The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part One: 100-91

By Matt McGrain on June 13, 2014
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part One: 100-91
Firpo’s shot at Dempsey was paved as much by promotional bluster as solid foundation.

The human body is built to endure damage inflicted by an opponent of 160 lbs., but not of 200 lbs. Bones break. They fight in a different sport these behemoths…

A little over a year ago I began a series on the 100 Greatest Fighters of All Time which was warmly received on and beyond; more than that, I loved writing it. It was the learning, I think. I first laced a glove as a child, and during the stiff lessons that followed I learned more about this sport than I did at any other time – until I began to research in earnest the subjects that would make up that top hundred. 

Those early digs at the heavy bag and my jottings here at are really the sum total of my contribution to the sport I love, but between those small learning moments was a third, the first time I slotted into a VHS the video entitled “Mike Tyson: The Heavyweights.” Tyson, the charming, deferential, knowledgeable Tyson of the late 1980s rather than the babbling psychopath of the late 1990s, accompanies the late Harry Carpenter through the peaks and peaks of heavyweight history. Grainy black and white images of ancient champions Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey clashed vibrantly with the endless Technicolor buoyancy of Muhammad Ali and Tyson himself. This, I knew, was what was really meant by the word “history.”

They’re brilliant, aren’t they the heavyweights? When I talk about boxing these days it’s almost always with the fellow obsessed and the hardcore fan, both of whom gravitate towards the smaller men, the faster, more technically correct workhorses who have to be brilliant because it is so much more difficult for them to end proceedings with a single punch. I am every bit the boxing geek those guys are but where I differ is in liking the heavies best – always have, always will. The danger, the glamour, the sheer impossibility of the gargantuan wounds they inflict upon one-another. It is a simple stated fact that the human body is built to endure damage inflicted by an opponent of 160 lbs., but not of 200 lbs. Bones break. They fight in a different sport these behemoths.

I felt sure that my obsessed love combined with my experience writing a pound-for-pound list would make this project easier than that one, but I was wrong. This was by far the more difficult challenge. This is simply because the differential in quality between heavies ranked in the lower half of the list is absolutely tiny – almost insignificant. Organizing them from first to last became almost an effort in administration, properly balancing the criteria rather than the romp through the most savage of boxing’s divisions I wanted it to be. Those criteria became in the main about quality of opposition bested, although head-to-head comparisons became a vital way of separating fighters who seemed all but tied; who beats who became a far more crucial ingredient here than it was there, for obvious reasons. And the Title – the tarnished blood-ridden belt, once and remaining the greatest prize in sports, the title was never far from my thoughts. Often some contender was cheated of a chance to lift it by a crooked promoter, by racism, by bad judging, but for the fighters who threw the once-burnished gold aloft there is a ranking enhancement. Physical equipment, miscellaneous achievements, appearance on film, longevity and comparison of prime runs also played their part in establishing rankings and deciding ties.

No fighters who turned professional after 1880 were included, so that means no John L. Sullivan – for that matter no James Figg or Daniel Mendoza, towering figures of boxing history, but belonging too much to a bygone era for me to properly understand and compare them. I had to cut them off somewhere and that date seemed as reasonable as any. 

No doubt some will disagree with me and that’s fine. One of the joys of writing the 100 Greatest Fighters series was the lively cut and thrust (and sometimes bludgeon) of debate that it stirred in the comments section. This time around I will likely be less active below, based in part upon the likelihood of your being quite correct in your objections.  By my reckoning there are just over one-hundred and fifty fighters who belong on this list and only one-hundred have made it. A cognitive argument could be made for replacing the ten names below with ten men who barely missed out; a reasonable argument can be made for moving out the next ten and introducing fresh names to replace them too. In a strange echo of this equation I found myself trying to write fifteen men into the top ten and thirty men into the top twenty. X plus 50%, every single time.

