Fisticuffs were famous even during the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. In its present form, boxing arose in the XVIII century, where were set the strict rules, legalized arbitrators, and standardized squared parameters of the ring.
Since then, it has become a real art for strong men. This rating presents the best boxers in the world of all time. All of them have made a significant contribution to the development of this sport.
12. Willie Pep
- Career time: 1940-1966
- Victories: 229 (65 K.O.)
- Defeats: 11
William Guglielmo Papaleo is known for sports enthusiasts under the pseudonym of Willie Pep. He is considered the fastest boxer of the last century. A resident of Connecticut won world fame in the 40s and began his career in the 40th year of his life. During his long sports run, Willie accomplished 242 fights. In 230 of them, he became the unconditional winner.
Willie Pep was one of the fastest and most mobile in the world. He had a vast number of fights, because those time it was normal, when boxers entered the ring several times a month. These merits are completely enough to open and be on this list of top boxers.
The boxer won the first 62 fights in the professional ring, with total dominance over rivals in the same weight until 1948, when he lost by knock-out to Sandy Saddler. In the rematch, Willie Pep was able to regain the title. The opposition Pep-Sadler, he lost with the score – 3-1. However, it did not stop Willie from standing above the heads of other fighters of his weight category.
A lot of boxers have tried to copy the peculiar method of Pep’s attack, but only he could move so freely in the fight. The lightweight winner knocked out his rivals 65 times. Pep proved the title of best in his category 35 times. This record has not yet broken. In 1990, the name Willie Pep forever included in the World Boxing Hall of Fame. The athlete died at a respectable age in 2006.
11. Henry Armstrong
- Career time: 1931-1946
- Victories: 151 (101 K.O.)
- Defeats: 21
Henry Jackson, born in Los Angeles, and performed in the ring under the pseudonym of Henry Armstrong. At first, a career was unprofitable – there were bitter defeats, until Henry, together with his coach, developed his own style of fight.
Henry Armstrong is one of the few boxers to have been able to gain the highest title in three different weight classes. Since there were only eight weight classes at one time, this is simply an incredible achievement. Nobody could beat this record.
In 1937, he became the champion in a lightweight, defeating Pete Sarron, but quickly moved to another weight category. In 1938, after defeating to Barney, Ross became the middleweight champion who could defend this title 18 times until he lost to Fritz Civic in a very controversial battle in 1940. During his middleweight dominance, Henry Armstrong also won champion titles in featherweight, light, and welterweight.
His fighting style recognized as the best in many countries. Henry’s crown hook entered the history of boxing sports. Henry Armstrong won with K.O. 101 times and accomplished more than 181 fights with 151 total victories. According to the magazine «Ring,» in 1980, he was recognized as the best boxer of his time.
10. Rocky Marciano
- Career time: 1947-1955
- Victories: 49 (43 K.O.)
- Defeats: 0
Rocco Francis Markegiano is one of the most famous boxers seen in movies. He was born in Massachusetts. The son of Italian immigrants made an impressive sports career. Basing on his life history was made a cinema franchise (Sylvester Stallone Starring), in which creators tried to show the iron character and great willpower of the famous boxer, acting under the pseudonym Rocky.
Rocky Marciano is one of the few professional boxers who have not suffered a single defeat in the ring. He won the champion title by defeating Jersey Joe Walcott in 1952. After that, he was able to defeat Walcott six times, twice – Ezzard Charles and Archie Moore.
The five-time world champion was the best among heavyweight boxers. He brilliantly spent 49 decisive battles, without giving the laurels of the winner to others. The technique of young Marciano, based on punching the water. He could train in such a way for hours without knowing fatigue. Rocky is the world-famous knock-out champion, 83% of fights ended by the K.O. of rivals. No one could surpass this result. From 1948 to 1956, Rocky was the best of the best. After retiring the sport, the boxer became a businessman and excelled in this area too. Thanks to all these achievements, he deservedly opens top 10 boxers of all time.
9. Roberto Duran
- Career time: 1968-2001
- Victories: 103 (70 K.O.)
- Defeats: 16
Second in the top 10 boxers list, Roberto Duran, a six-time world champion in four weight classes, called «Hands of Stone» is one of the greatest fighters in the world.
