Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: A Quarter Century of Greatness
FightHype Community > BOXING HYPE > Boxing
King Eugene
Pretty interesting article I came across about the best 25 boxers in the last 25 years. Just thought I'd share it with everybody else.

Boxing's 25 Best in the Last 25 Years

by Paul Magno


25) Riddick Bowe:
43-1 (33 KO), 1989-Present

Key Wins: Bert Cooper, Tony Tubbs, Bruce Seldon, Evander Holyfield (2-1), Andrew Golota (2)

Key Losses: Evander Holyfield

Bowe was perhaps the most physically gifted of his contemporary Heavyweights yet, aside from his series win over Holyfield, he has little to show for it. Solid wins litter his resume, but talent and respectable competition don’t cut it on any all-time list. Names like Lewis, Tyson, Moorer and Mercer were around…Bowe had the potential to beat them all.

24) Joe Calzaghe: 46-0 (33 KO), 1993-2009

Key Wins: Chris Eubank, Robin Reid, Byron Mitchell, Jeff Lacy, Mikkel Kessler, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr.

Key Losses: None

After a solid win over an older Chris Eubank to become WBO Super Middleweight Champ, Calzaghe went about setting a record of 21 straight title defenses against mostly 2nd and 3rd tier opposition. His saving graces were his total domination of Lacy and 2 respectable wins over Kessler and Hopkins.

23) Azumah Nelson: 39-6-2 (28 KO), 1979-2008 azumah20nelson

Key Wins: Wilfredo Gomez, Juan LaPorte, Jeff Fenech (1-1-1), Calvin Grove, Rafael Ruelas (2), Jesse James Leija (1-2-1)

Key Losses: Salvador Sanchez, Pernell Whitaker, Jesse James Leija, Jeff Fenech, Genaro Hernandez

The world first caught a glimpse of the very young Azumah when he went toe-to-toe with the great Salvador Sanchez…and the heart he displayed that day carried on throughout the rest of his career. “The Professor” was never the most physically gifted fighter, but he used his experience, superb conditioning and blue-collar work ethic to become one of the very best and the measuring stick for fighters in the Featherweight and Super Featherweight divisions for almost 15 years.

22) Mike McCallum: 49-5-1 (36 KO), 1981-1997


Key Wins: David Braxton, Julian Jackson, Milton McCrory, Donald Curry, Herol Graham, Steve Collins, Michael Watson, Sumbu Kalambay (1-1)

Key Losses: Sumbu Kalambay, James Toney (2), Fabrice Tiozzo, Roy Jones Jr.

Aside from having one of the coolest nicknames in the history of the sport, “The Bodysnatcher” was almost a blueprint for the perfect boxer. He was a “most feared man” before the term became popular and many of the sport’s best avoided him until the very end of his career. Still, McCallum was able to have a great deal of success on the European circuit and he accounted for himself well, even when he was past his prime. corrales2x

21) Diego Corrales: 40-5 (33 KO), 1996-2007

Key Wins: Roberto Garcia, Derrick Gainer, Angel Manfredy, Jose Luis Castillo (1-1), Joel Casamayor (1-2) Acelino Freitas

Key Losses: Floyd Mayweather Jr, Joel Casamayor, Jose Luis Castillo

People forget just how much “Chico” Corrales terrorized the Super Featherweight division. With 27 brutal KO’s in his first 33 fights, Corrales just may have been the heaviest-handed 130 pounder in the history of the sport. Plus, who could ever forget his classice performance against Castillo in what could arguably have been the greatest fight of the last 25 years? RIP Chico.

20) Juan Manuel Marquez: 50-4-1 (37 KO), 1993-Present


Key Wins: Agapito Sanchez, Manuel Medina, Derrick Gainer, Marco Antonio Barrera, Rocky Juarez, Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz)

Key Losses: Freddie Norwood, Chris John, Manny Pacquiao

Despite treading water in the early part of his career, Marquez has come on strong and has shown his excellence across 3 divisions. 2 of his key losses, against John and Pacquiao, have been of the controversial variety and the draw came in a fight with Pacquiao where he was dropped three times in the first. Marquez has the skill and drive to work his way up on this list and could very well find himself Top 5 or Top 10 by the time he retires.

