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Pictorial History of Boxing's Heavyweight Division

Updated on April 12, 2016

Pictures of The Heavyweight Greats

John L. Sullivan was the last bare knuckle heavyweight champion and the first gloved heavyweight champion under the Marquis of Queensbury rules.
John L. Sullivan was the last bare knuckle heavyweight champion and the first gloved heavyweight champion under the Marquis of Queensbury rules. | Source
James J. Corbett or Gentleman Jim as he was called schooled John L. Sullivan to win the heavyweight championship of the world.
James J. Corbett or Gentleman Jim as he was called schooled John L. Sullivan to win the heavyweight championship of the world. | Source
Jack Johnson was the first African American heavyweight champion and a great defensive boxer as well.
Jack Johnson was the first African American heavyweight champion and a great defensive boxer as well. | Source
Jack Dempsey is one of the best heavyweights of all time.
Jack Dempsey is one of the best heavyweights of all time. | Source
Gene Tunney beat Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight title and then beat him again in the rematch.
Gene Tunney beat Jack Dempsey for the heavyweight title and then beat him again in the rematch. | Source
The Brown Bomber Joe Louis was so famous he even has his own U.S. Postage stamp. Joe Louis defended the heavyweight title a record 25 consecutive times which is a boxing record regardless of weight class.
The Brown Bomber Joe Louis was so famous he even has his own U.S. Postage stamp. Joe Louis defended the heavyweight title a record 25 consecutive times which is a boxing record regardless of weight class. | Source
Rocky Marciano, shown pounding out another knockout victory over Ezzard Charles is an all time great boxer. The Rock retired undefeated with a record of 49-0 with 43 knockouts.
Rocky Marciano, shown pounding out another knockout victory over Ezzard Charles is an all time great boxer. The Rock retired undefeated with a record of 49-0 with 43 knockouts. | Source
Muhammad Ali was a three time heavyweight champion of the world who also won the Gold medal in the Rome Olympic He defeated Ken  twice, Joe Frazier twice, Sonny Liston twice and George Foreman.
Muhammad Ali was a three time heavyweight champion of the world who also won the Gold medal in the Rome Olympic He defeated Ken twice, Joe Frazier twice, Sonny Liston twice and George Foreman. | Source
George Foreman won the heavyweight title the first time by knocking out Smokin' Joe Frazier in 2 rounds. George Foreman also won a Gold Medal in the 1968 Olympics.
George Foreman won the heavyweight title the first time by knocking out Smokin' Joe Frazier in 2 rounds. George Foreman also won a Gold Medal in the 1968 Olympics. | Source
Evander Holyfield defended the heavyweight title by winning a close decision over a 42 year old Larry Holmes.
Evander Holyfield defended the heavyweight title by winning a close decision over a 42 year old Larry Holmes. | Source
Faded ring legend Iron Mike Tyson takes a stiff jab from Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis.
Faded ring legend Iron Mike Tyson takes a stiff jab from Hall of Famer Lennox Lewis. | Source

Top 10 Heavyweights of All Time

1. Muhammad Ali: Ali won the Olympic Gold Medal at light heavyweight and he also won the heavyweight titles on three different occasions. He beat among others: Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston twice each. He also beat George Foreman, Ron Lyle, Jerry Quarry and Earnie Shavers. The Greatest finished his career with a resume that reads: 56-5 with 37 knockouts.

2. Joe Louis: The Brown Bomber holds boxings record for title defenses for any weighty class with 25. Also, Louis held the crown for over eleven years. His jab and very short hooks and right crosses were textbook and deadly accurate. Among his best wins were: Billy Conn twice, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, Max Schmeling and Max Baer. Louis had a final ring record of: 66-3 with 52 knockouts.

3. Rocky Marciano: Rocky is the only undefeated heavyweight champion in boxing history. He retired as champion with a record of 49 wins and no losses with 43 knockouts to his credit. Among his victims were: Archie Moore, Ezzard Charles twice, Jersey Joe Walcott twice and Roland La Starza.The tenacious style was hard to keep up with. Marciano would walk through bombs in order to get close enough to launch his own attack.

