Best Boxer- Top 3 – John’s Opinion
Best Boxer – Muhammad Ali – 1
He was everything the sport embodies from the time he first put on his gloves. Going beyond the ring, he captured a country. Golden Gloves to heavy champ to outspoken voice of war. Mr. Ali was something special that may never be seen again. This was long before social media and the only time the voice was heard – was live on tv. Making every minute count and he was on all the time.
Muhammad Ali started his boxing career as a Golden Gloves champion. In 1960, he went on to win the Olympic Gold Medal. Something like that usually sets up the stage for a contender the professional boxing crown.
Next was the dominant career that allowed him to win a record heavy title 3x times. The major fight – “Thrilla in Manilla” – against the beast known as Joe Frazier. Before then, a major part of his career was turned off because of his opinions to the Vietnam War. As an able bodied man, he was drafted to fight. He said no and this caused people to love and hate him. Sticking by his guns and refusing to budge – this man was the Greatest.
Second Best Boxer – Sugar Ray Robinson
Ray Robinson or “Sugar”, was an unbelievable amateur. He had a record of 85 wins and 0 losses -staggering. Turning pro at the young of 19, he racked up a crazy record of 128-1-2 in just 11 years. That is unheard of in today’s spectrum. Fighters may have 1-2 fights per year, max. His titles were at welter and middleweight and held them for a very long time.
The thing that I would say is most impressive is the idea that this was all happening in the 1950s. Black and White relations were just coming to the point of the Civil Rights movement and this strong young African American man was ruling the boxing world. It must have been terrible to be the champion of the world yet, not be able to have a full vote in the election or drink from the same water fountains. The mental strength and fortitude of this champion is unmatched.
The Third Best Best Boxer – Rocky Marciano
There are legends and there is The LEGEND. Rocky Marciano is the only boxer in history to go down and retire undefeated. 49-0. (Note – Floyd Mayweather Jr. retired with the same record as well). He was not he biggest or the baddest but this man could scrape. He fought the big names like Joe Louis and Archie Moore in the 1950s and he beat them all. The series of great boxing dramatic movies with Sylvester Stallone was loosely based off the Rocky – by the same name. There was also the Raging Bull movie with Robert DeNiro that also drew from this man among men.
I was too young to see these men fight live or even on TV but the hysteria and the cold hard facts of these three men go unmatched. I could have picked 5 others to replace each one of them, but they each had something beyond boxing. Yes, they were the best of their time and the best of the sport, but there was more. Whether is was changing the dynamic of thinking about war, or the civil rights or even how boxing was more than a blood sport. Each of these three men gave everything they had to make sure that the world never forgot who they were.