19) Ricardo Lopez: 51-0-1 (38 KO), 1985-2001


Key Wins: Kermin Guardia, Alex Sanchez, Rosendo Alvarez (1-0-1), Will Grigsby, Ratanapol Sor Vorapin

Key Losses: None

The only negative about “Finito” Lopez was that there were no competitors in his weight class who were capable of giving him a quality tussle. With picture-perfect technique and the cold, calculating mind of an assasin, Lopez was as close to perfect as a human could be. There’s little doubt that if he were born 30-40 lbs. heavier, he would be at the very top of this list.

18) Miguel Cotto
: 33-1 (27 KO), 2001-Present

Key Wins: Cesar Bazan, Carlos Maussa, Randall Bailey, DeMarcus Corley, Paulie Malignaggi, Carlos Quintana, Zab Judah, Shane Mosley

Key Losses: Antonio Margarito, Manny Pacquiao

Miguel Cotto at 140 lbs was as dominant a champion as you’ll ever find and, at 147, he’s proven himself a fighter who will fight (and can beat) anyone in front of him. One of the best offensive fighters of this era, his lone defeat at the hands of Margarito can be called into question due to Margarito’s controversial use of plaster-laced handwraps. Loss to Margarito or not, Cotto has become the standard-bearer at 147.

17) Winky Wright:
51-5-1 (25 KO), 1990-Present winky

Key Wins: Andrew Council, Bronco McKart (3), Keith Mullings, Shane Mosley (2), Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey, Jermain Taylor (Draw)

Key Losses: Julio Cesar Vazquez, Harry Simon, Fernando Vargas, Bernard Hopkins, Paul Williams

Wright may not always have been the most exciting fighter, but few could argue with his success or the skill-set demonstrated by his two wins over Mosley and his complete domination of Trinidad. Avoided by many of the top talents, Wright and his defense-minded southpaw trick book were forced into fighting whoever he could, whenever a fight could be made- even to the point of spending 5 prime years on the European circuit.

16) Jose Luis Castillo:
57-9-1 (49 KO), 1990-Present


Key Wins: Jorge Paez, Stevie Johnston (1-0-1), Cesar Bazan, Juan Lazcano, Joel Casamayor, Julio Diaz, Diego Corrales (1-1), Herman Ngoudjo

Key Losses: Floyd Mayweather (2), Diego Corrales, Ricky Hatton

Possibly the most underrated boxer on this list, Castillo had the misfortune of emerging after training partner Julio Cesar Chavez and at the same time as guys like Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Castillo didn’t capture too many headlines; He just set about becoming one of the all-time greats at Lightweight through a steady pace of quality wins and exciting performances.
King Eugene
15) Felix Trinidad: 42-3 (35 KO), 1990-2008

Key Wins: Maurice Blocker, Hector Camacho, Yori Boy Campas, Oba Carr, Freddie Pendleton, Pernell Whitaker, Oscar De la Hoya, David Reid, Fernando Vargas, William Joppy, Ricardo Mayorga

Key Losses: Bernard Hopkins, Winky Wright, Roy Jones Jr.

With two precision rockets for fists, “Tito” Trinidad established himself as one of the finest offensive fighters of his era. Like most punchers, he could be outboxed, but the fighters who could do so were few and far between from 147 lbs to 160. Trinidad will go down as one of this generation’s most brutal KO artists and one of its most talented offensive fighters.

