By Ken Hissner: It’s rare for a reigning champion to retire, such as former heavyweight champions like Gene Tunney and former super middleweight champion Andre Ward to name a few, did, but they were not undefeated.
To retire unbeaten is another rarity. Starting at the top would be five-division world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr., at 50-0 with 27 stoppages out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He was a Bronze Medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
In August of 2017, Mayweather had his last official match defeating MMA/UFC champion Conor McGregor who though having no boxing background, the Nevada commission ruled it an official match. This tarnished his 50th win by most boxing people, including his writer.
It was apparent throwing three punches a round, Mayweather was carrying McGregor. As soon as he opened up in the tenth round, it was all over. This added millions to what is considered by him to have made more money than any other boxer in the history of the sport.
There was no title at stake in this super welterweight match.
Mayweather won titles at super featherweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight, and super welterweight. He had some 28 defenses. He had one exhibition after winning his last official match in Japan, being the only time he fought out of the USA which the McGregor match should have been treated the same as an exhibition.
The 1952 Olympic heavyweight Gold Medalist Pete Rademacher was the only amateur in his first fight being for a world title fight and that with heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson, but not one like McGregor with no amateur boxing experience to this writer’s knowledge.
Second on the list would be with even more wins than Mayweather was former two-division world champion Ricardo “Finito” Lopez, 51-0-1 with 38 stoppages from Mexico City, Mexico.
Lopez last fought in September of 2001, defending his IBF Light Flyweight title he won, stopping Zolani Petelo, 17-2-2, at New York’s Madison Square Garden. He also won the WBC Mini title. He had some 24 defenses. He avenged his only draw a technical decision to Rosendo Alvarez in their following match.
Third on the list would be former heavyweight champion Rocky “The Brockton Blockbuster” Marciano, 49-0 with 43 stoppages from Brockton, Massachusetts. He held that distinction for the most wins and was still unbeaten until Mayweather surpassed him for 62 years.
Marciano last fought coming off the canvas stopping light heavyweight champion Archie “Old Mongoose” Moore, 149-19-8, who still holds the record for the most stoppages at 132. Marciano didn’t fight for the title until his 43rd bout. This was in September of 1955 at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, in New York.
There was talk of a comeback when Floyd Patterson lost the title in June of 1959 to Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson in order to bring the title back to the USA. Still, he wasn’t able to regain his same ability as when he retired four years previously.
Fourth on the list would be former bantamweight champion Jimmy “Little Tiger Barry, 59-0-10 with 1 no decision with 39 stoppages from Chicago, Illinois. Eight of those ten draws were in his last eight fights ending in September of 1899 with Harry Harris, 24-1-1, in Chicago.
Four of those draws Barry had were with Casper Leon, the first after winning his first 46 fights. They also fought to a no-decision.
Fifth on the list would be former super middleweight champion southpaw Joe “Pride of Wales” Calzaghe, 46-0 with 32 stoppages from Newbridge, Wales, UK, who in his last match defeated former world champion Roy Jones, Jr., 52-4, in November of 2008 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. He was the unified champion holding the WBO title the longest, with the WBA, WBC, and IBF titles added.
Calzaghe had some 21 defenses. He fought his last two fights in the USA, the next to last of his career defeating former world champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, 48-4-1, by split decision in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hopkins would go on to win another world title after the loss. Calzaghe retired due to broken hands.
Sixth on the list would be former WBC Continental Americas super featherweight champion and WBA Fedebol welterweight champion Edson “Xuxa” Pedro Nascimento, 48-0-1 with 41 stoppages from Santana de Parnaiba, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Some 22 opponents had never won a fight.
Nascimento’s last fight was in August of 2004, knocking out Leonardo Jose Tissera, 2-12-6, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His lone draw was a technical decision with Javier Hector Valadez in March of 2000 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He had won his first 37 fights.
Seventh on the list would be southpaw former WBF super flyweight champion Samson Dutch Boy Gym, 43-0 with 36 stoppages from Rio-et, Thailand.
In his last fight in April of 2002, Gym defeated Alfren Bulala, 10-5-1, in Thailand. He was born Somboon Panltasi.
Eighth on the list would be former Brazilian and South American Cruiserweight champion William “Thompson” Fernando Bezerra, 41-0 with 40 stoppages from Itaquera, Brazil.
In His last bout, Bezerra stopped Marcelo Duarte, 14-2, at Sao Paulo, Brazil, in March of 2016. In touch with him, he considered a comeback several years ago but never did.
Ninth on the list would be former EBU Bantam champion Augustin “Tigre de Irala” Senin, 42-0-1 with 21 stoppages from Bilbao, Pais, Vasco, Spain.
Senin’s last bout was in September of 1972, stopping Antonio Sassarini, 34-3, at Liguria, LaSpezia, Italy. His lone draw was with Manolin Alvarez, 12-35-9, in his tenth fight, defeating him in a rematch. He represented Spain at the Olympics in 1964.
Tenth on the list would be former NABF heavyweight champion “Baby” Joe Mesi, 36-0 with 29 stoppages from Buffalo, New York.
In Mesi’s last fight, he stopped Shannon Miller, 15-3 at Lincoln, Rhode Island, in October of 2007, for the vacant USNBC title.
After a savage fight with Vassiliy Jirov, 33-1, in March of 2004, Mesi didn’t fight again for two years, having his license suspended. He would go onto with his remaining seven fights, starting in Puerto Rico, then Montreal with the remaining in the USA.
Several others unbeaten world champions were former IBF and WBA Super Middleweight champion Sven “Phantom” Ottke, 34-0 with 6 stoppages from Karlsruhe, Baden, Wurrtemberg, Germany.
Ottke’s last fight was in March of 2004, defeating Armand Krajnc, 29-2, in a title defense at Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. Half a dozen of those wins were disputed and held in Germany. He was to come back in 2008, but the scheduled bout failed. He was a three-time Olympian.
Another is former WBO Middleweight champion Dmitry “Grandmaster” Pirog, 20-0 (15), from Gelendzhik, Russia, had his last bout defeating Nobuhiro Ishida, 24-7-2, in a title defense in May of 2012.
In Pirog’s only fight outside of Russia in July of 2010, he stopped Daniel “Miracle Man” Jacobs, 20-0, in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the vacant WBO middleweight title. Upon retiring, he was elected to the Russian Parliament in 2017.
Last but least was former two-division world champion southpaw Edwin “El Inca Dinamita” Valero, 27-0 with 27 stoppages from Merida, Venezuela.
In Valero’s last bout, he stopped Antonio DeMarco, 23-1-1, in a WBC World Lightweight title defense at Nuevo Leon, Mexico, in February of 2010. He was accused of murdering his wife and hanged himself in a cell in April of 2010.