Top 10 Greatest Lightweights Of All Time
The lightweight division in has always been exciting and it’s got a lot of eyes on it nowadays, thanks to the pound for pound best boxer in the world, Vasyl Lomachenko who doesn’t feature on this list but after he retires, he may be and very high. This list features the ten greatest Lightweight boxers of all time so let’s get to it.
10) Freddie Welsh (78-5-7)
Freddie Welsh was never a knockout type of guy but instead spent his time avoiding getting hit and doing damage of his own. The former British Lightweight Champion, was a wealthy man and even bought a farm that was 162 acres. Welsh was known for his liver shots and it was one that ended up winning several fights for the Welsh boxer.
9) Julio César Chavez (107-6-2)
Not to be confused with his son, Julio César Chavez Jr, Chavez senior holds the record of most successful consecutive defences with 27 but his records don’t stop there as he also holds the record of most title fights with 37 and most title fight victories with 31. At a time, Chavez was 87-0 with his first debt in his record being a draw against Pernell Whitaker but his first loss came to Frankie Randall. Chavez at one point went through a drug problem but has now sobered up and is now done by okay.
8) Henry Armstrong (152-22-9)
Henry Armstrong is one of the greatest welterweights of all time but he also had a great run at lightweight which was very underrated. Hurricane Hank defeated Lou Ambers who just missed out an induction on this list by split decision to capture the lightweight championship. By doing this, Armstrong was the first boxer to hold 3 titles in 3 separate weight classes at the same time.
7) Carlos Ortiz (61-7-1)
Carlos Ortiz is a former unified lightweight champion, his 17 year career earns him a spot on this list. What makes Ortiz unique is instead of moving up in weight, he actually moved down from light welterweight to lightweight which is why he’s on this list. Now 82, Ortiz has went down as one of the greatest lightweights of all time.
6) Tony Canzoneri (141-24-10)
Tony Canzoneri at his best, fought three to four times a month which added up to roughly 24-25 times a year which today, is completely insane. Could you imagine Canelo Alvarez fighting 25 times a year? Madness. Canzoneri was even a three division world champion but he was the strongest at Lightweight.
5) Ike Williams (125-24-5)
Williams was lightweight champion from 1945 to 1951, a title reign spanning six years which is really impressive. He did have his issues with fixing fights and had to appear upon congress. Williams defeated names like Bob Montgomery, Sammy Angott and Beau Jack.
4) Joe Gans (158-12-20)
The number four spot on our list goes to Joe Gans. Gans always fought heavier boxers but if anything, it worked to his advantage. He, just like Ike Williams also had a six year title reign. He had 100 knockouts in his career and was the first African American boxer to win a world boxing championship. This gave fellow African Americans hope and during the period of segregation, he succeeded.
3) Pernell Whitaker (40-4-1)
Sweet Pea was a southpaw boxer and considered by many as the greatest lightweight of all time but many more consider him as one of the greatest defensive boxers of all time. His slick boxing ability and strong ability to counterpunch, gave Whitaker many championships in his career. The now late Whitaker, was a fantastic boxer in his prime and one of the best of all time.
2) Benny Leonard (89-6-1)
You can make a solid argument that Benny Leonard is the greatest lightweight of all time but I do think the first entrant is just more deserving. In Leonard’s career, he defeated names such as Johnny Dundee, Rocky Kansas, Freddie Welsh, Charley White and even Johnny Kilbane. He was the world lightweight champion at a point and a fantastic lightweight boxer.
1) Roberto Duran (103-16)
The greatest lightweight of all time, Roberto Duran accomplished a lot in his boxing career. He was WBA champion for a good while, winning them in 1972 and vacating then in 1979. Duran went on to find good success at welterweight and even defeated Sugar Ray Leonard however Sugar Ray did win the rematch and his career hit highs and lows from there but his greatest success was at lightweight.