Boxing is one of the most grueling but popular sports in the world. Boxers can be rich and famous once they reach the top. Some boxers became rich and famous but many lived an obscure life after few years from retirement and a handful died poor.
1.) Sugar Ray Robinson (1921-1989)
Sugar Ray Robinson was a professional boxer whose real name is Walker Smith Jr.
- He is regarded by many as the greatest boxer of all time.
- Robinson was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.
- Robinson was named the greatest fighter of the 20th century by the Associated Press
- In 2007, ESPN.com named him the ‘greatest boxer in history’.
- The prestigious Ring magazine rated him the best pound for pound boxer of all-time in 1997
- The Ring magazine also rated him its “Fighter of the Decade” for the 1950s.
- He is recognized by Muhammad Ali, who called himself “The Greatest”, as the ‘greatest boxer of all time’.
- Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Leonard also recognized Robinson as the ‘greatest boxer of all time”.
- Due to his superb performances at the welterweight and middleweight divisions the “pound for pound” rankings was created.
- As an amateur, he was 85-0 with 69 wins by way of knockout, 40 in the first round. Robinson turned pro at 19 and had a professional record of 128-1-2 with 84 knockouts.
- He held the world welterweight title for 5 years from 1946 to 1951. Robinson also won the world middleweight title.
- He retired in 1952 and come back in 1955 and regains the middleweight title.
- Sugar Ray became the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship 5 times.
- Robinson was named “fighter of the year” twice – 1942 and 1951.
- Sugar Ray Robinson defeated 7 other Hall of Fame fighters.
- Robinson engaged in 200 pro bouts, and his professional career lasted nearly 26 years.
- Robinson failed as an entertainer and died a poor man in 1989.
- He was featured in 2006 on a commemorative stamp by the US Postal Service.
2.) Emmanuel Dapiran Pacquiao (1978)
He is famously known as Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino pro boxer from General Santos City, Philippines.
- Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao was elected Congressman for Saranggani, Philippines in 2010 Elections making him the world’s first professional boxer lawmaker.
- Manny Pacquiao, known as the “Mexicutioner”, made history in boxing by becoming the only boxer to win the championship title in 7 weight divisions.
- Pacquiao is currently the ‘pound for pound’ king and the current welterweight champion of the world.
- Manny Pacquiao is also an entertainer and a recording artist.
3.) Bernard Hopkins (1965)
Bernard Hopkins, known as the Executioner, is an American boxer.
- Hopkins is best known for his ten year reign as middleweight world champion in which he successfully defended his title a record 20 times.
- Bernard is the first fighter to retain all 4 major boxing governing body belts including the Ring Magazine.
- He is the oldest man to ever hold the middleweight championship in professional boxing.
- Hopkins was The Ring magazine and the World Boxing Hall of Fame Fighter of the Year for 2001.
4.) Oscar De La Hoya (1973)
Oscar “The Golden Boy” De La Hoya is a retired American boxer of Mexican descent and one of the handsomest pro boxers ever.
- Coming from a family of boxers his stardom started when he won a gold medal at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
- He was named by Ring Magazine as “Fighter of the Year” for 1995.
- Oscar was also Ring Magazine’s top-rated Pound for Pound fighter in the world in 1997.
- De La Hoya, a sensational boxer, has defeated 17 world champions and has won 10 world titles in six different weight classes.
- Oscar has also generated more money than any other boxer in the history of the sport, an estimated $696 million pay-per-view income.
- De La Hoya’s amateur career included 223 wins, 163 by knockout, with only 6 losses.
- He founded Golden Boy Promotions, a combat sport promotional firm.
- De La Hoya is the first Latin American to own a national boxing promotional firm and one of the few boxers to take on promotional responsibilities while still active.
5.) Henry Jackson Jr. (1912-1988)
Henry Jackson Jr. was a world champion who fought under the name Henry Armstrong.
- He has the distinction of being the only boxer to hold 3 world championships at the same time.
- Henry also defended the Welterweight championship more times than any other fighter.
