The Greatest Boxers of All Generations

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Modern fighters may be faster but modern fights are like sprints compared to old timers fights. One final point: old rules means weighing in on the day, sometimes ringside just before the fight. Not sure if any current champ could do that and survive against an old champ……. All these and more have diluted the sport to the point that it is nearly impossible to compare to the fighters from an earlier age. Until they get to some kind of real tournament bracket style events under one governing body we will never see a true undisputed boxer.

I am not saying there are not great fighters out there now — but there is little incentive to fight once you can command big money for one fight a year. Imagine football, baseball, soccer teams or individual tennis players or golfers making deals about who they will play next game. Thats why the argument can be made that amateur boxing is a much purer sport than pro boxing as regards the fighting part — obviously 3 rounds cant compare to 12, but there is no ducking of opponents.

Sugar Ray Robinson fought Jake Lamotta 3 times with each fight within in a few months of each other if memory serves. I guess i would take Robinson over any fighter out there now pound for pound if i had to make a choice and I am sure I am not alone in this choice. There are too many other fighters between at least to mention that make todays fighters look like nothing more than sparring partner material.

Such Sweet Sorrow

Cheers Mickey, great comment. I am definitely seeing a theme here. Like me, you see the purity of amateur boxing as something of a real distinction between the codes. Of course we see dubious decisions and some might feel the bouts are stopped too early in relation to head shots.

Good thought provoking piece and comments from other readers. My top fighter of all time Sugar Ray Robinson, hands down. Look at the body of work amature thru pro ranks. Not going to argue on the Sugar Ray point John, he was an incredible and awe-inspiring fighter. The quality of the comments on this article has really impressed me. Some very smart boxing people taking the time to put stuff down. In the amateurs he had a record of 84 and 6.

In this environment Floyd lost 6 times. Compare that to someone like Ray Robinson with a perfect amateur record of 85 wins. In fact you can extend the comparison to the pro game and see that Robinson went another fights with only 1 loss and 2 draws. So after fights the great Sugar Ray Robinson lost once. Of course there are those who discount amateur records and only want to talk about professional contests. Well, all you have to say is Julio Cesar Chavez — who won 87 professional bouts before suffering a draw, and then another two before his first loss.

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Again, Mayweather is too old to approach this record. He would have to fight and win another 42 times before he could even match it. Floyd is 36 and in no hurry when it comes to fights. Now, as far as championships go? Did you notice that a completely new belt was created just for the Pacquiao vs Rios fight? Boxing has always been a business but never more so then now.

For example, if he fights Pacquiao he will probably win. When Floyd feels that Manny has been dulled enough by the years he will try to make the fight happen and then win on points. Remember Sugar Ray Leonard vs Hagler? To only fight when you feel you can win is not stupid.

The 50 Greatest Boxers of All Time

Guys like Leonard and Mayweather are generals. Guys like Pacquiao and Robinson are warriors. Beautiful comment. There speaks a true stalwart of the boxing game. The same can be said of the Chavez observation. However, it is seen as something a bit special as opposed to the norm. The analogy of the generals as opposed to warriors is right on the money forgive the pun. The idea of Ray Leonard being able to even last the distance with Marvin a few years prior to their bout is no more than a pipe dream.

10. Willie Pep

As you say, the time, ring size, glove size and fight duration will all well negotiated by the Leonard team. But as Pug said in this thread, hungrier times, hungrier fighters. Floyd is a brilliant technician and tactician but he lacks the fighting spirit and tramples the warrior code. Fictional epithets do not apply very well to the unhygienic real world of prize fighting. Very sightly off topic but one of the things I dislike about the professional game is how much negative emphasis is placed on a boxer getting beaten.

Absolutely agree Stan. While you are champ there is good money to be made by promoters, managers, trainers etc.

Muhammad Ali continues to inspire boxing's next generation

So, avoiding that banana skin that can result in a loss seems to be a main driver. Unbeaten boxers tend to generate more lucrative fights, and more lucrative fights result in bigger sanctioning fees. Very informative editorial. Harder times, hungrier men. Even from a couple generations ago. Still, in relative terms, I believe the skill level of top flight boxers has improved.

Perhaps I should qualify that. While the U.

Marvin Hagler – 62 Wins, 3 Losses

Vasyl Lomachenko comes to mind. No question that the shortening of bouts has made a difference but has to be accepted for safety reasons. Too many boxers were getting killed or permanently injured in those last three rounds. Ali being a primary example. This is all part of the evolution of the sweet science. The bare knuckle boxers in John L. Excellent comment. I think the comment you make regarding relative skills levels is an accurate one, but also that those exceptional fighters from the previous eras could have made short work of some of the top guys.

Every time something changes in boxing, whether it be weight classes, length of bouts, or the size of the gloves it becomes harder to compare the current greats with all time greats. If Marciano versus Walcott had been a 12 round fight, Marciano would have lost on points, assuming every thing else stayed the same.

Getting rid pf 15 round championship fights, going to smaller gloves, and increasing the number of weight classes has hurt the aggressive pressure fighter much more than the slick defensive fighter which is why guys like Pernell Whitaker and Floyd Mayweather often dominate the top of the pound for pound lists for years. Thx great read.

If ever asked what is wrong with the sport, that would be a good place to start. I do not think you can compare the World Champions of yesteryear with what we have today, sure the guys are skilled and well prepared, but fights are hand picked. Excellent comment Dries. Attitudes are a massive part of it. Hagler used to turn up to his world title fights with 2 trainers and his own bag slung over his shoulder. He was a throwback to the Armstrong days and that was 30 years ago!

To say Ali lacked honor is ludicrous. He fought ranked contenders and his choosing to not go to Vietnam was also a courageous stance that established him as an icon. Few men in the history of mankind have had more impact on a nation and inspired the world. He was opposed to Ali being drafted. Initially he failed the draft criteria due to his limited intelligence. He never spoke out against the war. Then the selection criteria was relaxed as more bodies were desperately needed.

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  • 9.Sugar Ray Leonard.

Still Ali was considered too have too little intelligence. Ali had no problems with tens of thousands of poor black and white working class kids being drafted to fight. Only when the campaign continued to go terribly for the US military was the selection criteria relaxed further and Ali drafted. His response? Very honorable. I would say that despite your lack of appreciation or understanding of the reality of what had transpired and the reasons why, The Greatest — Muhammad Ali, still has the distinction of being regarded as one of the most high ranking, distinguished, illustrious, upright, highly respected and noble men in the history of sport and the world, all for his being very honorable in words and deeds!

Wow, I am once again humbled by the knowledge that is found on this site.

I like Manny, but he last fought 11 months ago. Previous post: Enhance Your Boxing Training.