Southpaws are a pain in the head for the orthodox fighters. When you circle to the right, you move to his power punch. Then there’s always the tendency of getting head-butted or tripping on feet. Then, of course, there’s that straight left hand that you must be very wary about.
Left-handers aren’t just a problem for opponents. They are sometimes riddles that are tough to solve and often unsolved after 12 rounds, hence causing defeat. But just as it is difficult to fight these southpaws, it’s also difficult to find them. They aren’t rare, that’s for sure. But they are outnumbered and there is an even smaller number of left-handed boxers that belong to the category of all-time greats.
Here are 10 of them, the best southpaw boxers of all-time:
1. Marvin Hagler
Marvin Hagler isn’t just the greatest southpaw boxer of all-time, he is one of the all-time best at any stance. Marvelous had a record of 63-3-2 with 52 knockouts. Sure, he had three losses but one was a majority decision loss to Bobby Watts, another was a split decision loss against Sugar Ray Leonard and both fights could have gone either way. Hagler was an impressive 13-1-1 with 12 KOs in world title fights and made 12 successful title defenses of the middleweight world title.
2. Manny Pacquiao
It’s incredible to know that Manny Pacquiao started his boxing career at 108 pounds and he fought as high as a super welterweight against Antonio Margarito. Pacman is an eight-division world champion although some would say six. Regardless, that’s one hell of an achievement for a fighter who was a walk-in at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym many years ago. Pacman lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the Fight of the Century, the richest fight in any sport to date. Pacquiao is still fighting at 40 years of age and will face Keith Thurman later this month for the WBC welterweight title.
3. Pernell Whitaker
Sweetpea was a master of the science who had the precision of a surgeon inside the boxing ring. We refer to Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the best defensive fighter of all-time. But before Floyd, there was Whitaker who was like a ghost inside the boxing ring. This 1984 Olympic gold medalist is considered one of the greatest lightweight fighters ever. His six title defenses as the unified lightweight champion are the longest ever. He was the #1 pound for pound fighter in the planet from 1993-1997.in his greatest performance, he was robbed of a victory against then-unbeaten ( and unbeatable ) Julio Cesar Chavez whom he completely outboxed for 12 rounds.
4. Vicente Saldivar
Vicente Saldivar was a former WBC and WBA featherweight champion from Mexico. He is considered as one of the best featherweights of all-time and he holds the record for the longest reign as unified featherweight title at 8 title fights and seven title defenses. Saldivar once fought in front on 90,000 people at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. He finished his career with a record of 37-3 with 26 knockouts. Two of those losses came late in his career when he made a comeback after a brief retirement.
5. Tiger Flowers
Theodore “Tiger” Flowers became the first African-American world middleweight boxing champion when he defeated Harry Greb in 1926. He defeated Greb again, in a rematch before losing the title to Mickey Walker in a controversial decision. While trying to get a rematch, he died after complications following a surgical procedure to remove scar tissues around his eye. In less than a decade of professional boxing, his record of 136-15-8-2 with 56 knockouts was more than just impressive.
6. Gabriel Elorde
Before Manny Pacquiao, there was Gabriel Elorde. Known as the Flash for his lightning quickness inside the ring, Elorde is regarded as the greatest Filipino boxer of all-time. Elorde ended a 20-year title drought for the Philippines when he won the super featherweight title in 1960 by knocking out Harold Gomes in seven rounds. Elorde held on to the belt for seven long years as lineal title and he was the inaugural WBC and WBA super featherweight champion. Elorde owns a win over the legendary Sandy Saddler during a non-title bout.
7. Joe Calzaghe
Joe Calzaghe is the longest reigning super middleweight boxing champion in history after holding the WBO belt for over a decade while making 21 successful title defenses. The Pride of Wales was the first boxer to unify the four major belts at super middleweight and he was also the first Ring champion in that weight class. He retired unbeaten in 46 fights with 32 knockouts while winning seven world titles in two different weight classes. Calzaghe owns wins over all-time greats Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr.
8. Sergio Martinez
Sergio Martinez cleaned up the 160-pound weight class during his prime. From his spectacular knockout of Paul Williams in their rematch in 2010 to his dramatic win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in 2012, Maravilla was the best 160-pound fighter in the planet. Martinez spent a majority of his career as one of the most avoided fighters in the planet but after Paul Williams scored a controversial majority decision win over him in 2009, he entered the limelight and became the division’s biggest star.
9. Hector Camacho
The Macho Man was one of the most colorful figures in boxing. Before Prince Naseem Hamed, there was Hector Camacho. He was a wild man inside the ring and lived his life outside it just as wildly. The Puerto Rican was a world champion in three different weight classes and he captivated the crowds with his all-action fighting style and outrageous attires inside the ring. He retired Sugar Ray Leonard and defeated Roberto Duran twice. The flamboyant boxer was shot and seriously wounded outside a bar in 2012. He died four days later after being declared brain-dead.
10. Michael Moorer
Before he became a footnote on George Foreman’s greatest triumph, Michael Moorer was one of the best punchers the heavyweight division had ever seen. Moorer won world titles in two different weight classes but was more popular for his reign as the heavyweight champion of the world. In 1994, he defeated Evander Holyfield to become the unified heavyweight champion. He would lose the belts to Foreman in his next fight via stunning 10th round knockout. Moorer would recapture a piece of the titles when he won the vacant IBF heavyweight belt in Germany two years later. Holyfield defeated Moorer in their rematch to wrest the title.