The Best Boxers Of All Time
“greatest of all time” lists — whether they’re about Disney movies or TV series finales — cause a certain amount of controversy.
The world would be a boring place if everyone had the same opinion, right? But a recent list of the greatest boxers of all time by record-keeping boxing website BoxRec got a lot of people seriously wound up. A BoxRec representative explained their point-based system, which rewards each boxer’s annual division performance.
“A boxer can get up to 200 points per year for defeating No. 1 or No. 2 in the division,” Martin Reichert told Bad Left Hook. “Another criteria additionally rewards the boxer’s annual P4P performance. A boxer can get up to another 200 points per year for defeating No. 1 or No. 2 over all divisions. Top wins per year are avenged by losses against lower-rated opponents in the referenced year, the year before and the year after. Top wins are rewarded much higher than medium-scale wins. The points per year are reduced to 1/2 for defeating No. 3, to 1/3 for defeating No. 4, 1/4 for defeating No. 5 etc. So defeating No. 11 earns only a 1/10 of defeating No. 1 or No. 2.”
It sounds like as good a way as any to determine the greatest boxers of all time. Here are the results — what do you think?
10. Julio Cesar Chavez (1,201 points; 107-6-2)
A multiple world champion in three weight divisions (super featherweight, lightweight and light welterweight), Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez competed professionally from 1980 to 2005. He holds the record for the most successful defenses of world titles (27), and enjoyed an unbroken run of 87 wins before his first professional loss to Frankie Randall in 1994. His 1993 win over Greg Haugen at the Estadio Azteca set a new record for the largest attendance for a boxing match at the time; they fought before a 132,274-strong crowd.
9. Oscar De La Hoya (1,262 points; 39-6-0)
Oscar De La Hoya started boxing at the tender age of five and went on to become one of the most popular boxers in the world. He won ten world titles in six divisions and earned more money in his boxing career than any fighter before him.
After he retired in 2009, De La Hoya focused on his business, Golden Boy Promotions, which has since promoted some of the greatest fighters of all time, including Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. In 2018, De La Hoya was instrumental in helping Canelo Alvarez sign the largest sports deal in history: a 5 year, $365-million contract sports streaming service DAZN.
8. Archie Moore (1,289 points; 186-23-10)
Archie Moore, a.k.a. “Mongoose,” is the longest-reigning world light heavyweight champion of all time. He also holds the record for the most knockouts by any boxer (145). The secret to his success? “Aways exercise the mind and never keep track of time,” was the advice he gave.
7. Joe Louis (1,466 points; 66-3-0)
Joe “Brown Bomber” Louis, one of the first black athletes to achieve national hero status in the U.S. for his victory over Max Schmeling of Germany in 1938, was heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949. During that time he defended his title 25 times to become the longest-reigning world heavyweight champion of boxing of all time. He volunteered to enlist as a private in the army in 1942 and reached the rank of sergeant before his release in 1945. In 1993, he became the first boxer to be honored by the U.S. Postal Service, when a Joe Louis 29-cent commemorative stamp was issued.
6. Bernard Hopkins (1,470 points; 55-8-2)
During his 28-year career (1988 to 2016), Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins held multiple world championships at middleweight and light heavyweight. In 2004, when he defeated Oscar De La Hoya for the WBO title, Hopkins became the first male boxer to simultaneously hold world titles by all four major boxing sanctioning bodies. When he won the light heavyweight title in 2011 at the age of 46, he became the oldest boxer in history to win a world championship, breaking the record set by George Foreman in 1994 at age 45.
5. Sugar Ray Robinson (1,473 points; 174-19-6)
Sugar Ray Robinson, hailed by Muhammad Ali as “the king, the master, my idol,” was the inspiration for the “pound for pound” ranking, used to describe a boxer whose skill in the ring puts him above every other fighter in the world, in any weight division. He was the welterweight champion for five consecutive years (1946 to 1951) and a five-time middleweight champion between 1951 and 1960). Another boxing legend, Sugar Ray Leonard, was quoted as saying, “Someone once said there’s a comparison between Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson. Believe me, there’s no comparison. Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest.”
4. Muhammad Ali (1,485 points; 56-5-0)
Hailed by many as the greatest boxer of all time — he even called himself “The Greatest” — Muhammad Ali can’t be overtaken when it comes to cultural and political influence. His record was affected by a four-year career break caused by his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War, but his comeback was impressive. He twice reclaimed his heavyweight championship and continued to be an ambassador for peace. In 2005, he received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, at a White House ceremony.
3. Carlos Monzon (1,588 points; 87-3-9)
Before Argentine playboy Carlos Monzon was sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing his girlfriend Alicia Muniz in 1988, he held the undisputed middleweight championship for seven years. “He remains both a violent, flawed idol and one of the greatest middleweights in history,” wrote Steve Bunce for The Independent. In 1995, after a home visit, Monzon died in a car crash.
2. Manny Pacquiao (1,628 points; 62-7-2)
The only active boxer on the list and the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing, Manny Pacquiao has delivered some of the sport’s most memorable performances in the ring. He annihilated Oscar De La Hoya in 2008, wiped out Ricky Hatton (in less than six minutes) in 2009 and overwhelmed Miguel Cotto a few months later. However, Pacquiao lost to Mayweather in the “Fight of the Century” in 2015. Today, Pacquiao also serves as a senator in the Philippines.
1. Floyd Mayweather Jr. (2,256 points; 50-0-0)
Always keen to come out of retirement to celebrate his 50-0-0 in the ring, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. was quick to share the BoxRec “Greatest of All Time” list on his Instagram page. “Numbers don’t lie and BoxRec told the truth. It is what it is,” his caption read. With a total of 2,256 points, Mayweather is over 800 points ahead of second-place Pacquiao on the list. According to Forbes,
Mayweather was the highest-earning athlete in the world in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018.