DAR Sports: The 15 Greatest Black Boxers Of All Time

By @TrueGodImmortal

The sport of boxing has always gave us some tough fighters who become revered for their skills with the hands. Over the decades, boxers have positioned themselves as role models, champions, and top tier athletes, earning millions of dollars and immense respect from the world over. While there have been great white or spanish Boxers like Rocky Marciano, Jack Dempsey, Roberto Duran, Oscar De La Hoya, and many others, for me, I was always intrigued by the black boxers of my time and before my time. Today, we take a look at the greatest black boxers of all time. It was a tough list to finalize, but based on mechanics, importance, legacy, impact, and pure fighting skill, I think this list is as good as it can get. Let's get into it.

*George Foreman
(Record: 76-5)

-The man known now for making those popular lean grills was a true champion. Going 76-5 in his 81 fights, Foreman was a heavy hitter and a top puncher in the game. His punches were full of power and what he lacked in speed, he made up for in sheer brute strength. He took some tough losses to Evander Holyfield and Muhammad Ali, but also has vital wins over Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, and Michael Moorer. He retired for a decent amount of time, but never seemed to lose a beat until the 5 or 6 fights of his career, when we knew it was time to call it quits. Still, he was a true boxing legend.

*Archie Moore
(Record: 186-23)

-In a full 219 fights (with 10 draws), Archie was nearly unstoppable in his prime. One of the more gifted fighters of his generation, Archie shined in his bouts. His punches were deadly, and he's regarded as one of the greatest punchers in boxing history, a fact we saw come to fruition in some of his dominant performances. Archie is one of the longest reigning champions of all time and he holds the record for the most knockouts in boxing history, with 131. I mean, who could imagine registering 131 knockouts in a boxing career? Utilizing top tier strategy and great defense, Archie would see clutch victories over Howard King and Buddy Turman, but took losses to Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson (he trained Ali). Archie at one point considered a full fledged film career after he left boxing, but it never panned out. Still, Archie was a legend in the ring and one of the greatest without question.

*Lennox Lewis 
(Record: 41-2)

-It's very tough to give Lennox the credit he deserves on this list and though there are more deserving names overall from years past, Lennox was just so good in the ring and able to dominate when need be. He was representing Canada in the highest form possible in boxing and with big victories over legendary names like Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson (though both were out of their prime), he was building his legacy. I'm sure some would probably disagree with him being listed here over a few names, but Lennox is here for a reason. A valid reason at that.

*Joe Frazier
(Record: 32-4)

-I was a huge fan of Smokin Joe growing up, as boxing was one of my first interests like basketball and professional wrestling. He was the only guy other than Ali that I really had an interest in watching his older fights. Joe had long retired by the time I was born, but going back and watching him fight in his classic bouts against Ali (the greatest boxing trilogy ever), his losses to George Foreman, and his wins against Jerry Quarry, I learned quickly that Joe was one of the all time greats. Of his 37 fights, I've seen 34 of them (the internet and old VHS tapes are a beautiful thing), and every time I watched Joe fight, it's like watching a perfectionist at work in the ring.

*Mike Tyson
(Record: 50-6)

-Many would say Tyson doesn't deserve to be listed on an all time list, but they would be fools to think so. It's not always about the flash and flare, sometimes it's about the punching, the power, and most of all, the dominance. Tyson had all of those elements. From the beginning of his career where he showcased that he was the baddest man on the planet to the final dark days of his boxing career, Iron Mike was truly a force. His wins over Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno were early showcases of brutal dominance, and his weaknesses only caught up to him in the end of his career. When Tyson was in his prime, all it took was one punch and the fight was over.... FAST.

*Floyd Mayweather Jr.
(Record: 49-0)

-There is only one undefeated boxer on this list and of course, that man is Money Mayweather. The former Pretty Boy Floyd is probably the greatest fighter of the last 25 years and really, you'd be struggling to find anyone better overall. Defensively, he might be the GOAT, and though people get mad about his matches not necessarily being exciting, but Floyd executed the mechanics of boxing to the best of his ability. While now retired, his fights with Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya, Zab Judah, and his long awaited fight with Manny Pacquiao were all massive. He's undefeated and if he remains retired (which he should), he will go down in history as just that. Floyd, whether you love him or hate him, is one of the GOATs.

*Jack Johnson
(Record: 73-13)

-If you want to talk about a black boxing pioneer, look no further than Jack Johnson. Though he wasn't necessarily the most well liked guy, and he faced a ton of scrutiny and issues, Jack Johnson was one of the most infamous black athletes ever and the most infamous of his era. With a career that spawned 1898 through 1945, Jack is also one of the longest tenured boxers in history, though many declared his career over in 1928. Still, with a run like his, Jack Johnson is easily a top legend in boxing and another pioneer for the sport without question.

