Official OTH top 10 Heavyweight Rankings thread (Greatest and Head to Head)

Bogotazo

Administrator
Staff member
Country Flag
Palestine
In the spirit of @frankos1885's aggregated forum P4P list, let's see if we can get a good group of lists going for the kings of the sport to put up on the front page.

For the sake of consistent criteria, let's do two lists: the first will be your top 10 greatest heavyweights, and a second list will be your two 10 best head to head. Generally, "greatest" will refer to accomplishments, resume, and legacy, while head to head refers to who you personally think would win in an actual bout against other hypothetical opponents regardless of accomplishments.

It would be great if you could also elaborate on your reasoning a little bit so that I can possibly incorporate that into the article.

So get ranking!
 
Greatest?

1 Muhammad Ali (Should have a couple more losses on record tho,Faced everyone except the Foreman rematch)
2 or 1?? Joe Louis (Sorry boxalot but he was extraordinary)

3 Lennox Lewis & 4 George Foreman Both in 90s era when the alphabet titles became more accepted,Did George get the lineal? If not should he be in a top 10?

4 Joe Frazier The machine,A tougher road to the Worlds heavyweight title than most other holders perhaps? Or is it Jack Dempsey's (Who aint in my top 10) road to the title that was the hardest,No multi million dollar backers from Tobacco companies or TV conglomerates or Bum opponents like Charles Martin who was a champ!!J Willard was poor but he had Jack Johnson sleeping,Also see young G Foremans opponents road to the title

How important is the road to the title without major backing from the start of their career

5 Larry Holmes???

Shit im lost after here.This is difficult,Far too many things to consider.They fucked it all up with the alphabets
 
1. Muhammad Ali - For me personally, he’s head and shoulders above everyone as the clear, definitive number one. He scored highly in every area. He passes the eyetest as an almost unique heavyweight in terms of style. Incredibly fast feet, excellent defensive capabilities, a granite chin, fast hands and underrated, if not exactly great power. Wins over Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Joe Frazier and then guys like Ken Norton (debatable), Floyd Patterson, Ron Lyle, Cleveland Williams etc. A couple of those guys were past their best but many in their prime too. Was also intelligent and durable enough to change styles at certain stages of his career and has the greatest competition out of any top heavy imo.

2. Lennox Lewis - A controversial call having him so highly and I expect to get a lot of stick for this, but I’ll try and justify it. An excellent jab, insane one punch power, great stamina for a big guy and a very good defence. Underrated chin too, it pains me when people say he was chinny. Like Louis, he possibly lacks a win over an absolutely elite heavyweight in their prime but only a few guys have them. His wins over a slightly faded Holyfield and Vitali (depends how you view tko 6, I personally felt a past it version on Lennox would have forced the stoppage with that cut and vitali was fading after a great start) are both excellent and he has such a long list of second tier wins - Golota, Tua, Grant, Bruno, Morrison, Ruddock, Tucker etc, most of whom were in their prime. Avenged both of his defeats too which counts in his favour massively for me, even if McCall II was a farce (not really his fault).

3. George Foreman - Again, a controversial call that I’ll get stick for as most lists I see have him 7-10.
His win over a peak Frazier is one of the greatest in the history as the division for me (first one). Excellent wins just below that one too over Ken Norton (I know he hated punchers, but it’s still an excellent win), Moorer, Lyle etc. He also deserves tremendous credit for coming back and being the oldest heavyweight champion against a live opponent too. Not the best fighter in terms of how he looked, he often looked crude and like a bit of a caveman. He was definitely vulnerable to a good boxer and a solid chin/defensive capabilities (see Young/Ali), but he was fucking strong, powerful and had a brain second time round. Valiant losing effort to a peak Holy when he was an old man.

4. Joe Louis - I don’t rate him quite as highly as most, but still very highly indeed! Lacks a signature win imo but arguably the best offensive, technical fighter in the history of the division. Perfectly throw combination punching, devastating power in either hand and a few very good (if not quite top level) victories over the likes of Schmeling, Baer and Walcott. Incredible longevity and the eye test put him here over his list of wins.

5. Larry Holmes - Like Louis, he lacks a properly top signature win for me but the eye test is so convincing and his consistency just about gets him in front of Holyfield, Frazier, etc. Lots of very good second tier wins against the likes of Norton, Cooney, Shavers, Tim etc. The most beautiful jab in heavyweight history, a granite chin and proven ability to go the 15 round distance at a pace.

