The greatest bantamweight fighters in boxing history

Profile Picture: Danny Howard

June 9th, 2020

While often hidden from the mainstream boxing public, the bantamweight division has been the home of legendary fighters, whose careers have stood the test of time.

Join us as we salute the five best bantamweights of all time.

5. Orlando Canizales

Canizales was a dominant champion, and he defended his bantamweight title 17 times over seven years.

One of the most well-rounded fighters in recent memory, Canizales was equal parts slick and strong, with a methodical approach to land devastating shots.

While he never unified the titles and fought against mostly forgettable opponents, Canizales’ skills and lengthy run is enough to prove he would have been great in any previous era.

4. Ruben Olivares

One of two legendary Mexican fighters on this list, “Rockabye Ruben” was one of the most ferocious punchers in the history of the division.

Of his 88 wins, Olivares stopped 77 opponents, and those stoppages ranged from routine to devastating. During his run at bantamweight, Olivares notched wins against the likes of Lionel Rose, Chucho Castillo, and Kazuyoshi Kanazawa.

In the pantheon of great Mexican fighters, Olivares is universally regarded as one of the best.

3. Panama Al Brown

A fighter who was a freak of nature, Brown somehow made the 118-pound limit at 6-foot tall and with a 76-inch reach.

Brown was a legitimate terror, as he possessed explosive speed and power, to go along with his other physical advantages.

Brown reigned as bantamweight champion for six years and often fought between bantamweight and featherweight during his reign. Not only was Brown a dominant champion, but he was also the first fighter of Latino descent to win a recognized world title.

2. Carlos Zarate

Zaratemwas known for his bone-crunching power and dominance during a three-year reign that ended with a dusty decision.

Even before he won the title, Zarate was in the midst of a second 20-plus stoppage streak during his reign of terror, with notable wins over Andres Hernandez, Rodolfo Martinez, and Alberto Davila. His best win was a savage, fourth-round victory over rival Alfonso Zamora.

1. Eder Jofre

A boxer on the short list of the greatest South American fighters, Jofre was a tactical genius and a violent operator.

Jofre’s run at the top was practically uncontested. He easily dominated his opponents and made formidable challengers look like middling foes.

A pair of losses came late in his career, to fellow all-time great Fighting Harada in competitive bouts, but for the sum of his work, Jofre was the best who ever did it at bantamweight.