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Boxing's Best Jr. Welterweights of All Time

Updated on May 6, 2017

Legendary Jr. Welterweights

Former Jr. welterweight Champion Aaron"The Hawk" Pryor. He was a non stop forward motion punching machine.
Former Jr. welterweight Champion Aaron"The Hawk" Pryor. He was a non stop forward motion punching machine. | Source
Julio Cesar Chavez was Mexico's best fighter in history. He was undefeated in his first 89 professional bouts.
Julio Cesar Chavez was Mexico's best fighter in history. He was undefeated in his first 89 professional bouts. | Source
Kostya Tzsu was a deadly puncher and one of the top 140 pound champions ever. He was a two time 140 pound boxing champion.
Kostya Tzsu was a deadly puncher and one of the top 140 pound champions ever. He was a two time 140 pound boxing champion. | Source
Barney Ross exchanges blows with the great Henry Armstrong. Armstrong is the only fighter to hold titles in three weight classes at the same time.
Barney Ross exchanges blows with the great Henry Armstrong. Armstrong is the only fighter to hold titles in three weight classes at the same time. | Source

Legendary Junior Welterweights

1. Julio Cesar Chavez: He was Junior Welterweight World Champion from 1989-1994 and again from 1994-1996. He beat undefeated Hector Camacho and Meldrick Taylor and he knocked out Roger Mayweather for the Championship. He defended his Title 14 times over two reigns and his record was 89-0 until Frankie Randall beat him by close decision for the belt, which Chavez regained from him. Chavez was a viscous body puncher and his constant pressure always wore his opponents down.

2. Aaron Pryor: "The Hawk" ended his career with 39 wins, one loss and 35 knockouts and he fought his entire career in the Junior Welterweight Division. He beat the legendary Alexis Arguello twice by knockout in defense of his 140 pound Crown. He also knocked out the legendary Antonio Cervantes in 4 rounds to become Champion. He was Champ from 1980 until 1983 and again from 1984-1985. He was a non stop punching machine with nonstop stamina. Many historians actually rate Pryor as the best 140 pound champion ever.

3. Kostya Tszyu: Tszyu retired with a record of 31 wins, 2 losses and 25 crushing knockouts. He defended the 140 pound crown 13 times over the course of two reigns. Among others he beat Sharmba Mitchell (Twice), Jesse James Leija, Zab Judah and Miguel Angel Gonzales during his impressive run through the weight class. He was an economical place puncher who had finishing power in both of his fists. Tszyu was also an accomplished amateur champion and a true student of the game.

4. Barney Ross: Ross finished his career with 74 wins and only 4 losses with 22 knockouts on his ledger. He was Junior Welterweight Champion from 1933-1935 and he won The Ring Fighter of The Year Award twice in that time span. He fought Henry Armstrong, Jimmy McLarnin and Tony Canzoneri during his dominant run at the top. Had he fought longer in this weight division he would have taken Tszyu's place at number three with ease. He was not a power puncher but his combinations were accurate and his jab and footwork was hard to deal with.

5. Wilfred Benitez: At age 17, Benitez became the youngest champion in boxing history. His overall career record was 53 wins against 8 losses with 31 knockouts. He had reflexes and speed only equaled by Sugar Ray Leonard. He fought Antonio Cervantes, Carlos Palomino and Tommy Hearnes during his stellar career. Benitez could dance for 15 full rounds on his toes feinting and peppering his rivals with one-two's. One of his top wins came against Roberto Duran. A win he won easily and the scores were lopsided.

6. Antonio Cervantes: He held the title for a total of seven years over the course of two reigns as champion. His career fight total was: 91 wins, 12 losses, 3 draws, 44 brutal knockouts. He fought among others Greats such as: Esteban De Jesus, Wilfred Benitez, Saoul Mamby and Aaron Pryor while ruling this weight class.

7. Niccolino Locche: This career 140 pounder had 117 wins, 4 losses and only 14 knockouts. Although he was not a hard puncher, he was one of the more skilled fighter this weight class has ever seen. He held the crown for 4 years and made 4 defenses beating Carlos Hernandez, Adolph Pruitt, Domingo Barrera and Antonio Cervantes along the way.

8. Oscar De La Hoya: He beat the 96-1 Julio Cesar Chavez for the Junior Welterweight Championship. He successfully defended the title against., 41-0 Miguel Angel Gonzalez. He also beat, Chavez in a re-match and he also knocked out Chavez in a re-match. He knocked out Jesse James Leija in two rounds. De La Hoya usually had the height and reach advantage in this weight class and he used his masterful jab and devastating left hook to great effect.

9. Tony Canzoneri: Canzoneri had 141 wins against 24 losses. He held the 140lb crown two times. Among the great fighters he beat were, Benny Bass, Sammy Mandell, Kid Berg and Billy Petrolle. He had skills on offense and he could box from a distance or bang on the inside with the best of them. Canzoneri used subtle shifts and movements to elude heavy artillery coming his way.