6. Evander Holyfield - Bonus points for being a blown up (roided up?) cruiserweight in an era where we were moving into the super heavyweights. He fought the two great super heavies of his era in Bowe and Lewis too and performed very respectably against both before ultimately coming up short.
Incredible record that boasted Tyson x2, Bowe, Buster Douglas, Michael Moorer, old versions of Foreman and Holmes as well as a variety of other respectable heavyweights. Incredible will to win, bravery and determination. Had a heart attack against Michael Moorer and fought Bowe the third time despite knowing he had hepatitis C. I’m not sure a braver man has ever stepped in the ring.

7. Joe Frazier - Arguably the greatest single victory in the history of the division in taking Muhammad Ali’s ‘0’ in the Fight Of the Century. Had a very solid record and had to beat some very good men before he even got his title shot against reigning WBA king Jimmy Ellis. Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena, Joe Bugner, Buster Mathis etc were all solid wins, although the absolute pasting he took against Foreman hurts him. Like Holyfield, an incredibly brave man with an insane will to win and he had that left hook.

This is my definite top 7 but it gets difficult after this. You have Marciano, Tyson, Johnson, Dempsey, Liston, Wladimir etc.
 
Greatest

1. Ali
2. Louis
3. Lewis
4. Holmes
5. Foreman
6. Holyfield
7. Wlad Klitschko
8. Marciano
9. Frazier
10. Tyson

I feel uneasy ranking Dempsey and Johnson as I don't have enough of an understanding of the era they competed in and the climate of the sport at that time.

Head to Head

1. Lewis
2. Fury
3. Ali
4. Wlad Klitschko
5. Vitali Klitschko
6. Holmes
7. Holyfield
8. Tyson
9. Foreman
10. Bowe

Feel a bit silly leaving Frazier off considering he put Ali through hell but I feel more confident in Ali against the modern super heavyweights than I do Frazier.

Louis is as great as any heavyweight but if you put a gun to my head and my life was on the line and he went up against any of the 10 I've just listed Head to head, I'd pick him to lose against those 10 at their very very best, the same with Marciano.
 

TSOL

One Naughty Comrade!
I'll give this a go:

Greatest:

1. Muhammad Ali. Beat multiple hall of famers, and Top level heavies on his resume. Believe he cleared out the Top 10 twice? At his peak, imo, the most brilliant fighter ever.

2. Joe Louis. Longevity, skills, devastating power. hall of famers, top level fighters on his resume, set multiple records including 25 consecutive title defenses.

3. Lennox Lewis. Beat everyone he ever fought, including legends and Top level fighters. As close to a complete fighter as there's ever been at HW.

4. George Foreman. Devastating power, beat legends, destroyed them even. And of course...IT HAPPENED!

5. Larry Holmes. Phenomenal skills, heart, longevity. Era wasn't the greatest but he was so great his class showed regardless.

6. Joe Frazier. Took Ali's 0, resume kinda takes a dive after that but beat solid names. Machen, Ellis, Mathis, Quarry, etc. Only ever lost to Ali and Foreman

7. Rocky Marciano. Kept his 0, devastating puncher.. Has some stellar names on his resume, Joe Louis, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles. But they weren't at their best anymore. Would he have beaten them at their best?

8. Evander Holyfield. 4 time champion. And he should've been 5 time. All time warrior, beat legends, top names.

9. Mike Tyson. Undisputed champion. Youngest HW champion who at his peak, looked as close to unbeatable as any fighter has ever looked.

10. Sonny Liston. Great skillset, power. Beat many good names like Machen, Williams, Folley, Quarry etc and of course, devastated the great Floyd Patterson twice, both times in the first round.

Head to Head:
(At their peaks)

1. Muhammad Ali
2. Lennox Lewis
3. Larry Holmes
4. George Foreman
5. Evander Holyfield
6. Riddick Bowe
7. Mike Tyson
8. Vitali Klitschko
9. Joe Frazier
10. Sonny Liston
 
1. Ali
2. Louis
3. Lewis
4. Holmes
5. Foreman
6. Frazier
7. Holyfield
8. Marciano
9. Tyson
10. Liston

Head to head...dunno, other than that Marciano loses to all of them. Wlad is arguably top ten on a greatest list and could supplant Liston but gets flattened by Lewis, Foreman, Tyson, and Liston. I reckon a Frazier-Wlad trilogy ends with 1 Frazier win and 2 Wlad wins.

