In preparation for Black History Month in October, we’re going to look at the best black boxers of all time. Over the years, many of the best boxers of all time have been black boxers. You can find our full list with details of each fighter below.
Muhammad Ali earned the nickname The Greatest for a reason. Whilst some might have not liked his personality, he was and always will be one of the best boxers ever.
Ali fought during the golden age of heavyweight boxing going up against other top black boxers such as Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and many others.
He talked the talk and could walk the walk to prove that he could back up his confidence/arrogance. The way he danced around his opponents ducking and diving, whilst taunting and teasing them is a thing of beauty.
I can watch Ali’s boxing clips on YouTube for hours on end, here’s a video of some of his greatest boxing moments.
Mike Tyson is still the youngest heavyweight boxing champion so there’s no surprise that he made our list of the best black boxers. Just looking at him, you could see that he oozed dominance in the ring
Out of his 50 wins, 44 of his victories came from knockouts, an impressive 88% win by KO.
He had power and he put it to good use as a boxer. His final boxing years weren’t his most glorious and the Evander Holyfield ear incident left his boxing career marred in controversy.
Sugar Ray Leonard
Sugar Ray Leonard was one of the most exciting boxers to watch. His quick punches and fast feet could leave an opponent stunned, and he could even pull out a bolo punch from his locker to entertain the crowd.
Many agree that he was the best boxer of the 1980s decade having beaten the top boxers at the time Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, and Tommy Hearns.
George Kimball even wrote one of the best boxing books covering these four boxers, titled “Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Duran and the Last Great Era of Boxing”. It’s a great read that looks at how boxing was in the period right before pay-per-view was introduced.
Now famous for his lean-mean-grilling machine as well as his boxing, George Foreman was a top boxer. He might not have been the quickest heavyweight boxer, but he definitely had the power to pack a punch!
Everyone will remember his loss to Ali in the “Rumble in the Jungle” as it is one of the most talked-about boxing fights in history. He retired in 1977 after losing to Jimmy Young and came out of retirement 10 years later.
We also consider him to be one of the best heavyweight boxers of all time too. This is because he came out of retirement and then became the oldest heavyweight champion at the age of 45.
Smokin’ Joe Frazier was an elite fighter and the three fights he had with Muhammad Ali are up there with the greatest boxing fights of all time.
What was also so impressive about Frazier is that he boxed with poor eyesight through most of his career. He didn’t wear contact lenses when boxing or training so he learned to deal with this as it got worse.
Compared to Ali, he was humble and that’s why the people were on his side. He only lost four fights, two against Ali and the other two against George Foreman. Frazier had one of the best left hooks for a right-handed boxer, he was a true great.
Joe Louis paved the way for black boxers to become heroes in the United States with his skills. Nicknamed the Brown Bomber, he was the heavyweight champion for almost 12 years between 1937 and 1949.
He retired briefly in 1949 but came out of retirement in 1951 to beat Freddie Beshore first of all. His second fight was with Rocky Marciano and he was nine years older than Marciano.
He lost the fight and retired straight after it. That didn’t take anything away from his boxing legacy though.
Sugar Ray Robinson
Sugar Ray Robinson is considered to be the best pound-for-pound boxer of all time. He went on an incredible 91-fight undefeated streak and won a total of 174 fights.
He was the boxing world champion in two weight classes in his career. He first held the welterweight title between 1946 and 51 and then won the middleweight title in 1952.
He retired in 1952 but came out of retirement in 1955 to regain the middleweight title. He did the same again in 1958 and became the first boxer ever to win five divisional world championships. So, Sugar Ray Robinson can be considered as one of the best welterweight boxers as well as the best middleweight boxers of all time.
Jack Johnson was one of the earliest black boxers to make a name for himself. His boxing career spanned an incredible amount of time between 1898 to 1945!
Johnson was the first African-American to become the world heavyweight champion back in 1910. This is one of the reasons he was so influential for future black boxers.
There’s a famous video of Muhammad Ali speaking about Jack Johnson which you can see below. A famous boxing quote from it is:
“He was so bold. Jack Johnson was a black man back when white people lynched negroes on weekends.”
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
A more recent boxer, but considered to be one of the best with his undefeated record of 50-0. He’s also involved in the best pound-for-pound boxer discussion when it comes up.
His speed and defense were so impressive, it’s crazy to watch his opponents not being able to land punches on him.
Many thought that one of the best southpaw boxers of all time, Manny Pacquaio, could’ve broken his undefeated record, but Mayweather didn’t allow it.
Some boxing fans might think that he’s not exciting to watch, but you have to respect him as arguably the great boxer of the last 25 years.
Sonny Liston is another heavyweight that didn’t have speed, but his power and long reach helped make up for that.
He won the heavyweight title in 1962, but only two years later lost it to Muhammad Ali who was Cassius Clay at the time of the fight. Before this fight, he was considered to be undefeatable.
Evander Holyfield might have lost 10 fights, but he remains the only boxer in history to be the undisputed champion in two weight classes.
In the late 1980s, he was the undisputed cruiserweight champion and then in the 1990s became the heavyweight champion.
Holyfield managed to beat Mike Tyson twice in two of the most exciting fights in boxing history. He’s also famous for having his ear bitten by Tyson.
Whilst he might not be considered one of the GOATs, he’s one of the best black boxers of all time.
The final boxer on our list is Lennox Lewis who is one of the best British boxers in history. Although he didn’t make our list of the greatest boxers of all time, he deserves his place here.
He beat other greats on this list like Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, although they were at the end of their careers. Whereas his boxing career started towards the end of the heavyweight golden generation.
Still, he was a three-time heavyweight champion and the last undisputed boxer in this weight class.