How did I put it last time? Oh yeah…I can promise you two things. One, you aren’t going to agree with everything I say. And two, you aren’t going to agree with everything I say…but we can have fun while we disagree. 

This, is how I have it:

#100 Luis Angel Firpo (31-4; Newspaper Decisions 0-2)

There is a scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs where undercover policeman Mr. Orange struggles to articulate the precise nature of crime-boss Joe Cabot. He mutters a platitude, looks into the middle distance then nods to himself and says, “The Thing…motherfucker looks like The Thing.”

For the uninitiated among you, The Thing, also known as Ben Grimm, is a member of The Fantastic Four and an inhabitant of the Marvel comic-book universe. Exposure to cosmic rays have transformed his skin into a hard, rocky hide making him almost invulnerable to punishment and leading to his developing as direct a fighting style as can be imagined. When he’s ready for action he bellows his catchphrase, “It’s clobberin’ time!” and charges directly at his opposition winging overhand rights at his face.

While studying Luis Angel Firpo for this entry I, like Mr. Orange, was struck by an epiphany which I hope explains Firpo just as well as Orange explained Cabot: The Thing…motherfucker fights like The Thing.

Crude in the extreme and lacking any real mobility besides a forwards rush, Firpo would hang back waiting for the opportune moment to lunge in directly, sometimes clinching or clumsily infighting his way to an opening. Like The Thing, such was his strength, durability and punching power (described by journeyman heavyweight journeyman Homer Smith as the equivalent to a “kick from a draft horse”) that this style worked well for him, so well in fact that he bulldogged his way to a title shot versus Jack Dempsey. The resulting fight has remained one of the most savage and celebrated heavyweight title fights in history the fighters sharing a total of eleven knockdowns, most of them inflicted upon Firpo. The Argentine had his moment, however, dumping Jack unceremoniously out of the ring with one of those slingshot right-hands, and coming within a second of changing history. Dempsey staggered back through the ropes and remained enough his old savage self that he was able to get “The Wild Bull of the Pampas” out of there.

This thrilling confrontation has probably resulted in Firpo becoming overrated down the years. His shot at Dempsey was paved as much by promotional bluster as solid foundation, with the basis for his challenge a defeat of the creaking Bill Brennan, a post-Dempsey Jess Willard and the solid Charley Weinert. Here, the excellence in his resume really begins to peter out, although between 1920 and 1926 the journeymen that were unlucky enough to share the ring with him were brutalized excessively. He sneaks in here via the back door, as much for that momentary brush with ring-immortality as for his wider achievements.

#99 Denver Ed Martin (23-9; Newspaper Decisions 2-0)

Ranking Ed Martin, who turned professional in 1899, was as difficult a problem as I was set in what has at times felt like something of a self-inflicted boxing purgatory, and his inclusion comes not without reservations. Not least, Martin demonstrated a genuinely soft chin for a world-class fighter and was stopped on eight occasions despite having only had thirty-four recorded fights. Nevertheless, an apparently highly evolved ring IQ in conjunction with sharp punching and a shifty, elusive style bought him numerous excellent victories and a tentatively assigned spot on this list.

The tough and erratic Sandy Ferguson managed thirty-six rounds without stoppage against Jack Johnson in 1903, but Martin was able to track and trick him out of there in just five rounds in 1902. He straight up outclassed a future colored heavyweight champion in Bob Armstrong in his very next fight in vengeance for the knockout loss Armstrong inflicted on him in what is supposed to have been his professional debut. Most instructive though are his first two contests with puncher and contender Sam McVey. McVey dusted him in a single round in 1903; in 1904 he outpointed the same man over ten rounds in Los Angeles, showing “all his cleverness and speed and making McVey look like a novice at times” according to The San Francisco Call. By the Washington Evening Star a clever left hand kept him on even terms with a surging Jack Johnson for the first ten of their twenty-round contest in the same year, Johnson taking over down the stretch.