Louis was a great combination puncher but it is worth remembering how much smaller his gloves were...his shots would not have been as destructive in modern gloves. By the same token, he was dropped quite often which suggests he'd struggle to take the power of some of the other greats, but he was taking punches in those same, smaller gloves so it is quite hard to judge. I am confident he loses to Lewis, Ali, and Holmes.
 
Think people overrate Wlad head to head. If he's not allowed to grab illegally the majority of fights with the greats end with Wlad sprawled out.

problem with Wlad is you can’t say the best version of him wins H2H against his closest peers around his era.

Lennox and Vitali both heavy favourites against him in that respect. I’d also favour Tyson, Holyfield and Holmes over him.
He was great for sure, but not a great guy to match mythically
 
Think people overrate Wlad head to head. If he's not allowed to grab illegally the majority of fights with the greats end with Wlad sprawled out.

Hard to say how good Vlad is head to head because all his opponents waited round to get beat by him rather than earning their shot. He fought a ridiculous amount of unbeaten fighters and guys who hadn't been beaten in donkeys years.

Part of me thinks his run was pretty spectacular.

Part of ne thinks it ended the first time he came across a top fighter in Fury.
 
I think the Wlad that fought Chagaev and Haye was prime and was a problem for anyone head to head.

Not saying he wins but he is a puzzle for everybody, if you want to pressure him or spam over hand rights to take him out of his comfort zone so he loses his form. Then you must take into account his hugely effective footwork when prime, and the risk of running into a hellacious left hook or jab.
 
Country Flag
England
I think the Wlad that fought Chagaev and Haye was prime and was a problem for anyone head to head.

Not saying he wins but he is a puzzle for everybody, if you want to pressure him or spam over hand rights to take him out of his comfort zone so he loses his form. Then you must take into account his hugely effective footwork when prime, and the risk of running into a hellacious left hook or jab.
Just get him on away soil with a fair ref and after 6 rounds of not being able to clinch he'll gas, panic and fold.
 
I like this.

Greatest

All is the greatest HW of all time. It’s mad to think that we probably didn’t even get to see him at his peak. We all know about his achievements.

Lewis - I put Lennox at number two. I think he emerged as the best heavyweight of a real golden generation. I know he lost to McCall and Rahman, but Ali lost to Spinks and I don’t recall anyone using that as a stick to beat him out of top spot.

Louis - A great fighter with wonderful longevity. His fights with Schmelling may be the most historically significant in the sport and have by and large been forgotten by mainstream media today. His win over Billy Conn is so impressive to me.

Holmes - A great fighter who had his significance diminished by falling in between arguably the two most culturally dominant eras in Boxing history. As skilled as anyone on this list and under rated in terms of how tough he was. Title defences similar to Louis and was successful well in to his later years.

Foreman - A dominant champion the first time round before he ran in to our consensus number one. The second title reign is one of, if not the greatest achievement in sports history. The Foreman story is my favourite.

Marciano
Holyfield
Frazier
Wlad
Liston

H2H

Lewis - the ultimate ‘super heavy’

Foreman - size, power and an under rated boxing IQ.

Ali - the fastest HW of all time with footwork to match his hands.

Holmes - capable of winning most if not all jabbing contests.

Vitali - A super HW with an iron chin. Capable of being both a power puncher and a volume puncher.

Tyson Fury - So big, with skills and heart. Difficult for any fighter to beat at any point.

Tyson - He doesn’t rank near my top ten for greatness and he’s only in H2H because I think he does a job on Wlad, Frazier, and Marciano who do all feature in my top 10. Against the right size and the right style, devastatingly vicious. Against the wrong style and mentality, liable to fold.

Wlad - Similar to Tyson with regards to needing the right size and style to contend with. People are moaning about excessive holding but if it works then it works. You can’t ignore his size, power and jab. Wlad is a nightmare for plenty of heavyweight fighters.

Frazier - A forgotten savage. Ali told Frazier he was in there with god during their first fight. Frazier replied ‘God, you’re in the wrong place tonight’ and smashed Ali in the rib cage. Remember he fought his career blind in one eye, making it all the more impressive. I imagine if you were going for a dog fight, you could do worse than to have Frazier next to you. Loses points due to his size and over reliance on the left. Also a slow starter.

