Heavyweight Champions


ESPN's Boxing's Heavyweight Championship Lineage
A look back at the heavyweight boxing through the years.


Wladimir Klitschko's Greatest Hits
NEW!! Watch some of Wladimir Klitschkos exciting career highlights.


Vitali Klitschko: Greatest Hits
NEW!! Some of the most notable moments in the career of heavyweight Vitali Klitschko.


Heavyweights History
Some moments in Heavyweight Boxing History!


lineal boxing heavyweight championship (Short Version) Ali to Lewis
Forget the alphabet gangs the real heavyweight champion is the man who beat the man who beat the man....This is commonly referred to as the lineal heavyweight championship or The Ring Magazine Heavyweight Championship


The Heavyweight Champions Part 1
A boxing tribute to the heavyweight champions of the past


The Heavyweight Champions Part 2
A boxing tribute to the heavyweight champions of the past


The Heavyweight Champions Part 3
A boxing tribute to the heavyweight champions of the past


The Heavyweight Champions Part 4
A boxing tribute to the heavyweight champions of the past


The Heavyweight Champions Part 5
A boxing tribute to the world heavyweight champions.


The Heavyweight Champions Part 6
A boxing tribute to the world heavyweight champions.

(Click on Fighters in RED to read their biographies)
1882-1892       John L. Sullivan
1892-1897       Jim Corbett
1897-1899       Bob Fitzsimmons
1899-1905       Jim Jeffries(*)
1905-1906       Marvin Hart(3)
1906-1908       Tommy Burns
1908-1915       Jack Johnson
1915-1919       Jess Willard
1919-1926       Jack Dempsey
1926-1928       Gene Tunney(*)
1928-1930       Vacant
1930-1932       Max Schmeling(4)
1932-1933       Jack Sharkey
1933-1934       Primo Carnera
1934-1935        Max Baer
1935-1937       Jim Braddock
1937-1949       Joe Louis(*)
1949-1951       Ezzard Charles(5)
1951-1952       Jersey Joe Walcott
1952-1956       Rocky Marciano(*)
1956-1959       Floyd Patterson(6)
1959-1960       Ingermar Johansson
1960-1962       Floyd Patterson
1962-1964       Sonny Liston
1964-1970       Muhammad Ali(*)
1970-1973       Joe Frazier(7)
1973-1974       George Foreman
1974-1978       Muhammad Ali
1978               Leon Spinks
1978-1979       Muhammad Ali(*)
1980-1985       Larry Holmes(8)
1985-1988       Michael Spinks
1988-1990       Mike Tyson
1990               Buster Douglas
1990-1992       Evander Holyfield
1992-1993       Riddick Bowe
1993-1994       Evander Holyfield
1994               Michael Moorer
1994-1997       George Foreman(9)
1997-1998       Shannon Briggs
1998-2001       Lennox Lewis(10)
2001               Hasim Rahman
2001-2004       Lennox Lewis(*)
2004-2005       Vitali Klitschko(1)
2006-2008       Vacant
2009               Wladimir Klitschko(2)

  • Vitali Klitschko defeated Corrie Sanders following Lennox Lewis’s retirement and won Ring Magazine recognition as the World Champion. He retired in 2005 due to injuries.
  • Wladimir  Klitschko defeated Ruslan Chagaev for the Ring Magazine title on a 9-TKO giving him the Heavyweight championship.
  • Marvin Hart met Jack Root for Jeffries vacant title while Jeffries acted as referee
  • Jack Sharkey and Max Schmeling met for the vacant title.
  • Ezzard Charles defeated Jersey Joe Walcott for the vacant title and Charles defeated Louis in his 1950 return to the ring.
  • Floyd Patterson defeated Archie Moore following Marciano’s retirement.
  • Ali officially retired from the ring in 1970 and Joe Frazier(NY State) and Jimmy Ellis(WBA) met for the vacant title.
  • Holmes won recognition from the WBC in 1978 defeating Kenny Norton and received universal recognition after defeating Ali upon his return to the ring in 1980, although Ali was no longer recognized by the WBA as Champion. Holmes never obtained recognition from the WBA and was stripped of the WBC title in 1984 but was soon  recognized by the newly formed IBF. Holmes had defeated future WBA champion  Mike Weaver  in 1979 .Ring Magazine began their recognition of Holmes as title holder in 1980 following his victory over Ali.
  • All three major boxing organization stripped Foreman of recognition due to his lack of activity. When Briggs defeated Foreman there was no organization that recognized him as title holder. The only legitimate claim Briggs has to the title was he was the man who beat the man dating all the way back to Marciano.
  • Lewis gained WBC recognition in 1993, lost it to Oliver McCall in 1994, gained the IBC title by defeating Tommy Morrison in 1995, regained the WBC title from Oliver McCall in 1997, defeated Briggs in 1998 to gain his version of the title claim, after defeated Holyfield in 1999 he acquired the WBC,WBA,IBF and IBO recognition.
  • Retired

 

THE TOP 20 HEAVYWEIGHTS OF ALL TIME, Cox’s Corner April 2005

  1. Joe Louis
  2. Muhammad Ali
  3. Jack Johnson
  4. George Foreman
  5. Larry Holmes
  6. Jack Dempsey
  7. Sonny Liston
  8. Jim Jeffries
  9. Lennox Lewis
  10. Mike Tyson
  11. Rocky Marciano
  12. Joe Frazier
  13. Riddick Bowe
  14. Evander Holyfield
  15. Sam Langford
  16. Gene Tunney
  17. James J. Corbett
  18. Ezzard Charles
  19. Jersey Joe Walcott
  20. Max Schmeling

Great list, I do think it is impossible to compare fighters from different eras but what a great attempt. The thing that jumps out at you is Tyson at # 10 and he has Riddick Bowe at #13, Holyfield #14 and Lewis at #9. Most list do not have these modern fighters so highly thought of but I think it is a real strong list. This list has a strong modern day flavor to it.