Other notable wins include Frank Childs and Hank Griffin, so whilst he didn’t do quite enough to eradicate the long-past memory of that weak chin he nevertheless did just enough to be included here at the lower end of the top 100.

#98 Walter Neusel (68-13-9)

Walter Neusel never escaped the shadow of Max Schmeling but there was a time when Germany’s other World War Two era heavyweight was expected to do just that. For the crucial 1934 clash between the two, Neusel was made the favorite.

And no wonder. Turning professional in 1930, Neusel went 30-0-2 in his first three years as a professional before dropping one to an inspired Pierre Charles. For his rehabilitation, Neusel sailed for America and it was here that he made his bones. A draw with Natie Brown was disappointing but wins over King Levinsky, arguably in the form of his life, and a razor-thin defeat of Tommy Loughran were more pleasing. It was these wins that framed his status for his monumental clash with Schmeling, witnessed by anything up to 102,000 people depending upon which account you most care for. Neusel was given a boxing lesson by his senior colleague and a star’s rise was ended – and Schmeling’s destiny as a pawn of Nazism in the coming war, too, was fated in this result. 

Neusel eventually took his revenge, aged forty, against an ancient Schmeling walking some doomed offshoot of the comeback trail. Between these two confrontations he added other nice scalps, including British prospect Jack Peterson and 77-10-9 Adolf Heuser, but in truth he became more inconsistent and vulnerable after Schmeling dealt him that cruel blow.

Six-foot-two and able to carry 200 lbs. with ease, what Neusel lacked in skill he made up for with guts and aggression, his victory over Loughran , especially, was defined by a never-say-die attitude and a high work-rate. It seemed at one time that these qualities would carry Neusel farther – the bottom end of the top 100 is where he comes to rest.

#97 Bob Baker (51-16-1)

In 1950 the fledgling Bob Baker was being referred to as an “embryo Joe Louis,” the most sought after prospect of his era. Regarded as a puncher during his opening run of 25-0-1 he hospitalized veteran Henry Jones in the opening seconds of their fight with a single left-hook that saw him lying unconscious for all of ten minutes and forcibly retired from the ring by the Pennsylvanian Commission. The same year he had gate-crashed The Ring top ten. Two calendar years a pro, Baker was ranked several spots above the coming man, Rocky Marciano.

But certain cracks had already begun to appear.

Sid Peaks, 34-12, was a giant for the era at over 220 lbs. and considerably bigger than Baker’s 202 lbs. He also seemed a puncher. Nevertheless it was as surprise when Baker was dropped twice in each of the opening rounds by the bigger man, and according to some reports for nine counts. Having never been down before a new vulnerability had apparently been uncovered. Baker decisioned Peaks clean in the rematch two months later and more wins followed but a sliding Omelio Agramonte proved to be another surprisingly difficult opponent. Baker achieved the rather bizarre feat of slipping five places in the heavyweight from #5 to #10 whilst continuing to win. Pressmen seemed to think there was something off about him despite his rapidly burgeoning W column, and he was regarded overweight at the 220 lbs. he now regularly brought to the ring. 

It was Clarence Henry that finally got to him, brutalizing him with a left-hook before banishing him once and for all from the lofty position of world’s #1 prospect. A desperate struggle with New Jersey’s Billy Gilliam followed, Gilliam the mongoose to Baker’s sagging cobra. Despite a 4-1 victory in a five fight series, a feeling that he had failed to prove his superiority persisted, so close and occasionally unsatisfactory were Baker’s victories – then Bob Satterfield knocked him out in a single round.

At the exact moment his vulnerabilities began to cost him, Baker’s power seemed to abandon him, knockouts drying up as he moved up a in class. But Baker continued to add wins. He beat Joe Baksi, he beat Embrel Davidson, he beat Nino Valdes and Jimmy Bivins, a budding George Chuvalo, John Holman, Rex Layne. By the time of his trilogy with the latter (3-0), rallying had become something of a specialty and although an air of disappointment forever hung upon Baker’s career like an ill-worn shroud, he had heart, size, strength and an excellent group of wins spread across ten savage and difficult years.

