Heavyweight Greatests - Final Rankings 1978-2004

View other eras.

 Klitschko, Vitali 1. Vitali Klitschko 6’8”, 245-                     {Heavyweight Champion 2004-05}

Yes, I realize I am going to take a lot of criticism placing Vitali so high on my ratings of the period, but let me explain. He showed against Lennox Lewis he could box and control a fight. He had a much better chin than any of the top fighters on the list with the possible exception of Riddick Bowe. During his long career he never tasted the canvas and had the highest knockout percentage of any heavyweight in boxing history. Pretty darn impressive;
Remember in his only two losses of his career he was ahead on points in both fights against Chris Byrd and Lennox Lewis before the fights were stopped.  In the Byrd fight Vitali hurt his shoulder and against Lewis they stopped the fight on cuts. His victories include Herbie Hide, Larry Donald, Kirk Johnson, Corrie Sanders, Danny Williams, Samuel Peter, Juan Carlos Gomez and Kevin Johnson.
Best Fight Of His Career- 2004 Corrie Sanders 8-KO win
Rating Analysis-I think one thing that is lost when talking about fighters is their defensive capabilities. I have little doubt that Klitschko’s size and length made him very difficult to hit and mount an attack against.  Evander would have had a hard time getting inside against Vitali although he would have the advantage in speed and quickness. Bowe would have been a difficult matchup for Vitali and would really test the big Ukrainian. Against both fighters I think Vitali superior reach and size would be too much. Tyson would be too short against Klitschko head hunting all the time. Holmes and Vitali would be a great fight once again but Klitschko at 6’8”, 250, would be able to stay at long range against the faster Holmes. The reason I picked Vitali over Lennox was because of his ability to take a punch. He has never been knocked down.(119.2)

Lewis 2. Lennox Lewis 6’5” 245-      {Heavyweight Champion 1998-01, 2001-04}

The dominant force of the late 1990s and early 2000s in the heavyweight division. Lennox was only the third heavyweight champion in boxing history to retire undefeated and stay retired. The other two were Gene Tunney and Rocky Marciano. Pretty good company.
Best Fight Of His Career- 2001 Hasim Rahman 4-KO win
Rating Analysis-Looking at this period there were several great fighters. Larry Holmes during the early part of the period, Mike Tyson in the late 1980s and early 1990s and of course Evander Holyfield, Lewis and Riddick Bowe; I think you seriously have to consider The Klitschko brothers in the group as well because of their dominance during the last part of the period. These are the top eight fighters of the period without a doubt. Here is why I placed Lewis near the top; He defeated Tyrell Biggs, Razor Ruddock, Tony Tucker, Frank Bruno, Phil Jackson, Henry Akinwande, Andrew Golota, Shannon Briggs, Evander Holyfield, Michael Grant, David Tua, Hasim Rahman, Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko. His two losses were to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. Tyson was on a definite decline during the period when he faced Lennox but Holyfield still had plenty in the tank and Lewis handled him easily. Vitali Klitschko may have been his toughest opponent although he was not very highly thought of at the time. The thing that really separated Lewis was his ability to box as well as punch with power and more than adequate defense. You also have to keep in mind his enormous size and speed.
Tyson had a great deal of trouble with Razor Ruddock in his prime during the early 1990s, Lewis knocked him out easily in two rounds. They both easily knocked out Frank Bruno.
As for Riddick Bowe, both he and Lewis easily defeated Tyrell Biggs. Bowe fought a younger tougher version of Holyfield and won two out of three fights. Lewis fought a highly questionable draw against Holyfield the first time round and won a decision in their second meeting. The big difference in Bowe and Lewis were their fights against Andrew Golota. Golota knocked Bowe all over the ring twice before losing on disqualifications. Lewis on the other hand knocked out Golota easily and quickly. In defense of Bowe he did not look like his old self against Golota.
How would you compare Lewis with Larry Holmes. First, Holmes had faster hand speed but less power. Holmes probably took a better punch as well. The big difference would be Lewis weighed 245 compared to Holmes 212 and Lewis was 6’5” compared to Holmes 6’3”. Does this mean Lewis would have defeated Holmes because of his superior size, no but Holmes never faced anybody in his career with the combination of size, boxing ability and power of Lennox Lewis. Gerry Cooney was 6’6” but only weighed 225. Lewis vs. Holmes would be a great fight. One of their common opponents was the legendary Mike Tyson. Obviously Tyson was a much better fighter when he faced Holmes and Holmes was past his prime but the fact remains Holmes could not hold off Tyson’s power while Lewis had very little trouble dominating the fight. Holmes always was fairly easy to hit and anybody Lewis could hit would be in serious danger against Lennox. The two fighters that knocked out Lewis were big punchers and caught Lewis with a lucky punch. Advantage Lewis. It is almost a tossup between Lewis and the Klitschko brothers because the Klitschkos were such great boxers. (170.6)

 

Klitschko, Wladimir3. Wladimir Klitschko 6’7”, 242-           {Heavyweight Champion 2009-2010}

