To be clear, I'm an 80's baby so I can only use what's relevant to me being conscious of what I was witnessing. So this will encompass the last 20 years or so of boxing. Let me also be clear about this, this is not MY FAVORITE BOXERS OF ALL-TIME because that list would be totally different.
Now, being that maybe the greatest fight of 2009 is about to take place in roughly 72 hours, I started to think who has had the biggest impact on the sport and has risen to the top of the mountain. Please be advised that I am almost 7,349% sure that you will not agree with me, that's what makes this great. LOL. Here we go...
#5. Roy Jones Jr. (53-5-0, 39 wins by KO) - Jones was named "Fighter of the Decade" for the 1990s by the Boxing Writers Association of America. As a professional he captured IBF championships in the middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. He also won the WBA heavyweight title in his only fight in this weight class. He is also noted for holding the WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO, NABF, WBF, and IBA light heavyweight championships at the same time. For many years, he was regarded as the Ring Magazine pound for pound champion of boxing.
If Roy Jones would've just stayed retired after getting knocked about by Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver years ago, I probably would have him higher on this list. Plus, he was the first dude that ever made cats with degrees consider going into boxing. He was on the Jordan brand, had hit records (YA'LL MUSTA FORGOT!!!! & I SMOKE, I DRANK!!!), and was participating in cockfights (nh)! Dude was on top of the world. However, for the simple fact that he really didn't have any legitimate competition is a two-pronged issue. Either he was not given any real competitors in his weightclasses during that time, or he was simply head and shoulders above everyone else. Its kind of like the Chicago Bulls in the mid-90's. Were they really that good (most would say so) or were there no legitimate contenders to the Bulls reign as champs in the 90's? Just a thought. Roy probably in his prime was the best ever, but his lack of competition (for example, although he did beat Bernard Hopkins much earlier in his career, he would never fight Hopkins when he ascended the ladder to champion.) and getting his ass handed to him by Calzaghe, Glen Johnson, and Tarver twice ranks him 5 on this list.
Biggest Wins: Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Antonio Tarver (once), John Ruiz, Felix Trinidad
Biggest Defeats: Antonio Tarver (twice), Glen Johnson, Joe Calzaghe
#4. Lennox "The Lion" Lewis (41-2-1, 32 wins by KO) - Lewis won gold for Canada at the 1988 Olympic Games as an amateur. As a professional boxer he became the undisputed World heavyweight champion. Along with Muhammad Ali, Evander Holyfield and Vitali Klitschko, Lewis is one of four boxers in history to have won the heavyweight championship three times.
People forget that Lennox has beaten every single person he's ever stepped into the ring with (lost to Oliver McCall & Hasim Rahman, came back and avenged both defeats) and has beaten 1 of the 2 Klitschko brothers (Vitali, 6th-round TKO in '03) as well. Plus, let us remember that he was one of the first cats to be put on with FUBU!!! For Us, By Us! That clothing line was epic back in the late 90's, and he was repping it hard. He was walking into the arenas with the FUBU jersey with the new #05 on it! Remember y'all had that wack #92 one? LOL...but the truth of the matter is, he was the last real heavyweight that mattered. Him, Tyson, Holyfield, and Bowe would get you to pay that guap for a PPV fight back in the day. Will you pay the $50 to watch Wladimir Klitschko? Didn't think so. Oh yeah, and he was British.
Biggest Wins: Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Vitali Klitschko
Biggest Defeats: Oliver McCall, Hasim Rahman
#3. Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (49-5-1-1, 32 wins by KO) - He is best known for his ten year reign as Middleweight World Champion in which he successfully defended his title a record 20 times. He is the first fighter to retain all 4 major boxing governing body belts including the Ring Magazine belt in the same fight. He is the oldest man to ever hold the Middleweight Championship in professional boxing.
Clearly, B-Hop is one of the grimiest athletes I've ever witnessed in life. Dude is 44 years old and has defeated or taken to the wire almost every single relevant fighter (that's not a heavyweight) in the last 20 years. Here's his rap-sheet of fighters he's been in against: Pavlik, Calzaghe, Winky Wright, Tarver, Jermain Taylor, De La Hoya, Trinidad, Glen Johnson, Roy Jones. Wow. Now, this being a greatest boxers list, B-Hop has some L's on his record, but lets give the man some credit. He lost split decision to Calzaghe (which I thought he won) in which Calzaghe is 7 years his junior, he lost to Jermain Taylor twice (which I thought he won the first one, probably lost the 2nd) who's 14 years his junior! Then he lost to Roy Jones Jr. back in '93, and for the last 3-4 years Roy has simply ran from the fight. Plus when you realize he plowed thru Pavlik, De La Hoya, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Trinidad, Glen Johnson with ease, his record is off the charts.
