Mayweather, Ali, Pacquiao, Tyson, Usyk: Who’s the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in history?

Greatest Pound-For-Pound Boxer

Boxing provides us with an incredibly hard debate of who is the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of all time, with people all having their own opinion, giving us a contrast of shouts for the greatest of all time, or even just for a generation.

This can often be split up into weight divisions as it is much harder to compare fighters across different divisions with them not being able to compete.

Ring Magazine keep an up to date list of their version of the pound-for-pound GOAT across all divisions and then individual lists for specific divisions as well.

One thing that is difficult to do however is compare fighters from different eras of boxing as the sport has changed drastically from the days of the likes of Muhammad Ali and co.

Thankfully for us, World Boxing News have decided on who is the best pound-for-pound fighter from 1970 all the way through to the present day.

In the 70s, the list comprised of Jose Napoles, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Muhammad Ali and Robert Duran, with Ali and Duran being deemed the best on multiple occasions throughout the decade.

Moving into the 1980s, Sugar Ray Leaonard, Marvin Hagler and Mike Tyson were seen as the pound-for-pound greatest, with Tyson holding the title for around four years in total over two stints.

Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson

Pernell Whitaker was the only person to hold the title twice during the 90s according to the list, with Julio Cesar Chavez, Riddick Bowe, Evander Holyfied, Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad also taking the coveted title.

Entering the millennium, Trinidad’s stint as the pound-for-pound greatest in the world ended, with Bernard Hopkins taking over midway through 2001. Roy Jones Jr, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were also deemed as the greatest pound-for-pound fighter during different times in the noughties.

In the 2010s, we saw Pacquiao and Mayweather dominate large spells, with Roman Gonzalez, Andre Ward, Gennady Golovkin, Vasyl Lomachenko and Canelo Alvarez all having stints at being deemed the best pound-for-pound boxer.

Alvarez continued his stint into 2022, with Oleksandr Usyk usurping him earlier this year, with a chance to further cement that title next month in Saudi Arabia when he takes to the ring in a massive showdown.

oleksandr-usyk-murat-gassiev
Oleksandr Usyk celebrates after beating Murat Gassiev

The Ukrainian takes on Anthony Joshua in a rematch, looking to defend his belts against the Brit and remain to be seen as the greatest heavyweight about at the moment…

Unless Tyson Fury comes out of retirement to give us an undisputed fight for the heavyweight division that is of course.

FULL LIST:

1970:

Jan- Dec – Jose Napoles

Dec – Joe Frazier

1973: Jan – George Foreman

1974: Jan – Muhammad Ali

1966: American boxer Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali, in the ring. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

1978:

Feb – Robert Duran

Sep – Muhammad Ali

1979: Oct Roberto Duran

1980: Nov – Sugar Ray Leonard

1982: Feb – Marvin Hagler

1986: Nov – Mike Tyson

1987:

Apr – Sugar Ray Leonard

Aug – Mike Tyson

1990:

Feb – Pernell Whitaker

Mar – Julio Cesar Chavez

Julio Cesar Chavez
Julio Cesar Chavez

1993:

Sep –Riddick Bowe

Nov – Evander Holyfield

1994: Apr – Pernell Whitaker

1997: Apr – Oscar De La Hoya

1999: Sep – Felix Trinidad

2001: May – Bernard Hopkins

2002: Sep – Roy Jones Jr

2004: May – Bernard Hopkins

2005: July – Floyd Mayweather

Mayweather in the ring.
Jun 6, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Green Trunks) stands in the ring prior to his fight against Logan Paul (not pictured) at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

2010: Nov – Manny Pacquiao

2011: Sep – Floyd Mayweather

2016:

Sep – Roman Gonzalez

Nov – Manny Pacquaio/Andre Ward

2017: Sep – Gennady Golovkin

2018: May – Vasyl Lomachenko

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JULY 20: Manny Pacquiao blows a kiss to the crowd as he celebrates his split-decision victory over Keith Thurman in their WBA welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

2019:

May – Canelo Alvarez

Aug – Vasyl Lomachenko

Dec – Canelo Alvarez

2022: May – Oleksandr Usyk

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