*Sugar Ray Robinson
(Record: 173-19)

-There aren't too many names that are ranked higher than Sugar Ray Robinson in the boxing world. And with good reason. Take a look at his record, watch some of his most dominant fights and you can see clearly that Sugar Ray Robinson was one of the best hands down. He might be no. 2 or 3 all time, and some of his accomplishments are just purely amazing, including the 91 fight undefeated streak through 1943 and 1951. He kept a very extravagant lifestyle and was one of the first boxers to carry an entourage with him. As far as his bouts, my two favorites are his wins over Jake Lamotta and Bobo Olson.

*Evander Holyfield
(Record: 44-10)

-Holyfield almost has too many losses to really be considered one of the greatest, but his impact for boxing was nearly second to none. I watched many of his fights and felt like Holyfield could have been unstoppable if his head was fully in the game every fight. His most infamous fights came against George Foreman and Mike Tyson, with his two victories over Tyson being some of the most entertaining boxing we've seen ever (sans the ear chomping bit). Holyfield isn't a top 5 boxer of all time by any stretch, but he's definitely deserving of a spot on this list, right near the bottom. When he was at his best, he was one of the more unstoppable boxers.

*Henry Armstrong
(Record: 150-21)

-Another boxer well before my time, Henry was a triple threat champion in boxing, winning three titles in three different weight classes. He won the Featherweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight belts, as well as finished his career with over 100 knockouts. A lot of publications have ranked him a top 2 fighter over the last 80 years, and while I haven't seen enough of his work to really classify him as that, it'd be impossible to not rank him here as one of the all time greats. He earned his spot, his titles, and through all of his fights, even some of his early losses, he showed poise and good mechanics.

*Joe Louis
(Record: 66-3)

-The Brown Bomber is definitely one of the all time greatest. He began breaking barriers in boxing and his success is something that I've always enjoyed revisiting. Seen as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time, Joe Louis was one of the first boxers to ever receive nationwide hero status as a black man. He broke down doors and paved the way for many who sought the notoriety for their fighting skill in boxing. His victories over Jersey Joe Walcott, Abe Simon, Buddy Baer, and Billy Conn rank as some of his best showings in fights and if you've never seen the Brown Bomber in the ring, head to YouTube right now and take a view at some of his fights. It's like watching an artist at work in the ring.

*Sugar Ray Leonard
(Record: 36-3)

-Considered by many a Babyface assassin, Sugar Ray was quick with the punches and shift with his feet, causing his opponents to have a lot of trouble in the ring with him. He was considered the boxer of the decade in the 1980s,  and his wins over Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, and Marvin Hagler all solidified him as the guy for the 80s. His final two losses came in his final two fights, but prior to that, he would be 36-1. Sugar Ray was one of a kind and one of my favorite boxers to watch. It's no shock he makes this list as well.

*Sam Langford
(Record: 180-29)

-While way before my time, I'm definitely willing to show respect and pay homage to those who set the boxing world on fire in their era. Langford fought around 256 times, and while being labeled the "Greatest Fighter That No One Knows", Sam would be a once in a lifetime boxer. He is widely hailed as one of the greatest boxers to never win the world title, and though I don't have as much experience watching his fights, his legacy is more than enough to earn him a spot on this DAR list.

*Sonny Liston
(Record: 50-4)

-One of the most well known boxers of his era, we remember Sonny mostly for his battles with Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay). However, his reign wasn't limited to the two bouts with Ali, instead he had a hell of a career that includes wins over Floyd Patterson, Howard King, Chuck Wepner, Sonny Moore and others. While he wasn't the quickest boxer, Sonny was seen as unbeatable for a very long time by many. His legacy is etched in stone.

*Muhammad Ali
(Record: 56-5)

-The greatest boxer to ever live. I'll stand by that. There aren't many who could ever duplicate what Ali did. Honestly, I couldn't even imagine anyone else reaching the levels and heights that he has. He became a hero, a villain, a hero, a villain, and a hero again all in his career for many reasons. One, his slick talk seemingly rubbed fans and opponents the wrong way because being too confident is somehow a bad thing to people (I don't understand it). Two, his refusal to participate in the Vietnam War and his speaking out against it positioned him as many things to many people, but to me, he was really just a national hero standing up to the government. And three, he backed up everything he talked. If Ali told you he was going to whoop you, guess what he did 99% of the time? He did just that. He would knock his opponents out, dance around in the ring, jab quick and go on the defensive, and he would do it all while talking shit to his opponents and taunting them. There will never be another quite like Ali, and through his fights with George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Joe Frazier and many others, his boxing legacy will live on forever.



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