Famous 20th Century Boxers

Find out more about the greatest 20th Century Boxers, including Holly Holm, Wladimir Klitschko, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson
17
Famous As: First Heavyweight Boxer to Simultaneously Hold the WBA, WBC & IBF Titles
Birthdate: June 30, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Fort Greene, New York, United States

A former professional boxer who reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion for three years, Mike Tyson is considered a colossal figure in boxing. Claiming his first heavyweight title at the young age of 20, he went on to become one of the best heavyweights of all time. Also a controversial person, he was once imprisoned on rape charges.

 2 Wladimir Klitschko

Wladimir Klitschko
16
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: March 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Semey, Kazakhstan

Wladimir Klitschko is a Ukrainian former boxer. Widely regarded as one of the best heavyweight champions ever, Wladimir Klitschko was renowned for his great footwork and extraordinary knockout power. He won a gold medal for his country in the super-heavyweight division at the 1996 Summer Olympics. He has often been named among Ukraine's most influential people.

 3 Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield
19
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: October 19, 1962
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Atmore, Alabama, United States

Evander Holyfield is an American retired boxer who reigned as the undisputed champion in the late 1980s under cruiserweight division and in the early 1990s under heavyweight division. The only four-time world heavyweight champion, Holyfield remains the only boxer in the history of boxing to reign as an undisputed champion in two weight classes.

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 4 Rocky Marciano

Rocky Marciano
9
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: September 1, 1923
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brockton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 31, 1969
Rocky Marciano, also known as the Brockton Blockbuster, was the world’s only heavyweight champion to remain undefeated till the end of his career and held the heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. The International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee held the world’s highest heavyweight knockout-to-win ratio at 85.71%.

 5 Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury
10
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: August 12, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wythenshawe, Manchester, England

A 2-time world heavyweight champion, British Tyson Fury has had an undefeated run in his 32 matches, with 31 wins and 1 unlucky draw in a match against Deontay Wilder. He has also released a bestselling memoir, Behind The Mask, and was named to the Forbes list of the World's Highest-Paid Athletes 2020.

 6 Sugar Ray Leonard

Sugar Ray Leonard
11
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: May 17, 1956
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wilmington, North Carolina, United States

Sugar Ray Leonard is a former boxer and motivational speaker. Having won world titles in five different weight divisions during his boxing career, Leonard is widely considered one of the greatest boxers ever. Leonard was part of a group of boxers dubbed The Fabulous Four, which is credited with popularizing the lower weight classes in the post-Muhammad Ali era.

 7 Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier
12
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: January 12, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Beaufort, South Carolina, United States
Died: November 7, 2011
Joe Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin' Joe,” was a star heavyweight champion who won the boxing gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Known for his legendary 1971 “Fight of the Century” against Muhammad Ali and his defeat in the “Thrilla in Manila,” Frazier had scored 32 wins in his career.
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 8 George Foreman

George Foreman
22
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: January 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marshall, Texas, United States

Known to his fans as "Big George,” boxer George Foreman won the world heavyweight champion twice and also gas an Olympic gold medal to his credit. Multidimensional in his pursuits, the international boxing hall-of-famer has also been a Christian minister, invented a fat-reducing grill, and written several books, including cookbooks.

 9 Lennox Lewis

Lennox Lewis
13
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: September 2, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Ham, London, England
Three-time world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis also won the super heavyweight gold for Canada at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. He has won numerous accolades, including the CBE and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. He has been named as the sixth-best heavyweight boxer of all time by BoxRec.

 10 Joe Louis

Joe Louis
10
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: May 13, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chambers County, Alabama, United States
Died: April 12, 1981
Boxer Joe Louis, or the Brown Bomber, was the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949 and was the longest-reigning (single) heavyweight champion. The International Boxing Research Organization declared him the best heavyweight boxer of all time. He was also a skilled golfer and appeared in a 1952 PGA event.

