Decade Rankings: 1960-1969

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(1)Muhammad Ali  6’3”, 211- “I am the Greatest” and he may have very well been telling the truth. Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Doug Jones, Henry Cooper, George Chuvalo, Cleveland Williams, Ernie Terrell and Zory Folley just to name a few of his victims. (29-0) *921

(2) Sonny Liston  6’2”, 218- From 1958 to 1963 Liston totally dominated the heavyweight division. There was little doubt about who was the best fighter in the world even though he didn’t win the title till 1962. Liston faced the best the division had to offer and after his loss to Ali all the top heavyweights avoided him like the plague. Eddie Machen, Cleveland Williams, Zory Folley, Floyd Patterson and Roy Harris all fell to Sonny. His loss to Leotis Martin in 1969 was well past his prime and of course his second loss to Ali did not have a good smell about it. (23-3) *806

(3) Joe Frazier  5’11”, 204- Frazier came on late in the decade just as Liston’s skills had deteriorated and Ali was forced into retirement. Frazier was an in creditable conditioned fighter who just whore fighters out with his consent pressure. Fighters who failed to stand up to the constant pressure were Oscar Bonavena, Eddie Machen, Doug Jones, George Chuvalo, Buster Mathis, Manuel Ramos, and Jerry Quarry. No question about his position in the top three and some would argue he belongs ahead of Liston. (24-0) *315

(4)Ernie Terrell  6’6 ”, 215 –Big lanky Ernie Terrell was best remembered for his 15 round loss to Muhammad Ali in 1967. Terrell was the number one contender during the mid-sixties. His first big win was in 1962 over Amos Lincoln which he followed up with victories over Cleveland Williams, Zory Folley and Bob Foster. In 1965 he faced Eddie Machen for the vacated WBA title which had been stripped from Ali. Machen was well past his prime and lost to Terrell. Terrell followed this victory up with boring wins over George Chuvalo and Doug Jones. After his fight with Ali he lost to Thad Spencer and Manuel Ramos. His other defeats were early in the decade to Cleveland Williams and Wayne Bethea. Ranking Terrell is difficult because of his holding and unexciting style. Patterson and Terrell had three common opponents, George Chuvalo, Eddie Machen, and Muhammad Ali. All three fights were fought about the same time frame. The out come in all three fights were very similar. Patterson longevity has always put him ahead of Terrell but big Ernie had a better record during the decade and his dominate jab puts him ahead of Patterson. (23-5) *453

(5)Floyd Patterson 6’1”, 190- Patterson is very hard to rate because he was so carefully handled by his management. He avoided many outstanding contenders in the early years of the decade. His ability to take a punch will always be called into question. His two knockout victories over Ingermar Johansson put him at the top of the division but then he was blown away by Sonny Liston. He then defeated Eddie Machen and George Chuvalo before losing to Ali in 1965. He rebounded with a big victory over Henry Cooper which led to his two super close fights against the young Bellflower bomber, Jerry Quarry. One was ruled a draw and the other a loss for Patterson. At the end of the decade he lost a very close fight to Jimmy Ellis which most boxing experts felt he easily won. (11-5-1) *845

(6) Zory Folley  6’1”, 203- Zory Folley fought everybody and more than held his own. He was past his prime when he finally fought for the title against Ali. His biggest victories were against Eddie Machen, Henry Cooper, Doug Jones, Bob Cleroux, George Chuvalo, Oscar Bonavena, Bob Foster and Henry Clark. His losses included Sonny Liston, Alejandro Lavorante, Doug Jones, Ernie Terrell, Ali, Brian London and Oscar Bonavena. (30-7-4) *619

(7) Eddie Machen  6’0”, 196- One of the best fighters from the 1950s, Machen was a very tough out. He downed Brian London, Doug Jones and Jerry Quarry. He had draws against Elmer Rush and Cleveland Williams. In his prime he lost to Sonny Liston, Zory Folley and Harold Johnson. In the mid 60s he lost to Floyd Patterson, Karl Mildenberger, Ernie Terrell, Manuel Ramos, Joe Frazier, Henry Clark and Boone Kirkman. His best years were probably in the late 50s but none the less he was an outstanding heavyweight in the 1960s. (19-10-2) *420

(8) Jimmy Ellis  6’1”,196 –Many would argue Ellis is ranked way to high but he did defeat Quarry and Patterson in close decisions as well as Oscar Bonavena, Leotis Martin and Johnny Persol. He was a very good boxer and was trained by Angelo Dundee who worked wonders with the blown up middleweight. (9-0) *222

