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Ranking the Top 10 Light Heavyweights of All Time

Top 10 light heavyweights of all-time!
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - JUNE 15: Michael Spinks and Butch Lewis celebrates after a TKO decision for Spinks over Gerry Cooney in the fifth round of the Ring and Lineal Heavyweight Titles fight on June 15, 1987 at the Convention Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

10) Jimmy Bivins

Bivins’s resume is impressive, with wins over Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore, Joey Maxim, and Lloyd Marshall, as well as some elite heavyweights.

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9) Bob Foster

Foster is a man I may have rated too low here, but the quality of opposition was not excellent at the time; he was the best Light Heavy in the World, but his power can’t be questioned. Unfortunately, wins over Dick Tiger, Mike Quarry, Chris Finnegan, and Vicente Rondon make it hard to put Foster much higher on this list.

8) Billy Conn

Most known for his losing effort at Heavyweight against Joe Louis, Conn was excellent. He proved it against the bigger Louis as Conn controlled much of the fight. He held wins over Young Corbett III, Fred Apostoli, Gus Lesnevich, Fritzie Zivic.

7) Tommy Gibbons

Harry Greb, Kid Norfolk, Billy Miske, Georges Carpentier, and Battling Levinsky are all on the winning side of the ledger for Gibbons, and anytime you have a win over Harry Greb, you know you can fight! Of course, his most famous fight was a Heavyweight title loss to Dempsey, which bankrupted an entire city, but what he should be remembered for was his skill in the ring.

6) Tommy Loughran

Loughran was one of the most outstanding ring technicians in boxing history. Wins over Harry Greb, Mickey Walker, Young Stribling, Jeff Smith, Arturo Godoy, King Levinsky, and Georges Carpentier put Tommy on this list. If you don’t believe me, watch his performance in an easy win over the Cinderella man James J.Braddock.

5) Gene Tunney

Another all-time great Light Heavyweight on this list that never actually held the title but wins over Tommy Gibbons, Harry Greb, Jeff Smith, and Georges Carpentier before moving up to heavyweight to defeat the legendary Jack Dempsey make Tunney more than qualified to be on this list.

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4) Archie Moore

Wins over Holman Williams, Jimmy Bivins, Lloyd Marshall, Bobo Olson, Eddie Cotton, Joey Maxim, and Harold Johnson put Moore this high on the list. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he has the most knockout wins in boxing history.

3) Sam Langford

Langford fought the majority of his career in the vicinity of the 175-pound division, and his list of victims is astounding. Sam McVea, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, Harry Wills, Joe Gans, Kid Norfolk, Jack Blackburn, Gunboat Smith, Big Bill Tate, Stanley Ketchel, and Joe Jeannette. I know the younger people reading this list will scream they haven’t seen him fight, so they can’t rate him. Just ignore them because they’re idiots! For my money, Langford was the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in history.

2) Ezzard Charles

Charles Burley, Joey Maxim, Lloyd Marshall, Gus Lesnevich, and Jimmy Bivins, not a bad list of victims! Start with three victories over Archie Moore; that alone would put a fighter in the top five all-time. Now, look at Charles’ other Light heavyweight wins, and you will see why he sits this high on the list.

Charles never won the title because nobody wanted to give him a shot. So he moved up and won the Heavyweight title over Jersey Joe Walcott and gave Rocky Marciano two of his most challenging fights.

1) Michael Spinks

I know people, in general, won’t like this but Spinks was a dominant champion at a time with the Light Heavyweight division was deep. Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Yaqui Lopez, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Marvin Johnson, and a few. He easily beat Qawi and Muhammad and knocked out Lopez and Johnson, which was not easy to do in their primes. Then, at heavyweight, which doesn’t matter in these rankings, he became the first Light Heavyweight champion to move up and win the Heavyweight title.

Spinks is unfortunately remembered the most for a one-round knockout in defense of the title he won for Larry Holmes. Remember this though, he was unbeaten at Light Heavy and was at the end of his career when he fought Tyson. So, in the end, Tyson may have beaten Spinks, but what Spinks accomplished in his career blows what Tyson did utterly out of the water.


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