#96 John Henry Lewis (98-10-4)

John Henry Lewis is remembered primarily as a great light-heavyweight, and understandably, but it is a fact that most of his big fights took place in the heaviest class and it is a fact that he was breaking into that class, against a future heavyweight champion of the world no less, within two years of his turning professional. When the victim of John Henry’s invasion, Jim Braddock, lifted the title and spent the first year of his reign considering how to bodyswerve #1 contender Max Schmeling for American sensation Joe Louis, there were calls that a third fighter, Lewis be allowed to contest the title instead, despite Braddock having evened up their series at 1-1 before defeating Max Baer. This is the level of regard that the boxing world held John Henry Lewis in.

Lewis went 2-1 with Maxie Rosenbloom in the year after his original defeat of Braddock, always above the light-heavyweight limit. Rosenbloom twice took revenge in bad tempered encounters in 1935 and this must be stressed – Rosenbloom won the battle of these great light-heavyweights when they met in the heavyweight division.

#95 Gerry Cooney (28-3)

Jimmy Young got really fat as the heavyweight division spiralled earthward, having been very much a part of the heavyweight peak that saw the division soar amongst the clouds, the1970s. As the ‘80s began he happily courted obesity as though saluting the cocaine excess that was to define the greediest decade in the history of the civilized world. For the national US television debut of Gerry Cooney he agreed to slim down a little bit and demonstrated just enough hunger – pardon the pun – that those around Cooney became a little nervous. Cooney was 22-0 and throwing him in with one of the great heavyweight spoilers at such a tender time seemed a little less clever than it had when Young had scraped off three wins in 1979 to balance the four losses the previous eighteen months had brought him.

Cooney, though, was relaxed, and it proved a legitimate state of mind. Young was bloated if not quite ponderous and Cooney snapped off a jab and a smart combination of hooks that had Young reaching for his shield, two hands high, big eyes questioning. Cooney found his highest gear after cutting Young hideously with a left hand and he looked, briefly, legitimately impressive. Yet somehow Cooney ended the round backed up in his own corner sucking down punches. He beat Young by retirement after four and looked good in doing so – but he flattered to deceive. In many ways it was his professional life in microcosm.

Cooney fought a brief career, his first loss to Larry Holmes, a story he re-wrote to include his own obsession with fighting the fifteen-round distance as the most culpable source of that defeat which resulted in a maudlin depression and a brief retirement. He crept out of that retirement long enough to endure a brilliant and then a brutal beating from Michael Spinks and George Foreman respectively, meaning that in three attempts at stepping up in class he had failed three times. By that time he had become something of a figure of fun, the press turning on him after what was seen as a title-shot that was more about dollars than sense. 

Nevertheless, there is much to admire about Cooney. Getting the Holmes fight “without having fought any real contenders” as reporter Phil Berger put it, is an example perhaps of the harsh treatment he suffered. After Young, Cooney stopped an aging Ron Lyle and a ruined Ken Norton in just one round apiece, a testimony to his punching power, confirmed by George Foreman who labelled him one of the hardest hitters he had ever met. 

Generally overrated he creeps into our top one-hundred by virtue of those three wins over sagging seventies contenders and behind that savage left-hook, a compact and terrorizing punch that numbers amongst the hardest in the history of the division.

#94 Mickey Walker (94-19-4; Newspaper Decisions 37-7-1)

Boxing’s history boils with brave managers and amongst them are the besuited and bejewled but often unbenignant men who would sometimes push a cocky tough fighter unacquainted with one of the more unpleasant experiences of his profession, the violent loss, towards a weight class he doesn’t belong in. Not Mickey. The former middle and welterweight champion of the world was no more pushed into the heavyweight ranks than he was the wars he fought on his hometown turf as a boy.