 11 Terence Crawford

Terence Crawford
7
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: September 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States

 12 Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson
10
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: May 3, 1921
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ailey, Georgia, United States
Died: April 12, 1989

Sugar Ray Robinson was an American boxer. Considered one of the greatest boxers ever, Robinson held a 91-fight unbeaten streak from 1943 to 1951, the third-longest in the history of professional boxing. Also known for his flamboyant and classy lifestyle outside the ring, Sugar Ray Robinson unsuccessfully tried his hand at a career as an entertainer after retiring from boxing.

 13 Roberto Durán

Roberto Durán
5
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: June 16, 1951
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Guararé, Panama

 14 Roy Jones Jr.

Roy Jones Jr.
17
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: January 16, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, United States

Former American boxer Roy Jones Jr. was born to a boxer father. Despite his defeat in the gold medal match at the 1988 Seoul Olympics due to a faulty decision by the judges, he won the Val Barker Award. He was the second light heavyweight champion to earn a heavyweight title.

 15 Julio Cesar Chavez

Julio Cesar Chavez
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: July 4, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ciudad Obregón, Mexico

Julio Cesar Chavez is a Mexican former boxer who won several world championships in three different weight divisions. He also holds several records, such as the most successful world title defenses and most title fights. He has been named in ESPN's 50 Greatest Boxers of All Time list and was made an inductee of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 16 Jack Johnson (Boxer)

Jack Johnson (Boxer)
8
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: March 31, 1878
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Galveston, Texas, United States
Died: June 10, 1946

Jack Johnson was an American boxer and one of the most dominant champions of his generation. Considered one of the most influential boxers ever, Jack Johnson became the first African American to win the world heavyweight championship at the peak of the Jim Crow era. He is often credited with influencing popular boxers like Muhammad Ali.

 17 Larry Holmes

Larry Holmes
11
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: November 3, 1949
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cuthbert, Georgia, United States

Larry Holmes is an American retired boxer whose left jab is often ranked among the best in the history of professional boxing. Widely regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of boxing, Holmes' title defense against 19 boxers is the second-most in history. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008.

 18 Sonny Liston

Sonny Liston
11
Famous As: Professional Boxer
Birthdate: May 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sand Slough, Arkansas, United States
Died: December 30, 1970
Renowned as the Big Bear, Sonny Liston became the world heavyweight champion in 1962. Known for his intimidating appearance, formidable punching power, toughness, and long reach, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Widely regarded as unbeatable, he lost the WBC title to Muhammad Ali, in 1964.

 19 Jake LaMotta

Jake LaMotta
4
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: July 10, 1922
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: September 19, 2017

 20 Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Marvelous Marvin Hagler
4
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: May 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: March 14, 2021

Marvelous Marvin Hagler was an American boxer and actor who reigned as the middleweight division's undisputed champion from 1980 to 1987, during which he had 12 successful title defenses. Regarded as one of the greatest middleweight boxers of all time, Hagler was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 21 Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey
5
Famous As: Professional boxer
Birthdate: June 24, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manassa, Colorado, United States
Died: May 31, 1983

Acknowledged by his rivals as a remarkable hitter, Jack Dempsey was an American heavyweight boxing champion who was known for his powerful punches. The record attendance at his bouts was an indication of his popularity. He was considered as one of the greatest fighters of all time. Born poor and nicknamed Kid Blackie, Jack Dempsey went on to become one of the richest athletes during his time.

 22 Bernard Hopkins

Bernard Hopkins
14
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: January 15, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Bernard Hopkins is an American retired boxer who held several world championships between 2001 to 2012 in two weight classes. Nicknamed The Executioner, Hopkins is widely regarded as one of the modern era's greatest boxers. A highly strategic boxer, Bernard Hopkins was also renowned for his speed, power, and counterpunching skills.

