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Boxing's Best Light Heavyweights of All Time

Updated on May 6, 2017

Legendary 175 Pounders

Ezzard Charles was one of boxing's best light heavyweights ever and a fine heavyweight champ as well.
Ezzard Charles was one of boxing's best light heavyweights ever and a fine heavyweight champ as well. | Source
Archie Moore holds the boxing record for the most knockouts and he is considered the best Light Heavyweight champion in history.
Archie Moore holds the boxing record for the most knockouts and he is considered the best Light Heavyweight champion in history. | Source
Michael Spinks won a gold medal in the Olympics, light heavyweight crown and Heavyweight title.
Michael Spinks won a gold medal in the Olympics, light heavyweight crown and Heavyweight title. | Source
Roy jones Jr. was a gifted prizefighter from Pensacola, Florida who won titles in four weight divisions.
Roy jones Jr. was a gifted prizefighter from Pensacola, Florida who won titles in four weight divisions. | Source
Bob Foster knocked out Dick Tiger to win the light heavyweight championship.
Bob Foster knocked out Dick Tiger to win the light heavyweight championship. | Source

Legendary Light Heavyweights

1. Ezzard Charles: He is known as the greatest Light Heavyweight of all time and he was also a former Heavyweight Champion. He beat among others Archie Moore three times (once by knockout), Jimmy Bivens, Elmer Ray, Lloyd Marshall. He had power especially as a light heavy but in both divisions he was a slick boxer who was hard to hot with more than one shot at a time. He could fight from a distance using footwork and elusive angles or fight on the inside ripping hooks, uppercuts and body Blows. Ezzard Charles could lick any light heavyweight and most heavyweights on his best day because he was that good.

2. Archie Moore: He holds the record for the most knockouts in boxing history. He beat every light heavyweight contender except for Ezzard Charles. He fought out of a cross arms style defense and he was known as a place puncher meaning he perfectly timed certain shots to certain areas. He was deadly accurate with the jab and right hand. The old Mongoose retired with a record reading: 185 wins, 23 losses and 10 draws with a record 131 knockouts to his credit. Moore was a fierce puncher but his defensive, cross armed style was also a thing of beauty from the "Ole Mongoose".

3. Bob Foster: Foster defended his title fourteen different times. Foster beat all the contenders in light heavyweight and won the title by knocking out the Hall of Famer Dick Tiger with a vicious left hook. Foster was tall and rangy and he knocked opponents cold on the inside or from a distance. His jab was underrated but it was a stiff pole that helped to set up his powerful combinations. Bob Foster retired from the squared circle with a resume of: 56 wins, 8 losses and 1 draw with 46 of those wins coming by way of knockout. This guy could really whack with the hook and he even knocked out several heavyweights that were far bigger than he was.

4. Micheal Spinks: He never lost a fight as a light heavyweight. He unified the championship by beating Eddie Davis, Dwight Quawi and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad. He only lost once in his career and that was as a Heavyweight to champion Mike Tyson. Spinks had an awkward style that sometimes baffled his opponents. He eventually moved to heavyweight and before the first round knockout loss to Tyson actually had success beating Larry Holmes for the title, defending against Holmes and knocking out Gerry Cooney.

5. Gene Tunney: He was Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion of the World. He retired with a whopping eighty wins and only one loss with fourty eight wins by knock out. His only loss was to Harry Greb, whom he beat four times in subsequent bouts. Tunney was a superb boxer and his right hand was deadly.

6. Roy Jones Jr.: He unified the Light Heavyweight Titles and dominated his division and the Pound for Pound list for nearly a decade. In his prime, his only loss was to Montell Griffin by disqualification. He won the re-match by first round knockout and he was rarely hit clean during his fights. Jones had reflexes and speed that was above the competition during his prime.

7. Harry Greb: He won the Light Heavyweight Title from Gene Tunney and was the only man to ever beat Tunney in a fight. He is also one of the best Middleweights of his era. He beat Tommy Gibbons, Tiger Flowers and Mickey Walker among others. Greb never stopped attacking until the final bell rang ending the bout.

8. Billy Conn: He retired with a record of sixty three wins and eleven losses. He won ring fighter of the year for 1940 and was Light Heavyweight Champion until he vacated it in 1940 to campaign as a Heavyweight where he engaged in two wars with Joe Louis. Conn was a light puncher but his jab and footwork were above average to say the least.

9. Sam Langford: He retired with a record of 178 wins-32 losses and 129 of those were knockouts. The Ring Magazine ranks him #2 of All Time on their list of 100 Top Hardest Punchers Ever. He fought Harry Wills, Joe Gans and Joe Jeanette among others and dominated.

10. Virgil Hill: Is a two time Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. He defended his title a total of twenty times over the period of two reigns. He fought Hall of Famers Tommy Hearns and Roy Jones during his career. His jab which is excellent was his calling card and along with feints and superior footwork he achieved his goals.

Gene Tunney

Gene Tunney was a legendary light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of the world. The only man to beat him was Harry Greb and he svagely avenged it the next month.
Gene Tunney was a legendary light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of the world. The only man to beat him was Harry Greb and he svagely avenged it the next month. | Source

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Ezzard Charles Tribute

Ezzard The Great

Ezzard Charles won the Heavyweight Championship but, he never won the Light Heavyweight laurels. Even though he beat Jersey Joe Walcott for the Heavyweight Crown and even beat the great Joe Louis as a heavyweight, It was at light heavyweight where historians rank Ezzard Charles as the best of the 175 pounders.

© 2012 Buster Johnson

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    • lesliebyars profile image
      Author

      Buster Johnson 2 years ago from Alabama

      Holyfield, who is my favorite boxer by the way, never fought as a light heavy as a pro fighter. He is the former Cruiserweight and four time heavyweight champion.

    • profile image

      Why isn't evader Holyfield not on the list 2 years ago

      Why isn't evander Holyfield not on the list of top light heavy weight boxers of all time