The top three greatest American boxers
By Gerardo Granados: It is quite difficult to grade the skills and talent of so many great American fighters, even if you try to name the top three greatest of the modern era fighters who did not fought before 1943 up to the current fighters you will find it difficult to agree in such a short list.
You will probably end up choosing the ones that have the fighting style that you prefer or perhaps the boxing purist will argue that the ones picked did not have enough merits to be considered as the top three.
First place and greatest modern era American boxer: hall of fame member The Greatest Muhammad Ali (W56 (37)-L5), he was not only a superb fighter, he was a man can be a referent to an era in the history not only by his success in boxing but because of the controversial life that he has always have had. The best heavyweight of all, who was able to fly like butterfly and sting like a bee. In his prime he had boxing skills that no other heavyweight fighter will ever match; for sure his fame will never be match by any heavyweight champion on the future. Owned the World Heavyweight Title, WBA World – WBC heavyweight / W22 (12)-L4*.
Notables: Trevor Berbick WBC heavy / W1-L2*; hall of fame Larry Holmes WBC – IBF heavy / W20 (13)-L6*; Leon Spinks WBC – WBC World heavy / W1-L3*; hall of fame Smoking Joe Frazier WBC – WBA World heavy / W5 (4)-L2*; hall of fame George Foreman WBC – WBA World – IBF heavy / W5 (4)-L3*; hall of fame Bob Foster WBC – WBA World light heavy / W14(11)-L-D1*; hall of fame Floyd Patterson World Heavyweight Title / W8(7)-L5*; Jimmy Ellis WBA World heavy / W2-L1*; Ernie Terrell WBA World heavy / W3-L1*; hall of fame Sonny Liston World Heavyweight Title / W2(2)-L2*; and hall of fame Archie Moore World Light Heavyweight Title / W8(5)-L2*.
Second place hall of fame member Thomas “Hitman” Hearns (W61 (48)-L5-D1) defeated hall of fame member Pipino Cuevas to conquer his first world title, won titles in six different weight divisions. Former WBA World welter & light heavy, WBC light middle, middle & light heavy, WBO super middle and IBO cruiser / W16 (10)-L5-D1*.
Notables: Bruce Curry WBC light welter / W3(1)-L1*; Saensak Muangsurin WBC light welter / W10(7)-L2*; Angel Espada WBA World welter / W2-L4*; Eddie Gazo WBA World light middle / W4(1)-L1*; hall of fame Pipino Cuevas WBC welter / W12(11)-L1*; hall of fame Sugar Ray Leonard W10(8)-L2-D1 ; hall of fame Wilfredo Benitez WBA World light welter, WBC welter & light middle / W8(2)-L2*; Murray Sutherland IBF super middle / W1-L3*; hall of fame Roberto Duran WBA World lightweight, WBC welterweight, WBA World light middleweight, WBC middleweight champion / W16(12)-L7*; hall of fame Marvin Hagler WBC – WBA World – IBF middle / W13(11)-L1-D1*; Mark Medal IBF light middle / W1(1)-L1*; Doug DeWitt WBO middle / W2(1)-L2*; Dennis Andries WBC light heavy / W6(3)-L3*; Iran Barkley WBC middle, IBF super middle & WBA World light heavy / W3(2)-L6*; hall of fame candidate Virgil Hill WBA World – IBF light heavy & WBA World cruiser / W24(7)-L5*; Lenny LaPaglia IBO light heavy / W1*; Karl Willis IBO super middle / W1*; Nate Miller WBA World cruiser / W5(5)-L3*; and Uriah Grant IBF – IBO cruiser / W2-L4*.
On third place future hall of fame Golden Boy Oscar De la Hoya (W39 (30)-L6). It is true he lost to some of the top fighters that he faced a couple via close decision and was knocked out only once. But did you noticed that he engaged against twenty five world champions? that is not an easy feat to accomplish by many fighters these days. For a while he was the pay per view king, perhaps he mislead himself thinking he was still competitive and did not retire on time, but while he was in his prime from super feather up to welter he was for real / W24(15)-L5*.
Notables: Jeff Mayweather IBO super feather / W3(2)*; Troy Dorsey IBF feather – IBO super feather / W2(1)-L2-D1*; Jimmi Bredahl WBO – IBO super feather / W3-L2*; Jorge “Maromero” Paez WBO – IBF feather / W7(3)-L4-D-2*; John John Molina IBF – WBO super feather / W11(7)-L5*; Rafael Ruelas IBF lightweight / W3(2)-L1*; Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez WBC – WBA World super feather / W12(4)-L2-D1*; Jesse James Leija WBC super feather / W1-L5-D1*; hall of fame Julio Cesar Chavez WBC super feather, WBA World lightweight, WBC – IBF light welter /W31(19)-L4-D2*; Miguel Angel Gonzalez WBC lightweight / W11(5)-L4-D1*; hall of fame Pernell Whitaker WBC – IBF –WBA World lightweight, IBF light welter, WBC welter & WBA World light middle /W18(4)-L3-D1*; hall of fame candidate Hector “Macho” Camacho WBC super feather & lightweight, WBO light welter / W9(2)-L4*; Ike Quartey WBA World welter / W7(6)-L2-D1*; hall of fame candidate Felix “Tito” Trinidad IBF – WBC welter, WBA World – IBF light middle & WBA World middle / W20(15)-L1*; Shane Mosley IBF lightweight, WBC welter & WBA Super World – WBC light middle / W15(12)-L6*; Arturo Gatti IBF super feather & WBC light welter / W7(4)-L2*; Javier Castillejo WBC light middle / W7(5)-L3-NC1*; Fernando Vargas IBF – WBA World light middle / W7(4)-L2*; Luis Ramon Campas IBF light midle / W4(3)-L4*; Felix Sturm WBO – WBA World middle / W13(4)-L2-D1; hall of fame candidate Bernard Hopkins WBC – WBO – WBA Super World – IBF middle & WBC – IBO light heavy / W21(12)-L3-D2-NC1*; Ricardo Mayorga WBA World – WBC welter & light middle / W4(2)-L3-NC1*; hall of fame candidate Floyd Mayweather Jr. WBC super feather, lightweight, light welter, welter & light middle, IBF – IBO welter / W18(5)*; Steve Forbes IBF super feather / W2(1)-L3*; and hall of fame candidate Manny Pacquiao WBO welterweight, IBO light welterweight, WBC lightweight, WBC super featherweight, IFB – WBA Super World featherweight, IBF – WBO super bantamweight, WBC flyweight / W13(9)-L-1D2*. You can call this a high quality list of opponents and a long one too.
Sugar Ray Robinson may be the greatest and Archie Moore walks aside him but they fought before 1943 that is why they are not listed. * Title fights.