Enrigque H’s Top Fifteen List

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Joe Louis
  • Larry Holmes
  • George Foreman
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Joe Frazier
  • Evander Holyfield
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Jack Johnson
  • Mike Tyson
  • Sonny Liston
  • Ezzard Charles
  • Jersey Joe Walcott
  • John L. Sullivan
  • Floyd Patterson

On his web site he goes into a lot of detail about his ratings on each fighter. I feel this is another real strong list but Patterson on any list gets my attention. I wonder when this list was made because he has Tyson and Holyfield very high but no Lennox Lewis

.Jason Porter Feb. 23, 2009

  • Rocky Marciano
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Joe Louis
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Lennox Lewis
  • Larry Holmes
  • Mike Tyson
  • Jack Johnson
  • Joe Frazier
  • Jim Jeffries

This is interesting in that Ali is not number one and Marciano is placed first because he never lost a fight as a professional. When I see list like this I wonder if Porter has seen much fight film of Marciano. He came very close to losing to Charles and Walcott who are not on any bodies all time list and was floored by Archie Moore and Walcott. I really like him having the guts putting Jeffries in the top team because there is not much quality film footage of him but he must have been one tough dude.

Don Sibrel’s Top Twenty

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Joe Louis
  • Sonny Liston
  • George Foreman
  • Mike Tyson
  • Gene Tunney
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Jack Johnson
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Joe Frazier
  • Larry Holmes
  • Jim Jeffries
  • Jersey Joe Walcott
  • Jim Corbett
  • Floyd Patterson
  • Ezzard Charles
  • Max Schmeling
  • Evander Holyfield

I love Gene Tunney not only on the list but ahead of Jack Dempsey and man he easily defeated twice. I think Tunney is one of the most underrated fighters of all-time. Sibrel’s list has a lot of emphasis on power with Liston, Foreman and Tyson holding down the 3-4-5 spots.

ESPN 2007

  • Joe Louis
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Jack Johnson
  • Gene Tunney
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Ezzard Charles
  • George Foreman
  • Joe Frazier
  • Larry Holmes

Has Louis ahead of Ali and Dempsey at number 3,very similar to some of the older list I have seen. Charles at number 7 catches your eye but my argument is always if you have Marciano at #6. Charles and Walcott should be close behind.

Fox Sports The  Noise Factor by Dan, Dec. 2005

  • Muhammad Ali
  • Joe Louis
  • Jack Johnson
  • George Foreman
  • Mike Tyson
  • Larry Holmes
  • Sonny Liston
  • Lennox Lewis
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Jack Demspey

Has a definite flavor of modern era in the ratings but very hard to argue against his choices. With all the modern day fighters I am surprised that Holyfield is left off the list.

The Ring Magazines Nat Fleischer 1971

  • Jack Johnson
  • Jim Jeffries
  • Bob Fitzsimmons
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Jim Corbett
  • Joe Louis
  • Sam Langford
  • Gene Tunney
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Max Schmeling

Probably the most storied heavyweight list by one of the great experts of all time. Heavy emphasis on the old timers, but that is alright he has seen them all up until 1971. He always refused to put Ali in his rankings.

Bert Sugar 2006

  • Joe Louis
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Jack Demspey
  • Jack Johnson
  • Gene Tunney
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Sam Langford
  • Ezzard Charles
  • George Foreman
  • Joe Frazier

As I recall Sugar uses a lot more than skills and boxing to decide which fighters were greater. Their popularity and other factors came into play in his decision.

Spedrex Nov., 2007

  • Mike Tyson
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Joe Louis
  • Joe Frazier
  • Floyd Patterson
  • Lennox Lewis
  • George Foreman
  • Max Baer
  • Sonny Liston

If you get a chance check this site out, he is a real boxing fan and makes a lot of since. He does not use the term greatest but rather best heavyweights. He feels greatest indicates more than just boxing but rather a mega personality and dominance of a sport. I like his list but Patterson at #6 is very questionable. He must have read to many Cus Dematto books or something. Patterson is one of my favorite fighters of all time but he would not have lasted a round with the likes of Lewis, Foreman, Baer and oh by the way didn’t Liston KO Patterson twice in one round.

 

Liston Ali

jeffries book

Jim Carney Looks
at Boxing Greats

Fred Fulton

Joe Frazier

Ernie Terrell

Senya13 and the Annals of Boxing History

Boxing Illustrated April of 1964
Harry Wills article and The Year in Review

 

 

 

   
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