“As a kid I found it easier to fight the bigger guys,” Mickey said of those days. “The big guys were slower. I thought I’d try the same thing in the ring…”

This is not a pound-for-pound list. Walker does not reside upon it above #95 Gerry Cooney as a salute to his fighting heart but in recognition of his achievements in the unlimited class. With a record of 21-2-2 (or 22-2-2 depending upon your preferred source) at the poundage, Walker is, on paper, directly comparable to Gerry Cooney but it is in level of competition where he demonstrates marked superiority. 

Walker worked his way through class and size before tackling the 193 lb. Johnny Risko, an excellent fighter with wins over Max Baer and King Levinsky ahead of him but also beginning to slide, and at 5’11 with a “sturdy” physique, he was in many ways the perfect man for Walker to break his ranking heavyweight cherry with. But Walker massacred him. He dropped the man Gene Tunney called the toughest he ever fought in the second and came close again in the third, utilizing the hook that had served him so well at lower weights to do the damage. His power was confirmed at the weight. In the fifth he was pinned to the ropes as Risko overwhelmed his defenses and punished him brutally. His punch resistance was confirmed. When his hand was raised after ten tough rounds, as it would be in a rematch three months later, Walker was confirmed as a ranked heavyweight. 

Two one-round knockouts over journeymen followed before he went to war with the 210 lbs. Bearcat Wright who outweighed Walker by more than forty pounds. Walker ripped himself from the canvas in the first round of that fight to beat the big Bear back and at one point down, settling for a ten-round decision.

His next engagement at heavyweight was against Jack Sharkey. Sharkey lurks somewhere in the upper reaches of this list, a superb heavyweight who at just under 200 lbs. held almost every conceivable advantage over the Toy Bulldog except for all the ones that mattered as Walker boxed, snapped, body-blasted and savaged his way to a fifteen-round draw against a heavyweight-championship calibre fighter, bulling the bigger man before him, his own face a mass of gore as Sharkey repeatedly ripped him to his badly cut left eyebrow. It proved for all time that Walker belonged in the heavyweight class. Additional wins over ranked men such as Paulino Uzcudun, King Levinsky and Maxie Rosenbloom help enshrine him here, perhaps a little lower than a bigger man might be. No, it’s not a pound-for-pound list – on a pound-for-pound list Walker’s achievement regardless of size would be a boon but here it works against him. Walker does not have the power of Bob Fitzsimmons or the otherworldliness of Harry Greb, he was a warrior. Going to war against the truly excellent big men, or those of considerably greater size wouldn’t work for Walker as proven by his astonishing losing effort versus Max Schmeling. This you better believe though: he would try, and his larger more brilliant opponent would not like it.

Either way, Walker holds the #94 slot by merit, whilst legitimate heavyweights like Greg Page and Ruslan Chagaev languish just outside.

#93 Joe Bugner (69-13-1)

Joe Bugner often goes underrated, not least in the area of longevity where, having turned professional in 1967, he made his mark by beating Greg Page over ten rounds all of twenty years later. Stopped in eight by the coming Frank Bruno in his very next fight, Bugner retired in his late thirties only to mount a comeback during which he lifted the Australian heavyweight title and beat a similarly creaking James “Bonecrusher” Smith (ranked at #105, trivia fans) retaining a faint relevance into the late 1990s and his own late forties.

In his prime he was beset by the enormously deep heavyweight division of the 1970s but he was far from disgraced. Something of a non-effort against Muhammad Ali was counter-balanced by his brave effort against Joe Frazier, who dropped Bugner in the tenth, but could not stop him, leading to his naming Bugner a “great fighter,” his left eye closed by the bigger man’s jab.

