There’s always just enough time to stop and smell the roses in the world of boxing.
Over the years, the sport has yielded a number of kings and challengers to the throne. The duels between the two have, in turn, promised and delivered exhilarating action complete with vicious hooks and uppercuts signed and sealed with laser-guided precision.
There comes a time, then, to pause and take stock of the boxing icons that grace the sport today, and those of years gone by.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the GOAT of every boxing weight class, starting with the heavyweight division, courtesy of BoxRec‘s rankings.
The man, the myth, the legend, Muhammad Ali is a name synonymous with the sport. With 56 wins in 61 bouts (37 KOs), Ali is rightly hailed as the greatest heavyweight to step foot in the ring. Floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, Ali’s praise is still sung far and wide.
In the cruiserweight division, Mairis Briedis reigns supreme. A record of 28 wins in 29 bouts (20 KOs) sees him take the crown in this division, but the IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight champion isn’t resting on his laurels. The Latvian boxing star recently offered undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez a shot at his title.
Over in light heavyweight things are heating up, but Archie Moore’s name will forever be engraved on the crown. The longest-reigning world light heavyweight champion of all time instilled fear in his opponents, many of whom steered clear of a bout with “The Old Mongoose.”
Andre Ward has a thing or two to say in the super middleweight world. Referred to as the Son of God, Ward retired with a spotless record of 33-0, going up against a number of prominent fighters. A handful of those came close to beating Ward into submission, but such was his determination to emerge victorious, that Ward ultimately got what he wanted – the win.
In the middleweight scheme of things, Sugar Ray Robinson lays down the law. Hailed by BoxRec as the greatest pound for pound boxer of all time, Robinson was a five-time middleweight champion and competed in a staggering 200 fights as a professional, winning 173 of those (109 by KO).
Super welterweight’s Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns developed quite a reputation for exercising the strength of a freight train in the ring. Hearns was quick as a gazelle and had the heart of a lion, conquering five weight divisions (welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight) in his professional career.
Over in welterweight, though, there’s just one name at the top of the hill – Floyd Mayweather. Renowned for his bravado in and out of the ring, Mayweather retired with a perfect 50-0 boxing record, famously reaching the milestone against UFC icon Conor McGregor in what is termed “The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History.” The man was proper box-office, wasn’t he?
In the super lightweight world, Duilio Loi was the man to talk to. Hailed as one of the icons of the sport, Loi had 126 fights under his belt, racking up 115 wins (26 KOs). Loi is regarded as one of the most underrated legends of all time.
Benny Leonard had the lightweight division in the palm of his hands during a career that spanned 219 fights. He won 185 of them (70 by KO) and was renowned for his poise in the ring.
Super featherweight, meanwhile, was ruled with iron fists by one man and one man only – Alexis Arguello. A three-weight world champion in his prime, Arguello never lost any of his world titles in the ring. Yep. The Nicaraguan icon instead relinquished them all for higher pursuits.
Willie Pep had a way about himself in the featherweight division. One of those boxers who had a Fort Knox-like defence, Pep was a world champion at the young age of 20, and retired with a record of 229 (!!) victories and only nursed the scrapes of defeat 11 times.
In the super bantamweight world, Erik Morales made his family and his nation proud. The Mexican boxing icon is revered for his classic trilogies with Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao (all three of whom are first-ballot Hall of Famers) and inspired a generation of Mexican boxers with his warrior spirit.
In the bantamweight sweepstakes, Eder Jofre is the man. With 70 wins, 50 knockouts and just two losses to his name, the Brazilian legend won titles in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions.
In super flyweight, we have Khosai Galaxy running things. With a name to match his worldwide exploits, the Thai boxing legend had a laundry list of knockouts in a career that spanned 48 fights. 41 of those ended in knockout wins, a testament to his striking abilities.
“The Ghost with a Hammer in his Hand,” Jimmy Wilde looked nothing like a fighter, but such was his lethal striking ability that he knocked out nearly 100 men during a glittering boxing career. Wilde is regarded as the greatest boxer in the history of the United Kingdom.
In the light flyweight world, mortal boxers look up to Myung Woo Yuh. His 17 title defences are still a record in his division. Yuh faced defeat just once in his 39 fights, the South Korean legend is still hailed for his work rate in the ring.
In the minimumweight scheme of things, Ricardo “Finito” Lopez is a man who needs no introduction. One of just 15 world champions to retire without a loss, Lopez had a truly great 16-year career which culminated in an induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007 with a 50-0-1 record.