Which is more difficult to become: The youngest or oldest heavyweight champion?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Ironfox222, Feb 10, 2024.


  1. Youngest

    18 vote(s)
  2. Oldest

    20 vote(s)
  1. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 25, 2014
    Both are extremely difficult.

    But what Mike Tyson accomplished was goddamn ridiculous at age 20.

    George Foreman had already been the World Champion. He also challenged for a heavyweight title twice and failed during his comeback before winning it on his third attempt. While George's win was a major news story, he had a lot of opportunities.

    The sanctioning bodies make it even easier for older fighters to get title shots because, if you previously held a world title in a sanctioning body, you can petition them to get a title shot and you don't have to have a ranking first. It's one of the perks of being a former champ of an org.

    (George Foreman was 45, hadn't won a fight in almost two years, and had lost his last fight a year and a half earlier to Tommy Morrison when the orgs sanctioned his fight with Moorer.)

    Younger fighters don't have the same advantage.

    Mike Tyson won the WBC belt a year and eight months after he turned pro. Then unified all the others.

    Mike didn't fail in two attempts before becoming the youngest champ (like old George did to become the oldest).

    To break Tyson's record, someone is going to have to come out of the gate really fast and become a world ranked heavyweight in his teens ... and somehow get a title shot.

    And even if some Olympic Phenom got a gift heavyweight title shot at age 19 or 20 ... I seriously doubt that person would have 27 pro wins before fighting for the world title like 20-year-old Mike Tyson did. (Tyson just tore through the division.)

    Instead, he'd probably have to be a guy who fought for a world title in his second heavyweight pro fight, or something like that. And, again, I don't see too many 19-year-old Olympic heavyweight gold medalists these days.

    Also, heavyweights are a lot older in this era. There are 20 fighters older than 40 in the Boxrec top 200 heavyweights.

    There aren't many heavyweight fighters who are rated and 19 years old. (Boxrec lists 2 who are 19 in the top 200.)

    So, long story short, seems like it would easier to become the oldest champ as opposed to the youngest.

    But both are enormous accomplishments, and neither would be remotely easy to pull off.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2024
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  2. Barrf

    Barrf Well-Known Member Full Member

    Sep 19, 2021
    Larry Holmes didn't take much of a break, came close to beating George Foreman's record by a few years when he lost a close SD to Nielsen.
  3. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra H2H Burger King Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    To answer the thread question, it's obviously significantly easier to win the title as a healthy young 20 year old, especially if you have good power, speed, technique, and athleticism. Your speed, reflexes, coordination, flexibility, stamina, etc all start to decline by your mid 30's. They can decline rapidly in your 40's even if you take care of yourself. Foreman was headed for a wide lopsided decision loss if he hadn't baited Moorer into that KO punch and power is the last thing to go. It's extremely difficult to remain an elite athlete in your 40's even in today's era (look how much LeBron has been struggling lately despite how much he invests in his body). Boxing is a very taxing and brutal sport. Just doing roadwork, hitting the bag, and sparring can put a lot of wear and tear on the body; especially if you've been training and competing since you were a teenager. A guy who had a late start in the sport and didn't have a very grueling amateur/pro career could possibly beat Foreman's record, but I can't imagine a guy whose been boxing for 25+ years suddenly managing to secure the title in his late 40's.

    As for someone old winning the title again, I wouldn't even count someone winning the title past 45 unless it was for at least 2 belts. It's so easy nowadays to weasel your way around the rankings and pick up a single strap or fight for a vacant title.

    Think about it: Imagine Fury was stripped of the WBC belt in 2022. Now imagine Andy Ruiz and Luis Ortiz fought for the vacant title and Ortiz won. Would that truly make Ortiz "the" heavyweight champion of the world and one of the oldest to win the title?
  4. themostoverrated

    themostoverrated Member Full Member

    Feb 9, 2022
    While this is true, we must also remember that Holmes started his career late. Foreman had fought 77 times while Holmes had been in the ring 71 times including the Nielsen fight.
  5. northpaw

    northpaw Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jun 5, 2010
    The youngest, HW's unlike almost every other division peak far later. Sooner rather than later another 45-46 year old peak performance guy is gonna land a home run..........................A 20 year old kid beating up 35-38 year old grown men is not gonna happen again.
    Rumsfeld likes this.
  6. ipitythefool

    ipitythefool Prediction ? Pain Full Member

    Mar 17, 2017
    Based on how often HWs fight these days you would need to turn professional at about 10 year's old to have a chance of breaking Tyson's record.
  7. swagdelfadeel

    swagdelfadeel Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 30, 2014
    :lol: :lol: :lol:
    Greg Price99, Pugguy and ipitythefool like this.
  8. Eddie Ezzard

