Tyson Fury’s second title defence a sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte followed his October trilogy rematch victory over Deontay Wilder and kicked off more discussion as to where he stands among the greatest heavyweights of all time.
But can we put him up there with the absolute all-time greats just yet?
Modern heavyweights are often ridiculed as being a pale imitation of the legends of the 20th century whose legacies have been immortalised. However there is no denying that the current crop — a field that includes Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk and more with WBC and The Ring champ Fury sitting top of the heap — have produced the most exciting spell for the 200lbs+ realm in a long time.
Here, DAZN lists its 10 Best Heavyweights of All Time, in no particular order. That means this isn't a ranking from 1 to 10; rather the ten who, in this writer's opinion, make the cut.
A staggering 49-0 record — 43 of which by knockout — and counting wins over the likes of Joe Louis, Ezzard Charles and Archie Moore, Marciano was among the most feared heavyweights of all time. Plus, he’s the only heavyweight world champion to have finished his career undefeated. Unless … perhaps Tyson Fury has anything to say about that.
Fury has combined pure boxing skills with underrated punching power to a supreme level amidst his growing dominance. And both components of his fighting game have been on display in all three of his fights against Deontay Wilder — one of boxing’s biggest punchers of all time — and his unanimous decision points win over Wladimir Klitschko. At 31-0-1, all that’s left for the reigning WBC and lineal world heavyweight champion and former unified world champ is to snatch undisputed glory as the cherry on top. But honestly, his career and overcoming personal obstacles along the way to date already have him among the greatest heavyweights of all time on our list.
Twenty-five consecutive title defenses more than imprinted Louis as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. Max Baer, Max Schmeling, James J. Braddock and Jersey Joe Walcott all felt Louis’ wrath.
Scoring a pair of second-round TKOs of Joe Frazier and Ken Norton are a sample size of how terrifying Foreman was in his era. Defeating a 26-year-old Michael Moorer at the age of 45 back in November 1994 to once again be crowned as heavyweight champion demonstrated how a heavyweight’s power is the last to leave his hands. Well, at least Foreman’s hands.
“Smokin’ Joe” was an absolute buzzsaw. The Fight of the Century in March 1971, when he handed Muhammad Ali his first loss, was proof of that. To be “The Greatest,” Ali needed rivals to push him and Frazier was one of his best.
Behind that crisp, piercing jab of his, Holmes enjoyed an eight-year run as world heavyweight champion, defeating the likes of Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers and Muhammad Ali along the way. Can’t overlook Holmes’ place in heavyweight history.
Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis didn’t fear Tyson and were able to subsequently bully the bully. But they, too, are among the greatest of all time, so that’s not too shabby. Look at the fear Tyson compounded with ferocious punches for Trevor Berbick, Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno and Donovan Ruddock to name a few amidst his reign of terror during the mid to late 1980s and early 1990s. In more recent times, Deontay Wilder and his 10 consecutive title defenses demonstrated his own feared punching power and greatness that shouldn't be overlooked, either.
The only four-time heavyweight world champion in boxing history, Holyfield’s victory over Riddick Bowe and wins over Mike Tyson, in particular, more than illustrate his warrior footprint in the sport's lore.
A three-time world heavyweight champion, Lewis outpointed Evander Holyfield (essentially twice), laid Mike Tyson flat on his back via a devastating knockout and let Vitali Klitschko know that he’s not to be messed with as part of his polished resume. Pure sweet science, master class boxing skills on display from Lewis across his brilliant career.
When talking “The Greatest” heavyweights, Ali’s name reigns supreme. Whether it was avenging his loss against Joe Frazier with two victories over his rival, taking the steam out of George Foreman at The Rumble in the Jungle or earning hard-fought wins over the rugged likes of Floyd Patterson and Ken Norton, Ali’s GOAT legacy resides on the heavyweight throne as the best.