and excellent stamina made him famous. Several boxing historians listed Rocky Marciano to be one of the greatest boxers of all time despite many controversies.
Bullying and pushing the opponent while keeping them in a short distance was a great strategy by Marciano. People waited excitedly for his matches. Among the very few boxers who have created their own boxing style, he was one of them.
In 1923, Marciano was born in Massachusetts, United States. ‘The Brockton Blockbuster’ and ‘The Rock From Brockton’ were some of his fanciest nicknames. Throughout his career, he had played a total of 49 matches. Out of which 43 were won by knockouts.
Surprisingly, he managed to retain the percentage of knockout-to-win of 87.76% which is one of the highest percentages ever in heavyweight boxing. The professional career of Marciano started in July 1948.
At the age of 45, the legendary boxer was killed in a plane crash in 1969. The premature death of Marciano disheartened the whole boxing community and his fans all over the world.
#4. Joe Louis
In the list of top 10 heavyweight boxers of all time, there’s got to be a place for the legendary Joe Louis. Yes, this boxing superstar made a history of owning the longest reign in the heavyweight class of all time. The reign in the heavyweight stayed for 140 successive months.
Joe Louis mixed a lot of boxing styles. But he was widely known for his being an aggressive counterpuncher. Opponents were allured to throw punches at him for him to counter. This unique style kept his opponent much closer to him.
The super heavyweight boxer started his professional career in 1934 which ended in 1951. During this time, his achievements were not easy to attain as the Second World War had a massive impact on sports.
One of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time was born in Alabama, United States in 1914. Playing a total of 69 matches, he won 66 of them. There were 52 wins by knockout and 3 losses. He died in 1981.
#3. George Foreman
Boxing fans might wonder who could be the hardest puncher ever?
Well, to answer them, naming George Foreman alone would be sufficient. This heavyweight boxing legend is considered as the hardest puncher of all time. The ‘Big George’ was born in 1949 in Texas, United States.
The classical slugger style in boxing made Foreman famous in boxing. Thus, he was the type of boxer who did not fear his opponent and always looked for trading his iconic punches.
The opponent of his 68 knockout wins could really measure the gravity of his punches. He was not among those really fast boxers with tremendous footwork. Instead, he preferred standing like a pillar for punching as hard as he could.
Out of 81 matches he played, he won 76 of them. Sixty-eight matches were won by knockout and there were only 5 defeats in his entire career. The boxing community was shocked at his unexpected comeback in boxing after 10 years.
The oldest man ever to win the heavyweight title was entitled to Foreman. Calling him one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time would not be an exaggeration. In 1997 Foreman retired from boxing.
#2. Larry Holmes
When it comes to the best heavyweight boxers of all time, the name Larry Holmes shines brighter like the sun. Holmes defeated famous boxers including Trevor Berbick, Tim Witherspoon, Leon Spinks, Ken Norton, Gerry Cooney, and even the legendary Muhammad Ali.
Larry Holmes won the WBC title in 1978 after he defeated Ken Norton. The professional career of Larry Holmes started in March 1973. A four-round decision winning against the great Rodell Dupree was secured in his very first match.
Three were similarities between the boxing style of Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali as both of them were classical out-boxers. Playing a total of 75 matches, out of which he won 69 matches. Forty-four of them were won by knockouts.
Born in 1949 in Georgia, United States, Holmes was widely popular for his nickname ‘The Easton Assassin’. In his childhood, he was growing up in Easton, Pennsylvania which was the basis of his boxing nickname.
In terms of speed, Larry Holmes was really fast and explosive. Some say based on the jab, his power could even beat Muhammad Ali. Holmes owned the quickest and most precise jabs of all time in boxing history. Therefore, his name comes at number two position as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in boxing history.
#1. Muhammad Ali
“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
This quote of Muhammad Ali is an igniting example that proves his greatness and the audacity he showed in his boxing career. To be saying explicitly, the legendary Ali was not only a famous boxer, he was successful too. Unquestionably, he is the greatest heavyweight boxer that ever lived.
In 1942, Muhammad Ali was born in Kentucky, United States. Throughout his career, he had played a total of 61 matches out of which he had won 56 matches. 37 of them were won by knockouts. There were a total of 5 losses in his entire career.
The style of Ali mostly relied on footwork, timing as well as speed while he had different strategies for different opponents. Of course, he might not have the power such as George Foreman or Joe Frazier but there was no shortage of skills or high fighting IQ.
The boxing career of Muhammad Ali is like a fairytale. There are perfection, achievements, ups and downs, and making history. The top heavyweight boxer had defeated infighters like Joe Frazier, brawlers like George Foreman, and out-boxers like Alonzo Johnson.
He established himself as an innovator who used a wide range of unorthodox techniques; even proved his coaches wrong about his styles. Statistically, he may not be the best but his playing techniques, his charisma, his unique skills, and his influence made him the best.
At the age of 74, the best heavyweights of all time died in 2016
Like being said, the top ten list of greatest heavyweight boxers is very controversial in terms of the ranking of the superstars. All heavyweight boxers had to offer something unique, something that wowed the whole world.
They have created a global impact even outside the boxing industry. Such legends are applauded and respected generations after generation. The greatness of boxing and the art of the heavyweight boxers undoubtedly made that possible.