- The Ring magazine ranked Armstrong as the 2nd greatest fighter of the last 80 years in 2007.
- Henry Jackson had to warm-up for more than 2 hours for a 15 round fight. This astonishing stamina can be attributed to his abnormal heartbeat.
- His record as a professional boxer; 451 wins, 21 losses and 9 draws, with 401 knockout wins.
- Henry Armstrong became a Baptist minister after retiring from boxing
6.) Sugar Ray Leonard (1956)
Sugar Ray Leonard was born Ray Charles Leonard, a retired American professional boxer.
- He is widely considered to be one of the best boxers of all time.
- Leonard was named Fighter of the Decade for the 1980s
- He was champion in different weight categories and engaged sensational and much celebrated fighters such as Wilfred Benitez, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Marvin Hagler.
- His nickname ‘Sugar’ was given by Juanita Wilkinson – his wife.
- Sugar Ray was named after the legendary singer – Ray Charles.
7.) Roberto Duran (1951)
Roberto Duran is a retired Panamanian professional boxer.
- Duran is, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all-time.
- This versatile brawler in the ring was nicknamed “Manos de Piedra” or “Hands of Stone”.
- The Ring Magazine chose him in 2002 as the 5th greatest fighter of the last 80 years.
- Bert Sugar rates him as the 8th greatest fighter of all-time.
- Duran was world champion in 4 different weights – lightweight (1972-79), welterweight (1980), junior middleweight (1983-84) and middleweight (1989).
- Roberto Duran was the second boxer to have fought in five different decades.
- He finally retired in January 2002 at age 50 with a professional record of 119 fights, 103 wins with 70 KOs.
8.) Julio Cesar Chavez Gonzalez (1962)
Julio Cesar Chavez Gonzalez is a former Mexican professional boxer.
- Julio Cesar Chavez is considered the greatest Mexican boxer in history.
- Chavez is a six-time world champion in three weight divisions.
- His career spanned over twenty-five years.
- In his prime he was considered the best pound-for-pound in the world
- Chavez ranks #24 on ESPN’s 50 Greatest Boxers of All Time.
9.) Wilfred Benítez (1958)
Wilfred Benítez is a pro boxer from Puerto Rico.
- He is the world’s youngest boxing champion in the history of the sport at age 17.
- He is a skilled and aggressive fighter with exceptional defensive abilities who won world championships in 3 different weight divisions.
- He grabbed the WBA Light Welterweight title to Antonio Cervantes better known as Kid Pambele.
- At age 22, Benitez became the youngest three-time world champion in boxing history by knocking out WBC World Super Welterweight Champion Maurice Hope.
10.) Guglielmo Papaleo (1922-2006)
Guglielmo Papaleo was an American boxer who was better known as Willie Pep.
- He fought a total of 242 bouts or equivalent to 2,017 rounds during his 26 year career, a considerable number of rounds and fights even for a fighter of his era.
- Guglielmo Papaleo final record was 230-11-1 with 65 knockouts.
- He is known for his speed and finesse and is considered to be one of the best fighters of the 20th century.
- He was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.
11.) Archie Moore (1913-1998)
Archie Moore’s real name was Archibald Wright, a light heavyweight champion of the world for 7 years from 1952 to 1959.
- Moore was world champion again 1961 and had one of the longest professional careers in boxing history.
- Archie is ranked 4th on Ring Magazine’s list of “100 greatest punchers of all time”.
- After his retirement in boxing, he became a successful character actor in television and film.
- Moore was an important community figure and became involved in African American causes.
- He is nicknamed ‘The Old Mongoose”.
12.) Ceferino Garcia (1912-1981)
Ceferino Garcia, a skilled blacksmith, was a Filipino world boxing champion from Biliran province in the Philippines.
- He’s the only boxer from the Philippines ever to become world champion at middleweight.
- Garcia’s numerous victories are the most ever achieved by a Philippine boxer.
- Ceferino Garcia is commonly referred to as the inventor of the “bolo punch” although a Filipino boxer named Macario Flores was reported to be using the punch in 1924.