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Top-10 Heavyweight Boxers of the 1990s

The best of a decade
Publish Date: 07/08/2024
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis

The 1990s was an underrated decade for heavyweight boxing. Put it this way: We would kill for this quality of heavyweight in today’s time! The 90s even had guys whose primes were in the 70s still battling and winning big fights.

10) 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. However, he pulled off a huge upset win over an undefeated Ray Mercer. Holmes beat a bunch of non-descript heavyweights during the decade, but if you look at how he finished the decade of the 1980s, this was amazing what he did in the 1990s.

Video: Ray Mercer vs. Larry Holmes - 1992 (highlights)

Ray Mercer vs. Larry Holmes – 1992 (highlights)

9) 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 who saw Ike will wonder what could have been.

Video: Ike Ibeabuchi Highlights

Ike Ibeabuchi Highlights

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.

Video: All of Mike Tyson's 1990s knockouts!

All of Mike Tyson’s 1990s knockouts!

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. However, the match that resonates for me 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 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 skilful and underrated banger. 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.

Video: Tommy Morrison-Knockouts

Tommy Morrison-Knockouts

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.

Video: 10 Ray Mercer Greatest Knockouts

10 Ray Mercer Greatest Knockouts

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 killed his legacy. You always get the feeling with Moorer that you never see his absolute best, and that’s a shame because he was a very talented fighter.

Video: 10 Michael Moorer Greatest Knockouts

10 Michael Moorer Greatest Knockouts

4) George Foreman

The “old” version of George was still very dangerous. While he didn’t stack up many big-time wins, his challenge of a prime Evander Holyfield was an epic encounter and one of the most memorable heavyweight title fights ever. Throw in quality wins over the likes of Alex Stewart, Axel Shulz, and Lou Savarese, and you have a solid decade. Add in beating Michael Moorer to win back the heavyweight title, and you will have a top-5 spot on this list.

Video: George Foreman vs Michael Moorer - Highlights (It HAPPENED)

George Foreman vs Michael Moorer – Highlights (It HAPPENED)

3) Riddick Bowe

He was yet another ’90s heavyweight who fell short of 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 two out of three classic fights. Good wins over Larry Donald, Herbie Hide, and Jorge Luis Gonzalez help him out, but he sits at number three because of the two wins over Holyfield.

Video: 12 Minutes Of MADNESS! - Bowe vs Holyfield

12 Minutes Of MADNESS! – Bowe vs Holyfield

2) Evander Holyfield

The ultimate warrior. Holyfield always gave his fans their money’s 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 destroying Buster Douglas. Not a bad decade.

Video: Mike Tyson V Evander Holyfield highlights

Mike Tyson V Evander Holyfield highlights

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.




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