10. Meldrick Taylor: He is one of the fastest Junior Welterweights in history and he finished with 38 wins, 8 losses and 20 knockouts. He was the Junior Welterweight Champion for two years and made 4 successful defenses of the title. He founght among others Buddy McGirt and Julio Cesar Chavez. Taylor used his reflexes and speed of hand and foot to control his bouts and in his prime Taylor was magical to watch.

* Please let me know who you believe the best jr. welterweight boxer of all time is by leaving comments in the capsule located at the bottom of this article.

Who is the best?

Who is the best Junior Welterweight of all time?

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The Golden Boy

Oscar De La Hoya won championships in six weight classes as a professional a gold medal in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.
Oscar De La Hoya won championships in six weight classes as a professional a gold medal in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. | Source

Where was The Hawk from?


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Aaron Pryor highlights

Aaron Pryor Was Non Stop!

The Hawk never stopped coming forward and throwing punch. If you think a prime Manny Pacquiao was a whirlwind of punching you need to watch a youtube video of Pryor. Pryor never lost in his absolute prime and many think the great Sugar Ray Leonard ducked and dodged him.

Alexis Arguello was at his peak when Aaron Pryor ended his career for all intents and purposes in two bloody brawls that saw The Hawk win by knockout.

Prizefighter Ranking

5 stars for "The Hawk " Aaron Pryor

Birth place of Aaron Pryor

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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    • Rob Spencer profile image

      Rob Spencer 21 months ago

      How do you classify a fighter in a particular weight class, do you say he is a JWW if he only fights 1 or 2 or 5 fights at the weight or how, what I did, to help clean up my rankings as I did them for all weight classes, and since so many have moved around in weight, I made my own rule saying that a fighter had to have a Minimum of 10 Fights at any weight class to be considered as a great or top 10 or whatever in that particular division, this helps clear up some mess in each division, and it also properly credits fighters that remain awhile in a division, I think 10 fights is a good solid number to use, I don't Think Wilfred Benitez should be considered for this reason, all the bouts you list for Benitezs greatness were not even in this Division or most anyway were not, also De La Hoya, is another I would not consider here as he did not fight 10x at JWW, that then leaves room for 2 more better choices who fought many more times at this weight, like Loi, and Mcfarland , would be 2 better choices to replace those 2, as these guys had many more than 10 fights in this division so are more deserving of a top 10 ranking, and I would include Willie Joyce over Ricky Hatton.

    • lesliebyars profile image
      Author

      Buster Johnson 21 months ago from Alabama

      Willie Joyce....You are joking right. That contender lost all three of his bouts to Tippy Larkin. Ten bouts at least to be considered great in a division huh. What about junior middleweight where Tommy Hearns humiliated Roberto Duran and Dominated Wilfred Benitez. He only fought a few times in that weight class yet he is one of the best 154 pounders ever. Once again I think Joyce would have beaten Hitman Hatton but he did NOT accomplish as much in the division. Accomplishments not who we think would win.

    • Rob Spencer profile image

      Rob Spencer 21 months ago

      He lost them at the end of his career and 2 of them in his last 6 fights, and didnt tippy have well over 100 Wins, nothing to dismiss, I guess Beating Henry Armstrong and losing decisions to him and beating Ike Williams, and Willie Pep were all luck, LOL, when you know boxing come back little boy!

    • Rob Spencer profile image

      Rob Spencer 21 months ago

      Also Hearns has his own place in other divisions where he fought 10 or more, I prefer to include more greats in the divisions they fought in most often, instead of a guy that floats around fighting 2 or 3 fights and claiming greatness in that division, hearns did avoid McCaullum didnt he and Ayala Jr. so until he stuck around and fought the best in that division, and Duran, LOL, an overblown LW, he has his greatness at LW, not Higher up, duran was a good solid JMW, and good WW and a Great LW maybe the best LW, but beating Davey Moore and a couple other nobodies at JMW only shows he is really an all-time overall great but not deserving of top JMW, so that's why 10 bouts is a good mark to stick wth, it gets boring if you see Hearns or others show up in top 10s in several divisions just for stopping off for a few fights, hang around beat several of the best at that weight, then move on, put your time in at a division, don't beat a coupld flashy names and think your a top 10 there.

    • lesliebyars profile image
      Author

      Buster Johnson 21 months ago from Alabama

      Duran was a blown up lightweight but he beat undefeated Sugar Ray at welterweight and he barely lost at middleweight to Hagler. The difference between me and you is I watched many of these fights live and you are just looking it up online. Big boy. I would love to debate you on the best heavyweights. Read my top heavyweights and let me see the silly things you will say about that list. At least my list is consistent with most boxing experts opinions. Some of what you say has very good points. The only absurd thing you have really said is about Henry Armstrong who is usually considered number 2 or 3 all time boxer ever

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