Wladimir is 14-0 over the last seven years and has been unchallenged in the ring. His domination has seen few rivals in boxing history. Since Emanuel Stewart has take over the reins he has been untouchable. Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali are the only fighters that come to mind that have had such a long dominate streak. His legacy will not be felt or appreciated during his time as champion but later generations will come to see has as one of the best the division has seen. Wladimir’s two losses will always over shadow a lot of his greatness. But his size, hand speed and a great work ethic are almost unmatched in heavyweight history. He lost to Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster by KO and he lost earlier in his career to Ross Puritty. His wins were many as he dominated the decade: Alex Schulz, Monte Barrett, Chris Byrd twice, Francois Botha, Ray Mercer, Jameel McCline, Samuel Peter, Calvin Brock, Lamon Brewster, Sultan Ibragimov, Tony Thompson, Hasim Rahman and Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers and David Haye.
Best Fight Of His Career- 2011 David Haye 12-D win
Rating Analysis- After a great deal of thought I have placed Wladimir ahead of Holyfield, Bowie, Holmes and Tyson. His superior size and strength and boxing ability move these legendary heavyweights. (145.1)

Tyson4. Mike Tyson 5’10”, 220-               {Heavyweight Champion 1988-1990}

Mike Tyson is one of the great figures in boxing history and he was on his way to being one of  the greatest fighters of all time. On the way he got side tracked by prison and Don King and poor handlers and trainers. Tyson before his forced retirement to prison in 1991 defeated every fighter in the division. Trevor Berbick, Bonecrusher Smith, Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tucker, Tyrell Biggs, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno, Carl Williams, Alex Stewart and Razor Ruddock twice; He was undefeated with Kevin Rooney calling the shots and he dominated the heavyweights like few in ring history. Almost immediately after losing Rooney as his manager Tyson was knocked out by Buster Douglas. Following his prison time in 1991 he was never the same fighter. He defeated Frank Bruno, Bruce Sheldon, Francois Botha and Andrew Golota following his imprisonment. He later lost to Evander Holyfield twice, Lennox Lewis and Danny Williams.
Best Fight of His Career- 1988 Michael Spinks 1-KO win
Rating Analysis-Rating Tyson is very difficult because he really had two careers. I will be doing my rating on the Kevin Rooney years with Tyson in which he was undefeated. Tyson would have had trouble with Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko because of their height and ability fight from long distance and hold. Tyson vs. Holyfield in their prime would be different than their two fights in 1996 and 1997. Holyfield was in his prime but Tyson was not, age wise he should have been but he was a much better fighter earlier in his career. Holyfield always took a lot of punches and a young Tyson would have been too much for Holyfield. Larry Holmes lost to Tyson in 1988 but Larry was well past his prime. Still, Tyson was much more dominate against common opponents during the 1980s and I would have to give Iron Mike the edge. Tyson against Riddick Bowe would be a tough call, the fight could have gone either way. (165.5)

Holmes 5.   Larry Holmes 6’3”, 212-                {Heavyweight Champion 1980-1985}

Holmes in his prime was probably one of the most overlooked fighters of all time. He had a great jab, a lot of heart and determination and tremendous chin. Holmes defeated a long list of top fighters during his career. Earnie Shavers twice, Ken Norton, Alfredo Evangelista, Ossie Ocasio, Mike Weaver, Muhammad Ali, Trevor Berbick, Leon Spinks, Renaldo Snipes, Gerry Cooney, Tim Witherspoon, Bonecrusher Smith, David Bey, Carl Williams and Ray Mercer late in his career. His losses were to Michael Spinks twice in two closely disputed decisions, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield.
Best Fight of His Career- 1978 Kenny Norton 15-D win
Rating Analysis-I believe Tyson in his prime would defeat Holmes at his best. The reason was because of Tyson’s success against similar opponents. Tyson destroyed fighters like Carl Williams and Trevor Berbick who went the limit against Holmes.
Holmes was such a great fighter that it is almost a toss up against Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis. Holmes had a better jab and hand speed than either one of them but once again he would be giving up a great deal of height and weight against these two big men.
Holmes and Bowe would be a classic war, edge goes to Holmes because of his prolonged success as opposed to Bowe’s relatively short career. Holmes and Holyfield would also be a great battle with Holmes having a small advantage because he had a little better jab and was a little better boxer. Something that is always in my mind when thinking about Holmes was his great fights against Kenny Norton and Shavers. But he also pulled out close victories over Tim Witherspoon, Mike Weaver and Carl Williams. (159.3)

Bowe6. Riddick Bowe 6’4”, 240-             {Heavyweight Champion 1992-1993}

Riddick Bowe was at his peak a very short period of time from 1991 to 1996. He also managed to avoid more top named fighters than any of our top heavyweights. He wanted no part of Lennox Lewis or Tyson. Holmes was well past his prime and the Klitschko’s were not around yet. He defeated Pinklon Thomas, Bert Cooper, Tyrell Biggs, Tony Tubbs, Bruce Sheldon, Evander Holyfield twice, Michael Dokes, Herbie Hide, Jorge Luis Gonzalez and of course Andrew Golota. Remember Golota was disqualified in both fights after dominating both contest. His only loss on the books was against Holyfield.
Best Fight Of His Career-1995 Evander Holyfield 8-KO win
Rating Analysis-You have to rate Bowe ahead of Holyfield because he beat him two out of three times when both were at their best. (137.9)

HOlyfield7.  Evander Holyfield 6’2”, 210-      {Heavyweight Champion 1990-92, 1993-94}

