Ranking the top boxers of all time: from Jack Johnson to Tyson Fury, from Sugar Ray to Canelo, from Naoya Inoue to

This article is about doing the impossible: breaking down/ranking the best boxers of all time and almost magically being able to place them in some sort of chronological order as if they had been competing on the same playing field. Which of the power punchers landed the most devastating blows? Which boxers had the best record against the stiffest competition? Which were the most underrated and yet most feared? Which boxer had the best defensive skills while moving their head, body and legs and hardly ever getting touched? With this sport being so multi-generational, opinions will vary and some will be pure conjecture without anyone being able to review the effects of the different food intake, use of supplements, difference in coaching and training camps plus equipment used. How can you compare the best power puncher of a decade with the best boxer? It might be that you have already jumped on someone’s bandwagon but believe me boxing is one of those sports where the saying, “On any given day, any given night, a great boxer can beat anyone.”

The boxers on our all time list were chosen for their success as they climbed the ranks from hopeful to the invincible, during both the good times and the harshest of times. You can’t help taking into consideration a boxer’s showmanship, his popularity and no doubt those characteristics led to their immediate induction into the various Boxing Halls of Fame. While at times their stories and adversities were similar, there were also the different.

#1 We have selected Joe Louis “The Brown Bomber” from Detroit, Michigan by way of Lafayette, Alabama who had 66 wins, 3 losses, 52 KOs. Louis faced many boxing greats to include the 28-year-old Rocky Marciano in 1951 (by that time Louis was 37). In that fight Louis went through the ropes in Round #8. In his prime, Louis was unbeatable. He battled the likes of boxing greats Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Billy Conn, Buddy Baer, John Henry Lewis, the 6’5½″ tall Primo Carnera (88-14, 71 KOs) and his toughest opponent ever Germany’s Max Schmeling (twice). In Louis’ first meeting against Schmeling, Schmeling won by KO in Round #12 over the much younger and less experienced 28-year-old. In their second meeting, the more mature and better prepared Louis stopped Schmeling in the very first round.

Heavyweight Champ Joe Louis was an awesome talent and certainly loved by all for leading such an exemplary life style.

#2 Sugar Ray Robinson (173 wins – 19 losses, 109 KOs, 6 Draws, 2 No Contests). Over his long 25 year career (1940-1965), Robinson fought 200 bouts. After first winning the welterweight title, he moved up in weight to win the middleweight title (a record fives times). Over the first 11 years of his career, he had a record of 128-1-2 with wins over legends like Jake LaMotta, Kid Gavilan, Fritzie Zivic and Sammy Agnott. He later engaged in epic battles with even more Hall of Famers like Carmen Basilio, Rocky Graziano and Gene Fullmer. Because of his immense skill, the term “pound for pound” was coined to reference an exceptional fighter who managed to transport his or her incredible skills/talent throughout the multitude of weight classes which is a fete in itself.

#3 Jack Johnson (73 wins, 13 losses, 40 KOs, 9 Draws, 2 No Contests) was the first of many African American Heavyweight Champions who at times was coerced into throwing/losing a fight. That being said, Johnson was also known for being be the boldest ever of the trash talkers at a time when you could have easily been lynched by a mob – the multitude of haters.

#4 Henry Armstrong Jr. “Homicide Hank” from Los Angeles, Calif. who stood just 5′ 5½″ tall (had an amazing 151 wins, 21 losses and 10 Draws with 100 KOs). Armstrong who fought as a Featherweight, a Lightweight and a Welterweight was the first and only boxer to hold three World Championship Division Titles at the same time.

#4 Heavyweight Champion Jack Dempsey (66 wins – 6 losses, 51 KOs, 9 Draws). If you do your homework, go back two generations, you’ll discover “the Manassa Mauler” was one of the most popular American Boxers of his day despite being defeated twice by Gene “The Fighting Marine” Tunney (65-1-1, 48 KOs).

#5 Henry Armstrong Jr. (150 wins – 21 losses – 9 Draws with 100 KOs). Armstrong was the first and only boxer to hold three World Championship Division Titles a the same time.

#6 Willie Pep (229 wins – 11 losses – 1 Draw with 65 KOs). This elusive Italian-American Icon of the sport would wear opponents out with just head movement.

#9 “Iron” Mike Tyson (50 wins – 6 losses, 2 No Contests with 44 KOs). Like Marciano, Tyson has to be considered one of the most devastating punchers of all. On his ascendancy to becoming the World Heavyweight Champion, Mike Tyson was no doubt superior to all. Then, in that house of cards came tumbling down.

#10 Julio Cesar Chavez (107 wins – 6 losses, 2 Draws with 80 KOs). This Mexican legend went 10 plus years without a loss.

#11 From 1974 through 1982, the 5’10” tall Alexis Arguello (77-8, 62 KOs) from Managua, Nicaragua was the dominate Super Featherweight on up to Lightweight while holding down either the WBA or WBC crowns. Arguello’s rule ended when a gentleman by the name of Aaron Pryor from Cincinnati, Ohio (39-1, 35 KOs) came on the scene.

#12 Landing a punch on the 5’6″ tall southpaw Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker (40-4-1, 17 KOs) was compared to catching a butterfly without a net.

#13 Like Whitaker, the 5’5″ tall featherweight Jorge “El Maromero” Paez (79-14-5, 52 KOs) from Mexicali, B. C., Mexico was a crowd pleaser or should we say a grand circus act. He entertained the fans from 1984 until the close of 2003 (19 memorable years).

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