Mayweather, Pacquiao, Canelo: Who is the greatest boxer of last 30 years?

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Who is the best boxer in history? 

When it comes to the that particular discussion, everyone has their own ten cents to throw into the ring.

But what about the best fighter during the last 30 years? 

In the past five years themselves, DAZN have made significant headway as one of the biggest names in boxing and now, the media giant have had their say on who has been the best to step into the ring since the early nineties.

So who makes the grade? Here is their top 10 countdown.

10. Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez

Coming in at number 10, Saul Alvarez remains one of the most fearsome fighters to have laced up a pair of gloves this decade and has been since the mid 2000s.

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Despite being humbled by Floyd Mayweather in 2013, since that loss, Canelo has taken apart GGG, Miguel Cotto and Sergey Kovalev.

Effectively ending Billie Joe Saunders' career of late also and still only 31, the Mexican could yet accomplish far more.

9. Evander Holyfield

The only man to hold world titles in the 80s, 90s and 2000s, many consider former cruiserweight Evander Holyfield, the greatest in the division's history.

He of course better known as a heavyweight, but stands out from that particular crowd also.

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Making a bigger name for himself with boxing's big men, rivalries with Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer and infamously, Mike Tyson, saw the man with the huge heart upset the odds on more than one occasion.

Having made his comeback in exhibition bouts this summer, Holyfield is a true legend of the sport.

8. Lennox Lewis

Arguably the best heavyweight during the 90s, Hammersmith-born Lennox Lewis was a ring general.

Further wins over legendary names such as Holyfield and Tyson would follow before Lewis left the sport on his own terms albeit with a disputed stoppage win over Vitali Klitschko in 2003.

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Let's just forget any mention of Hasim Rahman.

7. Felix Trinidad

Cuban boxers have often been the biggest performers on the amateur stage, but few crossed the divide into professional boxing with more aplomb than Felix Trinidad and over multiple weight divisions.

Enjoying one of the best welterweight runs of the modern era, Trinidad then had memorable wins at light middleweight over David Reid and Fernando Vargas, before jumping to middleweight in similarly dominant manner.

A loss to Bernard Hopkins in 2001 was the signal of the beginning of the end, but nevertheless, the Cuban will go down as one of most versatile boxers of all time.

6. Oscar De La Hoya

A multi-weight champion, perhaps now more famous for his promoting than his fighting, Oscar De La Hoya was 'The Golden Boy' of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

On not one single occasion during his pro career did the Californian dodge a single opponent.

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A major attraction in the fight game during the late 90s and the subsequent decade to follow, De La Hoya bowed out of the sport as a box office fighter during 2008 after losing to Manny Pacquiao.

In retirement however, Golden Boy Promotions have seen De La Hoya become as successful a promoter as he was in the ring himself, a huge driving force behind the era of Saul Alvarez.

5. Pernell Whitaker

Pernell Whitaker was a rare breed.

Renowned for his defensive genius rather than ferocious power, the Virginian nicknamed 'Sweet Pea' was an Olympic gold medallist at Los Angeles in 1984 and entered the 90s as one of boxing’s best and his performances did not suffer age after 2000.

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Even past his best, Whitaker troubled the likes of De La Hoya and Trinidad before finally hanging up the gloves in 2001, after breaking his collarbone.

Tragically killed in 2019 after crossing the road, the word 'Great' has never been used in more fitting fashion. 

4. Bernard Hopkins

Bernard Hopkins has been proving people wrong since day one.

Losing his debut bout, Hopkins then carved out a career that saw him fighting at the top level well into his 50s.

Felix Trinidad, Antonio Tarver, and Kelly Pavlik all felt the force of 'The Executioner', and who was a huge underdog during his biggest wins down the years.

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As testament to his obvious character, despite suffering a split decision defeat to Joe Calzaghe in 2008, Hopkins continued to fight the best and though outclassed by a rising Sergey Kovalev a full six years later, was rarely out of the upper echelons of boxing.

Finally calling time on his particular dance in 2016, Hopkins was one of the toughest fighters of the past three decades. 

3. Roy Jones Jr.

One of the most dominant men in the ring throughout the 90s, Roy Jones Jr. could have been perhaps the very, very best, had he remained at heavyweight for the duration. 

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A champion at middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight during his storied career, Jones was one of the most feared opponents in boxing - in a circle which included Mike Tyson.

After dominating boxing up until the early 2000s however, Jones suffered a staggering fall from grace.

Having claimed the WBA heavyweight crown in 2003 to become the first man in that division to claim the belt after starting out at light middleweight, Jones Jr's decision to drop down a weight proved to be his eventual downfall.

Initially beating Antonio Tarver the year before, he was then knocked out in 2004's rematch - the first time he had been stopped during his career.

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In his attempt for an immediate return as champion later that year, Jones' age then caught up with him, suffering a damaging and humbling KO loss to IBF champ Glen Johnson. A further loss to Tarver then rather paved his way toward more defeat to come.

Though victory did come against Jeff 'Left Hook' Lacy, both Calzaghe and Hopkins took the scalp of a then fallen idol.

Further ignominy at cruiserweight then followed, but as he showed against Tyson in the their exhibition bout last year, Jones Jr. will still go down as one of the best.  

2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

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Arguably one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing history and a man who remains undefeated, Floyd Mayweather Jr. however, only comes in at second spot.

Finally achieving his goal after defeating Oscar De La Hoya in 2007, his 'Pretty Boy' moniker made way for 'Money' Mayweather since the turn of the decade, as he become a global household name in boxing.

Though his bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics remain something of a blot - comparatively speaking - during his formative years, Mayweather Jr. has gone on to defeat not only De La Hoya and ring warrior Miguel Cotto during his career, but also remains the only man in the sport to have beaten Canelo Alvarez.

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With further wins over Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez to his name, his victory over Manny Pacquiao in 2015 was career-defining, even if perhaps, both men were past their very best.

Few can dispute his position in this countdown. Indeed, some would have him top.

1. Manny Pacquiao

It is the current face of politics in the Philippines and one of the most famous visages on the entire Asian continent in Manny Pacquiao however, who wins this particular fight.

Recently defeated by Yordenis Ugas whilst trying to win yet another world title, his ring rust is finally showing but 'PacMan' has built a remarkable legacy in boxing.

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Extraordinarily converting from flyweight to light middleweight without missing a single beat or indeed punch, Pacquiao has taken apart numerous legends of the ring along the way, but it is his incredible rise from nowhere that continues to dumbfound.

His duo fights with Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera will likely make the list of greatest fights of all time, but in the same instance, his defeats of both men were resounding and spectacular.

Twice defeating Marquez, like Mayweather he also beat Hatton, Mosley and Cotto, but Pacquiao's ring speed set him miles apart from the crowd, and his hand speed left many in a trance. 

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The Ultimate Floyd Mayweather Quiz: What his his nickname?

Had Pacquiao fought Mayweather years before their eventual clash six years ago, PacMan may have ended one of the famous unbeaten records in all of sport, but we will never know.

As it is however, Pacquiao's place in the annuls of boxing history remains firmly at the very top. 

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