The greatest heavyweight boxers of all time

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October 18th, 2019

Heavyweight fever is finally coming back to boxing as we are entering a new great era of competition. Whoever is the last man standing will still have a ways to go before they are remembered as one of the greatest that ever did it. Here are the five greatest heavyweights of the modern era.

5. Larry Holmes

“The Easton Assassin” was unappreciated for his time for being an un-enigmatic successor to Muhammad Ali, yet he became the most dominant heavyweight champions in history. During his 20 defense reign, Holmes defeated the likes of Ali, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers and Mike Weaver. After a brief retirement, Holmes returned to the ring in his 40s to reclaim his titles, but came up short in competitive decisions to Evander Holyfield and Oliver McCall.

4. Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield was at his best during the last great era of heavyweights in the 1990s. His bouts with the likes of George Foreman, Alex Stewart and his trilogy with Riddick Bowe made him one of the sport’s biggest stars. Holyfield cemented his status as a legend when he easily stopped Mike Tyson in their first superfight. Holyfield also holds the distinction of being the only fighter to win the heavyweight title four times.

3. Lennox Lewis

A true fighter for all times, Lennox Lewis did not face a man in the ring that he couldn’t beat, and his stranglehold on the division at the turn of the 21st century is still felt today. Heavily avoided during the 1990s, Lewis would establish his dominance with a pair of wins over Holyfield and by destroying Mike Tyson in what was the biggest fight in boxing history. Lewis would also defeat future champions Shannon Briggs, Hasim Rahman and Vitali Klitschko before calling it quits.

2. George Foreman

Perhaps the most ferocious puncher in heavyweight history, George Foreman was a frightening specimen. During his run in the 1970s, Foreman’s displays against Joe Frazier, Norton and a war with Ron Lyle already established his greatness. After shockingly losing the title to Muhammad Ali in the “Rumble in the Jungle,” Foreman would regain the title 20 years later by knocking out Michael Moorer and completing the greatest comeback in boxing history. Very few fighters can hold the distinction of being a top 10 fighter in two different eras, and that speaks to the type of special fighter Foreman was.

1. Muhammad Ali

How could it be anyone else besides a man universally acknowledged as “The Greatest”? Ali’s resume includes a who’s-who of all-time greats in the division across three title reigns coming in different stages of his career. He transcended the sport unlike anyone that came before him. With a style that emphasized technical grace and a tactical killer instinct, Ali became the gold standard for heavyweights. There would be no era in history where Ali wouldn't be be too much to handle for other fighters.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Tyson, Wladimir Klitschko, Riddick Bowe, Sonny Liston

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