14) Mike Tyson: 50-6 (44 Ko), 1985-2005 mike-tyson

Key Wins: Trevor Berbick, James Smith, Tony Tucker, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno (2), Donovan Ruddock (2), Bruce Seldon, Frans Botha

Key Losses: Buster Douglas, Evander Holyfield (2), Lennox Lewis, Danny Williams, Kevin McBride

“Iron” Mike spent a total of about 6 prime years of his career in deep personal and managerial problems- including a nearly four year prison sentence. However, for about a 3 year period from 1986 to 1989, no fighter in any division at any time was as dominant as Tyson. Using his phenomenal physical gifts, combined with Cus D’amato’s peek-a-boo defense and a generous amount of pure rage, Tyson became the youngest Heavyweight champion in history and maybe the most feared as well.

13) Erik Morales: 48-6 (34 KO), 1993-2007

Key Wins: Daniel Zaragoza, Junior Jones, Wayne McCullough, Marco Antonio Barrera (1-2), Kevin Kelley, Guty Espadas Jr. (2), Paulie Ayala, Jesus Chavez, Manny Pacquiao (1-2)

Key Losses: Marco Antonio Barrera (2), Zahir Raheem, Manny Pacquiao (2), David Diaz

The pride of Tijuana, “El Terrible,” came from humble beginnings to earn himself a position among the all-time greats from 122 to 130 lbs. Morales fought like a brawler with the sensibilities of a boxer, mixing solid fundamentals with the heart of a warrior. This mix made him one of the all-around best of this era and a earned him a rightful place among the other Mexican Boxing legends.

12) Shane Mosley: 46-5 (39 KO), 1993- Present

Key Wins: Philip Holiday, John John Molina, Jesse James Leija, Oscar De la Hoya (2), Fernando Vargas (2), Luis Collazo, Ricardo Mayorga, Antonio Margarito

Key Losses: Vernon Forrest (2), Winky Wright (2), Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Just when everybody thought he was on the decline following his loss to Miguel Cotto, “Sugar” Shane shocked the world by knocking out Ricardo Mayorga and then, more surprisingly, totally dominating and brutalizing 147 lb kingpin, Antonio Margarito to once again capture a piece of the Welterweight title. Considering his recent success, its very possible that Mosley could earn himself an even higher placement on this list by the time he retires.

11) Marco Antonio Barrera:
65-7 (43 KO), 1989-Present marco_barrera_240x230_040405

Key Wins: Agapito Sanchez, Kennedy McKinney, Erik Morales (2-1), Naseem Hamed, Johnny Tapia, Paulie Ayala, Rocky Juarez (2)

Key Losses: Junior Jones (2), Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao (2), Juan Manuel Marquez, Amir Khan

Imagine picture-perfect technique and flawless execution delivered by a fighter with the sensibilities of a street thug- That was Marco Antonio Barrera. “The Baby Faced Assasin” became an all-time great from 122 to 130 lbs. by displaying the technique of a real craftsman with the attitude of a cold-blooded assasin. Winning was his primary drive and he rolled over most everyone who tried to get in his way.

10) Evander Holyfield:
42-10-2 (27 KO), 1984-2008

Key Wins: Dwight Muhammad Qawi (2), Carlos DeLeon, Buster Douglas, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe (1-2), Michael Moorer (1-1), Ray Mercer, Mike Tyson (2), John Ruiz (1-1-1), Hasim Rahman

Key Losses: Riddick Bowe (2), Michael Moorer, Lennox Lewis, John Ruiz, Chris Byrd, James Toney, Larry Donald, Sultan Ibragimov, Nikolay Valuev

“The Real Deal’s” first mark on professional prize fighting was as the greatest Cruiserweight of all-time. As a Heavyweight, Holyfield used heart, soul and old-school toughness to beat more than his fair share of Boxing’s best big men. Even well past his prime, Holyfield never cheated the public with a sluggish performance or a half-hearted effort; Evander was a real warrior, through and through.toney3

9) James Toney: 71-6-3 (43 KO), 1989-Present

Key Wins: Michael Nunn, Reggie Johnson, Mike McCallum (2-0-1), Iran Barkley, Tim Littles, Charles Williams, Vassiliy Jirov, Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman (D)

Key Losses: Roy Jones Jr., Montell Griffin (2), Drake Thadzi, Samuel Peter (2)

Freddie Roach, Toney’s ex-trainer, recently said that an in-shape Toney had the potential to be the best fighter ever. Few who saw Toney at his best would rule out Roach’s assesment as pure fantasy. “Lights Out” outclassed fighters from 160 all the way up to 190, giving his opponents lessons in classic, old-school combat. With quick hands and a supremely tight defense, Toney’s only apparent weakness was at the dinner table where he probably ate away a few prime years of his otherwise stellar career.