I think you would have to say with the possible exception to Muhammad Ali that Holyfield was the most active heavyweight in the last fifty years. His victories include; Dwight Muhammad Qawi twice, Pinklon Thomas, Michael Dokes, Adilson Rodrigues, Alex Stewart twice, Buster Douglas, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Bert Cooper, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moorer, John Ruiz, Hasim Rahman, and Fres Oquendo. He only lost to two fighters in his prime,  Riddick Bowe and Michael Moorer.  In his later years he lost to Lennox Lewis at 37, John Ruiz at 39, Chris Byrd at 40,, James Toney at 41, Larry Donald at 42, Sultan Ibragimov at 45 and Nikolay Valuev(highly disputed decision) at 46.  He fought two draws against Lennox Lewis and John Ruiz both after the age of 37.
Best Fight of His Career- 1996 Mike Tyson 11-KO win
Rating Analysis-Yes, you could make a strong argument for Holyfield being as high as number one but I feel comfortable with him at number seven. (184.4)

Ibeabuchi 8.  Ike Ibeabuchi 6’2”, 234-                            {#2 Contender 1999, 2000}

Wow, yes I know this guy did not fight much and ended his career in prison with an undefeated 19-0 record. But his two wins over Chris Byrd and David Tua put him up this high and the manner in which he won those fights. Both fighters were the hottest young prospects in the division at the time and both were undefeated. Ibeabuchi knocked out Byrd in the 5th round and defeated Tua in a classic fight. Had he not gone to prison he would have undoubtedly been one of the top heavyweights of the period.
Best Fight Of His Career- 1999 Chris Byrd 5-KO win
Rating Analysis- In his fights against a master speed boxer, Chris Byrd and the ultimate power puncher with a granite chin, David Tua, Ibeabuchi showed his all around ability. His fight with Tua is still the compubox all-time leader for punches thrown in a heavyweight fight. If you find this rating to high go back and watch these two fights, Ike was a beast. (100.2)

Byrd 9. Chris Byrd 6’2”, 214-                   {#1 Contender 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006}

There is a big drop off from the top heavyweights to Byrd. Hard to believe he was the number one contender in Ring magazine for four straight years. Byrd defeated Vitali Klitschko after the Vitali quit because of a shoulder injury although he was ahead on all score cards. His only real strong victory was against David Tua. Byrd defeated Evander Holyfield when he was forty years old and his decision of Jameel McCline was highly questionable. He also fought a draw against 36 year old Andrew Golota. His losses were against Ike Ibeabuchi, Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin. How Byrd was able to maintain his ranking for four years is beyond me.
Best Fight Of His Career- 2001 David Tua 12-D Win
Rating Analysis- Hard to figure out how high Byrd should be ranked. The Tua and Holyfield fights were his only real claim to fame. He was an excellent boxer who was quick and sneaky fast with either hand. He could also hold his own defensively and could take a strong punch.   (131.2)

Weaver 10. Mike Weaver 6’1”, 218-                              {#1 Contender 1980, 1981, 1982}

Weaver was an outstanding heavyweight in the early 1980s. He biggest wins were against Bernardo Mercado, Stan Ward twice, John Tate, Gerrie Coetzee, Quick Tillis and Carl Williams. His losses were against Stan Ward, LeRoy Jones, Larry Holmes, Michael Dokes, Pinklon Thomas, Bonecrusher Smith and Razor Ruddock. He also fought a draw against Michael Dokes.
Best Fight of His Career- 1980 Gerrie Coetzee 13-KO win
Rating Analysis- The fight that really showed Weaver’s talents was his 1979 battle with Larry Holmes in which he lost a 12-KO. Weaver held down the number one spot for almost three years but never got another shot at Holmes. (130.3)

Thomas 11. Pinklon Thomas 6’2”, 216-                        {#1 Contender  1984, 1985, 1986}

Thomas had all the potential in the world to be one of the best but he seemed to struggle with drug addiction and his personal life. He had an outstanding jab which enabled him to be able to box well and with power. His best days were against Gerrie Coetzee in which he fought a draw, he also had wins over Quick Tillis, Tim Witherspoon and Mike Weaver. His losses were against Trevor Berbick, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Tommy Morrison.
Best Fight Of His Career- 1983 Gerrie Coetzee 10-D Draw
Rating Analysis- Hard to rate Thomas very high because he is ahead of some fighters that he lost to in the ring. Witherspoon was his biggest victory of his career.
The 1980s were a very tough period to put into perceptive because everybody was beating everybody else and a lack of consistency in the division. (109)

 Witherspoon 12.  Tim Witherspoon 6’3”, 220-           {#2 Contender 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987}

Witherspoon had one of the longest careers during this period. He only lost to three fighters prior to the age of 39. Those losses included Larry Holmes, which was a controversial decision, Pinklon Thomas and Bonecrusher Smith. His biggest wins were against Renaldo Snipes, Quick Tillis, Greg Page, James Broad, Bonecrusher Smith, Tony Tubbs, Frank Bruno, Carl Williams and Jorge Luis Gonzalez.  
Best Fight of His Career- 1983 Larry Holmes 12-Split Decision Loss
Rating Analysis- Witherspoon was really a strong fighter who usually came into fights in poor condition and out of shape. He almost won the title in 1983 against Holmes but never came close again. Outside of the Holmes fight, who did he ever really beat? He fought during the 1980s when the heavyweight division was at an all-time low. (117.8)

