By Kieran Mulvaney | Special to

50 Greatest

Who's really the greatest of all time? ranks 'em. Let the debate begin.
• How we picked the list | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1 | The entire list

20. George Foreman

Heavyweight Ring career: 1969-97 Record: 76-5 (68 KOs)
Career notes: On Nov. 5, 1994, knocked out Michael Moorer in 10th round to become, at 45, oldest heavyweight champion in history, capping improbable career comeback. … In first incarnation, was a sullen wrecking ball of a champion, wrenching heavyweight title from Joe Frazier after six knockdowns in two rounds in January 1973. … Was shockingly outthought, outfought and upended by Muhammad Ali in the "Rumble in the Jungle" in Zaire in 1974. … After losing to Jimmy Young in March 1977, retired to become a preacher, but returned to ring 10 years later, to initial derision. … Fought four more times after defeating Moorer before retiring for good after suffering points defeat to Shannon Briggs in a bout most people thought he won.
Let's go to the video: 50 Greatest: George Foreman ESPN Video
Bonus video: George Foreman's greatest heavyweights ESPN Video

19. Stanley Ketchel

Middleweight, heavyweight Ring career: 1903-10 Record: 52-4-4 (49 KOs) and 4 no-decisions Career notes: Only boxer to beat twin brothers in consecutive bouts: Knocked out Mike Sullivan in February 1908, and his twin brother, Jack, two and a half months later. … Victory over Jack Sullivan secured world middleweight championship, which he never lost. … Made 11 defenses of crown in just three years, a total behind only Bernard Hopkins, Carlos Monzon and "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler. … Fought heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in October 1909, and despite being outweighed by 35 pounds, knocked him down before being knocked out cold. … Shot and killed by jealous husband in 1910, at 24.

18. Archie Moore

Light heavyweight, heavyweight Ring career: 1935-63 Record: 183-24-10-1 (131 KOs)
Career notes: Had fought 168 times and was 39 years old before finally getting shot at world title. … Took advantage of that shot by outpointing champion Joey Maxim to take crown. … Fought additional 52 bouts after that, losing just four, three to heavyweights: Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson and Cassius Clay. … Remains oldest world champion in history: 48 years, 59 days old when last held the belt. … With 131 knockouts, recorded the most of any boxer.
Let's go to the video: 50 Greatest: Archie Moore ESPN Video

17. Mickey Walker

Welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight
Ring career: 1919-35 Record: 93-19-4-1 (60 KOs) and 46 no-decisions
Career notes: Won world welterweight championship in 1922 and defended it six times before losing it in 1926. … In January 1925, weighing less than 150 pounds, challenged for light heavyweight title, the lightest man ever to do so. … Later that year, unsuccessfully challenged Harry Greb for middleweight title. … Won middleweight championship from Tiger Flowers in December 1926, and defended it three times before relinquishing in 1931. … Made two more unsuccessful bids for light heavyweight crown and also challenged heavyweights Jack Sharkey and Max Schmeling.
Let's go to the video: 50 Greatest: Mickey Walker ESPN Video

16. Gene Tunney

Heavyweight Ring career: 1915-28 Record: 61-1-1-1 (45 KOs) and 19 no-decisions Career notes: Known as "Fighting Marine." … Won American light heavyweight championship from Battling Levinsky in January 1922, before losing it to and then regaining it from Harry Greb. … Took world heavyweight championship from Jack Dempsey in September 1926, and retained it in rematch 11 months later. … Made just one more defense before becoming one of very few champions to retire at the top and stay retired.
Let's go to the video: 50 Greatest: Gene Tunney ESPN Video

15. Jimmy Wilde

Flyweight Ring career: 1910-23 Record: 131-3-2 (99 KOs) and 13 no-decisions Career notes: One of the smallest world champions ever, and yet, pound-for-pound, one of the most destructive. … Ninety-nine knockouts rank among the highest for any fighter, in any weight class. … Became first world flyweight champion in history, stopping Young Zulu Kid in 11th round in December 1916. … Lost title in final fight of career, by knockout to Pancho Villa.

14. Rocky Marciano

Heavyweight Ring career: 1947-56 Record: 49-0 (43 KOs) Career notes: Only undefeated heavyweight world champion in history and one of the most popular and iconic American athletes of all time. … Renowned for ferocious punch and tremendous heart. … Won heavyweight championship with 13th-round knockout of Jersey Joe Walcott in September 1952. … Made six defenses before retiring in 1956.
Let's go to the video: 50 Greatest: Rocky Marciano ESPN Video

13. Harry Greb

Middleweight Ring career: 1913-26 Record: 105-8-3 (48 KOs) and 183 no-decisions Career notes: Despite dying at age 32, and despite a relatively brief professional career, fought more recorded bouts than all but two men in boxing history, majority of which were rendered no-decisions. … Won world middleweight title in 1923 despite becoming largely blind in left eye following bout with Kid Norfolk two years earlier. … Defended title six times over next three years before losing it to Tiger Flowers. … In May 1922, became only boxer to defeat future heavyweight champion Gene Tunney.

12. Sugar Ray Leonard

Welterweight, junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight Ring career: 1977-97 Record: 36-3-1 (25 KOs) Career notes: Olympic gold medalist won WBC welterweight world title with 15th-round stoppage of Wilfred Benitez in November 1979, only to shockingly lose title to Roberto Duran seven months later. … Defeated Duran in rematch in the famous "No Mas" bout. … Beat Ayub Kalule in 1981 to add WBA 154-pound title before dropping belt to focus on welterweight crown. … Unified titles with dramatic 14th-round stoppage of WBA titlist Thomas Hearns in September 1981. … Retired in November 1982 after surgery for detached retina. … After comeback bout against Kevin Howard in May 1984, retired again after being disgusted with performance. … Emerged from retirement to upset "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler to win middleweight crown in 1987. … Defeated Donny Lalonde in November 1989 bout that was for both super middleweight and light heavyweight titles. … Last two fights were ill-advised comebacks that resulted in defeats: against Terry Norris in 1991 and Hector Camacho in 1997.
Let's go to the video: 50 Greatest: Sugar Ray Leonard ESPN Video

11. Joe Gans

Lightweight Ring career: 1891-1909 Record: 120-8-9 (85 KOs) and 18 no-decisions Career notes: First black man to win world lightweight title, which was secured via first-round knockout of Frank Erne in May 1902. … Defeated Battling Nelson in the 42nd round in 1906, the third-longest bout in boxing history. … Lost title in rematch to Nelson in 1908. … Once fought three times in one night.

Kieran Mulvaney is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He covers boxing for, Reuters and

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