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The Voice names the top ten heavyweight boxers of all-time

LETHAL: Frazier (left) catches Ali with a left hook

THE BOXING fraternity was a dealt a major blow last week with the news that legendary heavyweight ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier had passed away after succumbing to liver cancer.

Frazier fought in a golden era of boxing – competing more than once against the likes of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. While Frazier unquestionably cemented an ever-lasting legacy, where does the Philadelphia native rank amongst the top ten heavyweight boxers of all-time?

The Voice of Sport selects their top ten heavyweights to have ever laced up a pair of gloves.

10. Jack Dempsey – 61 wins (50 KOs), six losses and one draw

Dempsey was a brawler with an exceptionally hard punch. The ‘Manassa Mauler’ won the world title in 1919 by destroying Jess Willard in four one-sided rounds - he knocked Willard down a total of seven times.
Dempsey, who also won the world title at light-heavyweight, defended his heavyweight crown four times.

9. Jack Johnson – 73 (40 KOs), 13-10

The first ever black world heavyweight champion is recognised by boxing experts as one of the best defensive fighters of all-time.
The ‘Galveston Giant’ fought James J. Jeffries in 1910 in a contest that was literally built up as white versus black.
Johnson’s 15 round battering of Jeffries was such a shock to the establishment it caused widespread riots across America.

8. Larry Holmes – 69 (44 KOs), 6-0

Possibly the most underrated boxer on this list, Holmes reigned supreme in the heavyweight division from the late seventies to mid eighties, making 20 defences of his world title belts in the process.
Unfortunately, many remember Holmes as being the man who dismantled Muhammad Ali in 10 infamous rounds in 1980 instead of the ‘Easton Assassain’ with the ramrod jab.

7. Lennox Lewis – 41 (32 KOs), 2-1

Having beaten every opponent put in front of him as a professional, capturing an Olympic gold medal and becoming the last undisputed heavyweight champion of the 20th century, Lewis is probably the best British boxer to come from these shores.
But every great champion needs an equally great rival. Lewis has standout wins over Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield but neither were in their prime when Lewis beat them.


FEROCIOUS: Tyson (right) swings for Berbick’s head

6. Mike Tyson – 50 wins (44 KOs), 6-0

Hailing from Catskill, New York, ‘Iron’ Mike’s name is synonymous with boxing itself. His ferocious knockouts of the eighties captivated audiences as he became the youngest heavyweight champion of all–time at just 20 years-old, before unifying the IBF, WBA and WBC titles at 21.
A monumental shock defeat to James ‘Buster’ Douglas in 1990 as well Tyson’s well-documented problems in and outside of the ring unfortunately contributed to his downfall.

5. Joe Frazier – 32 (27 KOs), 4-1

At 5’ 10”, the 1964 Olympic heavyweight gold medallist was shorter than most of opponents but used his size to his advantage as he threw lethal shots whilst employing his trademark bobbing and weaving style of pressure fighting.
Apart from a draw right at the end of his career and the defeats against Ali and Foreman, Frazier almost stopped all of his opponents.

4. George Foreman – 76 (68 KOs), 5-0

At 45 years and 10 months of age, Foreman became the oldest world heavyweight champion in history when he knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994, more than 20 years after stopping Frazier in two rounds in 1973 to first claim the world title belts.
Foreman is the now the face of the George Foreman grill, which has sold millions of units worldwide.

3. Rocky Marciano – 49 (43 KOs)

With a 49-fight unbeaten streak, few can argue that Marciano does not deserve to be in this list.
The Italian-American, who was nicknamed the ‘Brockton Blockbuster’, left the likes of Jersey Joe Walcott and a faded Joe Louis sprawled across the canvas after knocking them out in devastating fashion.
Marciano was short for a heavyweight, but could generate an immense amount of power from his 5’ 10” frame.


SPORTING HERO: Louis

2. Joe Louis – 66 (52 KOs), 3-0

Perhaps the first black sporting hero, Joe Louis’ win over Max Schemling, who was being backed by Nazi Germany, in 1938 represented a huge triumph for black America. Louis held the heavyweight world championship from 1937 to 1950, and successfully defend it 25 times during that period.
In terms of one-punch power, Louis was arguably the hardest-hitting of them all.

1. Muhammad Ali – 56 (37 K.Os), 5-0

The three-time heavyweight world champion told anyone who would listen that he was the greatest and who am I to disagree? Ali would walk the walk and talk the talk over and over again.
Ali had very fast hands, majestic footwork, but most importantly the boxer dubbed the ‘Louisville Lip’ had a lot of heart.
Ali’s political stances and philanthropic work as well as his in-ring abilities helped transform him into an icon that will remembered centuries from now.

Who would be in your top ten? Let the debate begin by leaving a comment below.

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