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Top 10 Bantamweights in Boxing History

Publish Date: 07/18/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis


This list will be made up of only retired fighters so no Inoue just yet, but that day will come!

10) Manuel Ortiz

Ortiz was an accomplished fighter and two-time world champion, competing in 23 world title fights to capture world titles and beating the likes of Little Pancho, Jackie McCoy, Luis Castillo, Harold Dade and Benny Goldberg among many others.

Video: Manuel Ortiz - Legendary Champion

Manuel Ortiz – Legendary Champion

9) Panama Al Brown

Boxing’s first-ever Hispanic world champion was an elite bantamweight for over a decade – not to mention six world championship reigns – making history. A true fighter with an iron chin, Brown was knocked down once in all his fights (168 total).

Video: Panama Al Brown - Legendary Bantamweight

Panama Al Brown – Legendary Bantamweight

8. Fighting Harada

Harada was a tough and gritty battler who won both the flyweight and bantamweight titles. Boasts wins over Pone Kingpetch, Nobuo Chiba, Ray Perez, Antonio Herrera and the great Eder Jofre.

Video: Fighting Harada v. Eder Jofre I Full Fight Highlights 1080p

Fighting Harada v. Eder Jofre I Full Fight Highlights 1080p

7. Kid Williams

Williams (also known as John Gutenko), known for his relentless attacks, took on some of the great fighters of his era, such as Johnny Coulon, Pete Herman, Eddie O’Dowd, Joe Dundee, Charley Goldman, Young Montreal, and Midget Smith – to name just some of those he defeated during over 200 contests. Only seventeen fell before his relentless onslaught.

6. Terry McGovern

“Terrible” Terry was an aggressive battler with powerful punches. While his victory over Joe Gans may be considered questionable, Terrible Terry can boast legit victories against numerous formidable opponents such as George Dixon, Tim Callahan, Frank Erne, Aurelio Herrera and Oscar Gardner – to name just a few.

Video: Terry McGovern v. Joe Gans 1900

Terry McGovern v. Joe Gans 1900

5. Pete Herman

“Kid Herman” faced formidable opposition during his bantam championship run. Defeating opponents such as Kid Williams, Jimmy Wilde, Young Solzberg, Abe Friedman, Frankie Burns, Joe Lynch, Young Zulu and Johnny Coulon.

Video: Joe Gans vs. Kid Herman - Best Quality in Color - 1.1.1907

Joe Gans vs. Kid Herman – Best Quality in Color – 1.1.1907

4. Ruben Olivares

Olivera stands as an iconic bantamweight. A four-time world champion, he defeated such top talents as Chucho Castillo, Lionel Rose, Art Hafey, Efren Torres and Bobby Chacon to earn this status.

Video: The Legendary Ruben Olivares

The Legendary Ruben Olivares

3. George Dixon

Dixon was an innovator and the first black man to hold a world title, being heralded as one of the greatest fighters of the 19th century and Nat Fleischer’s all-time great bantam fighter. Champion for nearly a full decade, Little Chocolate participated in 23 title fights – more than anyone before Joe Louis broke the record.

Video: Black History Month: George “Little Chocolate” Dixon was a boxing pioneer

Black History Month: George “Little Chocolate” Dixon was a boxing pioneer

2. Carlos Zarate

What would have happened had Zarate chosen to fight a rematch against Lupe Pintor a win in a rematch could have set up a fight with Jeff Chandler. We may never know for certain, but one thing is sure – during his era, there wasn’t one bantamweight who could defeat Zarate straight up, it was hard enough to survive the distance with him.

Video: Carlos Zárate - Vicious Puncher

Carlos Zárate – Vicious Puncher

1. Eder Jofre

At his best, Jofre appeared unbeatable – and often was. While other contenders on this list faced deep pools of former champions or had more title defenses than him, his title challengers were typically impressive and excellently vanquished; and his reign ended just shy of double digit defenses.

Video: Eder Jofre - Golden Bantam

Eder Jofre – Golden Bantam

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