10) Ike Ibeabuchi
“The President” is another in a long line of what might have been heavyweights. He had only 20 fights but he won a classic slug-fest over David Tua and knocked out the very slick Chris Byrd. Not much else stands out on his resume but those two wins put him on this list and anybody whoever saw Ike will wonder what could have been.
9) Larry Holmes
What Holmes did in the ’90s was nothing short of spectacular. He came up short in two title shots, losing by a fairly wide margin to Evander Holyfield and then a close decision to Oliver McCall at 45 years of age. However, he pulled off a huge upset win over an undefeated Ray Mercer.
8) Mike Tyson
Why so low? His best wins were over Razor Ruddock and they were not easy. He was also dominated twice by an older Evander Holyfield and was stopped by Buster Douglas in the biggest upset anyone alive can remember.
Outside of Ruddock victories his best wins were against Bruno, Seldon, and Botha. The ’90s version of Tyson was a far cry from the Tyson of the late ’80s.
7) Tommy Morrison
Morrison is a very underrated boxer. What sticks in a lot of people’s minds was the horrifying knockout at the hands of Ray Mercer, a bout he was winning. The match that resonates for me, however, was the upset win over old George Foreman and the boxing skill and discipline that Morrison exhibited that night. Sure, Morrison had some head-scratchers, like his loss to Michael Bentt and his struggle against Ross Purrity and Joe Hipp, but to me, I will always remember the nights like the Foreman fight and the heart-stopping wins over Carl “The Truth” Williams and Razor Ruddock. Morrison was a skillful and underrated banger that usually gets the short end of the stick. While he is nowhere near the guys in the top-3 on this list, there aren’t many heavyweights who would have had an easy night against an in shape Morrison.
6) Ray Mercer
He was known as “Merciless” and on his best nights he was just that! If you don’t believe me, just ask Tommy Morrison. Mercer lost two wars to Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield, and both fights were razor close decisions, especially the Lewis fight. He also lost a fight he never should have to Jesse Ferguson. Plus you had a draw with Marion Wilson. He had some nice wins against the likes of Damiani, Cooper, and an older but still dangerous Tim Witherspoon. Still, like the others listed below him on this list, it seems like he came up short on fulfilling his potential.
5) Michael Moorer
Moorer owns a win over Evander Holyfield, plus wins over a tough Bert Cooper and good competition in Alex Stewart, Axel Shulz, and Frans Botha. The Holyfield win jumps him up here for me, but the Foreman loss was a killer to his legacy. You always got the feeling with Moorer that you were never seeing his absolute best and that’s a shame because he was a very talented fighter.
4) George Foreman
The “old” version of George was still very dangerous and while he didn’t stack up a lot of big-time wins, his challenge of a prime Evander Holyfield was an epic encounter and one of the most memorable heavyweight title fights of all-time. Throw in quality wins over the likes of Alex Stewart, Axel Shulz, Lou Savarese and you have a solid decade. Add in beating Michael Moorer to win back the heavyweight title and you have a top-5 spot on this list.
3) Riddick Bowe
Yet another ’90s heavyweight that came up short on what he could have been. Make no mistake about it, at his best Bowe was as good as anybody on this list. He beat Evander Holyfield in 2 out of 3 classic fights. Good wins over Larry Donald, Herbie Hide and Jorge Luis Gonzalez help him out, but really he sits at number three because of the two wins over Holyfield.
2) Evander Holyfield
The ultimate warrior. Holyfield always gave his fans their money worth. He lost 2 out of 3 to Bowe and lost twice to Lennox Lewis (I know one was scored a draw but we all know Lewis won). He split with Michael Moorer, dominated Mike Tyson twice, won wars with Michael Dokes, Ray Mercer, and an at the time, undefeated Alex Stewart. He also beat George Foreman by slugging with him and destroyed Buster Douglas. Not a bad decade.
1) Lennox Lewis
Lewis’ best three were overcoming Holyfield twice and a disputed decision over Ray Mercer. “The Lion” whipped Razor Ruddock much easier than Tyson did and toyed with Tommy Morrison. He also beat Frank Bruno, Andrew Golota, and Shannon Briggs.
On the bad side, he got knocked out by Oliver McCall, although he did come back to win the rematch.