Boxing is a sport about strength, speed, and good reflexes-features that the great boxers possess. A professional boxing match is a combat match played inside a ring where punches are used against an opponent. Common boxing techniques include a stance, various punches, and defense techniques. There are four main punches in boxing: jab, cross, hook, and upper-cut. There is a variety of defense moves that a boxer can use including slip, duck, sway, block, etc. Due to some medical concerns regarding brain damage, professional boxing is banned in Norway, Iceland, North Korea, and Iran. However, some of the countries, such as Sweden, have lifted their bans with the introduction of strict rules and regulations. We have brought to you a list of the top 10 greatest boxers of all time. Although the rankings can be debatable but we are sure that your list will also include these faces even if it is with a bit of shuffling! These boxers are world’s best boxers in the history of boxing.
10. Sam Langford
Sam Langford was a black Canadian boxer- the greatest boxer not to win a World title. ESPN called him ‘The Greatest Fighter Nobody Knows’. The Ring ranked him as 2nd in the list of 100 greatest punchers of all times. The reason for his world title denial is the color bar and Jack Johnson’s refusal to fight him. He fought through lightweight to welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. Although he was forced to retire due to his blindness, Langford was one of the greatest boxers of all times and so is ranked 10th in our list.
9. Jack Dempsey
Born as William Harrison Dempsey and nick-named as ‘the Manassa Mauler’, Jack Dempsey was a professional American boxer. He was the World heavyweight champion (1919-26). He was a handsome and charismatic man outside the ring while popular for his punching style inside the ring. His fights set many attendance records including the one attracting as many as 120,000 paid spectators. The Ring has listed him as 10th in the list of all time heavyweights and 7th among top 100 great punchers. He is also a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
8. Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson, nick-named as the Galveston Giant, was the first African American World heavy weight champion. For most of his career, he was exiled so he fought in Europe and South America. Muhammad Ali often mentioned that he was influenced by Jack Johnson. In 1954, he was added to the Boxing Hall of Fame. The city of Galveston dedicated a park to Johnson, Galveston Island’s most famous son. In 1946, he died in an auto accident.
7. Benny Leonard
Benny Leonard was an American professional boxer known for his speed, accuracy, and boxing technique. Nick named as the Ghetto Wizard (since he was raised in a Jewish Ghetto), Leonard has the longest lightweight championship career. He died in the ring while refereeing in New York (1947). The International Boxing Research Organization ranked him as the number 1 lightweight of all times (2005). He gets 7th ranking in the list of best boxers in the history of boxing.
6. Roberto Duran
Roberto Duran is a former Panamanian professional boxer. He held the World titles at four different weights: lightweight (1972-79), welterweight (1980), light middle weight (1983-84), and middleweight (1989). He is the second boxer to have fought for 5 decades. In 2002, The Ring ranked him as the 5th greatest fighter of the last 80 years. Also, the Associated Press ranked him as the number 1 lightweight fighter of the 20th century.
5. Willie Pep
Born as Guglielmo Papaleo, Willie Pep was an American professional boxer, known for his speed and impressive defensive skills. Despite his near fatal injuries in a 1947 plane crash, Willie Pep had a remarkable 26 year career where he boxed a total of 1956 rounds in 241 bouts. In 1990, he was included in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was ranked as number 1 featherweight of all-time by the International Boxing Research Organization (2005).
4. Joe Louis
Joe Louis was a professional American boxer who held the World heavyweight championship title from 1937-49. He was the first African American boxer to win the hearts of the black and whites alike during the times of racism. Nick-named as the Brown Bomber, Louis not only held the heavyweight championship longer than anyone else (11 years, 8 months, 7 days) but also made more successful defenses than any other boxer (25). Louis was ranked as the number 1 heavyweight of all times by the International Boxing Research Organization (2005).
3. Henry Armstrong
Born as Henry Jackson Junior, Henry Armstrong was an American professional boxer and one of the greatest fighters of all times. Nick-named as the ‘Homicide Hank’ and ‘Hurricane Hank’, Armstrong was famous for his non-stop punches. He is the only boxer to simultaneously hold three World titles at different weights: featherweight (1937), welterweight (1938), and lightweight (1938). Also, he managed to defend the welterweight championship title more than any other boxer. Armstrong was named as the second greatest fighter of the last 80 years by The Ring in 2007. During the course of his career, he faced 17 World champions and defeated 15 of them. His vast achievements have earned him 3rd rank in our list of the top 10 greatest boxers.
2. Muhammad Ali
Born as Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali is a former professional American boxer, known for his unique style, showmanship, and charisma. His speed and style earned him the name of ‘the dancing butterfly’ in the ring. His showmanship included humorous poems he read out to his opponents, predicting their failure. Muhammad Ali is the first and the only boxer to win the World heavy weight championship three times. However, he lost precious years during his prime when he was banned for three years for refusing to join the US army during the Vietnam War. He is known for his principle stands especially regarding racial justice and religious freedom. Nick-named as the ‘Greatest’ and the ‘People’s Champion’, Muhammad Ali is one of the most recognized sports personnel in the history. He was named as “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. This remarkable profile has earned Muhammad Ali the second place in our list.
1. Sugar Ray Robinson
Born as Walker Smith Junior, Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional boxer. Out of his first 123 fights, he only lost one (to Jake LaMotta) which he later avenged five times. He won the World Welterweight title in 1946 and defended it four times. Also, during his career, he won the Middleweight title five times. He was the World’s first boxer to win a divisional world championship five times. Twice, Robinson earned the title of ‘Fighter of the Year’ (in 1942 and 1951). In 1990, Sugar Ray Robinson had the honor of having his name added to the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Due to his extraordinary achievements especially during a time when racism was prevalent, Sugar Ray Robinson ranks first in our list.