(9) Jerry Quarry 6’1”, 196- Young Quarry is very hard to rate during the decade because of his vast potential, but his accomplishments were few. Early in his career he lost to Eddie Machen who was well past his prime at the time. He fought two extremely close fights with Floyd Patterson, one ended in a draw and the other was a decision victory. Other key victories were against Thad Spencer and Buster Mathis. Major losses were to Jimmy Ellis and Joe Frazier, both of which were for some version of the heavyweight title.  He also lost to George Chuvalo on a referees questionable call of a knockdown. Quarry’s boxing skills and ability to take a punch could have moved him much higher in these ratings.  (33-4-4) *186

(10) Oscar Bonavena 6’0”, 205- Bonavena was one of the most active fighters of the 1960s. His biggest victories were over Gregerio Peralta, George Chuvalo, Karl Mildenberger, Zory Folley and Leotis Martin. He lost to Joe Frazier twice but had Smokin Joe down twice in their first fight. His other losses were to Zory Folley early in his career and Jimmy Ellis. (41-5-1) *191

(11) Cleveland Williams  6’3”, 215-Williams was never really the same after he was shot in 1964. He did resume his career but he was not the same fighter. In the early sixties he defeated Alex Miteff and Ernie Terrell and fought a draw with top contender Eddie Machen. He lost in his rematch with Terrell and then lost to Ali in a 3rd round knockout in 1966. Following his lost to Ali he was nothing more than a trial horse for young and upcoming fighters. He lost to several young fighters like Mac Foster and Al Jones. (27-7) *258

(12) Henry Cooper – 6’0”,186- Probably the best British fighter during the decade he had two fights against Muhammad Ali that made his career. His big wins were against Roy Harris, Alex Miteff, Joe Erskine(2), Wayne Bethea, Brian London, Hubert Hilton, Jack Bodell and Karl Mildenberger. His losses included Ali(2), Zory Folley, Roger Rischer, Amos Johnson and Floyd Patterson.  (18-6)*304

(13) Leotis Martin  6’0”, 199- Martin defeated Karl Mildenberber, Thad Spencer and Alvin Lewis. His biggest victory came in 1969 with his knockout victory over Sonny Liston. Martin had to retire following the fight because of a detached retina. His losses came at the hands of Jimmy Ellis, Roger Russell, Henry Clark and Oscar Bonavena. (31-5) *68

(14) Karl Mildenberger 6’0”, 195- Mildenberger was probably the best fighter to come out of Germany since Schmeling. In 1964 he fought two draws against Zory Folley and Amos Lincoln from the United States to brake into the world rankings. His only real big victory was over the over the hill Eddie Machen in 1966. He really caught everybody’s attention against Ali in 1966. His losses included Dick Richardson, Ali, Oscar Bonavena, Leotis Martin and Henry Cooper. (40-6-3) *285

(15) Doug Jones  6’0”, 188- Jones will always be remembered for his close loss to Ali in 1963 in Madison Square Garden. His biggest victories were over Zory Folley and Bob Foster. His losses were to the likes of Ali, Harold Johnson, Eddie Machen, Zory Folley, Billy Daniels, George Chuvalo, Ernie Terrell, Thad Spencer, Joe Frazier and Boone Kirkman. (16-10-1) *197

(16) George Chuvalo –6’0”, 216-Probably the toughest heavyweight that ever entered a boxing ring. He literally feared no man. He fought ever tough heavyweight during his years in the ring. His biggest wins during the 1960s which was his hay day were Bob Cleoux, Alex Miteff, Mike DeJohn, Doug Jones and Jerry Quarry. The Quarry fight was a questionable win because the referee said Quarry got up after the count but it was obvious that Jerry could have gotten up at the count of two. His losses were numerous but that is one of the reasons he is ranked as high as he is because he dodged no one. Losses were to Pete Rademacher, Bob Clerou(2), Zory Folley, Floyd Patterson, Ernie Terrell, Eduardo Corletti, Muhammad Ali, Oscar Bonavena, Joe Frazier and Buster Mathis. (39-12-1)*274

(17) Thad Spencer  5’11””, 193-  Spencer downed British heavy’s Jack Bodell and Brian London. He then went on a winning streak defeating Doug Jones, Amos Lincoln and Ernie Terrell. Jerry Quarry ended the streak in the WBA semi-final match in 1968. Following the Quarry fight Spencer never won another fight. Spencer lost to some ham and eggers, but also lost to Amos Lincoln twice, Leotis Martin, Mac Foster, Tony Doyle, Jose Luis Garcia and Ron Stander. (32-9) *131

(18) Ingermar Johansson –6’0”, 194- Johansson was not real active during the decade and his two mega fights against Patterson are the reasons he is rated so high. He was very smart and retired while he was still all together.(4-2) *208

