East Side Guru
Join Date: May 2007
Location: InYourMouth, NC
Re: Top 15 Heavyweights ever?
When compiling a list you have to base it more on achievement than a who would beat who kind of list. Styles make fights, and some fighters are more vulnerable against some types of fighters than others. For instance, look at Evander Holyfield. Holyfield has always had trouble with fighters that make him follow them. He is at his best when someone comes to him (Mike Tyson), or when he is able to move in and out on his opponent (2nd Riddick Bowe fight). Holyfield looked less than spectacular with Bobby Czyz, Vaughn Bean, James Toney,and Larry Donald. Age was a culprate in his fights with Toney and Donald, but I think that they would have given him trouble at anytime during his career. There are fighters that Holyfield has beaten that Donald wouldn't belong in the ring with, so Donald will not be making my all time list just because I think he could possibly beat a younger Holyfield too.
You also won't find Jack Dempsey on this list, because he never faced his number one contender, Harry Wills. I like Dempsey, and think he stood a good chance of defeating Wills. I realize that certain situations may have made that fight impossible to make, so I am not penalizing him for not fighting him. Nor can I reward him being that the fight never took place.
15. Floyd Patterson
14. Wladimir Klitschko
13. Vitali Klitschko
12. Riddick Bowe
11. Sonny Liston
10. Mike Tyson
Tyson was the youngest heavyweight champion ever, and had the best blend of speed and power ever seen in a fighter. He came out a winner in twelve title bouts. Tyson had the ability to rank higher on this list, but lacked the discipline. He never bested another elite fighter (Larry Holmes was 37), but Trevor Berbick, James Smith, Pinklon Thomas, Tony Tucker, Larry Holmes, Tony Tubbs, and Frank Bruno were all world titlists at some point in their careers. The knock on Tyson is that he never really overcame adversity in his fights, but when you were as skilled as he was you don't come across adverse situations all that often.
9. Evander Holyfield
Holyfield moved up from the cruiserweight division, where he was also champion, to excel in the heavyweight division like no other fighter moving up from below 200 lbs. has ever done. What he lacked in size, he more than made up for it with courage, determination, chin, and heart. He also had decent strength, a crisp punch, and above average speed. While his boxing skills were always apparent, he reinvented himself after losing his title to Riddick Bowe in 1992. He put on a masterful performance when he beat Bowe to regain his title a year later. He seemed to decline afterwards, losing a disputed decision to Michael Moore. He again rose to championship form, putting on a wonderful boxing display in stopping Mike Tyson, and another solid outing when he stopped Michael Moorer in their rematch. Other notable wins came against Michael Dokes, an aging George Foreman, an aging Larry Holmes, Ray Mercer, and Hasim Rahman.
8. Lennox Lewis
Lennox Lewis barely edges out Holyfield for this spot on the list. Lewis had his flaws, but did not seem overly confused by any style in particular. He had a size advantage over Holyfield. His competition was on par with Holyfield's. Not to mention a win over Holyfield, though I feel Holyfield had started his decline at that point. Lewis had a booming right hand, stiff jab, and has a victory over every fighter he has faced. With sixteen successful title defenses, spread over the course of two reigns, he ranks third amongst the heavyweight champions. He had a suspect chin, and was not always properly motivated for his fights; but only suffered two set backs in spite of these flaws. It would have been nice to have seen how he would have dealt with Riddick Bowe, but he was able to beat one man that had previously defeated Bowe(Holyfield) He also made short work of Andrew Golata. Golata had previously thrown two dominant performances over Riddick Bowe away due to fouls. Lewis also showed the ability to overcome adversity. He was in very close fight with Frank Bruno, and turned it on to stop him in the seventh. He was losing, in my opinion, to Vitali Klitschko; but seemed to be taking the fight over when that bout was stopped due to an awful gash near Klitschko's eye. Other than the aforementioned fighters, notable wins came against Razor Ruddock, Tommy Morrison, Ray Mercer, Shannon Briggs, David Tua, Hasim Rahman, and Mike Tyson.
7. Joe Frazier
Joe Frazier was armed with one the best left hooks in division history, was strong willed, and had the gas to burn. Frazier's most notable wins were against Buster Mathis, Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Ellis, Bob Foster, and Muhammad Ali. It is also important to notice he only lost to two men over the course of his career, both of which make this list.
6. George Foreman
It is tempting to think of Foreman as having two careers, as two different fighters, because of his ten year layoff from boxing in the middle of his career. Also because of his seeming personal tranformation. I don't really buy the make over. I am not saying he is a scam artist, or that he doesn't believe in his ministry. I am referring to the good guy, bad guy routine. I don't believe that Foreman was ever really a bad guy. I think he was perceived that way because of his strong will and savage strength. He brutalized his opponents in a way that it would seem only a thug be capable of. After his ten year retirement he came back near forty, bald, clean shaven, fat, forcing a smile, and perceived by many as a joke. Also perceived was a change of heart. It is hard paint a forty year old smiling fat man as a villian. George Foreman may now be famous for his smile, but he has never been a joke. Foreman posessed a sledge hammer jab, granite chin, dogged determination, and was probably the physically strongest heavyweight champion ever. Before losing his title to Muhammad Ali, he demolished Joe Frazier and Ken Norton. He was involved in one of the greatest heavyweight bouts ever when he knocked out Ron Lyle. He inspired millions when, Foreman age 42, unsuccessfully challenged 29 year old Evander Holyfield for the heavyweight championship. He later went on to become the oldest heavyweight champion in history, 45 years old, when he defeated Michael Moorer. Shannon Briggs found out that a 48 year old Foreman was stil a formidable foe, when he was pummeled and won a disputed decision over him in Foreman's final outing.