Rahman 13.  Hasim Rahman 6’2”, 237-                         {Heavyweight Champion 2001}

Rahman’s highlight to his career was his winning the heavyweight title in 2001 with his knockout of Lennox Lewis. The one punch knockout exposed Lewis’s chin for the second time in his career. Rahman was a dangerous opponent who could give it and take it with the best of them. He lost more than he won with the style but it never made for a dull fight. His victims included Obed Sullivan, Corrie Sanders, Lennox Lewis, Kali Meehan and Monte Barrett. He fought two draws against David Tua and James Toney. His losses were to David Tua, Oleg Maskaev twice, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz, James Toney and Wladimir Klitschko.
Best Fight Of His Career- 2001 Lennox Lewis 5-KO win
Rating Analysis- Rahman is rated this high because of his knockout of Lennox Lewis and also Corrie Sanders. He is rated ahead of several fighters who he lost to in the ring and in some cases lost to them twice. (110)

Moorer14.  Michael Moorer  6’2”, 224                          {Heavyweight Champion 1994}

Michael Moorer was the first fighter to defeat Evander Holyfield and captured the heavyweight title in 1994. Outside of that outstanding feat he has done little else. His top victories included Alex Stewart, Bert Cooper, Bonecrusher Smith, Evander Holyfield, Axel Schulz, Francois Botha and Vaughan Bean. He only two losses during his prime were against Holyfield in there rematch and losing the title to George Foreman. He lost to David Tua in a 1st round knockout at the age of 35.
Best Fight of His Career-1994 Evander Holyfield 12-D win
Rating Analysis- Moorer was just not a very active fighter and outside of the Holyfield victory had very little big time success. Hard to rate him any higher because of his lack of activity. (112.1)

Douglas 15. Buster Douglas 6’4”, 230-                          {Heavyweight Champion 1990}

Douglas shocked the world like few have ever done with his 1990 victory over Mike Tyson. Buster was an up and down fighter with his weight fluctuated all over the place. On the night he defeated Tyson he was at his best and would not be denied. His other impressive victories were against Randall Cobb, Greg Page, Trevor Berbick and Oliver McCall. He lost to David Bey, Jesse Ferguson, Tony Tucker and Evander Holyfield.
Best Fight Of His Career- 1990 Mike Tyson 10-KO win
Rating Analysis- Hard to rate Douglas because when he at his best he was really good but when he was not he was really bad. (110.5)

Coetzee 16.  Gerrie Coetzee 6’3”, 221                              {#1 Contender 1983, 1984}

Coetzee got everybody's attention with his first round knockout of Leon Spinks right after he had lost the title to Ali. Coetzee was a top contender in the division from the late 1970s into the mid 1980s. He defeated Mike Schutte twice, Kallie Knoetze, Johnny Boudreaux, Leon Spinks, Scott LeDoux, Stan Ward, Michael Dokes and Quick Tillis. He lost to John Tate, Mike Weaver, Renaldo Snipes, Greg Page and Frank Bruno.
Best Fight of His Career-1983 Michael Dokes 10-KO win
Rating Analysis-Coetzee biggest claims to fame were his knockouts over Spinks and Dokes but the win over Spinks proved to be a little overblown due to Spinks later ring failures. Coetzee was a fine boxer who carried a big punch. (120.6)

Spinks 17.  Michael Spinks 6’2”, 210-                       {Heavyweight Champion 1985-1988}  

Michael captured the heavyweight title with a 15-D over Larry Holmes in 1985. He came back again in 1986 and won a split decision over Holmes. Of course his most memorable fight was his first round knock out loss to Mike Tyson. His wins over Dwight Muhammad Qawi and Gerry Cooney were impressive. Spinks only loss one fight in his entire career and only hit the canvas against one opponent. He was a smooth boxer and well conditioned but his career was very short.
Best Fight of His Career- 1985 Larry Holmes 15-D win
Rating Analysis- Almost all of Spinks success in the heavyweight division comes from his victories over Larry Holmes who  was 36 at the time. Holmes did go on to gain top ten ranking later in his career. Spinks was impressive against Cooney but how good was Cooney and how much did he have left. Spinks was a cagey fighter who was only knocked down once in his career but the majority of his career was fought gainst cruiserweights.  (114.5)

McCall 18.  Oliver McCall 6’2”, 231                               {#1 Contender 1995}

McCall was a tough heavyweight who could fight at a very high level during different periods of his career. He had an impressive list of victims; Bruce Sheldon, Francesco Damiani, Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes. Oleg Maskaev and Henry Akinwande. He lost to Buster Douglas, Orlin Norris, Tony Tucker, Frank Bruno, Lennox Lewis, and DaVarryl Williamson. He possessed a lot of power and was never out of a fight and took a great punch.
Best Fight of Ring Career-1994 Lennox Lewis 2-KO win
Rating Analysis- McCall was not a real popular fighter but his record speaks for itself. Against any heavyweight he was a dangerous opponent. Lewis of course was the high point of his career. (109.5)

Mercer 19. Ray Mercer 6’1”, 228                                   {#3 Contender 1998}

