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Top 11 Featherweights in Boxing history

Publish Date: 11/08/2023
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

Top 11

The Featherweight division historically is much deeper than I expected.

11) Alexis Arguello

Alexis Arguello was a Nicaraguan-born professional boxer who competed from 1968 to 1995.

He was a world champion in three divisions and held world titles at featherweight, super featherweight, and lightweight. He was the former lineal featherweight champion and held the WBA and The Ring featherweight titles.

Alexis Arguello retired as a boxer with a record of 77 wins, 8 losses.

Video: The Smiling Assassin of Boxing - Alexis Arguello

The Smiling Assassin of Boxing – Alexis Arguello

10) Juan Manel Marquez

Juan Manuel Marquez, Mexico’s Former professional boxer, was active from 1993 to 2014.

He won 9 major world titles over the course of his career in 4 weight classes. He was the WBA (Unified), IBF and WBO featherweight champions and briefly became the WBO interim champion. He held the WBC title at super-featherweight.

Juan Manuel Marquez retired as a champion with 56 wins, 7 losses and 1 draw.

9) Marco Antonio Barrera

Marco Antonio Barrera, a Mexican boxer, competed between 1989 and 2011.

He held three world titles in different weight classes throughout his boxing career. He was also the WBO junior featherweight champion and was the Ring Featherweight champion.

Marco Antonio Barrera retired as a professional boxer with 67 wins and 7 loss records.

Video: Marco Antonio Barrera - Baby Faced Assassin

Marco Antonio Barrera – Baby Faced Assassin

8) Eusebio Pedroza

Pedroza, a long-time titlist, managed 19 consecutive defenses of the WBA belt. This is a record for any version of the title. Pedroza could have been held responsible for not facing Sanchez in the few years their reigns were parallel. This could have had an impact on the final number. It is not sure that Sanchez would have won if they had faced off. It is a strong feat to have 19 title defenses.

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 4: (Cecilio Lastra, Ruben Olivares, Juan LaPorte, Barry McGuigan)

Video: Eusebio Pedroza - Amazing Reflexes (Defense Highlight)

Eusebio Pedroza – Amazing Reflexes (Defense Highlight)

7) Vicente Saldivar

Vicente Saldivar, a former Mexican-born boxer, is ranked 7th. He was active from 1961 to 1973.

Saldivar was a great southpaw fighter in the featherweight division. He also became the WBA and WBC featherweight champions, winning seven titles. Saldivar was also the undisputed world featherweight champion.

Saldivar retired as a boxer with a record of 37 wins and 3 losses.

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 7: (Sugar Ramos, Raul Rojas, Howard Winstone, Jose Legra, Johnny Famechon, Kuniaki Shibata, Eder Jofre)

Video: 5 Vicente Saldivar Greatest knockouts

5 Vicente Saldivar Greatest knockouts

6) Johnny Kilbane

Johnny Kilbane, a former American boxer, is listed at number 5. Kilbane, who was active from 1907 to 1923, remains the longest-reigning champion of the featherweight division.

He was the world featherweight champion and briefly held the NYSAC title. Kilbane retired with an unofficial record of 110 wins and 17 losses. He also had 15 draws and one no-contest.

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 3: (Abe Attell, Johnny Dundee, Eugene Criqui)

Video: Johnny Kilbane - Tribute to a Boxing Legend: By Neil Wall

Johnny Kilbane – Tribute to a Boxing Legend: By Neil Wall

 

5) Salvador Sanchez

Salvador Sanchez is a Mexican professional boxer who competed in the Featherweight division between 1975 and 1982.

He fought 46 featherweight fights over the course of his career. In 1980, he was crowned the WBC and Ring featherweight champion and had defended his titles nine times.

He died young at the age of 24 but already had a more complete career than most. He sometimes struggled with fighters he shouldn’t have but stepped up his game and rose to the level of the competition in front of him. Check out the best boxing sites.

He retired with a record of 44 wins and one loss, and a Draw.

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 4: (Danny Lopez, Juan LaPorte, Wilfredo Gomez, Azumah Nelson)

4) Henry Armstrong

Armstrong’s early struggles at Featherweight were mainly due to his inexperience, but so was the period that made him one of the most unbeatable fighters of all time. Armstrong was born Honey Melody Jackson in St. Louis and based in Los Angeles. A case could be made for Armstrong as the number one fighter in each division that he simultaneously held belts in.

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 4: (Baby Arizmendi, Mike Belloise, Benny Bass, Petey Sarron)

Video: The Greatest Infighter of All Time

The Greatest Infighter of All Time

3) Abe Attel

Abe Attell, an American boxer from the early 1900s, was one of the longest-reigning champions at featherweight.

He fought 154 times between 1900 and 1917. After winning the title of world featherweight champion, Abe Atell was able to defend it 20 times.

Atell retired with an unofficial record of 110 wins and 17 losses, 25 draws and 2 no-contests.

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 2: (George Dixon, Johnny Kilbane)

Video: The Fighting Times of Abe Attell

The Fighting Times of Abe Attell

2) Sandy Saddler

Sandy Saddler was an American Boxer who was active from 1944 to 1956.

Saddler was twice crowned world featherweight champion and held the undisputed world title from 1950 to 1957. He also defended the undisputed title twice.

Saddler retired with a record 144 wins, 16 losses, and 1 draw

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 2: (Phil Terranova, Willie Pep)

Video: Sandy Saddler - Hardest Punching Featherweight

Sandy Saddler – Hardest Punching Featherweight

1) Willie Pep

Number one is Willie Pep. He is well-known as one of the greatest boxers of all time and is primarily known for his footwork and defensive abilities.

He competed between 1940 and 1966. He competed at featherweight throughout his entire career, which spanned 241 bouts.

He retired with a record of 229 wins, and 11 losses.

Featherweight Titlists/Champions Faced – 7: (Joey Archibald, Chalky Wright, Sal Bartolo, Jackie Wilson, Phil Terranova, Sandy Saddler, Hogan Bassey)

Video: Willie Pep Highlight Tape

Willie Pep Highlight Tape

Honorable Mentions

Manny Pacquiao

Kid Chocolate

George Dixon

Tony Canzoneri

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