(19) Buster Mathis-6’3”, 243- A big talented heavyweight who had a weight problem. He lost the 1968 NY City version of the heavyweight title to Joe Frazier in a 11th round knockout. He beat Amos Lincoln, James Woody and George Chuvalo. His only two losses during the decade were to Frazier and Jerry Quarry. (29-2)

(20) Amos Lincoln 6’2”,204- Lincoln had two big wins over Thad Spencer which put him into the heavyweight rankings. He was ahead of Henry Clark prior to the fight being stopped for lack of action. He also beat Elmer Rush twice, and Billy Daniels. He lost more than he won battled all the top heavyweight during the decade. He lost to Ernie Terrell, Santo Amonti, Johnny Persol, Karl Mildenberger, Thad Spencer, Buster Mathis, Sonny Liston and Tony Doyle. (16-10)

   {average weight 202 of the top heavyweights of the 1960s}
*Fighters Ring Rankings Totals for the Decade
(Ring Record for the Decade)

Top Heavyweights During the 1960s

1960     I. Johansson   

Patterson  S.Liston Z. Folley  Machen
1961     Patterson  S. Liston    Machen Cooper I. Johansson
1962     Patterson S. Liston  Machen   Z. Folley  I. Johansson
1963     S. Liston  Clay(Ali) Patterson Doug Jones Z. Folley
1964     Clay(Ali)  S. Liston Doug Jones   Terrell Patterson
1965     Clay(Ali) Patterson Terrell  S. Liston Chuvalo
1966     Clay(Ali) Terrell  Z. Folley  Spencer Mildenberger
1967     Clay(Ali) Terrell Mildenberger  Patterson  Frazier
1968     Clay(Ali) Frazier J. Ellis Quarry  M. Ramos
1969     Clay(Ali) Frazier    J. Ellis S. Liston Quarry

History of the Heavyweight Division 1960-69
Top Three Heavyweights

1960-Champion, Floyd Patterson 
#1 Sonny Liston                                  

#2 Ingemar Johansson                     

def. Ingemar Johansson 5-KO
def. Cleveland Williams 2-KO
def. Roy Harris 1-KO
def. Zory Folley 3-KO
def. Eddie Machen 12-D
loss Floyd Patterson 5-KO

1961-Champion, Floyd Patterson
#1 Sonny Liston                                  
#2 Eddie Machen                              
def. Ingemar Johansson 6-KO
def. Tom McNeeley 4-KO
def. Albert Westphal 1-KO
loss Harold Johnson 10-D
def. Mike DeJohn 9-KO
def. Doug Jones 10-D
1962-Champion, Sonny Liston    
#1 Floyd Patterson                            
#2 Muhammad Ali                             
def. Floyd Patterson 1-KO
loss Sonny Liston 1-KO
def. Alejandro Lavorante 5-KO
1963-Champion, Sonny Liston     
#1 Muhammad Ali  
#2 Doug Jones (2-0)
def. Floyd Patterson 1-KO
def. Doug Jones 10-D
def. Henry Cooper 5-KO
loss Muhammad Ali 10-D
1964-Champion, Muhammad Ali
#1 Sonny Liston                                  
#2 Floyd Patterson                            
def. Sonny Liston 7-KO
loss Muhammad Ali 7-KO
def. Eddie Machen 12-D
1965-Champion, Muhammad Ali
#1 Ernie Terrell
#2 Floyd Patterson                            
def. Sonny Liston 1-KO
def. Floyd Patterson 12-KO
def. Eddie Machen 15-D
def. George Chuvalo 15-D
def. George Chuvalo 12-D
loss Muhammad Ali 12-KO
1966-Champion, Muhammad Ali

#1 Ernie Terrell 
#2 Zory Folley                                     
def. George Chuvalo 15-D
def. Henry Cooper 5-KO
def. Karl Mildenberger 12-KO
def. Cleveland Williams 3-KO
def. Doug Jones 15-D
1967-Champion, Muhammad Ali
#1 Joe Frazier                                     
#2 Thad Spencer                
def. Ernie Terrell 15-D
def. Zory Folley 7-KO
def. Doug Jones 6-KO
def. George Chuvalo 4-KO
def. Amos Lincoln 8-KO
def. Ernie Terrell 12-D
1968-Champion, Muhammad Ali
 #1 Joe Frazier  

#2 Jimmy Ellis                                     
def. Buster Mathis 11-KO
def. Manuel Ramos 2-KO
def. Oscar Bonavena 15-D
def. Jerry Quarry 15-D
def. Floyd Patterson 15-D Questionable Decision
1969-Champion, Muhammad Ali
#1 Joe Frazier  (2-0) 
#2 Jimmy Ellis                                     
def. Jerry Quarry 7-KO



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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