Few heavyweights ever took a better punch than Ray Mercer. His victories were against Bert Cooper, Francesco Damiani, Tommy Morrison, Jesse Ferguson and Tim Witherspoon. He lost to Larry Holmes, Jesse Ferguson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko. Probably Mercer’s biggest claim to fame were his two close and tough fights he had with two of the best fighters of the period, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield.
Best Fight of His Career- 1996 Lennox Lewis 10-D Loss
Rating Analysis- Mercer’s victory list is not very impressive and you really can’t rate a fighter on losing close fights but Mercer was a very tough fighter in his prime. (102.1)           

Tua 20. David Tua 5’10”, 237                                  {#1 Contender 2001}

David was supposed to be the second coming of Mike Tyson. He did not achieve greatness but he was one of the best fighters in the world for almost ten years. Poor management cost him a lot of opportunities. He defeated some big name fighters during his career by knockout. John Ruiz, David Izon, Darroll Wilson, Oleg Maskaev, Hasim Rahman, Obed Sullivan, Fres Oquendo and Michael Moorer. He only lost to Ike Ibeabuchi, Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd all during their prime. He also fought a draw against Rahman.
Best Fight Of His Career- 1998 Hasim Rahman 10-KO win
Rating Analysis- Tua only lost three fights during his career and they were all against fighters rated in the top ten during this period. All the other fighters rated ahead of him had more challenging competition than Tua. I think you could make a strong argument for him being rated much higher, especially ahead of Rahman. (109.4)

Berbick 21.  Trevor Berbick 6’3”,218                           {#1 Contender 1986}

Berbick had a pretty impressive record to be rated so far down but he was not very fun to watch. He is the only fighter to have ever fought Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes and Muhammad Ali. He had a number of solid victories against John, Tate, Muhammad Ali(his last fight of his career), Greg Page, David Bey, Mitch Green and Pinklon Thomas. He lost to Bernardo Mercado, Larry Holmes, Renaldo Snipes, ST. Gordon, Mike Tyson, Carl Williams and Buster Douglas. Late in his career he lost to Jimmy Thunder at the age of 41 and to Hasim Rahman at the age of 42.
Best Fight of His Career- 1986 Pinklon Thomas 12-D  win
Rating Analysis- Berbick was a good solid fighter during the 1980s. Wins over John Tate, Greg Page and Pinklon Thomas are impressive wins because these fighters were at their peak when they faced Berbick. (110.3)

Page 22. Greg Page 6’4, 230                                    {#2 Contender 1983, 1984, 1985}

Page was the most active of any fighter during this period and of course paid the price with brain damage. His list of wins is very impressive and long: Stan Ward, Marty Monroe, Alfredo Evangelista, George Chaplin, Scott LeDoux, Jimmy Young, Quick Tillis, Renaldo Snipes, Gerrie Coetzee, James Broad, Bonecrusher Smith and Bruce Seldon. He lost almost as many as he won. Losses included Trevor Berbick, Tim Witherspoon, David Bey, Tony Tubbs, Buster Douglas, Joe Bugner, Orlin Norris, Razor Ruddock and Francesco Damiani. He continued to fight on well past his prime which led to his health issues.
Best Fight of His Career- 1984 Gerrie Coetzee 8-KO win
Rating Analysis- Page had a number of solid wins which give him a strong claim to his place among the best during this period. (102.6)

Tucker 23.  Tony Tucker 6’5”, 221                                {#3 Contender 1987, 1988}

Before the age of 37 only two fighters had defeated Tucker, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. On the tail end of his career he lost to Henry Akinwande, Orlin Norris and Herbie Hide. Now that sounds pretty impressive but the real problem with Tuckers career is he failed to fight anybody. Just a long list of no name opponents. His victories were against James Broad, Buster Douglas, Orlin Norris and Oliver McCall.
Best Fight of His Career- 1987 Buster Douglas 10-TKO win
Rating Analysis- Tucker fought twelve rounds against Mike Tyson back in 1987 when nobody could last the distance against Tyson. Tucker was a big strong heavyweight who was an underachiever. It is hard to rate him very high because of his limited action. (100.7)

Sanders 24. Corrie Sanders 6’4”, 235                           {#2 Contender 2003, 2004}

Sanders was really a little known heavyweight until his upset win over Wladimir Klitschko in 2003 which catapuled him into the spotlight of the division. He lost to brother Vitali but did give a strong showing. His record is not real impressive. Bert Cooper, Carlos DeLeon, Ross Puritty and Bobby Czyz were his victims and none were world class competition. His losses were against Nate Tubbs whoever he might be, Hasim Rahman and Vitali.
Best Fight of His Career- 2003 Waldimir Klitschko 2-KO win
Rating Analysis- Yes, his record is not impressive but he also lost only three fights in his prime. The whole basis of his ranking is based on his fights with the Klitschko brothers. (100.6)

Cooney 25.  Gerry Cooney 6’6”, 225                              {#2 Contender 1981, 1982}

Cooney had a very sketchy career which was dominated by long periods of inactivity. He was one of the hottest fighters in the world in the early 1980s beating a lot of has beens like Jimmy Young, Ron Lyle and Ken Norton. He lost his chance at the title by losing to Larry Holmes. He had another shot at the title against Michael Spinks and lost in a 5th round knockout. His last chance at greatness was lost against old George Foreman.
Best Fight Of his Career- 1982 Larry Holmes 13-KO Loss
Rating Analysis- Question is who did Cooney ever beat who was not well past his prime? The answer is Phillip Brown and of course your response is who is that. Fact remains he was very popular because of his color and power. He was definitely overrated. His fight against Holmes was the highlight of his career and he was very impressive to some degree in that fight. (99.6)

