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The Best Boxers of the 20th Century

Updated April 18, 2020 27.5k votes 3.0k voters 24.5k views207 items

List RulesVote for the greatest boxers in any weight class based on their performances during the 20th Century

Who are the best boxers of the 20th century? This list of the best boxers of the 20th century contains some of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. From legends like Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Joe Louis to late-century stars like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield, this list of the greatest boxers of the 20th century will surely include some of your favorite fighters of all time!

Now it's your turn to vote on who you think are the greatest boxers of the 20th century from the list below. See a great boxer from the 20th century missing from the list? Add them so that other boxing fans and Rankers can vote on your addition!
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  • Rocky Marciano1
    1,541
    280

    Rocky Marciano

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 46 (1923-1969)

    BirthplaceBrockton, Massachusetts, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America,Italy

    49 fights from 1947-1955
    49 wins (43 KO)

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    #822 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time#5 of 28 28 Famous Athletes Who Are Catholic

  • Jack Dempsey2
    1,126
    271

    Jack Dempsey

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 88 (1895-1983)

    BirthplaceManassa, Colorado, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    75 fights from 1914-1927
    54 wins (44 KO)

    More Jack Dempsey 

    #3 of 107 College & Professional Athletes Who Were Raised Mormon#8 of 37 The Best Boxers of the 1940s

  • Gene Tunney3
    985
    233

    Gene Tunney

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 81 (1897-1978)

    BirthplaceManhattan, New York City, New York

    NationalityUnited States of America

    85 fights: 65 wins (48 KO)

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    #65 of 249 Famous Irish Americans#30 of 35 Athletes Who Are Military Heroes

  • Max Baer4
    751
    248

    Max Baer

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 50 (1909-1959)

    BirthplaceOmaha, Nebraska, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    81 fights: 68 wins (59 KO)

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    #20 of 71 The Greatest Jewish Athletes Of All Time#3 of 37 The Greatest Jewish Boxers Of All Time

  • Joe Louis5
    528
    273

    Joe Louis

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 67 (1914-1981)

    BirthplaceLa Fayette, Alabama, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    69 fights from 1934-1951
    66 wins (52 KO)

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    #418 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#66 of 101 The Most Beloved US Veterans

  • Manny Pacquiáo6
    617
    237

    Manny Pacquiáo

    Super bantamweight, Flyweight

    Age41

    BirthplaceKibawe, Philippines

    NationalityPhilippines

    29 fights from 1995-2000
    27 wins (20 KO)

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    #1836 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time#79 of 115 The Funniest Professional Athletes

  • Joe Frazier7
    345
    185

    Joe Frazier

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 67 (1944-2011)

    BirthplaceBeaufort, South Carolina, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    37 fights from 1965-1981
    32 wins (27 KO)

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    #1093 of 1,427 The Best Athletes Of All Time#553 of 582 The Greatest Baseball Players Of All Time

  • Archie Moore8

    219 fights: 186 wins (132 KO)

  • Sugar Ray Robinson9
    461
    295

    Sugar Ray Robinson

    Welterweight, Middleweight

    AgeDec. at 68 (1921-1989)

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    200 fights from 1940-1965
    173 wins (108 KO)

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    #143 of 152 The Most Influential Athletes Of All Time#10 of 13 Athletes Who Are (Allegedly) In The Illuminati

  • George Foreman10
    345
    204

    George Foreman

    Heavyweight

    Age70

    BirthplaceMarshall, Texas, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    81 fights from 1969-1997
    76 wins (68 KO)

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    #12 of 85 Great Athletes Who Waited Too Long To Retire#73 of 163 The Smartest Professional Athletes

  • Muhammad Ali11
    653
    437

    Muhammad Ali

    Heavyweight

    Age77

    BirthplaceLouisville, Kentucky, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    61 fights from 1960-1981
    56 wins (37 KO)

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    #82 of 432 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History#274 of 568 American Public Figures Who Are National Treasures

  • Sugar Ray Leonard12
    268
    176

    Sugar Ray Leonard

    Super middleweight, Welterweight

    Age63

    BirthplaceRocky Mount, North Carolina, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    40 fights from 1977-1997
    36 wins (25 KO)