 23 Thomas Hearns

Thomas Hearns
8
Famous As: Former professional boxer who competed from 1977 to 2006
Birthdate: October 18, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

Thomas Hearns is an American retired boxer who became the first boxer in the history of boxing to win world titles in five different weight classes. Nicknamed the Hitman, Thomas Hearns was named Fighter of the Year in 1980 by The Ring magazine. He was also named Fighter of the Year in 1984 by the Boxing Writers Association of America. 

 24 Ken Norton

Ken Norton
10
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: August 9, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Illinois, United States
Died: September 18, 2013

Professional boxer Ken Norton is remembered for his three highly publicized fights with Muhammad Ali, out of which he lost two. Norton was a towering figure in the boxing world and held the WBC heavyweight title in 1978. He was a forward-pressing fighter notable for his unusual stance. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.

 25 Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
36
Famous As: Greatest Heavyweight Boxer of All Time
Birthdate: January 17, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: June 3, 2016

Widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali was a major figure of the 20th century. He was an inspirational figure for African-Americans during the civil rights movement. Because of his opposition to Vietnam War and his refusal to be drafted into military, Muhammad Ali became an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

 26 Joe Calzaghe

Joe Calzaghe
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: March 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England

Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe scripted history as the longest-reigning champion ever in boxing, having defended the WBO title for more than a decade. Excelling in both super-middleweight and light-heavyweight categories, he had registered 46 wins in 46 fights by the time he retired. He now owns a boxing promotion company.

 27 Floyd Patterson

Floyd Patterson
6
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: January 4, 1935
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Waco, North Carolina, United States
Died: May 11, 2006

 28 Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: July 19, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Belovodskoe, Kyrgyzstan

 29 Pernell Whitaker

Pernell Whitaker
10
Famous As: Boxer Who Competed from 1984 to 2001
Birthdate: January 2, 1964
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Died: July 14, 2019

 30 Michael Spinks

Michael Spinks
9
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: July 13, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

 31 Laila Ali

Laila Ali
10
Famous As: Professional Boxer, TV Personality
Birthdate: December 30, 1977
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Miami Beach, Florida, United States

Laila Ali is an American former professional boxer. The daughter of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali competed from 1999 to 2007, during which she remained undefeated. She is also credited with saving wrestling legend Hulk Hogan's life by calling him when he was suicidal and depressed. After retiring from professional boxing, Laila Ali became a television personality.

 32 James Toney

James Toney
7
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: August 24, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

 33 Juan Manuel Márquez

Juan Manuel Márquez
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: August 23, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iztacalco, Mexico City, Mexico

Juan Manuel Márquez is a Mexican former boxer who became only the third Mexican boxer to win world championship titles in four weight classes. Counted among the greatest boxers of all time, Márquez was renowned for his toughness, speed, and technical skills. In 2020, Juan Manuel Márquez was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. 

 34 Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya
11
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: July 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lagos, Nigeria

 35 Felix Trinidad

Felix Trinidad
4
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: January 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fajardo, Puerto Rico

 36 Kostya Tszyu

Kostya Tszyu
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: September 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Serov, Russia

Kostya Tszyu is a former boxer who held multiple light-welterweight championships. Renowned for his punching power, Tszyu is considered one of the hardest-punching boxers in the history of light-welterweight boxing. He represented the Soviet Union at the 1991 World Championships, where he won a gold medal. In 2010, Tszyu was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

 37 Max Schmeling

Max Schmeling
7
Famous As: Boxer who was heavyweight champion of the world between 1930 and 1932
Birthdate: September 28, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Klein Luckow, Jatznick, Germany
Died: February 2, 2005

 38 Kimbo Slice

Kimbo Slice
6
Famous As: Mixed martial Artist
Birthdate: February 8, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Nassau, Bahamas
Died: June 6, 2016

Kimbo Slice, dubbed The King of the Web Brawlers by Rolling Stone, gained fame for his mutual combat street fights. He dabbled in MMA, boxing, and wrestling, eventually signing with EliteXC and competing in UFC. A little over a year after signing with Bellator MMA, he died of heart failure.