8.) Manny Pacquiao: 48-3-2 (36 KO), 1995-Presentpacquiao-diaz

Key Wins: Jorge Julio, Marco Antonio Barrera (2), Juan Manuel Marqez (1-0-1), Erik Morales (2-1), Oscar Larios, Jorge Solis, David Diaz, Oscar de la Hoya

Key Losses: Medgoen Singsurat, Erik Morales

Boxing’s true “Mexicutioner,” Pacquiao has beaten a virtual Mt. Rushmore of Mexican greats in Barrera, Morales, Marquez and Larios. Over the course of his career “The Pac-man” has transformed himself from a wild rush of southpaw fury into a sharp and focused, division-jumping, pro. His most recent domination of De la Hoya proved all critics and, most experts, wrong. Boxing’s current Pound for Pound king has established himself as the force to reckon with in every division from 130 to 147.

7) Lennox Lewis:
41-2-1 (32 KO), 1989-2003 lewis1

Key Wins: Donovan Ruddock, Tony Tucker, Frank Bruno, Ray Mercer, Oliver McCall (1-1), Andrew Golota, Shannon Briggs, Evander Holyfield (1-0-1), Frans Botha, David Tua, Hasim Rahman (1-1), Mike Tyson, Vitali Klitschko

Key Losses: Oliver McCall, Hasim Rahman

Maybe the most controversial placement on this list because Lewis seems to bring up vastly different assesments of his abilities and accomplishments. What can’t be disputed about Lennox, though, was the fact that he fought everyone in the division who was willing to fight him and mosltly won convincingly. His only two losses were avenged brutally. When Boxing has time to reflect, Lewis will be remembered as the best Heavyweight since prime Larry Holmes and, maybe, the best since Ali.

6) Floyd Mayweather Jr.:
39-0 (25 KO), 1996-Present mayweather2a

Key Wins: Genaro Hernandez, Diego Corrales, Carlos Hernandez, Jesus Chavez, Jose Luis Castillo (2), DeMarcus Corley, Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, Oscar De la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley

Key Losses: None

One of the most gifted and best-schooled fighters of this era, “Pretty Boy/Money” Mayweather lit up the 130-135 lb division, beating the best of those divisions and displaying skills and abilities on an “all-time” level. Above 140 lbs, received criticisms for not fighting the very best, but still found a way to become 140, 147 and 154 lb. champ and true, lineal champ at Welterweight. In all fairness to Mayweather, actual timelines and business issues stood in the way of the one fight he could actually be accused of skipping- against Miguel Cotto.
King Eugene
5) Julio Cesar Chavez: 107-6-2 (86 KO), 1980-2005 chavez

Key Wins: Roger Mayweather (2), Rocky Lockridge, Juan La Porte, Edwin Rosario, Bazooka Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Meldrick Taylor, Hector Camacho, Frankie Randall (2-1), Joey Gamache, Ivan Robinson

Key Losses: Frankie Randall, Oscar De la Hoya (2), Willy Wise, Kostya Tszyu, Grover Wiley

In his prime, there was nobody who better represented the classic Mexican style and the classic Mexican fight ethic than “El Gran Campeon Mexicano.” With brutal body work, a calculated temper and a cast-iron chin, Chavez bullied his way to dominance from the Super Featherweight division all the way up to Welterweight. Chavez’s toughest enemy was his own weakness for partying and the last couple of years of his career saw him be a shadow of his true self. Prime Chavez is of the “all-time” class and Top 5 of the last 25 years.

