The 10 greatest heavyweights of all time - Part 2
Boxing fans reminisce the sport’s past glory with a warm longing, of the time when boxing and its stars enthralled the world. With no offence to Klitschiko (the present world champions), this article is a tribute to the past glory of the sport and the men that defined it. This list includes the five finest boxers in the heavyweight division.
You can check out the first part of the article here - Part 1.
5. LARRY HOLMES (1973-2002)
With a career record 69-6, including 44 knockouts, Holmes was once a sparring partner for Ali. He came into his own in the 80’s and held the world title from 1980-85, with 12 defenses. Also nicknamed the ‘Easton Assasin’, his will to win and probably the finest left jab took him to the top of the division.
4. GEORGE FOREMAN (1969-1997)
Foreman had a career record of 76-5-1, with a staggering 68 knockouts. World champion in 1973-74, with 2 defenses, he also won the gold in the heavyweight division at the 1968 Olympics. One of the strongest and hardest hitting puncher to ever brace the game. His two round battering of the then heavy weight champion Joe Frazer, sent shivers down the division. His first ever loss came to Ali in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire, in 1975. He regained the world title 20 years later in his comeback in 1995 to become the oldest ever heavyweight champion at 45 years of age. However had the young, quick, aggressive marauder Foreman have had the mental toughness of the older Foreman he would, no doubt, be sitting on top of this list.
3. JACK JOHNSON (1897-1926)
He had a career record of 77-13-13, with 19 no divisions and 48 knockouts. Nicknamed the ‘Galveston Giant’, he became the first Afro-American world heavyweight champion in 1908 and held it till 1915. For seven years he completely dominated the division. Having one of the finest defenses, an expert clincher, Johnson almost toyed with the pros of his time. One of the most chronicled figure in sports history Johnson faced a lot of racial discrimination during his career.
2. JOE LOUIS (1934-1951)
He had a 66-3 career record with 52 knockouts. He was world heavyweight champion from 1937-1949, with an outstanding 25 defenses. Also known as the ‘Brown Bomber’, his position at number 1 in these ranking could also be justified. He fought twice against the then German champ Max Schmeling during Nazi rule. They were among some of the most talked about matches because of the socio-political conditions of the times. Extremely solid, technically Louis is considered among the greatest American athletes of all time.
1. MUHAMMAD ALI (1960-1981)
Born as Cassius Clay, he called himself ‘The Greatest’. Ali won the Heavyweight gold at the 1960 Olympics. With a career record of 56-5, with 37 knockouts, Ali was a three time world champion and was at the heart of the greatest era in boxing history. One of the most recognized sportspersons in the world, he lost four years of his career due to suspension for graft evasion. His matches against Frazier and an eighth round win over Foreman are the stuff of legends. Ali, truly was greatness personified inside and outside the ring.
The other notable mentions that couldn’t be on this list includes Lennox Lewis, another great and three time champion. Sonny Liston, another world champion, had amazing punching power but his weakness in defence against quick hands came to the fore in his two defeats to Ali. Floyd Patterson could also make the list. The youngest undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and Olympic gold medallist was known for his quickness and agility. Also the first boxer ever to regain his crown, he had losses against both Liston and Ali .