No particular aspect of any other sport inspires such fantastical debate as heavyweight boxing.
Throughout a prestigious history that has origins in the mid-1880s, many sporting greats have laid their hands on a prize that confirmed them as the planet's supreme fighting man, and to this day arguments still rage over how fighters from boxing's golden ages would have fared against the sport's modern practitioners.
There are hundreds, possibly even thousands, of "best heavyweight" lists to read, with criteria such as legacy, ability, power, skill and downright fighting spirit all valid qualities to be taken into consideration when trying to split such a collection of truly fantastic fighters.
To avoid becoming needlessly bogged down in endless to-ing and fro-ing from one boxer to the next, I devised a very simple system to sort my own personal take on the finest heavyweights from history.
The criteria is this—how good they were at their best, and how often they were at their best.
I didn't take this task lightly, though—countless hours of footage were consulted, opinions were sought and numerous lists were consulted. Eventually, the following list of boxing immortals was born.
Of course, some people will disagree with my choices—the whole nature of this list is based on the uncertain, on speculation and opinion that we will never be able to prove right or wrong.
One thing is certain, though. All these boys could hurt you.