Join Date: Dec 2005
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This was mine from another thread:
10. Lennox Lewis - He was the last to officially clean up the division, though his wins against all-time greats Holyfield, and Tyson are skewed, given their ages. He was a sound technical fighter, he had good power, and given his size, would have been formidable in any era. He was one of the few who actually got better with age. He fought some of his best fights in his 30's, which is extremely rare, especially for a heavyweight. This is a temporary placeholder at #10, however, as this spot changes more frequently for me than any other on the list. Many people would place Jack Johnson, or someone else from a vintage era here, which is completely respectable.
9. Jack Dempsey - One of the original true terrors. He was smaller than a lot of guys, but he tore them down like it was his job. Well...I guess it technically was. He was dominant in his era, and although he encountered one piece of kryptonite during the course of his career (Tunney), that can't erase one of the true greats from history's list.
8. Charles "Sonny" Liston - Perhaps the most feared fighter of the entire century, Liston tore his way to the top, avenging his only decision loss (Marshall), and destroying then heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson twice, in a total of two rounds. I don't rate him any higher than 8 for now, however, as he only successfully defended his title once, and then failed to splash back onto the scene. He was a fierce, freak of nature, with an incredible reach, and a jackhammer jab.
7. Mike Tyson - A perpetual buzzsaw at his best, a sad, sub-human quitter at his worst, "Iron" Mike was perhaps the single most exciting fighter in heavyweight history. He tore through the division on his way to the crown, decimating all, and leaving little to question when he swept the championship belts onto his shoulders as a mere boy amongst men. Truly, the last heavyweight to hold the undisputed crown for any significant length of time. Were it not for his odd personna and tragic private life, he could have been discussed much higher on many lists. He had rare physical talents, perhaps not seen in any other fighter; he possessed speed, power, and elusiveness in dangerous supply. Given how he turned out, however, this is the absolute highest I can rate him, and he tends to fluctuate on my list from positions as high as 7, and as low as 12.
6. Joe Frazier - The hardest working individual, period. The man didn't lift weights, he was small for a heavyweight, he was a converted lefty, he was awkward, and at times slow. "Smokin" Joe Frazier was a warrior, a true battler who brought 100% from the opening introductions to the final bell. Perhaps my favorite fighter of all-time, he simply got there by out-hustling his opponents. A man with a heart as big as the moon, he could have been the greatest, were he not overshadowed by two others from the same era.
5. George Foreman - I place the grillmaster in the middle of my list, because his accomplishments weren't amazing, having only successfully defended the title for two professional bouts, and containing the largest list of tomato cans in grocery store history. Even so, the man was an absolute house. He even put my #6 boxer to shame, by knocking him to the canvas half-a-dozen times in two rounds. When it seemed as though he was merely a power slugger who's career never truly got there, he comes back, after more than nine years away, and slugs his way to the top to win the belt 20 years after losing it! He showed heart, and tactical boxing skill; two qualities sorely lacking from his dominant prime.
4. Larry Holmes - The man won 48 consecutive fights, and defended the title for 7 years before finally succumbing to age and wear. Even so, he went on to have a fairly successful extended career lasting well into his 50's. Perhaps the best pure boxer, with the most complete game on the list, the "Easton Assassin" is often underrated and dismissed as a shadow to the fighters of the 60's and 70's. I know one thing's for sure: he would perhaps be the single most difficult opponent for anyone at any point in history. He could come back from devastating power (see: Shavers 1 & 2), turn a fight around in the midst of losing (see: Witherspoon), and deliver a combination of speed, power, courage, and stamina that many of his predecessors couldn't boast of containing in such quantities together.
3. Rocky Marciano - The only heavyweight champion to retire undefeated. 49-0. Nothing else needs to be said. It doesn't matter who he faced, or how sloppy he was getting there, the man simply won. It's all he knew how to do. He couldn't be put away, and he had stamina to punch through walls for 20+ rounds. I rate him higher than do many other boxing historians, despite his (seemingly) lackluster competition, but he has accomplished something that may never happen again. He did this while taking on all comers and top contenders of his era.
2. Muhammad Ali - In a head-to-head competition, Ali beats nearly everyone on this list without too much trouble. Given the awkward style matchup, I'd say that he easily handles #1 & #3. This isn't a vs. list, however; it's the greatest champions. As a champion, he was superb. It's a shame that most of his time as champ was spent when his gifts of speed, fluidity, and elusiveness were gone. There is no doubt that Ali has had the biggest impact on the sport, and on particular groups of cultural society in America. "The Greatest" was taken from the sport during his prime years. Some would say it was a judgment for speaking out against the One True God, while others would claim that the government was out to get him. Whatever the case, he still overcame the loss of his swift feet to outsmart, and outwill his way back to the top, 10 years after accomplishing it the first time. He has left us with some of the best, and perhaps the most memorable moments in sports history.
1. Joe Louis - He defended the title 25 times over the course of a 12-year stretch. He avenged his first loss in the most impressive fashion seen before or since. He was sound in all aspects of the game. To have a "prime" last as long as he did is unfathomable by today's standards. He was simply the best, for the longest period of time, and didn't truly suffer a loss except while he was green (which he avenged in brutal fashion), and again, while he was well beyond his best years against Ezzard Charles and Rocky Marciano. Those names are hardly the tags of a couple of bums or journeymen. Joe Louis even took 4 years off to serve his country, and he still returned in very impressive fashion. The man was the most complete fighter in heavyweight history. The "Brown Bomber" loved the sport of boxing, and aided in bringing it to the forefront of all sports. Even though he would match up poorly to my #2, his accomplishments inside and outside of the ring are more than enough to earn him the #1 spot, on my list of the greatest heavyweights of all-time.
Well, there you have it. A little dramatic, a little wishy-washy, but it's my current list. Stay tuned when I'll probably change it in three days time.
Last edited by Brassangel; 08-22-2007 at 12:48 PM.