4. Evander Holyfield: The Real Deal is the only four time heavyweight champion of the world and he also was the undisputed Cruiserweight champion as well. Holyfield had a great chin, huge heart and will and great counter punching skills. He beat a slew of contenders and former champions including: Mike Tyson and Dwight Muhammad Qawi twice each, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Ray Mercer, Buster Douglas, John Ruiz and Michael Dokes. Holyfields record currently reads: 44-10-2 with 29 knockouts.

5. Jack Dempsey: The Manassa Mauler knocked Jess Willard down 7 times and won the heavyweight crown by third round knockout. He defended his belt 7 times before being taken to school and out feinted by Gene Tunney, Among Dempsey's best wins were: Jess Willard, Jack Sharkey, Gunboat Smith, Luis Firpo, Tommy Gibbons and Georges Carpentier. Dempsey had a raw but effective swarming style and had knockout power in either hand. He finished his career with a record of 61 wins, 6 losses, 9 draws and 50 knockouts.

6. Jack Johnson: The Galveston Giant finished with a record of 54 wins, 11 losses, 9 draws with 35 knockouts. He was the first African American heavyweight champion in history. He had great skills and defense especially for the time. His footwork, jabs and feints were scientific for the era and usually baffled his dance partner. He beat among others: Tommy Burns(For the Heavyweight Title), Fireman Jim Flynn, Stanley Ketchel, James J. Jeffries and Frank Moran(Johnson won a 20 round decision). In all he defended his crown 8 times and was a true champion and ring immortal.

7. George Foreman: Big George Foreman had two boxing careers. In 1968 he won a Gold Medal in the Olympics and then he knocked out Joe Frazier for the heavyweight Championship. He knocked out Ken Norton, Frazier again and Ron Lyle during his athletic prime. Muhammad Ali basically sent him into a ten year retirement. Foreman came back after a ten year absence and won the heavyweight title for a second time by knocking out Michael Moorer in 10 rounds in a bout that he was badly losing every round. Foreman finished his career with a resume that read: 76-5 with 68 knockouts.

8. Mike Tyson: Iron Mike Tyson is the youngest heavyweight champion in history. He won the title at 20 and he also unified the crown. Tyson is a two time heavyweight champion who had a combination of speed and power that was awesome indeed. Although he could not get over the hump and beat Evander Holyfield and Lennox Lewis he still has plenty of quality names on his resume. Tyson beat undefeated former light heavy and heavyweight champ Michael Spinks by first round knockout. Tysonis also the first and only man to stop Larry Holmes.

9, Joe Frazier: Smokin Joe won the Gold Medal in the Olympics in 1964 and he also won the heavyweight crown as a professional from Jimmy Ellis. His calling card was his left hook and his will. Frazier holds a win over an undefeated Muhammad Ali and besides George Foreman he beat all the top boxers during his time including Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena and George Chuvalo.

10. Larry Holmes/ Lennox Lewis/ Tie: Holmes- The Easton Assassin defended his heavyweight crown 20 times and held it for 7 and a half years. Both of those feats are second only to Joe Louis. Holmes has one of if not the best jab in heavyweight history and he holkds wins over: Muhammad Ali, Ken Norton, Jerry Cooney and Ray Mercer.

Lennox Lewis- Lewis won the Gold Medal in the 1988 Olympic Games and he is a three time heavyweight championof the world. Lewis has a great jab and marvelous knockout power. Lennox has a knockout win over Mike Tyson, a win over Evander Holyfield and a win over Ray Mercer on his ledger. He has also avenged the only two defeats on his resume.

Iron Mike Tyson's Brutal Knockout Collection

Who is The Best?

Who is the best Heavyweight boxer ever?

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Rocky Marciano K.O. Collection

Rocky Marciano's Best Wins

Jersey Joe Walcott(Twice)
Ezzard Charles( Twice)
Archie Moore
Roland LaStarza
Joe Louis
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7 Dominate wins From The Rock

Joe Louis Knockout Collection

How Many Titles?


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Boxer Ranking

Cast your vote for Muhammad Ali

Birthplace of Muhammad Ali

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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    • Mike Robbers profile image

      Mike Robbers 4 years ago from London

      Great presentation and pictures and a most interesting pictorial history! Voted and pinned!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      The Thriller in Manila was a huge event here in the Philippines. There's even a mall named after Ali in one of our commercial districts in Quezon City, Manila.