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Best Boxers of the 1980s

Updated on January 9, 2016

Boxing Stars of the 80s

Sugar Ray Leonard fought Tommy Hearns twice, winning once and escaping with a draw in the rematch.
Sugar Ray Leonard fought Tommy Hearns twice, winning once and escaping with a draw in the rematch. | Source
Mike Tyson flattened Michael Spinks in only 91 seconds in their heavyweight title match.
Mike Tyson flattened Michael Spinks in only 91 seconds in their heavyweight title match. | Source
Salvador Sanchez beat Danny "Little Red" Lopez for the featherweight championship.
Salvador Sanchez beat Danny "Little Red" Lopez for the featherweight championship. | Source

Who is The best?

Who is the top boxer from the 1980's?

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Julio Cesar Chavez knocked out Meldrick Taylor, the first time by dramatic twelfth round knockout.
Julio Cesar Chavez knocked out Meldrick Taylor, the first time by dramatic twelfth round knockout. | Source

Top 10 Boxers of the 1980s

This list is not an all time best boxer list but, a list featuring the best boxers of the decade from the 1980s.

1. Sugar Ray Leonard: Leonard was super fast with his hands and feet and he had exceptional reflexes as well. Sugar Ray's jab and combination punching were special to say the least. He is a former two time Welterweight, Jr. Middleweight, Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. He also won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympic Games. Leonard beat many champions and hall of fame fighters including: Wilfred Benitez, Marvin Hagler, Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran (twice) and Donny Lalonde. Leonard's final record is 36-3-1 with twenty-five knockouts.

2. Marvelous Marvin Hagler: Hagler was a southpaw boxer-puncher with an iron chin and a huge heart. He had knockout power in both fists and an unlimited reserve of stamina. He is the former Middleweight Champion of the World and he defended his crown twelve times successfully. Among his victims were Hall of Famers and Champions Roberto Duran, Tommy Hearns, Vito Antuofermo, Sugar Ray Seales and Bobby Watts. Hagler retired with an excellent tally reading 62-3-2 with fifty-two wins coming by crushing knockout.

3. Salvador Sanchez: Chava had excellent technique and he was a fabulous boxer-puncher. He was the total package. Stiff, accurate jab and power in both fists. Sanchez had great counter punching skills, supreme punch accuracy and impeccable timing. Sanchez stopped Danny "Little Red" Lopez for the Featherweight Title and defended it nine straight times before passing away tragically at the young age of only twenty-four years old. Sanchez beat many top contenders and Champions including: Azumah Nelson, Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez, Ruben Castillo,Juan La Porte and Nicky Perez. Sanchez finished with a resume that reads 44-1-1 with thirty-two knockouts.

4. Julio Cesar Chavez: J.C. was 68-0 through the 1980s and he has won titles in four weight classes. Chavez has one of the best chins in boxing history and his body attack should be a required study for upcoming boxers. Chavez was an excellent pressure fighter who seemed to increase the pressure as each round passed. Chavez has beat some of the best boxers of his era including, but not limited to, Edwin Rosario, Meldrick Taylor, Greg Haugen, Roger Mayweather, Hector Camacho and Jose Luis Ramirez. Chavez final record is 107-6-2 with eighty-six bruising knockouts.

5. Tommy Hearns: The Hitman was a master boxer with concussive knockout power in both hands especially his deadly right. His chin was a bit shaky but, he could stay away from trouble with his accurate, powerful jab and long range right hands. Also, Hearns was very good with judging distance and with his footwork. Hearns won belts in the Welterweight, Jr. Middleweight, Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight divisions. Hearns top wins came against : Pipino Cuevas, Roberto Duran, Juan Roldan, Virgil Hill and Doug DeWitt. Hearns final record is 61-5-1 with forty-eight knockouts.

6. Mike Tyson: Iron Mike was a devastating puncher with both hands and he had a steel chin. Tyson had hand speed, power and in his prime as well as also being known for his superb defense. Tyson tried to intimidate his opponents and it usually worked. Mike Tyson won the Heavyweight Championship twice and the first time he won it he became the youngest Heavyweight Championship in history at twenty years old. Among his greatest victories were knockouts of Michael Spinks (undefeated), Larry Holmes, Razor Rudduck, Tony Tucker, Tony Tubbs and Alex Stewart. Tyson retired with a record of 50-6 with forty-four knockouts.

