The 20 greatest fighters from the 20th century have been ranked (20-11)

  • Will Day
p1ea2c5pgljrv1n951bei1uph12evb.jpg has listed their best boxers of the 20th century, and it's absolutely stacked with icons and legends.

From legends and boxing hall of famers, to late-century stars, this list must surely contain some of your favourite fighters ever. 

It is also important to bear in mind that this is only 20th century fighters, so no Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury, despite them being the best in the biz in the 21st century. 

Without further ado, let's countdown’s top 20 boxers from the 20th century. 

20. Oscar De La Hoya

Oscar De La Hoya was an American fighter who fought at welterweight, lightweight and light-middleweight. De La Hoya was one of the most influential fighters the sport has ever seen, according to fans and well-respected pundits alike, and had big-money fights with the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. 

Despite Golden Boy’s most noticeable fights against Pacquiao and Mayweather both coming in the 21st century, he did enough in the eyes of to land himself spot 20 on this list. 

De La Hoya ended his professional career with a record of 39 wins and six losses, losing two of his last three professional fights, both at the hands of Pacquiao and Mayweather respectively. 

19. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time, with many even going as far to claim him the ‘GOAT’ when it comes to the sport of boxing. 

His placement on this list may surprise some people considering his legacy in the sport, however, you have to remember that this list is based of what the fighter did in the 20th century. 

Mayweather Jr. fought 22 times in the 20th century, winning all 22. 


18. Lennox Lewis 

Lennox ‘The Lion’ Lewis is the first heavyweight to feature on the list. 

Lewis fought upwards of 30 times in the 20th century, losing only once in that stretch (including one no contest) and is seen as one of the hardest hitters the sport has ever seen. 

Lewis’ last bout of the 20th century was seen as one of his finest performances, beating fellow legend Evander Holyfield in their rematch via unanimous decision. 

Lewis finished his career with a professional record of 41 wins, two losses and one draw. 

17. Jack Johnson 

Old-school heavyweight Jack Johnson is one of the grittiest fighters the world of boxing has ever seen. With 101 fights to his name, longevity was not even question for Johnson. 

Although there aren’t many recordings of him fighting, the ones that have been found, show his ability to put on a vintage boxing masterclass, dismantling his opponents. 

Johnson finished his long and decorated professional boxing career in 1931, before sadly passing away only 15 years later, at the age of 68. 

16. Larry Holmes 

Larry Holmes was another American fighter, and another heavyweight who dominated the division. 

The grizzled veteran dominated the 1970’s and some of the 1980’s before a young Mike Tyson came along. In fact, Holmes was so good, he didn’t lose for the first 12 years of his professional career, before losing three on the trot. 

The American finished his career with a record of 69 wins and six losses. 

15. Roy Jones Jr. 

Roy Jones Jr. fought at super-middleweight, middleweight and light-heavyweight, dominating in all three divisions. 

Roy Jones Jr. fought around 40 times in the 20th century, losing only one fight from 1989 to 2000. 

He is seen as one of the greatest fighters the super-middleweight division has ever seen. 

He finished his professional career with a record of 66 wins and nine losses, therefore earning him spot 15 on’s list. 

14. Evander Holyfield 

Evander Holyfield fought at cruiserweight, light-heavyweight and heavyweight, but is mainly remembered for his stint in the heavyweight division. 

He is also best known for his two shocking victories over fellow icon of boxing Mike Tyson, one of which came, of course, via disqualification following the controversial ear-biting moment. 

Holyfield didn’t have the longevity of some of the other boxers on this list, however, he did fight 56 times, winning 44 of them, losing 10 of them and drawing two of them. 

13. Mike Tyson 

Mike Tyson... where would the sport of boxing be without Iron Mike?

Possibly the most influential heavyweight boxer of all time, and without a doubt, the hardest hitting heavyweight of all time, Tyson was what you draw up when you think of a heavyweight boxer. 

From 1985 to 2000, Tyson only lost three fights, two of them of course coming to Holyfield as mentioned on the previous spot in this list, dominating the closing decade and a half of the 20th century. 

Tyson ended his hall of fame career with a record of 50 wins and six losses, even teasing a potential return in a charity boxing match special as recent as two weeks ago. 


12. Sugar Ray Leonard 

Sugar Ray Leonard fought at super-middleweight, welterweight and light-middleweight, dismantling most who stood on the opposite side of the ring to him. 

Sugar made his professional debut in 1977 and only lost one fight in 11 years, falling Roberto Duran of Panama, avenging his loss in his next fight defeating Duran via TKO in round 8. 

Leonard finished his professional fighting career with a record of 36 wins, three losses and one draw. 

11. George Foreman 

Another heavyweight icon of the sport, George Foreman is most recognised for his bout with Muhammad Ali in their ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ bout. 

Foreman’s dazzling career is almost overshadowed by that loss to Ali, with many thinking rightly so, with how much of a favourite Foreman was for that fight. 

Foreman ended his career with a knockout percentage of 83.95%. He also ended his professional career with 76 wins and five losses.

You can see the top 10 fighters of the 20th century here.

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