The big men of boxing are making the division big-time again. The likes of Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, and Anthony Joshua have brought the excitement back to boxing’s premier weight class. But before these current heavyweight elites came, there were those who paved the way for boxing’s heavyweight division to become its glamor weight class and literally the biggest in the sport.

Let’s take a look at the Top 10 heavyweight boxers of all-time

“Boxing" 1.Muhammad Ali

Everyone remembers him as Muhammad Ali but he was born as Cassius Clay Jr. Ali is known as “The Greatest” and arguably he is, not just because of his ring achievements but because of how he transcended the sport of boxing. Ali is the most recognizable figure in the history of the sport and he is one of the most popular athletes of all-time. As he described himself: he floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. He had the gift of gab and the ability to mesmerize the crowd with his speech. Love or hate him, he was the best talker in the business. Ali is the only three-time lineal heavyweight champion in history. He was also a gold medalist in the lightweight division at the 1960 Olympic games. Considering he lost four years of his athletic prime when he refused to be drafted to the military during the Vietnam war, Ali’s two decades career was more than impressive. Not only was he the first man to win the heavyweight title three times, but he also did so during the heavyweight division’s most competitive period.

“Boxing" 2. Joe Louis

Joe Louis fought in a period where World War 2 was in full swing and he brought the luster back to boxing after the Jack Dempsey era ended. Louis was featured in the military recruitment posters to help America build its forces against Adolf Hitler and Germany.

Dubbed as the “Brown Bomber”, he fought all challengers and would reign as the undisputed heavyweight champion for a period of 11 ¾ years and he made a record 25 times and retired as champion in 1949. In 2005, Louis was named as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time by the International Boxing Research Organization.

“Boxing" 3. Rocky Marciano

Rocky Marciano stood just 5-10 and he weighed only 185 pounds but he possessed the punching power of a true heavyweight. Marciano was unbeaten in 49 bouts with 43 of those wins coming by way of knockout. Yes, Rocky is the only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated and owns the longest winning and unbeaten streak in the heavyweight division. He had a short boxing career which lasted from 1947 to 1956, the highlight of which was his knockout of Joe Walcott in Philadelphia in 1952. Marciano made six consecutive successful title defenses before he retired.

“Boxing" 4. George Foreman

George Foreman won an Olympic gold medal during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico at the age of 19 after just 21 amateur fights. With power, size, and agility, Foreman first won the heavyweight title by dropping Joe Frazier six times and scoring a second-round knockout win in 1973. He would fight Muhammad Ali in one of boxing’s most popular fights in 1974. Dubbed as “Rumble in the Jungle”, Foreman would lose the heavyweight title to Ali. But in one of the greatest comebacks in sports, he reclaimed the heavyweight belt nearly 20 years from the day he lost it. In 1994, Foreman knocked out the then-unbeaten Michael Moorer. He did so while trailing on points and at the age of 45, to become the oldest fighter to win the heavyweight title. Foreman was known for eating burgers instead of going to the gym. When he retired, he made a fortune from the George Foreman Grill.

“Boxing" 5. Joe Frazier

Smokin Joe was tough as nails and he is one of the greatest athletes to come from the City of Brotherly Love. Joe Frazier won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. He earned the heavyweight title when Ali was imprisoned after refusing to be drafted to the military. They fought in 1971 and he won by decision after knocking down Ali in the 15th with his lethal hook. Frazier and Ali would fight again two times. Ali won both times including the third one which was known as the iconic “Thrilla in Manila” in the Philippines in 1975. Frazier fought in the golden generation of heavyweight boxing and took on all comers. His final record was 32-4-1 with 27 knockouts. His losses were to Ali and Foreman.

“Boxing" 6. Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson was the first African-American boxing heavyweight champion in 1908 and for seven years, he reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the World. Johnson held the title until 1915 when he was finally defeated by Jess Willard. He fought professionally from 1897-1928 and amassed a record of 77-13-13 with 19 no-contests and 48 knockouts. During his entire career, Johnson had to cope with racial discrimination. He persevered and became one of the greatest of all-time. More importantly, Johnson paved the way for African-American boxers.

“Boxing" 7. Larry Holmes

Larry Holmes was Muhammad Ali’s former sparring partner. He would go on to earn his stripes after winning a split decision during a 15-round war with Ken Norton in 1978. In 1980, Muhammad Ali came out of retirement to challenge Holmes. He would dish out punishment on the Great One and forced Ali’s corner to stop the fight after Round 10. Holmes defended his title successfully 20 times. His record was a perfect 48-0 when he lost to Michael Spinks. His career would last for nearly 30 years and he would accumulate a record of 69-6 with 44 knockouts.

“Boxing" 8. Mike Tyson

Iron Mike Tyson was one of the most feared men inside the boxing ring. His ability to overpower his opponent inside the ring was unmatched. If it weren’t for all the controversies he was involved in, he might have been the greatest of all-time. Tyson knocked out Trevor Berbick in 1986 to become the youngest heavyweight champion ever. He was a great intimidator, he had otherworldly punching power and incredible drawing ability. Tyson was undefeated in his first 37 fights before Buster Douglas knocked him out in 1990 in Tokyo. Tyson is also remembered for biting a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear during their controversial 1997 bout.

“Boxing" 9. Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield is the only fighter to win the heavyweight title a total of four times. The Real Deal won the cruiserweight gold medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics as an amateur. When he turned pro, he won all the cruiserweight belts to become undisputed champion before moving up to heavyweight. Holyfield beat Buster Douglas to become heavyweight champion. Holyfield would lose the belt to Riddick Bowe in 1992 but regained the belt in 1993 during their rematch. He knocked out Tyson in 1996 to reclaim the WBA heavyweight belt.

“Boxing" 10. Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey held the heavyweight title from 1919-1926. Known as the “Manasa Mauler”, Dempsey was one of the first superstars of the sport. He pulled the sporting public to towards boxing during a time when baseball’s New York Yankees were the most popular sports team in the country. Dempsey was as tough as they were. He took on all comers and made every one of his fights an epic classic. That’s why he was so popular during the ’20s. And that’s why he is one of the greatest ever. Dempsey’s final record was 61-6-8 with 50 knockouts and six no-decisions.

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