    Eddie Ezzard Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Holmes would have fought many more rounds. George's 77 fights (and tbh: 77 fights, 71 fights - I mean. Potatoes, potartoes) probably only totalled about 250 rounds. Larry's 71 would likely have been nearer 500, 550.
    Greg Price99 likes this.
  9. Pugguy

    Pugguy Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Aug 22, 2021
    :D New, high tech embryonic training may be required for that objective.
    ipitythefool likes this.
  10. Pugguy

    Pugguy Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Aug 22, 2021
    Acute, early age Titleists were sometimes called Wunderkinds - Wilfred Benitez being one prime example.

    Ray Leonard was also called same but Wilfred was the more extreme example.

    I guess extremely young Titelists are simply just as much a phenomenon as older age Titleists at the other end of the spectrum. Randomly and equally blessed fighters.

    Do the stats on the Wunderkinds suggest an early burn out in general - ultimately lacking in longevity or a career that is at least shortened up by the same margin that allowed for the extraordinarily fast jump starts to their careers?

    Ali gunned for Patterson’s record but didn’t quite get there - didn’t miss by a lot though at just over age 22 - but Ali still upheld notable longevity thereafter. Floyd also did after he won and lost the title.

    Mikey T was just 20 yo and 4 months when he won the WBC belt. He collected the WBA and IBF belts and unified after beating Tucker when still aged only 21 yo 1 month.

    There have been some excellent pros and cons raised for both sides of the debate, including era related influences that can either support or dampen the general possibility of early or relatively late bloomers.
  11. Boxed Ears

    Boxed Ears this my daddy's account (RIP daddy) Full Member

    Jul 28, 2009
    I haven't said this unironically in a long time but...that's actually a really good question for a thread.
  12. HistoryZero26

    HistoryZero26 New Member Full Member

    Jan 6, 2024
    In terms of actually winning the title fight its probably harder to be the oldest.

    In terms of getting the title fight its got to be much harder to be the youngest because you have to earn a title shot before you are 20 in an era where everyone is x-0. It'd be much easier for a 47 year old legend to get a shot off their prior resume. 50-51 is probably the hard limit on such oppurtunities like we saw with Bernard Hopkins.
  13. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 VIP Member Full Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    Straight up for me i don't consider anything to be "champion" unless it's lineal or the boxer is undoubtedly the "world champ" and i don't mean in hindsight. Once you start making allowances and breaking rules credibility goes bye bye.

    Foreman won the lineal title. He was a tad fortuitous as Moorer beating Holyfield had layers to it and Moorer was far more suitable for George than guys like Holyfield who had already beaten him.

    I'll put it straight out there - i don't recognise Tyson's claim. He won one belt and Spinks was lineal. I'm not recognising alphabet titles in something as big as this. Christ no. Who decides which alphabet titles count and when? Holmes dropped his WBC belt but was still considered the man. Spinks was still considered lineal. Even if you cheated and considered Tyson the man after he rounded up the three belts he's still older than Patterson i believe.

    It would be extremely tough to beat Pattersons mark in modern boxing for reasons others have already put forward. They barely fight and i don't think sparring and therefore learning is what it once was either which slows progress. Many also stay a long time in the ams which is somewhat offset by the sameness with others but it also ages them out of the record. Will be ever see another old school young heavyweight prodigy of the ilk of Tyson and Ali? You'd have to think not.

    Foreman's record is ridiculous and it will be almost impossible to beat.

    Either record will take one hell of an effort to beat, something totally against the grain.
    Greg Price99 likes this.
  14. zulander

    zulander Boxing Addict Full Member

    Mar 17, 2006
    Youngest is harder... you don't have your experience levels up there and you might not have your full physical attributes developed.
    It's possible to be teak tough with a punch and one time someone and that's the last thing to go is power.
  15. Ney

    Ney Member Full Member

    Feb 13, 2024
    Tyson won a title at 20, but people need to stop calling him the youngest champ the division’s ever had. That is still Floyd Patterson.

    I think at the age people are suggesting for youngest, around 20, that is a fairly easy selection for me over winning it at 45. But when I saw the thread I was thinking more along the lines of Wilfred Benitez winning a world crown at 17, which IMO carries even more weight than Foreman winning at 45.