Dokes 26.  Michael Dokes 6’2”, 223                            {#1 Contender 1982, 1983}

Dokes had all kinds of potential but he had drugs problems the majority of his career. He also did not have a great record. He usually avoided most of the top fighters of the time. He had extremely quick hands but usually was not in top condition upon entiring the ring.
His biggest wins were not very impresssive; Ossie Ocasio, Randall Cobb twice and Mike Weaver in a questionable knockout win. He had two draws against Ocasio and Weaver.
His losses were against Gerrie Coetzee, Evander Holyfield, Razor Ruddock and Riddick Bowe.
Best Fight of Ring Career-1982 Mike Weaver 1-KO win
Rating Analysis- Dokes had a very bright future as a youngster as an amatuer but he was not an outstanding heavyweight because of his drug addiction and conditioning. (107.5)

tate 27.  John Tate 6’4”, 240  Knoxville, Tenn.                            {#2 Contender 1980}

Wins: Bernardo Mercado, Johnny Bourdreaux, Duane Bobick, Kallie Knoetze, Gerrie Coetzee:
Losses: Mike Weaver, Trevor Berbick, Noel Quarless(88):
Big John Tate finished his career 34-3 and had some strong showings during his short career. He was never the same after his 15th round knockout loss to Mike Weaver. None the less he was well ahead on points at the time and had several fine wins.

morrison  28. Tommy Morrison 6’2”, 226 Oklahoma                            {#3 Contender 1993}

 Wins: Quick Tillis, Pinklon Thomas(91), Joe Hipp, Carl Williams, George Foreman(93), Razor Ruddock(95):
Losses: Ray Mercer, Michael Bentt, Lennox Lewis:
Draw: Ross Puritty
Tommy Morrison was another one of the great white hopes that come along every once in a while who could actually fight. His record of 48-3 is very impressive and he probably could have earned a lot more money in the ring had he been more active. His victory over George Foreman was his most impressive victory.

bruno  29. Frank Bruno 6’3”, 222  London                      {#6 Contender 1996}

Wins: Scott LeDoux, Phillip Brown, Lucien Rodriguez, Gerrie Coetzee(86), Quick Tillis, Joe Bugner(87),Jose Ribalta, Pierre Coetzer, Carl Williams(93), Jesse Ferguson, Oliver McCall(95):
Losses: Bonecrusher Smith, Tim Witherspoon, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson: Bruno had a long fourteen year career that was very solid. Out of 45 fights he only tasted defeat on five occasions. All five of those fighters are consider outstanding with three of those five losses coming to boxing immortals, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. His biggest win was probably over Coetzee and Oliver McCall.

brewster  30.  Lamon Brewster 6’2”, 226  Los Angeles                    {#4 Contender 2006}

Wins: Wladimir Klitschko, Kali Meeham, Andrew Golota, Lusn Krasniqi, Michael Sprott:
Losses: Clifford Etienne, Charles Shufford, Siarhei Liakhovich, Wladimir Klitschko, Gbenga Oloukun, Robert Helenius:
Brewster is ranked during this era because of his 2004 victory over Wladimir which put him in the rankings and he won the WBO belt. His 35-6 record indicates he had a fine career but after the Helenius fight it looks like his career is in a downward trend. The durability that he showed in winning the Klitschko fight was the high point of his career.
  

ruddock   31. Razor Ruddock 6’3”,225                    {#2 Contender 1991, 1992, 1993}

Ruddock’s claim to fame were his two fights against Mike Tyson in the early 1990s. The rest of his wins were against a lot of fighters that were well past their prime. Michael Dokes, Bonecrusher Smith, James Broad, Mike Weaver and Greg Page; All these fighters were over the hill when they faced Ruddock. His losses were against Mike Tyson twice, Lennox Lewis and Tommy Morrison.
Best Fight of His Career- 1991 Mike Tyson 12-D Loss
Rating Analysis- Razor was a big strong heavyweight who really proved himself against Tyson but did little else to gain the spotlight. (100.5)

bonecrusher smith   32.  Bonecrusher Smith 6’4”,220                                       {#3 Contender 1987}

Like many fighters during this period Bonecrusher fought well past his prime and fought often. He defeated Jose Ribalta, Mike Weaver, Frank Bruno, Jesse Ferguson, David Bey and Tim Witherspoon. His losses were many to the likes of James Broad, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, Tim Witherspoon, Marvis Frazier, Mike Tyson, Adilson Rodrigues and Razor Ruddock.
Best Fight of His Career- 1986 Tim Witherspoon 1-KO win
Rating Analysis- He had two big wins against Witherspoon and Bruno which pretty much made his career. He had a big punch and would win a lot of his fights with one big punch. (100.8)

ruiz 33.  John Ruiz 6’2”, 230  Mexico                                         {#2 Contender 2001}

Wins: Carl Williams, Jimmy Thunder, Tony Tucker(98), Evander Holyfield(01), Kirk Johnson(Disq), Hasim Rahman, Fres Oquendo, Andrew Golota, Jameel McCline:
Losses: Danell  Nicholson, David Tua, Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., Nikolay Valuev,
Ruslan Chagaev, Nikolay Valuev, David Haye:
Draw: Evander Holyfield(01)
“The Quiet Man” had a very impressive career winning the WBA belt on several different occasions. Regardless of his popularly he fought some of the top fighters in the division and did rather well.