A little-known Panamanian boxer won the first 31 fights (30 through knock-out) before losing and then won another 41 matches (31 through knock-out). The last point of the first series was the epic victory on the invincible world middleweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard. But Duran turned the revenge match into a farce. He threw the towel in the eighth round with the words, «I do not want to fight this clown.» This was the first loss of Roberto during his career.
After that, Roberto Duran was able to win the titles in middle and welterweight, although his battles were not so spectacular. He is the only boxer in the world to have succeeded in five different decades.
8. Julio Cesar Chavez
- Career time: 1980-2005
- Victories: 107 (86 K.O.)
- Defeats: 6
Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Gonzalez dreamed of getting out of an abandoned car in which a large young family lived. Father worked as a railroad worker, and the mother took care of six children. Julio has not the best childhood. At 16, he already appeared in the ring in the amateur category, and a year later became a professional. Before becoming the lightweight world champion, won more than 100 victories. He could suddenly deliver lightning strikes against the enemy. 80 fights ended for his rivals with one hit.
Julio Cesar Chavez helped younger sisters and brothers, paid for their studies. Julio Chavez is rightly among the top boxers of all time. In 2011, his portrait appeared in The World Boxing Hall of Fame. Now Chavez working as an analyst on sports channels.
7. Mike Tyson
- Career time: 1981-2005
- Victories: 50 (44 K.O.)
- Defeats: 6
«Iron» Mike does not need advertising. Tyson is a «star» of the yellow press, which for more than two decades, did not go out of the screens like the most titled boxer in the world. He won his first title in 1981 and was the youngest champion in his weight. In the 90s, he won three champion belts at once. Out of the fifty battles, Mike lost only 6, and the vast majority of victories ended in one shot. Four fights lasted less than a minute.
6. Benny Leonard
- Career time: 1917-1932
- Victories: 89 (70 K.O.)
- Defeats: 6
Benny Leonard is the fastest, mobile, smart, lightweight fighter. Despite the speed and technique, he had a power punch, and of 89 victories, he won 70 with K.O. He dominated in the lightweight category until 1925, when he announced the end of his career. During the stock exchange crash of 1929, Benny Leonard became totally bankrupt and forced to return to the ring at the age of 35, winning 19 battles. In 1932 he retired as boxer again and worked as a referee.
5. Jack Dempsey
- Career time: 1913-1927
- Victories: 62 (51 K.O.)
- Defeats: 6
Jack Dempsey, titled «Manassa Mauler,» was the epitome of heavyweight boxing in 10s-20s years of the last century, thanks to sharp left and right kicks that no one could resist. In 1919, he became world champion after defeating the giant Jess Willard. Jack was a boxing champion until 1926 when he lost against Gene Tenny. In the rematch, Jack Dempsey got a shot in the eighth round but was able fought until the end.
He left the sport career in 1927 and for a long time was an arbiter. Jack is considered the most «dirty-playing» boxer in the world, a lover of tricks, and a violator of the rules. Nevertheless, for many years he remained the world champion in his weight category. His name is in the World Boxing Hall of Fame since 1990. Also, Jack Dempsey was first among the best boxers of the 1920s and was the first one who made a million dollars for the battle.
4. Jack Johnson
- Career time: 1897-1931
- Victories: 71 (35 K.O.)
- Defeats: 11
Jack Johnson is an icon in the boxing world. He has paved the way in professional boxing for black athletes. Even though Jack was the best heavyweight of his time and became the champion among color boxers, he was not allowed to fight with the current champion – James Jeffries. Only in 1908, he did the fight for a title outside the United States with Tommy Burns. Jack Arthur Johnson was the best boxer in the world until 1945.
Jack dropped out of school and got a job after fifth grade. He helped the loaders on the pier, cleared the stables. For the sake of fun, like other children of former slaves, he participated in street fighting. Drank fans threw some coins to the dust. Only the winner could take them, and this was Jack’s first training.
The black boxer was dynamic. Despite the massive weight, he quickly moved around the ring and surrounded the enemy from different sides. He earned 73 victories, and for professionals of his level, this is an impressive number. Only 11 times he was worse than others, and 35 times knocked out an opponent. The white people boxing community came up with the title «White Hope,» which gave to all the boxers that Johnson had fights. In the «Fight of the Century,» Johnson defeated Stanley Ketchell and even retired champion James Jeffrey, who returned to the ring for the sake of battle.
Jack Johnson was married 4 times until he died in a car accident. Boxer became famous for his radiant smile and impeccable body.
