Heavyweight Greatests - Gallery

See below for Rankings Through the Years

View Rankings by Era:

Final Rankings 1882-1904 (click here)

Final Rankings 1978-2004 (click here)

Final Rankings 1956-1977 (click here)

Final Rankings 1929-1955 (click here)

Final Rankings 1905-1928 (click here)

Final Rankings 2005-2018 (click here)

Final Rankings 1942-1966 (click here)

Final Rankings 1967-1991 (click here)

Ranking Criteria:

In ranking the greatest fighters in the history of the heavyweight division I feel it is too difficult to compare fighters from different generations so I divided the division dating all the way back to John L. Sullivan into six different generations. To qualify, a fighter’s career must be between 1882 and 1904 or the majority of the career was fought during the period. In Jack Johnson’s case he was a contender during this period so the whole body of his career is rated during this period instead of 1905 to 1928, the period in which he held the title. For Ranking purposes, which ever period a fighter first appeared as a contender in a generation time period  than that is where his entire career will be assessed for ranking purposes.

First Generation-     
John L. Sullivan wins the bare knuckle title –
James J. Jeffries first retirement
23 years
Second Generation- 
Jeffries vacating the title-
Gene Tunney’s retirement  
24 years
Third Generation-    
Title Vacant-
Rocky Marciano’s retirement   
27 years
Fourth Generation-  
Patterson wins title-
Ali’s decline and the rise of Larry Holmes
22 years
Fifth Generation-     
The rise of Larry Holmes-
Lennox Lewis’s retirement   
27 years
Sixth Generation-     
Eastern European dominance-        14 years


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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