And it was a good jab; it was matched by a straightening right hand, a 6’4 frame capped off by a decent jaw that supported good durability. With an 82” reach and a frame that supported 230 lbs. comfortably, Bugner had more gifts than most heavyweights, but lacked the most important one, that killer instinct, the determination to dominate the opponent by any and all means necessary. A nicer way to say this might be to suggest that he is perhaps, too gentle for the ring, a fact that amateur psychologists may wish to trace back to the death of Ulric Regis, a tough Trinidadian journeyman who collapsed suffering brain injuries after meeting Bugner in the ring and who died some years later, though it should be noted that his condition was linked to a “pre-existing medical condition,” according to Boxrec.

Regardless, in two very decent streaks, Bugner beat a lot of very good heavyweights including ageing versions of Brian London and Jimmy Ellis, whom he dominated, and Henry Cooper. Cooper, too, was aging but also on a streak in defense of his European title. Bugner hovered it up and went a total of 8-1 fighting for it in a career that saw him take full advantage of his triple nationality (Australia, UK, Hungary), if not his potential. Nevertheless, a combination of real achievement and ability sees him make it into the top 100 on merit – even if he is ranked below men who would have moved mountains for his physical gifts.

#92 Michael Dokes (53-6-2)

Where Michael Dokes comes off the better of fellow 1980s fuck ups is in his fast start; Jimmy Young was outpointed in just his fifteenth fight – Ossie Ocasio was dispatched in a single round in his twentieth, an ignominy he would inflict upon no less a figure than Mike Weaver only a few fights later, albeit by premature stoppage. Cocaine and booze supposedly fueled his training for the defense of his alphabet strap versus Gerrie Coetzee, behavior that predictably cost him his belt and then Dokes set his mind on the impossible: he tried to eat his way out of the heavyweight division.

Ambitious, but Dokes managed to fight his way up to 290 lbs. at one point, quite some distance north of his primed two-twenty, and that journey spelled the end of his best years as a fighter. A fifteen-month layoff probably contributed too. Still, at the end of 1989 Dokes was 40-2-2 despite being, by modern standards, thrown to the wolves, his only losses coming in that huge upset versus Coetzee and against the great Evander Holyfield who stopped him earlier that year in a war. Consigned to gatekeeper hell by Donovan Ruddock and Riddick Bowe the man who had stopped Weaver was by then a distant memory. That Dokes had been cat-quick and a good puncher, was tall, strong with aggression and technique. 

Jail, drugs, food and ego all took their toll on a man who had the potential to be in the top half of the list but instead had a career that should arguably leave him languishing outside; the skill he displayed in his short prime and those early contests against good opposition have led me to rank him here, just outside the ninety.

#91 Maxie Rosenbloom (207-39-26; Newspaper Decisions 16-4-4)

Judging the many, many great light-heavyweights who moved up to make their mark in the grandest of divisions often becomes a matter of tiny margins. What to make, for example, of Maxie Rosenbloom’s 1931 loss to George Manley? Manley was a light-heavyweight really, broaching the heavyweight division only occasionally, but on the biggest night of his career when he beat a coasting Rosenbloom over ten rounds, he weighed 176 lbs. – whilst Maxie weighed in at 180. Is that an over-the-weight match between light-heavies or a legitimate heavyweight contest to be appraised in judging “Slapsie,” named for the open-handed powder-puff punches he used to outpoint a generation of men from 160 lbs. to 200 lbs., on this heavyweight list? Whilst I’ve allowed myself, in what I hope is a common sense approach, to dismiss fights where the total poundage of both men is only one or two more than the light-heavyweight (or cruiserweight) limits I’ve also treated fights like Manley-Rosenbloom, where one man weighs five pounds above the limit, as a contest between heavies. 

This hurts Maxie’s standing; he was notorious for coasting against inferior opposition and for boxing in highly competitive matches with excellent opposition without once hurting that opposition. There is a story that upon injuring an unnamed opponent’s ear so badly that the 1930s referee wanted to stop the contest, Rosenbloom promised to land no more headshots and the fight continued. Whether that story is true or false, Maxie was one of a kind.

