Heavyweight Boxers of All Time – Top 10 Ranked

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time

Over the past few years, The Fight City has been slowly releasing its own unique rankings of the greatest boxers of all time in each of the eight traditional weight classes. Our presentation of the lists was not done in any particular order, as we began with the middleweights before moving on to bantamweights, light heavyweights, flyweights, featherweights, welterweights, and most recently, lightweights. However, we intentionally saved the best for last: the heavyweight boxers.

It’s worth noting that, similar to our other rankings, this is not a “who would beat who” list but rather a ranking that emphasizes individual accomplishments during each fighter’s time and the quality of their opponents (which is why we have ranked Joe Frazier above George Foreman, for example). Additionally, as we have chosen to rank fighters in only one division to spread the recognition around, you won’t see Gene Tunney, Ezzard Charles, or Sam Langford in this list, as they are on our list of all-time best light heavyweight boxers. Without further ado, here are the best heavyweight boxers of all time. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

Top 10 Heavyweight Boxers of All Time

Here is the list of Top 10 Heavyweight Boxers of All Time. Check out below to know their impact and rankings.


Heavyweight Boxers of All Time


Muhammad Ali


Joseph Louis Barrow


Jack Johnson


Harry Wills


Rocky marciano


Joe Frazier


Larry Holmes


Jack Dempsey


George Foreman


James J. Jeffries

Let us see each one of the boxers in detail.

1. Muhammad Ali

What makes Muhammad Ali the greatest heavyweight of all time? It’s simple: no other heavyweight in history has faced, let alone defeated, a trio of dangerous greats like Liston, Frazier, and Foreman. But that’s just the beginning. Ali also defeated other notable fighters like Norton, Quarry, Patterson, Lyle, Bonavena, Terrell, Shavers, Chuvalo, Williams, Ellis, and Folley.

Ali’s emergence as the most talented athlete in the heavyweight division coincided with a time when the division was stacked with formidable talent. He proved himself to be the best of them all, thanks to his incredible speed, unparalleled ring intelligence, remarkable courage, durability, and will to win. In addition, his longevity in the sport sets him apart from the rest. Ali is truly the greatest of both the 1960s and 1970s and, as he famously claimed, “The Greatest of All Time.”

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

2. Joseph Louis Barrow

Joseph Louis Barrow, also known as “The Brown Bomber,” was an exceptional boxer and one of the greatest in the sport’s history, regardless of weight class. He possessed deadly power, astonishing timing, and accuracy, which helped him defend the heavyweight crown an impressive 25 times. His list of victories included top talents such as Max Baer, Jack Sharkey, Bob Pastor, James Braddock, Tommy Farr, Billy Conn, John Henry Lewis, Max Schmeling, Jimmy Bivins, Lee Savold, and Jersey Joe Walcott. Louis had a final record of 66 wins and 3 losses, with 52 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

3. Jack Johnson

The title of boxing’s initial Black heavyweight champion belonged to none other than Jack Johnson, who had incredible speed, was difficult to hit, and posed a threat with either hand. With his shrewdness and intelligence, “The Galveston Giant” not only conquered his opponents but frequently put them to shame with his expertise, intelligence, and unwavering dominance of the ring. His list of defeated adversaries includes Sam Langford, Tommy Burns, James J. Jeffries, Stanley Ketchel, Jim Flynn, Joe Jeannette, and Sam McVea.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

4. Harry Wills

Despite being largely overlooked these days, it’s worth remembering that during the 1920s, Harry Wills, nicknamed “The Black Panther”, was one of the world’s top heavyweights and there was considerable anticipation for a bout with the official world champion Jack Dempsey. Although the fight never materialized, Wills still managed to defeat a number of elite heavyweights such as Luis Firpo, “Big” Bill Tate, Kid Norfolk, Sam Langford, Billy Miske, Sam McVea, Battling Siki, and the similarly underappreciated Joe Jeannette.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

5. Rocky marciano

Rocky Marciano, also known as the “Brockton Blockbuster,” was an exceptional boxer who had an unbeatable record and the highest knockout percentage among all the heavyweight champions. He defeated some of the greatest boxers of his time, including Archie Moore, Jersey Joe Walcott, Joe Louis, and Ezzard Charles. Rocky was known for his incredible power, durability, and unmatched physical fitness. Moreover, his relentless style of fighting was simply too much for his opponents to handle.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

6. Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe,” is often overlooked in many lists of all-time-great boxers, but there are two important things that people tend to forget. Firstly, Frazier achieved a remarkable and definitive victory over Muhammad Ali, which is a significant accomplishment in its own right. Secondly, he is widely considered the second-best boxer, after Ali, to compete during the strongest era in the division’s history. His commanding victories over Eddie Machen, George Chuvalo, Jimmy Ellis, Oscar Bonavena, Doug Jones, Bob Foster, Buster Mathis, Jerry Quarry, and Joe Bugner further cement his place as one of the greatest boxers of all time. As Joe Frazier himself used to say, “Enough said.”

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

7. Larry Holmes

Larry Holmes, also known as “The Easton Assassin,” was a remarkable boxer who possessed an awesome jab, a dangerous right hand, tremendous heart, and astonishing recuperative powers. These attributes enabled him to vanquish some of the best boxers of his time, including Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Gerry Cooney, Tim Witherspoon, Mike Weaver, and Trevor Berbick. Holmes held the world title for an impressive seven years, a testament to his incredible skill and tenacity in the ring. His ability to come back from adversity and continue fighting despite sustaining injuries or setbacks was a hallmark of his career.