 39 Tommy Morrison

Tommy Morrison
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: January 2, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gravette, Arkansas, United States
Died: September 1, 2013

Tommy Morrison was an American boxer who was ranked among the best boxer in the world by BoxRecheld in 1992. He held the WBO heavyweight championship in 1993. In addition to his boxing career, Tommy Morrison also had an acting career; he portrayed Tommy Gunn and appeared alongside Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone in the 1990 sports drama movie Rocky V.

 40 Dillian Whyte

Dillian Whyte
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: April 11, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Port Antonio, Jamaica

Born in Jamaica, Dillian Whyte moved with his family to the UK as a 12-year-old. Initially a British kickboxing champion, he later moved on to boxing. He was banned for 2 years for consuming a banned drug. He apparently had his first child at age 13, becoming one of the world’s youngest fathers.

 41 Ryan O'Neal

Ryan O'Neal
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 20, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Ryan O'Neal trained to be a boxer but stepped into showbiz with the role of Rodney Harrington in the soap Peyton Place. He made waves with his Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated role in Love Story. He also starred in Barry Lyndon, A Bridge Too Far, and the series Bones.

 42 Tony Danza

Tony Danza
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 21, 1951
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 43 Archie Moore

Archie Moore
4
Famous As: Professional boxer
Birthdate: December 13, 1913
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Benoit, Mississippi, United States
Died: December 9, 1998

 44 Rubin Carter

Rubin Carter
9
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: May 6, 1937
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Clifton, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 20, 2014

Rubin Carter was an American-Canadian boxer whose boxing career was overshadowed by his murder conviction; after serving almost 20 years of prison term, it was revealed that he was wrongfully convicted of murder. His autobiography, The Sixteenth Round, which he had written during his time in prison, inspired the 1999 film, The Hurricane, where Denzel Washington played Rubin Carter.

 45 Eddie Alvarez

Eddie Alvarez
5
Famous As: Mixed martial artist
Birthdate: January 11, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Eddie Alvarez is an American MMA fighter who fights for ONE Championship. A former UFC and Bellator MMA fighter, Alvarez has held the UFC Lightweight Championship as well as the Bellator Lightweight World Championship. He is credited with being Bellator MMA's first Lightweight champion. He is also the first person to have won championships in both UFC and Bellator MMA. 

 46 Chris Eubank

Chris Eubank
10
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: August 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dulwich, London, England

British boxer Chris Eubank has been ranked the third-best super-middleweight boxer of all time in Britain. Initially raised in Jamaica, he later returned to Britain but lived amid poverty and battled drug and alcohol addiction, till he stepped into boxing, inspired by his elder brothers.

 47 Eric Esch

Eric Esch
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: August 3, 1966
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 48 Micky Ward

Micky Ward
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: October 4, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Micky Ward is an American retired boxer who held the WBU light welterweight championship in 2000. Two of his three fights with Arturo Gatti, for which he is known, earned him The Ring magazine's Fight of the Year awards. Renowned for his pressure fighting style, Ward's career inspired the 2010 movie The Fighter where Ward was played by Mark Wahlberg.

 49 Danny Garcia

Danny Garcia
5
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: March 20, 1988
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Danny García is an American boxer who has held several world championship titles in two weight divisions. Between 2012 and 2015, he held lineal light-welterweight titles, WBC title, and the unified WBA (Super). Between 2016 and 2017, he held the WBC welterweight title. In 2020, García was ranked the seventh-best-active welterweight in the world by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

 50 Sergey Kovalev

Sergey Kovalev
4
Famous As: Boxer
Birthdate: April 2, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kopeysk, Russia

Sergey Kovalev is a Russian boxer who has held several world championships in the light heavyweight category. From 2014 to 2016, he held the IBF and WBA (Undisputed) titles. Between 2013 and 2019, he held the WBO title three times. Kovalev is renowned for his extraordinary punching power. In 2019, The Ring magazine named him the world's second-best light heavyweight.