Boxing is without doubt one of the hardest sports to compare achievements and rank the all-time greats… but that doesn’t stop people trying relentlessly.
Most recently, Floyd Mayweather claimed that he was a better boxer than Muhammad Ali and should be rated more highly.
Despite stating how difficult it is to rank boxing greats, here’s a list of the top 25 boxers in history, which has been put together by Yard Barker.
If you don’t agree, or you’re annoyed by the rankings, just remember, it’s an opinion, which we’re all allowed.
25. Sandy Saddler
Sadler starts the list and is arguably one of the hardest hitting boxers of all time. Best known for being the only boxer to defeat Willie Pep in his prime.
24. Rocky Marciano
The Rock from Brockton was a hugely popular boxer in the 40’s and 50’s and knocked out 88% of his opponents. The fighter had an excellent career and was also partially the inspiration for the Sylvester Stallone classic.
23. George Foreman
With 68 of his 76 career wins being knockouts, the Olympic gold medallist has an impressive 89.5% knockout rate. The main blemish on the heavyweight’s record is his loss to Muhammed Ali in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’.
22. Julio Cesar Chavez
The popular Mexican fighter began his career with 88 straight wins and has beaten some impressive opposition.
21. Jack Dempsey
The American boxer held the heavyweight title for seven years, the second longest of all time.
20. Gene Tunney
Tunney is one of the most famous boxers of all time. His fights with Jack Dempsey drew over 100,000 spectators. Tunney has also been recognised for his military service in the first world war.
19. Barney Ross
A strong activist for Jewish-Americans during the build-up to World War 2, Ross’ legacy extends beyond the ring. Only the third fighter to win titles in three weight classes, his legacy in the ring is also a lasting one.
18. Joe Gans
Gans made history as the first black American to win a boxing world title and is an inspiration to many boxers today. Unfortunately, Gans died of tuberculosis.
17. Floyd Mayweather Jr
Despite ranking himself as the greatest of all time, most don’t. His attachment to his unbeaten record means he rarely tests himself against the best.
16. Pernell Whittaker
An Olympic gold medallist in 1984 and an exceptional fighter earns Pernell the 18th spot.
15. Archie Moore
One of the first fighters to be named in the international boxing Hall of Fame, Moore has the second highest number of knockouts in the sport’s history. Moore also held the light heavyweight title for 10 straight years.
14. Ezzard Charles
Charles started his career with a record of 70-6 but had a more unsuccessful later career. Charles is in the boxing hall of fame and commemorated on a postage stamp.
13. Manny Pacquiao
Only one man has ever won more titles in more than six weight divisions, an impressive record to hold. Despite losing to Mayweather, the 40-year-old makes it into the top 15.
12. Sam Langford
Langford suffered racial discrimination throughout his career, and as a result, one of the most dominant fighters of his generation never had the opportunity for a title fight.
11. Jack Johnson
Following in Joe Gan’s footsteps, Johnson was the first black boxer to be crowned world heavyweight champion. Despite the racial abuse the fighter received in the press and throughout his career, to this day he is undoubtedly a legend.
10. Marvin Hagler
Declared the greatest middleweight ever by many fans, Hagler just makes it into the top 10.
9. Sugar Ray Leonard
Despite only 40 fights, Leonard won an Olympic gold medal and 12 world titles in five divisions. Without an eye injury ending his career early, Leonard would have climbed even higher on this list.
8. Benny Leonard
Leonard makes the top 10 of almost all pound-for-pound boxing rankings and for good reason.
7. Joe Louis
The longest reigning heavyweight title holder in history, as well as defending the title a record 25 times, earns Louis a top spot. In a huge cultural moment, Louis defeated German boxer Max Schmeling in 1938 during the Nazi era.
6. Roberto Duran
Duran was the dominant boxer of the 70’s. His unmatched 41-fight win streak led him to the welterweight title.
5. Willie Pep
The highest number of official wins in history and having fought nearly 2,000 rounds of boxing in his career. Pep has earned a spot in the top five on everyone’s list.
4. Harry Greb
Greb has one of the most respected boxing records of the entire list and is the only fighter to beat Gene Tunney. If newspaper decisions at the time are included, Greb has more wins than any other boxer in history.
3. Henry Armstrong
Being the only boxer to hold world titles in three weight divisions simultaneously is only the tip of the iceberg of achievements of Armstrong. His 27-0 run to win the welterweight world title in 1937 is one of his most memorable streaks.
2. Muhammad Ali
When someone mentions boxing, Muhammad Ali’s name is not far behind. His quotes and legacy have extended further beyond the ring than any boxer before or after him. Little needs to be said to justify his place at number two.
1. Sugar Ray Robinson
The top spot is an easy pick. Sugar Ray Robinson is the main reason that the pound-for-pound rating system was ever used to compare boxers. Called “the king, my master, my idol” by Muhammad Ali himself says it better than most could. The five-time world middleweight champion is ranked number one on almost all lists for a reason.
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