Joe Frazier (left) was the first fighter to defeat Muhammad Ali (right). Is that enough to put him on the list of the top 10 fighters of the past 50 years? The Boxing Tribune lets us know.
Julio Cesar Chavez
"El Gran Campeon Mexicano" ruled over the super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight divisions with an iron hand for a total of nearly 12 years. Chavez's thudding body shots and aggressive, nonstop pressure swallowed legitimate tough men, such as Edwin Rosario, Roger Mayweather and Meldrick Taylor, alive.
The greatest defensive fighter since Willie Pep, "Sweat Pea" dominated the lightweight and welterweight divisions for about eight years, rarely even losing a round in his prime. With wins over Azumah Nelson, Buddy McGirt and a controversial draw with Julio Cesar Chavez, Whitaker established himself as one of the very best of the modern era.
"Smokin' Joe" was the first fighter to hand Muhammad Ali defeat and was utterly dominant over the course of nearly five years as heavyweight champ. Frazier's devastating left hook took out some of his generation's greatest big men, such as Jimmy Ellis, Jerry Quarry and Buster Mathis. His brutal trilogy with Ali is regarded as the greatest in boxing history.
If the heavy-handed former heavyweight champion would have stayed retired in 1977, he would still have been regarded as one of the greatest of all-time. However, Foreman came back at 40-plus years old after a 10-year retirement and once again captured the heavyweight title. Count the destruction of Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Ron Lyle and Michael Moorer among "Big" George's greatest conquests.
Roy Jones Jr.
No fighter was as dominant in his prime as the lightning-fast, deadly accurate former five-division world champ. Jones scored victories over 18 present, past or future world titlist in the course of a 22-year career.
With a career spanning 33 years, "Manos de Piedra" gave fans some of the sport's most exciting battles. Along the way, Panama's most beloved sports figure won four world titles in as many divisions.
With a smooth, fluid style and one of the biggest punches in modern times, "The Hitman" was one of the most feared fighters of his era. The product of Emanuel Steward's world-famous Kronk gym captured world titles in five different weight classes.
"Marvelous" Marvin defended his undisputed middleweight title 12 times during a seven-year title reign. Along the way, the pride of Brockton, Mass., dominated his opponents with a brutal, fan-friendly style.
Sugar Ray Leonard
The five-division world champ ruled over a peer group that included Hall of Fame fighters such as Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Wilfred Benitez. A skilled boxer with a warrior's sensibility, Leonard never disappointed.
Simply, The Greatest. The skinny kid from Louisville with the big mouth beat some of the sport's most fearsome foes and established himself as the dominant heavyweight in a golden era of big men. Ali holds career victories over the likes of Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Sonny Liston, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Floyd Patterson and Ernie Terrell.