He was also extremely hard to hit properly, shipping an enormous amount of punches in his extraordinary career, but very few of them clean. A defensive wizard without a punch, he nevertheless loses points for what was unquestionably a complete inability to discourage opponents with punches. Rosenbloom managed fewer than twenty stoppages in two-hundred and forty fights.

It did not stop him building a deeply impressive heavyweight resume, buoyed in part by a solid victory over James J Braddock. Even more intriguing is his seeming domination of Joe Louis era contenders. He boxed a draw with Bob Pastor, a decision that was booed by a crowd who believed Rosenbloom the winner, defeated Al Ettore, Lou Nova, Lee Ramage and King Levinsky as well as besting title challenger John Henry Lewis in an often dull series. Listen with the right kind of ears and you might hear the ghostly rumors that Joe Louis was “steered away” from Rosenbloom for fear that this deluxe spoiler might make the champion “look bad.”

Whether win, draw, or most likely a bone-breaking loss, I’d be willing to bet that those ghosts are quite right.

The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part One: 100-91
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Two: 90-81
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Three: 80-71
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Four: 70-61
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Five: 60-51
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Six: 50-41
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Seven: 40-31
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Eight: 30-21
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Nine: 20-11
The 100 Greatest Heavyweights of All Time Part Ten: 10-1

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Jack Dempsey vs Luis Angel Firpo (Sept 1923)

Foord V Neusel Fight (1936)

Bob Baker W 10 Nino Valdes, round 4

Gerry Cooney Vs Ken Norton 1981

Mickey Walker -vs- Jack Sharkey 7/22/31 (16mm Transfer & Restoration)

Frank Bruno v Joe Bugner 1987

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  1. Springs Toledo 09:07am, 07/12/2014

    ...What a thrill to see Mickey Walker at #94. We can count on one finger how many boxing historians would think to include him; so let’s make that one finger the middle one. Matt has it up like a flag, just for Mickey.

  2. bikermike 04:28am, 06/22/2014

    Never warmed to Michael Dokes….his win over Weaver…was double marred…..Early stoppage…and Dokes collapses for the count in mid ring during celebration

    shovelled his money out the window faster than he could make it…....Heard he did a pick up bout…towards the end….for three thousand bucks one night

  3. Eric 05:00am, 06/15/2014

    Dempsey and Tiger Flowers should have made the top 100. Wasn’t Aaron Pryor left out also?  If so, Pryor should’ve made the list too. I agree with Jack Johnson not making the list, BlackJack was perhaps the most overrated heavyweight champion of all time. He defeats the smallest champ of all time for the title, makes his name off defeating a ghost of Jim Jeffries, who had to lose 100lbs and hadn’t fought in 5 yrs.BlackJack gets floored by a middleweight, before knocking him out in the 12th round. Then the great Jack Johnson gets knocked out by one of the worst champs in history, the huge but very limited Jess Willard. Regarding Marciano’s punching power, he came in 14th place in Ring Magazines Top 100 Punchers, but some fighters directly below him like Liston and Tyson could be considered arguably better punchers. Even someone like David Tua, who was listed in the mid-40’s might have possessed more power than Rocky. Perhaps because of Marciano’s relative small size when compared to men like Tua, Tyson, and Liston was the deciding factor in his higher ranking. Certainly Tua, Tyson, and Liston punched every bit has hard as Marciano if not harder. Julian Jackson, the ex-junior middleweight champ was ranked behind Marciano, don’t agree with that at all, Jackson should have made the top 15. I could see Marciano in the top 20 all time punchers, and arguably in the top 15.

