As with the brothers Klitschko, many professional boxers from Eastern Europe competed professionally in Germany. Some even changed their names, like Romanian Mihai Leu. As an amateur fighter, he won nearly all 200 of his fights before turning professional at 22 years old and winning the WBO Welterweight title six years later.
Unfortunately, after one defense in one year, he was forced to retire due to injury. His record was impressive with 28 wins out of 28 fights including 10 knockouts; however, since he never faced top competition he won’t feature highly on our list.
Calero is a man that most overrate today and some even glorify. He was a miserable human being who ended up murdering his wife and killing himself. He knocked out everybody as a boxer, but his competition was weak. His best win was stopping Demarco in 11 rounds.
Starting as soon as 1981 when he made the transition to the pros, however, Marsh quickly advanced through the ranks with several victories before finally taking down American Joe Manley in 1986 for his first world title.
Marsh, like Leu, only ever defended his title once before announcing before a bout that he was retiring due to epilepsy.
German Sven Ottke was always underappreciated, even as an amateur. Because he started late, no one expected much success from him, but that changed when he won European titles in 1991 and 1996 – but again when at 30 he turned pro!
Ottke rose quickly through the ranks to challenge for and capture the title against American Charles Brewer in just 12 victories and eventually defending his title 21 times before retiring in 2004. Although Ottke had success defending it, his legacy may have been stronger as he rarely faced top competitors outside Germany and often got controversial decisions himself; additionally he’s easily the least attractive boxer on our list with only six knockout victories.
Laszlo Papp was an iconic amateur boxer from Hungary who earned three Olympic gold medals and only suffering 12 defeats over 319 amateur fights! Following the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games, Papp turned professional, slowly building his record.
Unfortunately, communist Hungary was never pleased by Papp’s achievements and saw him as an enemy, since professional sport was prohibited there. Papp amassed 27 wins and two draws before making an attempt at the world title fight but never obtained permission to leave Hungary, leading him to ultimately retire without ever becoming champion himself. He makes our list unique as being one of the only ones who never achieved that status.
Ricardo Lopez stands as Mexico’s only champion at lower weight division who never experienced defeat! Furthermore, unlike every other fighter on this list, he completed his amateur career without experiencing loss! Unable to find an opponent worthy of facing, Lopez made the switch from the amateurs at 18 and won his debut fight via knockout before going on to claim 26 consecutive victories before taking home WBC Lineal Mini Flyweight Title in 1990. Lopez gets hurt by lack of competition and not moving up in class a few pounds which would have led to a few super fights.
Joe Calzaghe has long been considered one of the greatest super-middleweight boxers ever, and it is hard to dispute his claim. After winning three British amateur titles at age 21, Calzaghe turned pro in 1993 as an amateur. Fighting mostly journeyman and club fighters before facing legendary Chris Eubank for the WBO world title bout (in 1997); after becoming champion he successfully defended it over 10 years!
Calzaghe achieved an outstanding 46-0 record, but his greatest feat was fighting everyone he faced; that includes Eubank, Jeff Lacy, Peter Manfredo Jr. Mikkel Kessler Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr.
Andre Ward stood out among American fighters by having an outstanding amateur career, winning 115 of 120 matches he entered as an amateur. Following numerous local titles won, Andre won gold as a light heavyweight at the 2004 Olympics before turning pro, aged 21, in 2005 and challenging Mikkel Kessler for his WBA super middleweight championship five years later.
Ward battled against some of the best fighters in both super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions throughout his career, defeating Edison Miranda, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Chad Dawson and Sergey Kovalev twice, with his last bout against Kovalev being his final bout and finishing as an undisputed 32-0 winner with 16 knockouts.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. was an incredible businessman, as many believed his income came mainly from people paying to see him get beat. Yet over nearly two decades, this never came to pass. Mayweather Jr. frequently depicted himself as arrogant; once even famously stated “Everybody loses sometimes… except me!” No other boxer had built their career so heavily on being undefeated, which put enormous pressure on them. So much pressure that he thought better of fighting the likes of Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito.
Rocky Marciano had one of the most outstanding records ever seen in professional boxing and still stands as such today in the heavyweight division. Still, not amny consider him one of the greatest ever. Marciano never ducked anyone and beat Walcott and Charles twice each and then stopped Archie Moore.
Marciano was known for his powerful style of boxing; winning all but six matches through knockout was one of his major strengths. This helped him overcome several fights he would have lost on points. It’s often forgotten that Rocky wanted to make another comeback four years after retiring in 1955; training for nearly a month in preparation to attempt for the world championship once more, but ultimately decided he wasn’t ready.
If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”
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