3. Sugar Ray Robinson
- Career time: 1940-1965
- Victories: 175 (108 K.O.)
- Defeats: 19
The word knows Walker Smith Jr. known as Sugar Ray Robinson. The family was poor, and his father worked continuously in the fields of North Carolina until the mother tired of all this and took her children to New York. Walker began working in the bar from the age of 12, he was amazing dancer, but got into bad company. Supported by a boxing coach, a guy under his guidance began to make the first sports successes.
He was unique in the series of punches and just annihilated opponents if he could not immediately K.O. them. Sugar won rivals by knock-out 108 times, and often they left the ring in the first round. Robinson won 175 victories and had only 19 losses. Ray is rightfully considered the best boxer of his championship time. He also participated in advertising and some movies.
Robinson is a real phenomenon in the boxing world, having won 86 fights at the amateur level and in the professional league was defeated only by Jake Lamott at 41 match in serie. A record series of 127 victories has not yet beaten.
The boxer won the welterweight title in 1946 and did not give it to anyone until he moved to middleweight, where he was able to win the title by defeating Jake Lamott and taking revenge.
In 1952, Ray Robinson tried to win the title of world middleweight champion, lost this fight to Joey Maxim, and then took a 2.5-year break. After returning to the ring, the boxer won the title and retired, becoming the world champion five times.
2. Muhammad Ali
- Career time: 1960-1981
- Victories: 56 (37 K.O.)
- Defeats: 5
Muhammad Ali is one of the best boxers of all time. Under this name, Cassius Clay entered the history of boxing. He is the most famous boxer in the heavyweight category. Among the championship titles, he owns the title of the 1960 Olympic Games, the winner, and 6 times during his career, he became the owner of the title of Absolute World Champion. Ali is a six-time holder of the boxer of the Year title, in 1960 he was recognized as the Boxer of the Decade under the name at birth (Cassius Clay). Cassius accepted the Muslim faith in 1964 when he began his career. Since then, he has remained the best in his weight category.
Only one epithet applies to this person – the Great. Muhammad Ali, a heavyweight champion, performed in a unique style, for which a lot of people love or hate him. The first champion title, he won being 22 years old (by beating Sonny Liston). But later, the boxer refused to serve in the U.S. Army, which sent soldiers to Vietnam. For this, the fighter was suspended from the competition for three years and deprived of his champion title.
Three fights of Muhammad Ali with Joe Frazier will be forever in the chronicles of boxing. Ali lost the first and won two next matches. He returned the title in a duel with George Foreman, which took place in 1974 in Zaire.
Muhammad was very mobile in the ring. His technique and speed are an example for beginners. Only five times in history, he left the ring beaten. His portrait will always be in the World Boxing Hall of Fame. Muhammad Ali was a real sport gentleman, was not involved in scandals, was engaged in charity work. He is the prototype of one of the figures of the Rocky cinema franchise – a black friend of the protagonist.
1. Joe Louis
- Career time: 1934-1951
- Victories: 66 (52 K.O.)
- Defeats: 3
The most famous world heavyweight champion Joe Louis closing the list of the greatest boxers of all time. He held his title for almost 12 years, during which Joe has 25 fights with total victory. Of the 66 wins, 52 completed through K.O. This record is still unbroken.
The «Brown Bomber» grew up in a poor large family, and the peak of his boxing career occurred during World War II. He won world fame in 1936, defeating Max Schmeling, the German professional boxer, world champion in his weight category, and Hitler’s favorite.
Until 1941, Joe Louis achieved a lot of victories and received the title of boxer of the year for the fourth time. According to the «Ring» magazine in 2001, Louis recognized as the best puncher in the history of boxing. Joe Louis became the prototype of the heroes of two films: «The Story of Joe Louis,» «Joe and Max,» and participated in dozens of films of that time.
The «Brown Bomber» Joe Louis was a true legend of a super heavyweight, and sit on the throne of champion for over 140 months and managed to defend the title 25 times. He became one of the first African Americans who were popular among the white public of the first half of the 20th century in the USA.
Boxing, and especially professional one, is a sport of real men, in which only the strongest, tough, fast and smart wins. The greatest boxers staged real thrillers in the battles for the champion title and won an incredible series of victories that will be in history forever. Their work and talent have made a significant contribution to the popularization of this sport.