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    #3 of 49 The Best Welterweight Boxers of All Time#7 of 48 The Best Boxers of the 1970s

  • Mike Tyson13
    328
    252

    Mike Tyson

    Heavyweight

    Age53

    BirthplaceBedford-Stuyvesant, New York City, New York, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    48 fights from 1985-2000
    46 wins (40 KO) 

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    #885 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#1221 of 1,355 The Greatest Minds of All Time

  • Roy Jones Jr.14
    194
    132

    Roy Jones Jr.

    Super middleweight, Middleweight

    Age50

    BirthplacePensacola, Florida, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    74 fights: 65 wins (47 KO)

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    #8 of 26 26 Athletes Who Are Also Musicians#15 of 20 20 Athletes Who Failed Drug Tests

  • Evander Holyfield15
    180
    164

    Evander Holyfield

    Cruiserweight, Light heavyweight

    Age57

    BirthplaceAtmore, Alabama, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    41 fights from 1984-2000
    35 wins (22 KO)

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    #59 of 60 The Most Iconic Celebrity First Names#1 of 43 The Best Cruiserweight Boxers of All Time

  • Jack Johnson16
    136
    112

    Jack Johnson

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 68 (1878-1946)

    BirthplaceGalveston, Texas

    NationalityUnited States of America

    101 fights from 1900-1938
    71 wins (38 KO)

    More Jack Johnson 

    #21 of 25 Famous People From History You Had No Idea Were Foxy#57 of 66 The Most Controversial Athletes in Sports History

  • Lennox Lewis17
    129
    116

    Lennox Lewis

    Heavyweight

    Age54

    BirthplaceWest Ham

    NationalityUnited Kingdom,Canada

    37 fights: 35 wins (26 KO)

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    #343 of 583 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time#8 of 67 The Best Boxers of the 21st Century

  • Larry Holmes18
    133
    133

    Larry Holmes

    Heavyweight

    Age70

    BirthplaceCuthbert, Georgia, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    75 fights: 69 wins (44 KO)

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    #263 of 269 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World#55 of 178 The Best Boxers of All Time

  • Oscar de la Hoya19
    116
    120

    Oscar de la Hoya

    Welterweight, Lightweight

    Age46

    BirthplaceEast Los Angeles, California, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    More Oscar de la Hoya 

    #17 of 74 The Best Active Boxers in the World Right Now#106 of 116 The Greatest Left-Handed Athletes of All Time

  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.20
    170
    203

    Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    Welterweight, Featherweight

    Age42

    BirthplaceGrand Rapids, Michigan, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

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    The Best Floyd Mayweather Burns By Conor McGregor#4 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • John L. Sullivan21
    1,004
    170

    John L. Sullivan

    Heavyweight

    AgeDec. at 60 (1858-1918)

    BirthplaceRoxbury, Boston, Massachusetts

    NationalityUnited States of America

  • Harry Greb22
    682
    174

    Harry Greb

    Middleweight

    AgeDec. at 32 (1894-1926)

    BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    NationalityUnited States of America

    298 fights from 1913-1926
    261 wins (48 KO)

  • Jake LaMotta23
    581
    152

    Jake LaMotta

    Middleweight

    Age98

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America,Italy

    106 fights: 83 wins (30 KO)

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    Behind The Scenes Of 'Raging Bull,' The Masterpiece Scorsese Never Wanted To Make#10 of 72 The Best Middleweight Boxers of All Time

  • Willie Pep24
    748
    246

    Willie Pep

    Featherweight

    AgeDec. at 84 (1922-2006)

    BirthplaceMiddletown, Connecticut

    NationalityUnited States of America

    241 fights from 1940-1966
    229 wins (65 KO)

  • Ingemar Johansson25
    586
    180

    AgeDec. at 77 (1932-2009)

    BirthplaceGothenburg, Sweden

    NationalitySweden

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    #25 of 52 The Best Boxers of the 1960s#25 of 45 The Best Boxers of the 1950s