  4. Matt McGrain 01:26am, 06/15/2014

    Hello Angelo.
    Kid McCoy, Tiger Flowers, Beau Jack, Eddie Booker, Jack Dempsey, Billy Petrolle…the list of great fighters that didn’t make the top 100 was long.  Jack Johnson was among them.
    I have never written “a punchers list” but I did write a composite punchers list.  Volume was a considered factor.  Armstrong is hardly “just” a volume puncher though.  He holds unique stoppages over granite-chinned fighters, including one-punch knockouts.  He also stopped more Champions than almost any other fighter of the pre-alphabet era.  He clearly belongs almost regardless of criteria.

  5. Angelo Pessolano 04:58pm, 06/14/2014

    Mr. Mcgrain is it true Jack Johnson did not make the 100 top boxers of all time list? And Marciano did not make top 15 punchers list but Henry armstrong a volume puncher did ?

  6. tuxtucis 11:50pm, 06/13/2014

    I would have rated Cooney higher and Firpo far higher…no John Henry Lewis…

  7. Mike Silver 03:37pm, 06/13/2014

    Kudos for even attempting this list.

  8. peter 03:21pm, 06/13/2014

    Gerry Cooney, yes—Joe Bugner, no.

  9. Eric 02:31pm, 06/13/2014

    Wondering if Archie Moore would sneak in here given the selection of Mickey Walker and others that were listed. Moore is probably remembered more for his failures at heavyweight but he beat some decent heavyweight fighters. Moore beat Jimmy Bivins, Nino Valdez, Bert Whitehurst, Bob Baker, Alejandro Lavorante, Pete Rademacher, etc. He doesn’t sport as impressive record at heavyweight as Walker but I couldn’t see Walker beating Moore at 175lbs or at heavyweight for that matter. Just have to wait and see if the Old Mongoose sneaks in, I would think he would have been ranked in this list if he were going to get in, however. Can’t really see him being ranked higher than 100-91 as a heavyweight.

  10. Matt McGrain 08:30am, 06/13/2014

    Ooo, I dunno Eric…I think Young’s best weight was 201-213, which is a decent spread for a heavy.  He was carrying 223 for Cooney, and that’s 10lbs over his top end…I’d agree with most of the rest of what you say though.

  11. Eric 08:21am, 06/13/2014

    Jimmy Young was far from “bloated” in the Cooney fight. Young was never going to look like Ken Norton, no matter how hard he trained. The Young fight was Cooney’s most impressive outing IMO, even more impressive than breaking Lyle in half or nearly decapitating Norton. I know when ranking fighters you are ranking the overall talent of a fighter, instead of pitting them against each other in head to head matchups. This is why Frazier was routinely always ranked higher than Foreman, well at least he was until George’s comeback, despite being destroyed twice by Foreman. Cooney would destroy everyone on this list with the possible exceptions of a prime Dokes or Bugner, I still would favor a prime Cooney over Dokes or Bugner, however. Cooney aquitted himself well in the Holmes fight, and was never the same afterwards. The Cooney who fought Michael Spinks was more fond of drugs and booze than training. Cooney was already greying when he fought Foreman. Cooney was through as a fighter after Holmes, and judging him on his losses to Spinks and Foreman is like judging Ali on his losses to Leon Spinks. Cooney was definitely one of the hardest punchers in history, but like Frazier, his right hand seemed only good for waving good-bye.

  12. Clarence George 06:18am, 06/13/2014

    Harrumph…I definitely would include The Great John L., and among my top 10, and disagree with the inclusion of Cooney, Bugner, and Dokes.  The same is true of Lewis and Rosenbloom.  I hold both in high regard (especially Maxie), but not as heavyweights.  But Walker is a very interesting selection; in fact, perhaps he should be even higher.  Look forward to the next installment.

  13. ch. 05:09am, 06/13/2014

    Rosenbloom fought one of the 5 toughest campaigns in history, he missed nobody during his 299 fight career. Rosenbloom made a career (68 fights) of beating the best black fighters of his era.
    Rosenbloom : “I didn’t want to hurt nobody, just smack ‘em around and let them know who was boss.”