Boxing has lost much of its prestige since the days of boxing legends. Some fans believe that influencers have turned the sport into a joke and a money-making scheme. However, boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali walked so new athletes could run.
Legendary fighters revolutionized the boxing industry so today’s boxers could shine just as brightly if not more.
Top Boxing Legends Who Revolutionized the Industry
Here is our list of the top boxing legends that placed the sport on the map:
1. Mike Tyson
From a prison sentence to the ring to the silver screen, Mike Tyson’s career is one for the books. While the boxing legend was controversial, the tendency gave him an edge over competitors. It also made fans fall in love with him.
During his time in the ring, Tyson had an impressive record of 50-6-0-2. His boxing career spanned over two decades. If it wasn’t for his prison sentence, his record would be more impressive. Till he was arrested, Tyson won 44 out of 50 of his fights by knockout.
2. Muhammad Ali
Originally named Cassius Clay, Muhammad Ali adopted his new name and religion in 1964. Known as the greatest boxing legends of all time, his name is still spoken reverently to this day. Ali won Heavyweight Champion of the globe three times and also won gold at the 1960 Summer Olympics.
Ali had one of the greatest boxing records of all time of 56-5. More than 30 of the fights he won were by way of knockout. However, his life was far from easy. When Ali refused to fight in the Vietnam War (because his religion forbade him), he was arrested and charged with draft evasion.
The decision cost him dearly. By refusing the draft, Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title, incurred a $10,000 fine, was threatened with a 4-year prison sentence and suffered a 3-year suspension from boxing. Ali instantly became a national pariah for his beliefs. However, those beliefs coincided with the anti-war movement among the youth at the time.
3. Evander Holyfield
Considered to be one of the best fighters of his generation, Evander Holyfield was famous for his unrelenting attitude. This made him a great fighter and champion. He earned his title for the first time after knocking out Buster Douglas in 1990 in the third round.
Holyfield is also remembered for his fights with heavyweight Riddick Bowe who he lost against in 1992. He regained his title the next year and the WBA Heavyweight title in 1996. He knocked out Mike Tyson in that fight. Tyson also infamously bit his ear off during a match.
4. Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson was the first black heavyweight world champion of the sport. The boxing legend created his own fighting style, which was unheard of during his time. Using a defensive rather than an offensive style, Johnson would tire out his opponents even if it meant he got a beating.
Once weakened by fatigue, Johnson made short work of his opponents. However, his charisma made the boxing legend stand out as well. Johnson had the uncanny ability to dazzle a crowd. He was also the first black boxer to become a celebrity. Sponsors would salivate to represent him so he was never short on those.
Learn About Other Sporting Legends!
Boxing greats are few and far between. Getting to a level where an athlete can be considered ‘the greatest’ is a long and arduous road. For more insightful news on your favorite athletes and sports, check out Black Sports Digest.