7. Aaron Pryor: The Hawk was very similar to Henry Armstrong because, he never stopped throwing punches. Pryor was a slick, pressure fighter with above average knockout power in both hands. He was a very confident fighter who could box or brawl his way to victory. Pryor knocked out Antonio Cervantes in four rounds to capture the 140 pound Championship. Ultimately, Pryor defended his crown ten times beating many top boxers including: Alexis Arguello (twice), Cervantes, Dujuan Johnson, Lennox Blackmore and Gary Hinton. Aaron Pryor finished his career out with a boxing record of 39-1 with thirty-five wins coming by way of knockout.

8. Michael Spinks: The Spinks Jinx was an awkward boxer with power in his right hand. He had good footwork and an accurate jab. Spinks won a gold medal in the 1976 Olympic Games, the Light Heavyweight Championship and the Heavyweight Crown during his career. Michael Spinks won the Light Heavyweight title and unified it before moving up to Heavyweight to beat Larry Holmes for the Heavyweight title. As a Light heavy Spinks defended the crown ten times and he never lost a bout as a 175 pounder. His best victories came against Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Eddie Davis, Holmes and Gerry Cooney.

9. Larry Holmes: The Easton Assassin had one of the best jabs in boxing history and his follow-up right could be deadly as well. Holmes was great at keeping fighters at bay and judging distance. He won the Heavyweight Championship from Ken Norton and had to defend it twenty times successfully which is second only to Joe Louis. Holmes top wins came against: Norton, Ray Mercer, Earnie Shavers (twice), Trevor Berbick, Gerry Cooney and Tim Witherspoon. Holmes finished his career with a record of 69-6 with forty-four knockouts on his resume.

10. Evander Holyfield: The Real Deal is a former unified Cruiserweight Champion and four time Heavyweight Champion who also won a Bronze Medal in the 1984 Olympic Games. Holyfield is known for his heart, will, granite chin and amazing stamina. He also had a great left hook, stiff jab and solid all around boxing skills. Evander Holyfield beat Dwight Muhammad Qawi by 15 round decision to win the Cruiserweight Title and then unified it by winning the other belts. Among his top wins were victories over: Qawi (twice), Henry Tillman, Carlos De Leon and Ricky Parkey. This list does not include his Heavyweight accomplishments which took place in the 1990s. Holyfield ended his career with a record reading 44-10-2 with twenty-nine knockouts.

Mike Tyson's Greatest Victories

Larry Holmes
Michael Spinks
Trevor Berbick
Pinklon Thomas
Tony Tucker
Razor Rudduck
Tony Tubbs
Alex Stewart
Frank Bruno
 
Bonecrusher Smith
 
Ten of Mike Tyson's best wins as a professional boxer.

J.C. Superstar's Career Highlights

80's Boxing Legends

Evander Holyfield beat Dwight Muhammad Qawi by 15 round decision for the Cruiserweight Championship.
Evander Holyfield beat Dwight Muhammad Qawi by 15 round decision for the Cruiserweight Championship. | Source
Aaron Pryor knocked out Alexis Arguello twice in Jr. Welterweight title bouts.
Aaron Pryor knocked out Alexis Arguello twice in Jr. Welterweight title bouts. | Source

Best Bouts of The 1980s

Aaron Pryor K.O. 14 Alexis Arguello (1982) Pryor was relentless and even though Arguello had his moments, Pryor never slowed down. Finally, Pryor's nonstop aggression paid off and the ref stopped the bout with Arguello out on his feet taking bombs.

Marvin Hagler K.O. 3 Tommy Hearns (1985) Hearns cut Hagler in round one as the two traded wicked shots. In the third, Hagler pounced and knocked out Hearns with a right and then a left.

Sugar Ray Leonard K.O. 14 Thomas Hearns (1981) Hearns out boxed Leonard until Sugar Ray turned brawler and finished Hearns in the fourteenth round with a volley of punches along the ropes.

Bobby Chacon W12 Cornelius Boza Edwards (1983) Chacon had to fight past a swollen, bloody face to edge Edwards in a tit for tat brawl.

Evander Holyfield W15 Dwight Muhammad Qawi (1986) Holyfield and Qawi traded shots all night but Holyfield had more in the tank to pull out a close win in an action packed fight.

Hands of Stone vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Marvelous Marvin Hagler beat Roberto Duran in defense of his Middleweight Crown.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler beat Roberto Duran in defense of his Middleweight Crown. | Source

Birthplace of Thomas Hearns (Detroit, Michigan)

Sugar Ray Leonard Career Highlights

Iron Mike Tyson in His Prime

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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