toney 34. James Toney 5’11”, 217                             {#3 Contender 2005, 2006}

One of the great fighters in ring history in the lighter divisions, Toney decided to move into the heavyweight division. His biggest victory was over Evander Holyfield in 2003 when Holyfield was well past his prime. Other wins included Dominick Guinn, John Ruiz and Fres Oquendo. He also fought a draw against Hasim Rahman. He lost to Samuel Peter twice.
Best Fight Of Ring Career- 2003 Evander Holyfield 9-TKO win
Rating Analysis- Toney was always overweight and out of shape and a disgrace to the division but he was an awesome fighter. Outside of his win over Holyfield his resume was pretty weak. (117.1)

mccline 35. Jameel McCline 6’6”, 260  Harlem, NY                       {#5 Contender 2002}

Wins: Michael Grant, Lance Whitaker, Shannon Briggs, Charles Shufford, Cedric Boswell:
Losses: Wladimir Klitschhko, Chris Byrd, Calvin Brock, Nikolay Valuev, Samuel Peter, John Ruiz, Chris Arreola:
McCline grabbed the attention of everybody after his 1st round knockout over Michael Grant. He also suffered a split decision loss to Chris Byrd when Byrd had the IBF belt.

grant 36.  Michael Grant 6’7”, 244                                       {#2 Contender 1999, 2000}

Probably a reach to be rated this high but he did cause a lot of excitement during his run to the title fight against Lennox Lewis. His wins were not that impressive but none the less he fought some of the best up and coming fighters during the period. Grant defeated Ross Puritty, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, David Izon, Obed Sullivan, Ahmed Abdin, Lou Savarese and Andrew Golota. He lost to Lennox Lewis, Jameel McCline and Dominick Guinn.
Best Fight of His Career- 1999 Andrew Golota 10-KO win
Rating Analysis- The Golota fight pretty much put him up this high. His other victories were not that impressive. (100.9)

briggs 37. Shannon Briggs 6’4”, 227  Brooklyn, NY    {Heavyweight Champion 1996}

Wins: Jorges Valdes, George Foreman(questionable decision), Ray Mercer(08), Siarhei Liakhovich: 
Losses: Darrell Wilson, Lennox Lewis, Jameel McCline, Sultan Ibragimov, Vitali Klitschhko:
Draw: Francois Botha:
After eighteen years in the ring Briggs has a rather respectable record of 51-6-1. He gained the heavyweight title after a questionable decision over George Foreman. Officially no belts changed hands with the victory because Foreman had been stripped of all his belts after his victory over Michael Moorer because of lack of activity. He won the heavyweight title because Foreman was still champion of the world having never lost the title in the ring. He lost the belts but not the title. He was the Linear Champion. Probably his best fight of his career was his losing effort against Lennox Lewis in which he had Lennox hurt in the early rounds.

golata 38. Andrew Golota 6’4”, 243   Poland                             {#3 Contender 1997}

Wins: Danell Nicholson, Tim Witherspoon(98), Orlin Norris:
Losses: Riddick Bowe(twice), Lennox Lewis, Michael Grant, Mike Tyson, John Ruiz, Lamon Brewster, Ray Austin, Tomasz Adamek:
Draw: Chris Byrd:
Golota got worldwide attention for his destruction of Riddick Bowe. Although he lost both fights he was well ahead on points before being disqualified. Golota only other real claim to fame was his draw against Chris Byrd. He was a very erratic fighter who did not like fighting big punchers because of his inability to take a punch.

tubbs 39. Tony Tubbs  6’3”, 234     Cincinnati, Ohio                     {#3 Contender 1985}

Wins: Jimmy Young(83), Bonecrusher Smith, Greg Page, Mike Evans, Orlin Norris, Bruce Seldon, Alexander Zolkin, Tyrell Biggs, Jose Ribalta:
Losses: Tim Witherspoon, Mike Tyson, Riddick Rowe, Lionel Butler, Jimmy Thunder(94), Alexander Zolkin(95), Brian Nielsen(95):
Tubbs fought some of the top fighters of the day in the division. The wins over Bonecrusher and Greg Page highlight his career.

williams' 40.  Carl Williams 6’4”, 218  White Plains, NY                      {#2 Contender 1988}

Wins: Quick Tillis, Jesse Ferguson, Bert Cooper, Trevor Berbick, Ossie Ocasio(92):
Losses: Larry Holmes, Mike Weaver, Mike Tyson, Tim Witherspoon, Tommy Morrison, Frank Bruno, Alexander Zolkin, Melvin Foster:
Williams biggest fight was his close 15-D lost to Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title in 1985. Outside of that one fight he had limited success. The Berbick fight was a good win.

maskaev 41.  Oleg Maskaev 6’3”, 230  Russia                                       {#3 Contender 2000}

Wins: Hasim Rahman, Derrick Jefferson, Sinan Samil Sam, Hasim Rahman:
Losses: Oliver McCall, David Tua, Kirk Johnson, Lance Whitaker, Corey Sanders, Samuel
Peter:
The real high point of Maskaev career were his victories over Rahman. Outside of those wins he lost most of his big fights.

