The sport of boxing has created a few fighters who have transcended the sport. These competitors have excelled in the ring, but they are just as famous for their exploits outside the ring. Every few generations, a boxer becomes much more than a sports star. His star quality and ability to create an atmosphere secures him a place in the hearts of millions. These three boxers will live long in the memory of sports fans for generations to come; however, which of them is the greatest?
Many will dispute the inclusion of Mike Tyson in a list of the greatest boxers of all time, yet there is no doubt that his achievements have never been matched. Tyson’s bruising style won him his first nineteen professional bouts by knockout, and twelve of those wins came in the first round! He became the youngest ever undisputed world champion at the age of just twenty after defeating Trevor Berbick in 1986. However, it may be Tyson’s brutal temperament that will define his career in the future. His conviction for rape was widely publicized, and it brought an effective end to his competitive career as a top boxer.
Sugar Ray Leonard
Sugar Ray Leonard was the first boxer to top $100 million in purse money. His incredible showmanship and his exciting style made him one of the most watched boxers the sport has ever seen. He actually lost his first title fight against Roberto Duran, but he won the rematch in style. Leonard knew that boxing was a show, and the shows he put on made him big box-office. His legendary bouts with Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns are still watched today.
There aren’t many boxing fans who would consider anyone else as ‘the greatest’. Muhammad Ali was the first boxer to transcend the sport and achieve worldwide fame. His incredible wit and intelligence set him apart from his peers, and his huge heart was responsible for much of his success. Ali was a showman, and many of his fights would not look out of place in Hollywood moves. The ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and the ‘Thriller in Manila’ were possibly his crowning glories, as both fights were won in the midst of incredible adversity. Both George Foreman and Joe Frazier were strong favorites for those fights, but Ali’s will to win was simply far greater than any physical attribute.
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