4) Oscar De la Hoya: 39-6 (30 KO), 1992-2008 oscar

Key Wins: Jorge Paez, John John Molina, Rafael Ruelas, Genaro Hernandez, Jesse Jame Leija, Julio Cesar Chavez (2), Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Pernell Whitaker, Wilfredo Rivera, Ike Quartey, Oba Carr, Javier Castillejo, Fernando Vargas, Felix Sturm, Ricardo Mayorga)

Key Losses: Felix Trinidad, Shane Mosley (2), Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao

The tired, old cliche about “The Golden Boy” is that he “never won the big ones.” Well, it could also be said that only one fighter, Shane Mosley, ever really beat De la Hoya in the roughly 7 years of his his prime, from 135 to 147 lbs. Oscar not only became the face of boxing for more than a decade, but he did so with class and dignity. His resume has more big names than the Warsaw phone book- he fought the best of his generation. Were some of those names older or naturally smaller than De la Hoya? Yes, but his fame drew the best fighters to the table and, much more often than not, Oscar fought them.

3) Bernard Hopkins: 49-5-1 (32 KO), 1988-Present bernard_hopkins1

Key Wins: John David Jackson, Glen Johnson, Simon Brown, Antwun Echols (2), Keith Holmes, Felix Trinidad, Carl Daniels, William Joppy, Oscar De la Hoya, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik

Key Losses: Roy Jones Jr., Jermain Taylor (2), Joe Calzaghe

The symbol of technical excellence and old-school toughness, Hopkins has been boxing at the highest levels for more than 15 years. “The Executioner’s” numbers can’t be argued with- He was the sport’s last unified, 4-belt champ, 20 successful defenses as a Middleweight, and at 41 years of age he embarked on a second career run that saw him become the true, lineal champ at Light Heavyweight. For the vast majority of his career, B-Hop labored under the burden of being an outsider, shunned by promoters and sanctioning bodies for his outspoken tirades against Boxing’s injustices. B-Hop has had the final laugh and is evidence to the fact that superb conditioning and hard-earned ring intelligence are a boxer’s two greatest weapons.

2) Roy Jones Jr.: 53-5 (39 KO), 1989-Present jones1

Key Wins: Bernard Hopkins, Thulani Malinga, James Toney, Mike McCallum, Montell Griffin, Virgil Hill, Reggie Johnson, Eric Harding, Clinton Woods, John Ruiz, Antonio Tarver (1-2)

Key Losses: Montell Griffin, Antonio Tarver (2), Glen Johnson, Joe Calzaghe

Jones was one of the most physically gifted fighter of all-time and, definitely, the most gifted of this era. Jones easily dominated world class fighters with an almost super human hand speed and uncanny reflexes. Literally untouchable for the better part of a decade, “RJ” ruled the world from 160 to 175 lbs and collected belts like matchbook covers, acquiring straps that most never even knew existed. The last flash in his career was his move up to heavyweight to capture the WBA title from John Ruiz. As his physical gifts diminished with age, Jones became vulnerable and beatable, but nobody can ever take away from the total excellence Jones displayed in his, 16-punch combination, pre-fight basketball-playing, prime.

1) Pernell Whitaker: 40-4-1 (17 KO), 1984-2001 whitaker

Key Wins: Roger Mayweather, Greg Haugen, Jose Luis Ramirez (1-1), Freddie Pendleton, Azumah Nelson, Jorge Paez, Rafael Pineda, Buddy McGirt (2), Julio Cesar Chavez (D), Julio Cesar Vazquez, Jake Rodriguez, Wilfredo Rivera

Key Losses: Jose Luis Ramirez, Oscar De la Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Carlos Bojorquez

“Sweet Pea” was quite frankly, the best boxer of these last 25 years. With the best defense since Willy Pep and the inherent ring smarts of a Sugar Ray Robinson, Whitaker set about a pace of utter dominance from Lightweight to Welterweight, with the two blights on his record (a loss to Ramirez and a draw to Chavez) being complete robberies. Most amazing was the fact that not only did Pernell beat the best of his class, but for a long period of time, he rarely even lost a round! Pernell Whitaker was the perfect combination of gifted athlete and learned student of the game…and he was Boxing’s Best Over The Last 25 Years.