oquendo 42. Fres Oquendo 6’2”, 220    Puerto Rico                           {#7 Contender 2004}

Wins: Buster Douglas(98), Phil Jackson(99), Bert Cooper(99), Clifford Etienne, Obed Sullivan, David Izon, Bruce Seldon:
Losses: David Tua, Chris Byrd, John Ruiz, Evander Holyfield(06), James Toney, Jean Marc Mormeck, Oliver McCall(10):
Oquendo finished his career with a 32-7 record and fought the best the time period had to offer. Although there were no real big wins on his record he was very competitive against the best in the world.

akinwande 43.  Henry Akinwande 6’7”, 237  London         {#5 Contender 1997}

 Wins: Jimmy Thunder, Alex Schulz, Tony Tucker(95), Jeremy Williams, Alexander Zolkin, Orlin Norris, Peter McNeeley:
Losses: Lennox Lewis, Oliver McCall, Oleh Oliynyk:
Draw: Axel Schulz:
Akinwande had an Impressive ring record of 50-4 over nineteen years. Although he was never one of the top fighters in the division he was always a strong contender. He never had any great wins over big time heavyweights.

donald 44.  Larry Donald  6’3”, 228       Cincinnati, Ohio                 {#5 Contender 1995}

Wins: Bert Cooper, Jorge Valdes, Jose Ribalta, Tyrell Biggs, Tim Witherspoon(97), Ross Puritty, Phil Jackson, Evander Holyfield(04):
Losses: Riddick Bowe, Kirk Johnson, Vitali Klitschko, Nikolay Valuev, Alexander Povetkin: 
Draws: Obed Sullivan, Ray Austin:
Donald had a strong 14 year career where he fought many of the top heavyweights around and finished his career 42-5-3. His two biggest victories over Witherspoon and Holyfield both fighters were well past their primes but they were still competitive heavyweights.

snipes 45. Renaldo Snipes 6’2”, 215   Yonkers, NY          {#3 Contender 1983}

Wins: Gerrie Coetzee(questionable decision), Trevor Berbick(Close decision), Johnny du Plooy:
Losses: Larry Holmes, Tim Witherspoon, Greg Page, Alfredo Evangelista, Tyrell Biggs, Jorge Luis Gonzalez(93):
Snipes got the attention of the boxing world with his knock down of Larry Holmes in their title fight in 1981. That was without question the high point of his otherwise average career.

spinks 46.  Leon Spinks 6’1”, 196   St.Louis           {Heavyweight Champion 1978}

Wins: Alfio Righetti, Muhammad Ali(78), Alfredo Evangelista, Bernardo Mercado, 
Losses: Muhammad Ali(78), Gerrie Coetzee, Larry Holmes, Carlos Deleon, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Jose Ribalta, Tex Cobb:
Draws: Scott LeDoux, Eddi Lopez:
Leon Spinks became a national celebrity overnight with his victory of the heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in only his 7th  fight. He had a dreadful career and was probably the worst champion in heavyweight boxing history. But for a few months he was the champion.

johnson 47.  Kirk Johnson 6’2”, 238 Canada                                       {#2 Contender 2001}

Wins: Alfred Cole, Oleg Maskaev, Larry Donald, Lou Savarese:
Losses: John Ruiz(DQ), Vitali Klitschko:
Johnson had a very short career with limited success. Maskaev fight is impressive.
 

bey 48.  David Bey 6’3”, 233      Philadelphia                             {#3 Contender 1985}

 Wins: Buster Douglas(81), George Chaplin, Greg Page(84):
Losses: Larry Holmes, Trevor Berbick, Bonecrusher Smith, Joe Bugner(86), Tyrell Biggs, Johnny du Plooy, Bruce Sheldon, Joe Hipp, Derek Williams, Zeijko Mavrovic:
Bey was another heavyweight who had very limited success and began losing to all young and upcoming fighters. The Page win was his only claim to fame.

knoetze  49.  Kallie Knoetze 6’1”, 225   South Africa        {#3 Contender 1979}

 Wins:Mike Schutte, Richard Dunn, Duane Bobick, Randy Stephens:
Losses: Gerrie Coetzee, John Tate, Mike Koranicki, Jimmy Abbott:
Knoetze was one of the two outstanding heavyweights to come out of South Africa during the late 1970s. Knoetze big claim to fame was his knockout victory over White Hope, Duane Bobick. He later lost to John Tate in the first round of the WBA heavyweight elimination tournament.

seldon  50. Bruce Seldon 6’1 ½”, 229 New Jersey               {#5 Contender 1995, 1996}

Wins: Ossie Ocasio(90), David Bey(90), Jose Ribalta, Greg Page(93), Tony Tucker(95), Joe Hipp:
Losses: Oliver McCall, Riddick Bowe, Tony Tubbs, Mike Tyson(96), Gerald Nobles(04), Tye Fields(05), Kevin Johnson(08), Fres Oquendo(09):
Seldon had very few quality wins during his career. Almost every fighter he defeated was well past their prime when they lost to Seldon.  It is hard to make a strong argument about Seldon being in the top fifty of the period.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

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

 

 

 

   
news results ratings champs yearly ranks decade ranks dream matches forum links contact home home Heavyweight Prospects Ring Mag Rankings