Later in his career, Holmes staged a comeback and defeated Ray Mercer, nearly upsetting Oliver McCall in the process. His ability to continue competing at a high level even as he got older is a testament to his dedication to the sport and his remarkable talent as a boxer. Holmes’ achievements in the ring have cemented his place as one of the greatest boxers of all time. His incredible skills, coupled with his ability to come back from adversity, have made him an inspiration to generations of boxers who have followed in his footsteps.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

8. Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey, also known as “The Manassa Mauler,” was a revolutionary boxer who changed the sport with his swarming, all-action style. He was fast, aggressive, and powerful, making him a formidable opponent for anyone who stepped into the ring with him.

Dempsey’s victories over boxers such as Jess Willard, Georges Carpentier, Jim Flynn, Big Bill Tate, Billy Miske, Luis Firpo, Gunboat Smith, and Jack Sharkey served as a testament to his incredible skills and abilities. His aggressive style of boxing was different from anything that had been seen before and paved the way for a new generation of fighters.

Despite being reviled early on in his championship reign, Dempsey eventually became nothing less than an American icon. His incredible achievements in the ring, coupled with his charismatic personality and showmanship, endeared him to the American public. His legacy as one of the greatest boxers of all time is a testament to his incredible talent, drive, and determination.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

9. George Foreman

George Foreman is a legendary boxer who is widely regarded as one of the hardest punchers in boxing history. He is renowned not only for his incredible power but also for his remarkable comeback in the 1990s. His comeback culminated in his regaining the world title two decades after he famously lost it in the “Rumble in the Jungle” against Muhammad Ali.

Foreman’s terrifying demolitions of Joe Frazier and Ken Norton are still remembered to this day, as are his legendary slugfests with Ron Lyle. These fights were a testament to Foreman’s raw power and his ability to take down some of the best boxers of his time. Foreman’s incredible resilience and strength of character enabled him to come back from adversity and reclaim his position as one of the best boxers in the world. His achievements in the ring, coupled with his remarkable comeback, have cemented his place in boxing history as one of the all-time greats.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked

10. James J. Jeffries

James J. Jeffries, also known as “The Boilermaker,” was a highly respected figure in the world of boxing for many years due to his impressive attributes such as immense power, toughness, and remarkable endurance, which enabled him to retire without a single loss in 1904. Despite his illustrious career, his defeat at the hands of Jack Johnson in 1910 has somewhat overshadowed his accomplishments. However, his victories over renowned boxers such as James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Joe Choynski, and “Sailor” Tom Sharkey are undeniable proof of his skills and capabilities.

Heavyweight Boxers of All Time - Top 10 Ranked


Who is the Best Heavyweight Boxer of All Time?

Muhammad Ali, who passed away at the age of 74, is widely recognized as the greatest boxer in history. There were several factors that contributed to his fame and global recognition. One of the most prominent factors was his determination to fight against racial inequality. Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War, which made him a champion of the oppressed and a seeker of justice for the persecuted. Moreover, his emergence as a representative of Islam and his highly engaging media persona added to his fame.

However, the most crucial factor that made Ali stand out was his exceptional ability as a boxer. Various boxing authorities have ranked him as the best heavyweight boxer in history, and he and Sugar Ray Robinson have been bracketed as the top two across all weight divisions. He won a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics as a light heavyweight, and as a professional, he won the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions over 14 years.

Ali’s unique style set him apart from other boxers. He was not known for his sheer strength and power. Instead, his speed, agility, footwork, and general athleticism were among the attributes that most distinguished him from other competitors. In the early years of his career, he also displayed outstanding aerobic endurance: he was able to relentlessly maintain his dancing, up-on-the-toes style.

Ali’s unorthodox techniques, such as holding his hands by his sides at waist level, and pulling his head backward away from punches, were often regarded as high-risk behaviors made viable only by his astonishing speed. However, these techniques served to confuse his adversaries and lure them into errors, making him the champion that he was.

Ali’s psychological strengths also played a significant role in his success. He was renowned for his self-belief, which extended beyond vociferous pre-contest expressions of confidence. He was predisposed to composing rap-style poems designed to extol his talents and unsettle opponents, and was well-known for his intimidatory stares and verbal taunts during bouts. Ali’s self-belief and illusion of superhuman qualities enabled him to get through a number of torturous contests, including the “Thrilla in Manila” and the “Rumble in the Jungle.”

Ali not only competed during the golden years of heavyweight boxing but was the fundamental reason for them. He brought completely new dimensions to the sport and gave it a sort of aestheticism and a broader relevance that was without precedent. Despite the health problems that he suffered in retirement, he reportedly continued to enjoy being Muhammad Ali. He inspired and empowered multitudes of people around the world and engendered cultural change.


Muhammad Ali’s fame and global recognition were the result of several factors that came together, including his determination to fight against racial inequality, his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War, his emergence as a representative of Islam, and his highly engaging media persona. However, the most crucial factor that made him stand out was his exceptional ability as a boxer, which was characterized by his unique style and unorthodox techniques. His psychological strengths, including his self-belief and illusion of superhuman qualities, were also instrumental in his success. Ali’s legacy will always be remembered as one that inspired and empowered people around the world, and that was made possible by the qualities that made him genuinely “the greatest” as a boxer.

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