The winner from this weekends Ward-Kovalev fight, Andre Ward, now has legitimate bragging rights as the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter. He will also add an impressive resume line when it comes to future consideration for a list like this one.
No. 10: Harold Johnson A great technical boxer who recorded wins over light heavyweight greats Jimmy Bivens, Ezzard Charles and Archie Moore. His rivalry with Moore was particularly hard-fought. Reigned as champion from 1962 to 1963, at the start of the alphabet-soup era. Also a heavyweight contender, during an era of small heavyweights.
No. 9: Jimmy Bivens Never held a world title, but still deserves to be included among the division’s all-time greats. Had wins over world champions Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore, Joey Maxim, Gus Lesnevich, Melio Bettina, Anton Christoforidis and Teddy Yarosz. Went the distance with heavyweight champion Joe Louis and dropped a split decision to heavyweight champion Joe Walcott.
No. 8: Tom Loughran A technical wizards who stood up to some of the greatest heavyweight and light heavyweights of his generation, despite an anemic KO ratio of just eight percent. Defeated Harry Greb when he was just 19. Beat future heavyweight champions James Braddock and Max Baer. Most observers believe he deserved to win the heavyweight title when he faced Primo Carnera.
No. 7: Bob Foster One of the division’s biggest punchers of all time. Captured the world title by knocking out Hall of Famer Dick Tiger in 1968 and held the belt until vacating it in 1974.
No. 6: Roy Jones Jr. Won world titles at middleweight, super middleweight and heavyweight, but his longest reign at the top came at 175 pounds. One of the greatest pure athletes to ever lace up the gloves, with a ring I.Q. to match.
No. 5: Billy Conn A quick, smart fighter with the guts of a cat burglar, Conn held the light heavyweight title from 1939 to 1941. In one of the most famous heavyweight fights of all time, he got the best of legendary Joe Louis before going down by KO in Round 13, when he boldly chose to go toe-to-toe with the much larger man, rather than getting on his bicycle to preserve the victory.
No. 4: Michael Spinks The top light heavyweight champion during one of the division’s greatest eras. Spinks never lost at 175 pounds and is one of the few who managed to move up and capture the heavyweight title, besting one of the great heavyweight champions of all time in Larry Holmes.
No. 3: Gene Tunney Lost just once in his entire career, to Harry Greb, and avenged the loss four times. Moved up from 175 to beat one of the all-time iconic heavyweight champions in Jack Dempsey.
No. 2: Ezzard Charles Never actually held the world title at light heavyweights, but had multiple wins over some of the division’s all-time greats in Archie Moore, Joey Maxim and Jimmy Bivens. As a middleweight, beat Hall of Famers Charley Burley and Teddy Yarosz. But he made his biggest mark as a heavyweight, when he captured the world title and had wins over Joe Louis and Joe Walcott.
No. 1: Archie Moore The old Mongoose held the world title from 1952, until abandoning it in 1962. Most of that time he moon lighted as a heavyweight contender. Moore’s 132 career KOs are recognized as the most by any prizefighter in history.