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Boxing's Best Cruiserweight Fighters of all Time

Updated on January 29, 2016

Kings of The Cruiserweights

Evander Holyfield unified the Cruiserweight belts. He left the Cruiserweight division as the undefeated unified Cruiserweight champion and campaigned as a heavyweight.
Evander Holyfield unified the Cruiserweight belts. He left the Cruiserweight division as the undefeated unified Cruiserweight champion and campaigned as a heavyweight. | Source
James Toney never lost a fight as Cruiserweight. Lights out beat Vassily Jirov for the title. He used his counter punching skills to rule the cruisers.
James Toney never lost a fight as Cruiserweight. Lights out beat Vassily Jirov for the title. He used his counter punching skills to rule the cruisers. | Source
David Haye is a former Cruiserweight and heavyweight champion. He has tremendous punching power.
David Haye is a former Cruiserweight and heavyweight champion. He has tremendous punching power. | Source
Dwight Qawi was a former light heavyweight and Cruiserweight champion. He learned to fight in prison and parlayed into a Hall of Fame boxing career.
Dwight Qawi was a former light heavyweight and Cruiserweight champion. He learned to fight in prison and parlayed into a Hall of Fame boxing career. | Source
Vassilly Jirov was a Cruiserweight champion but he also boxed as a heavyweight. Jirov is seen here knocking down heavyweight Joe Mesi.
Vassilly Jirov was a Cruiserweight champion but he also boxed as a heavyweight. Jirov is seen here knocking down heavyweight Joe Mesi. | Source
Johnny Nelson defended his Cruiserweight crown 14 consecutive times.
Johnny Nelson defended his Cruiserweight crown 14 consecutive times. | Source
Don King Stands with a great , powerful punching champion named O Neil Bell.
Don King Stands with a great , powerful punching champion named O Neil Bell. | Source

Legendary Cruiserweights


The Cruiserweight division has a much shorter history than the majority of the other weight classes because it was not introduced until 1980. Originally the weight limit was 190 pounds but the weight limit is now 200 pounds. Any more than that and the boxer becomes a heavyweight which is the largest weight class in professional boxing. The list below features the ten boxers who excelled and accomplished the most while fighting as a Cruiserweight.

1. Evander Holyfield: The Real Deal Evander Holyfield is considered the greatest Cruiserweight in history. He unified all of the titles during his reign at the top. He beat Dwight Quawi for the Cruiserweight Championship. He then left the division as the Undefeated Cruiserweight Champion of the World. He had a granite chin, huge heart, speed and solid skills which were always on display when stamina King Holyfield fought. Holyfield knocked Qawi out in 4 rounds in their rematch. Holyfield also won the heavyweight championship four times which is a boxing record.

2. Carlos Deleon: He was a three time Cruiserweight Champion who had a total of nine title defenses. He finished with a record of 52-8-1. The only Cruiserwieight he couldn't deal with was Evander Holyfield. De Leon had a powerful jab and a crushing right hand plus he knew how to time a boxer coming in. He was great at keeping his opponents at bay and busting them up with the jab and right cross.

3. Johnny Nelson: He was the WBO Champion for six years and made fourteen title defenses. He fought seven current or former world champions. He was an up and down fighter. When he was on he had superb boxing skills, great footwork and timing and even good power. Likes to fight at a slow pace and throw combinations off the jab. Nelson took it one round at a time but he was good at getting his foes to fight his fight.

4. Juan Carlos Gomez: He defended his title nine times and never lost it in the ring. He was a dominate Cruiserweight who never lost in that weight class. He is the best Cuban Cruiserweight in history. He had a long, rangy jab and he used it to perfection. His movement and timing kept Gomez a step ahead of the competition. Gomez tried his luck at heavyweight later in his career but he had limited success.

5. David Haye: He unified the Cruiserweight titles and made two defenses before moving up to Heavyweight. He has fought five Champions. He beat Jean Mark Mormeck and Arthur Williams among others during his reign. Haye was a deadly puncher with both fists in the Cruiserweight class. Haye eventually won a slice of the heavyweight crown and he carried his power up with him.

6. James Toney: He won the title in 2003 and made zero defenses because he moved to Heavyweight. While a Cruiserweight he beat Adolfo Washington and Vassilly Jirov. James Toney was dominant in this weight class and vary rarely got hit flush. His defensive and counter punching skills were second to none and if it weren't for him moving up to heavyweight he would have been champion for a while.

7. Vassilly Jirov: Cruiserweight Champion for four years and made six successful defenses. He beat Adolfo Washington, Arthur Williams and Orlin Norris before losing the title to James Toney. Jirov did not have a good defense but he was a pressure fighter who could break his opponents down to the head and body with his aggressive offensive style.

8. Al Cole: He defended the title five times and faced five World Champions. He fought among others James Warring, Juan Carlos Gomez and Milton McCrory. Cole had a solid jab and a good right hand and he showed a solid chin during his cruiserweight career.

9. Anaclet Wamba: He was the Cruiserweight Champion for three years and made seven defenses of the title. He never lost his title in the ring and he avenged his own defeats. Wamba improved as his bout wore on and he had a stiff, accurate jab.

10. O'Neil Bell: He is a two time Cruiserweight Champion who defended his title twice and he fought four World Champions while he was a Cruiserweight. He could box on the outside or slug on the inside. Bell was good at feints and he was accurate with combination punching when he was willing to let his hands go.

Birth place of Evander Holyfield

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Cruiser To Heavy?

Many Cruiserweight boxers eventually move up to the heavyweight division but, so far only two former Cruiserweight Champs have also won Heavyweight Champion. David "The Hayemaker" Haye, and Evander "The Real Deal" Holyfield, have both accomplished this feat. As a matter of fact, Evander Holyfield did it four times.

Evander Holyfield highlight

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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