The 20 Greatest Fighters Since 1985
The Greatest Fighters Since 1985 by talking boxing
20. Shane Mosley
Shane Mosley makes my list because he was such a dominant and dynamic lightweight. And his title winning performance over Oscar De La Hoya in 2000 was special as well. The reason he doesn’t make it higher is because of his losses to Winky Wright and Vernon Forrest
19. Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo was a brilliant technician. He really had no weakness. I would have ranked him higher, But he never really had a career defining performance.
18. Azumah Nelson
There will never be another Professor. He was a great boxer, and he knew when to go in for the kill. Who could forget his destructive victory over an excellent Jeff Fenech in their 2nd fight?
17. Erik Morales
The man has never given us a bad fight. He owns wins over fighters like Marco Antonio Barrera, Junior Jones, and Manny Pacquiao. He was perhaps the most exciting fighter of the last 20 years.
16. Marco Antonio Barrera
Barrera is a brilliant prizefighter; his 2 wins over Morales demonstrate his greatness. And nobody will forget his dominating performance over The Prince Naseem Hamed.
15. Kosta Tszyu
Tszyu is one of the most dominating Jr. Welterweight’s of the last 20 years. His laser like right hand is one of boxing best punches. The win that defined his career was his concussing knockout over current undisputed welterweight champion Zab Judah.
14. Meldrick Taylor
Experts would say I have Meldrick way too high...Oh what could have been though, and what a magical fighter he was before he got in there with Chavez in 1990. Meldrick Taylor had the fastest hands I had ever seen. That includes Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr. and Sugar Shane Mosley among others. He gave us the best fight of the 1990’s with his masterpiece against Julio Cesar Chavez. He was robbed of missing out of an opportunity to finish the fight on his feet that night. And after that his career was never the same.
13. Michael McCallum
Yes the original Body Snatcher. The man was explosive inside the ring. Everybody talks about his body attack. But he was a masterful boxer as well. His win over Donald Curry was an example of his mastery.
12. Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson once was the biggest and baddest man on the planet. He was knocking everybody out. And he became one of the most popular sports figures in the world. In 1990, Buster Douglas knocked him out, in the biggest upset in boxing history. After that he was never the same. He would reclaim his crown, but Evander Holyfield knocked him out again in 1996. He is still a viable PPV fighter only because there are still Tyson die hards out there.
11. James Toney
James “Lights Out” Toney is the fighter every other fighter admires. He is one of the most skillful fighters of the past 20 years, and he is also one of the most accomplished. He would win titles in 3 different weight divisions, and on April 30th of this year he has a chance to be a 4-division champion. His propensity to get out of shape moves him down a little on my list.
10. Lennox Lewis
Lennox never gets his due. He was the best Heavyweight fighter of the 1990’s. He had it all from power to excellent boxing skills. He would have ranked higher had he not been knocked out twice by Hasim Rahman and Oliver McCall
9. Sugar Ray Leonard - Marvelous Marvin Hagler
Yeah this may seem a bit low for both of these guys. But we are going from 1985 on, not 1978 on. So this is a good spot for both of these guys. Their 1987 fight was stuff of legend. And Hagler’s victory of Hearns in 1985 was one of the greatest fights in boxing history.
8. Tommy Hearns
Hearns above both of the guys who beat him, you may ask what the heck am I talking about. But remember that Hearns beat Sugar Ray Leonard in 1989, no matter what the judges said. And his victory over Virgil Hill to win the Light Heavyweight crown was stuff of legend.
7. Oscar De La Hoya
Oscar haters are going to be mad at me for this. But Oscar was a legitimate 4-division champion who fought the best fighters of his era. And while doing this he won more then he lost. His combination of speed and grace made him a fan favorite and his Hollywood looks made him a favorite of women fight fans. Regardless of what you think he will go down as a first ballot Hall of Famer.
6. Felix Trinidad
Perhaps the greatest Puerto Rican fighter ever, he has one of the best-left hooks I have ever seen. He is a destructive force, whose relentlessness is 2nd to none. Nobody will forget his crushing win over Fernando Vargas. People should not forget he was one of the greatest welterweights ever as well.
5. Julio Cesar Chavez
The greatest Mexican fighter of all time, to me he was just like Trinidad, except he had a better chin, but not as big a punch. He will be forever remembered for his comeback victory over Meldrick Taylor in 1990. But it was his work at 130 and 135 that made him a legend.
4. Bernard Hopkins
Bernard does everything right, give or take a few bad management decisions. He lives right, he fights right, and he understands the fight game better then any fighter I ever saw. He cares only about winning, and that is what he has done since he won the Middleweight title in 1995. His wins over Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya have defined his career.
3. Roy Jones Jr.
If you had asked me before beginning of last year, I would have told Roy was the best fighter of the past 20 years. He went through his career basically unchallenged, beating great fighters on this list like James Toney, Mike McCallum and Bernard Hopkins. But after his knock out loses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, he has lost some of his luster. But regardless, you can’t take away what the man accomplished. He was the most talented fighter I had ever seen.
2. Pernell Whitaker
Whitaker was the Willie Pep of our generation. He was so good he barely lost any rounds in his prime. In my opinion he is the greatest lightweight of all-time, and he was a damn good welterweight too. He boxed circles around, Azumah Nelson and Julio Cesar Chavez and everybody else. Even when he was way past his prime, he fought a prime Oscar De La Hoya even up. The man was just amazing.
1. Evander Holyfield
The Real Deal was the best fighter of this generation. It is not because of what he did at heavyweight. It was because of what he did at heavyweight and cruiserweight. He destroyed the cruiserweight division, and he went on to become the most exciting heavyweight fighter since Muhammad Ali. Yeah he didn’t win all of his heavyweight title fights, but he won a lot more then he lost. And he pretty much beat every bigger fighter he ever fought, besides Lennox Lewis. For sheer excitement, heart, and passion there will never be another Evander Holyfield.
James “Buddy” McGirt
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Michael Moorer, The Light Heavyweight Version