Holyfield - A huge heart (and not just because of the HGH) with Olympic level skills to back it up. Won and lost fights that he had no right to. Fighting on too long diminished his aura but Evander could fight.
 
Country Flag
United Kingdom
1966 Ali vs 1991 Holyfield:

Ali's Advantages'


Speed all day, Jab, Footwork, Head movement

Evan Fields Advantages'

Recovery, chin, power (only slightly more), throws to the body

I see Ali winning, not a surprise there, but comfortably. Holy had some speed and could get inside, but didn't have enough power to wear Ali down.

And at this time, had not yet developed his own jab, which would give Ali trouble.

Ali would just throw 1,2's constantly, staying outside and scoring. I think in a 12 rounder, he wins 9.
 
Country Flag
England
1966 Ali vs 1991 Holyfield:

Ali's Advantages'


Speed all day, Jab, Footwork, Head movement

Evan Fields Advantages'

Recovery, chin, power (only slightly more), throws to the body

I see Ali winning, not a surprise there, but comfortably. Holy had some speed and could get inside, but didn't have enough power to wear Ali down.

And at this time, had not yet developed his own jab, which would give Ali trouble.

Ali would just throw 1,2's constantly, staying outside and scoring. I think in a 12 rounder, he wins 9.
Not saying Holyfield wins bit I think he'd be a bit of a mare for Ali tbh, pretty much the same size, both have great chins, think Evander has the dog in him to pressure Ali all night which is generally when he has his worst nights.

Holy has a great arsenal of combinations and I think he might actually be the stronger of the two, especially at this point in their respective careers.

Obviously Ali is faster so he'll be landing good combinations himself and is quicker of foot, though not necessarily better with his feet.

Ali had had a mare with Cooper prior to this and the rematch showed he still wasn't fully comfortable with that style of fighting even if he did look much better than the first match where he got beat up and nearly stopped. Holyfield had some similar stylings to Cooper but was a much better all round fighter.

Think he makes it a very tough fight for him tbh.
 
Country Flag
United Kingdom
Not saying Holyfield wins bit I think he'd be a bit of a mare for Ali tbh, pretty much the same size, both have great chins, think Evander has the dog in him to pressure Ali all night which is generally when he has his worst nights.

Holy has a great arsenal of combinations and I think he might actually be the stronger of the two, especially at this point in their respective careers.

Obviously Ali is faster so he'll be landing good combinations himself and is quicker of foot, though not necessarily better with his feet.

Ali had had a mare with Cooper prior to this and the rematch showed he still wasn't fully comfortable with that style of fighting even if he did look much better than the first match where he got beat up and nearly stopped. Holyfield had some similar stylings to Cooper but was a much better all round fighter.

Think he makes it a very tough fight for him tbh.

You could also say that Evander struggled against Dokes due to his speed. Ali was also fast except would not have bad stamina.
 
Country Flag
England
You could also say that Evander struggled against Dokes due to his speed. Ali was also fast except would not have bad stamina.
Never really got the critisim for the Dokes fight, it's fairly one sided and Holyfield beats him down and stops him.

The couple of rounds Dokes has success, he ends up trading more with Evander who punches with him and the rounds end with Dokes getting his shit pushed in so he trades off landing more of his own shots at the expense of getting hurt.

Obviously Ali is better all round and has a better chin than Dokes, him winning on points is probably the safest bet but he'll not win comfortably and he'll have some really tough rounds. Wouldn't surprise me if Holy beat him tbh, it's a style he isn't good with at all (see Jones, Cooper, Frazier, Norton).
 
Country Flag
United Kingdom
Never really got the critisim for the Dokes fight, it's fairly one sided and Holyfield beats him down and stops him.

The couple of rounds Dokes has success, he ends up trading more with Evander who punches with him and the rounds end with Dokes getting his shit pushed in so he trades off landing more of his own shots at the expense of getting hurt.

Obviously Ali is better all round and has a better chin than Dokes, him winning on points is probably the safest bet but he'll not win comfortably and he'll have some really tough rounds. Wouldn't surprise me if Holy beat him tbh, it's a style he isn't good with at all (see Jones, Cooper, Frazier, Norton).

Doug Jones did rock Ali in round 1 to be fair and I find it strange that Ali was chinnier in his prime, then by 71 his chin was Granite.
 
Last edited:
Top