Biggest Wins: Kelly Pavlik, Oscar De La Hoya, Winky Wright, Antonio Tarver, Felix Trinidad, Glen Johnson
Biggest Defeats: Joe Calzaghe, Roy Jones, Jermain Taylor (twice)
#2. "Pretty Boy" Floyd "Money" Mayweather, Jr. (39-0, 25 wins by KO) - From July 18, 2005 through June 2, 2008 he was rated by The Ring magazine as the number-one pound for pound boxer in the world. Mayweather has won six world boxing championships in five different weight classes; he is the former WBC welterweight champion, a title he vacated upon his retirement. He was named Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year in 1998 and 2007. ESPN.com listed Mayweather at #48 on their "50 Greatest Boxers of All Time" list.
I definitely believe a couple of things about Floyd Mayweather which you may or may not agree with. Floyd definitely took over the torch from Roy Jones as being the fighter that some folks really did not like because of their flashy style, antics in and out of the ring, and utter dominance of the sport. Also, like Roy, he was definitely not trying to get hit. Behind Bernard, Mayweather probably had the greatest defense I've ever seen. Plus, Floyd wasn't playing around once started fighting professionally. He found SEVENTEEN fights in a 2-year span from 1997-98 on his way to gaining his first championship belt. Moreover, just look at some of the names he ran thru to get to the top: Diego Corrales, Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton. None of those fights were close. Here's what's lacking for me with Floyd. One, he "retired" when the sport was loaded with talent. Right now, Miguel Cotto, Paul Williams, Juan Manuel Marquez, and the #1 person this list were all poised to challenge Floyd. Floyd didn't want none, he felt like he proved he was the best. He's only the 3rd major champion to retire without a defeat (Marciano, Calzaghe, Floyd) and that goes a long way in saying who's the best. Who am I to say he ain't, but he's not #1 on my list. (Oh yeah, forgot to mention the fiasco he did with WWE at Wrestlemania XXIV and fighting the Big Show aka The Giant. It was 5'6" vs. 7'1" and he just hit him a chair repeatedly to win. Yeah, that was exciting.)
Biggest Wins: Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Arturo Gatti, Zab Judah
Biggest Defeats: None
#1. Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao (48-3-2, 36 wins by KO) - Pacquiao is the former WBC lightweight world champion, WBC super featherweight world champion, IBF super bantamweight world champion, and WBC flyweight world champion. He has also held the Ring Magazine titles for featherweight and super featherweight divisions. For his achievements, he became the first Filipino and Asian boxer to win four world titles in four different weight divisions. He is currently rated by the Ring Magazine as the #1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Dude is off the chain, I've never seen a dude who fights with more reckless abandon and skill simultaneously than Pacman does. See, what makes him so raw is that he really didn't have a lot of professional training until he already was getting title shots. You can see that by some of the early losses he received during his professional reign. He was still "learning" how to fight while fighting the best in his sport. He earned the nickname "The Mexi-cutioner" after beating the 3 legends that currently reigned in the lightweight divisions, he defeated Erik Morales twice after losing to him the first time, defeated Marco Antonio Barrera, and had a draw with Juan Manuel Marquez then defeated him the second fight. Those three would not lie down, and Manny found a way to win. Plus he's now defeated David Diaz and Oscar De La Hoya (which makes me think, how much value is really put into a De La Hoya victory at this point?) as well, and with another victory against Ricky Hatton this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, there will be no doubts.
Plus let me add this about him, he is a LEGEND/ICON/GOD in the Philippines. The man ran for Governor of the country a while back and barely lost, not because they didn't think he could do the job, but that they thought he would be better served in representing the nation as a boxer. Dude has been in movies, recorded albums, yet also put the entire hood on the squad (watch 24/7 and see what I mean) and goes and hoops with regular folks, goes and HUSTLES on the pool tables. Dude is a legend. I feel like Manny and I would go down and wreck a 2-on-2 game of basketball. Betcha you won't try to fight us lol...
Biggest Wins: Oscar De La Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales (twice)
Biggest Defeats: Erik Morales
Honorable Mentions - Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Shane Mosley, Wladimir Klitschko, Joe Calzaghe, Winky Wright, Pernell Whitaker, Erik Morales, James Toney, Marco Antonio Barrera
By the way, who are my favorite fighters? Miguel Cotto, Winky Wright, and Felix Trinidad
Is my list crazy? Are you excited for this fight? Let us know your thoughts!