Honorable Mention (in no particular order): Michael Nunn, Ricky Hatton, Terry Norris, Johnny Tapia, Humberto Gonzalez, Michael Carbajal, Nigel Benn, Iran Barkley, Virgil Hill, Chris Eubank, Naseem Hamed, Meldrick Taylor, Kostya Tszyu
Warlord
Some good names on the list, but the order is fucked.

Oscar De La Hoya above Evander Holyfield? On what fucking planet? Oscar never beat anyone in their prime. Holyfield just recently earned a portion of the heavyweight title, regardless of what the judges said. Oscar couldn't carry Holy's jock-strap.
Fitz
Nice thread. I like the names on the list, but like Warlord said, don't know about the order.

Oscar is rated too high. Manny Pacquiao is rated too low. Juan Marquez is too low as well.

Corrales? He has always been so freaking overrated and even more overrated that he is no longer with us. I would fuck Corrales off and put in Kostya Tszyu.

Keith
Anyone who touched the canvas as much as Whitaker... shouldnt be #1.
The CEO
Paul Magno must be a lifelong, casual fan...

That's one fucked up list.
Maxy
The order could be argued and there are one or two I wouldn't have in that list....

BUT...

No.1 Is spot on in my opinion.
streetlion1
Its a good list for the most part but the order is wrong. I might put Mayweather at number 1....Holyfield should be higher, CalSlappy doesnt need to be on it, and Pacquiao is rated too high.
BigG
Its a good list. I'd have Pacman higher than Chavez and DLH. I love Chico but neither he or Castillo should be rated above McCalum or Azumah Nelson.
rusty_trombone
I don't know what DLH is doing that high, Kostya should be on the list somewhere. I also think at this point Floyd should be higher, and probably Manny.
Big Slim Sweet
De La Hoya at 4 is disgraceful. Fame and popularity should NOT be included among his accomplishments.

Holyfield at 10 is equally wretched. I think you could make a case for the Warrior being top 3.

And Terry Norris deserves some honorable mention at least.
Snoop
Joe Calzaghe... thumbsdown_anim.gif
Nay_Sayer
QUOTE (Warlord @ Jul 14 2010, 03:18 AM) *
Some good names on the list, but the order is fucked.

Yep.

Dude must have been smoking crack while shooting heroin...
Nay_Sayer
QUOTE (Big Slim Sweet @ Jul 14 2010, 09:59 AM) *
Holyfield at 10 is equally wretched. I think you could make a case for the Warrior being top 3.

No.

Top ten and maybe top 5.

Whitaker
Jones jr
Mayweather

Are the top three of the last 25 years, no question...

BigG
I agree with Whitaker at number 1. Past his prime and STILL arguably beat a PRIME De La Hoya.....
JLUVBABY
its a pretty fair list... i mean its one mans opinion so it it what it is... i can see whitaker being ranked number 1.. really who was better than a prime whitaker in the last 25 years?... only fighter id make that argument with would be a prime roy jones... personally i think he's the best prime fighter ive seen period since i've been watching the fights and that dates back to the late 70's that i can remember to early 80's...
STEVENSKI
Where is Jeff Fenech on that list? A undefeated 4 division champion but he ain't on there? Nasem Hamed deserves a honourable mention?
Fitz
QUOTE (STEVENSKI @ Jul 17 2010, 11:21 AM) *
Where is Jeff Fenech on that list? A undefeated 4 division champion but he ain't on there? Nasem Hamed deserves a honourable mention?


What about Kostya Tszyu? He should be on that list.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.