Who tops the list of boxing's Top 25 Bad Boys of All-Time?
Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s dirty tactics and foul mouth land him on the list of top 25 bad boy fighters of all time. He joins a list that includes fighters who were beasts in the ring, fighters who've led lives of crime, and fighters who simply don't know when to keep their mouths shut.
The list is long, but every man on it deserves to be there for one reason or another. Without them, the sport wouldn't have bad guys to root for.
Compiling the list was not easy, because there is something bad in every boxer.
These guys, however, showed exceptional "bad boy" power, as they've made a name for themselves in the sport for their abilities to intimidate.
One of the most famous Argentine fighters of all time, Luis Angel Firpo was not afraid to take on anyone in the ring, including Jack Dempsey.
Due to their violent nature in the ring, the two became friends out of respect for each other’s toughness and strength.
A heavyweight fighter, Firpo regularly knocked out title contenders and earned a match with Dempsey. Not only did he gain respect from Dempsey during the fight, but all of Latin America learned Firpo’s name.
Knocking Dempsey through the ropes and out of the ring earned Firpo his status as a bad boy of boxing.
Doubling as both the “Motor City Cobra” and the “Hitman,” Tommy Hearns is the first person to win five titles in five different divisions.
He defeated Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran, among others
Hearns was one of the toughest fighters in the game, regularly dispatching his opponents with ease. A product of Tennessee who was discovered in Detroit, Hearns proved you can intimidate your opponents at many levels of the game.
Known as the “Dark Destroyer,” Nigel Benn hailed from Britain and pursued his professional boxing career after a stint in the British military. A product of an athletic family, Benn was a terror in the ring.
Outside the ring, however, Benn was caught up in a lavish life of debauchery. Ultimately, that life overcame him and he attempted suicide.
Afterwards, however, Benn found Christianity and has sworn off his excessive ways, leaving the sport of boxing to live in Mallorca, Spain.
Overcoming a troubled childhood, George Foreman was a monster in the ring with one of the strongest punches in the game.
That punch allowed him to maintain an impressive streak and take on some of boxing’s greats.
While everyone knows Foreman as a happy, go-lucky personality today, he wasn’t always such. He was a troubled youngster and was often aloof with the media during his victories, one of which came over Joe Frazier.
One of the great personalities, Foreman was fierce in his early years.
Earnie Shavers is a bad boy of boxing purely for his style in the ring. Nicknamed the “Black Destroyer,” Shavers pounded his opponents with some of the hardest punches in boxing history.
He hit Muhammad Ali so hard that Ali said Shavers “shook his kin folk back in Africa.”
Shavers didn’t start boxing until he was 22, but after he did, opponents feared his power. In one of the few live prime time broadcasts of boxing on NBC, Shavers nearly defeated Ali and certainly injured him.
After the Shavers match, Ali was urged to retire by multiple people.
After pounding his opponents for years, Shavers retired and became a Christian minister.
With 103 knockouts to his credit, Sandy Saddler is known as having one of the toughest punches ever seen in boxing. He was only knocked out once in his career, which was his in his second fight against Jock Leslie.
From that point, Saddler was unsuccessfully challenged by many foes.
Saddler is best known for his back and forth victories and losses with Willie Pep, as the two constantly battled for the featherweight crown.
Unfortunately, Saddler was eventually injured in a car crash and relegated to training. He was the man responsible for George Foreman’s early success.
The ultimate story of a fighter with “little man’s syndrome,” Stanley Ketchel helped welcome boxing into the 20th century by fighting opponents who often out-weighed him.
Some opponents even had 30 pounds on him.
Having grown up in an immigrant Polish family, Ketchel was nicknamed the “Michigan Assassin” for his aggressive style in the ring.
His violent ways in the ring were met with an equally violent death, as he was shot during a robbery at a farm in Missouri during training.
A bad boy out of Detroit, James Toney was discovered as a teenager after winning 31 of 33 fights during his youth. Because of his success knocking out opponents, Toney has been nicked named “Lights Out.”
It isn’t that Toney’s excellent boxing skills and inability to keep quiet were the only considerations for his presence on this list. Toney has since has moved from boxing into MMA.
Anybody who is willing to call out Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the media must be one tough guy.
A former boxing champion, Aaron Pryor had a significant share of issues outside the ring. Nicknamed “The Hawk,” Pryor had to overcome personal addictions before retiring to a peaceful life in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Despite his success in the ring, Pryor was a crack cocaine addict who couldn’t defeat his need for drugs. That addiction left him homeless in the streets of Cincinnati, where he often considered killing himself.
He doesn’t like to look back at those days, so it’s tough for him to remember his 39 victories, of which 35 were knockouts.
Frustrated by prejudice much of his career in boxing, Marvin Hagler proved himself more than a worthy candidate, defeating many opponents after long bouts.
Hagler could take the punishment, much as he did in what became known as “The War.”
In 1985, Hagler took on Thomas Hearns and was already bloody by the third round. Despite the blood, Hagler dominated Hearns in the round, knocking him out and winning the bout.
It’s said the first round of “The War” is boxing’s greatest round. Both fighters stood toe-to-toe, slugging each other before Hearns broke his hand.
Hagler traveled the world defending his crown, but his frustration showed as he and his team continued to feel racial tensions throughout his career.
Of mainly Cherokee descent with some Irish and Jewish mixed in, Jack Dempsey was one of the biggest and most brutal boxers of his time. Desperate for money as a youth, Dempsey would walk into bars and challenge anyone to a fight.
Aggressive and strong, Dempsey held the heavyweight title from 1919 until 1926.
While he was a gentleman outside the ring, his early career, intimidation in the ring, and his nickname, “The Manassa Mauler,” earn him a spot on the list of boxing’s bad boys.
Probably the most famous boxer of all time, nobody talked as much as Muhammad Ali or fought as hard. Because of the perception of arrogance on his part, Ali polarized the United States with many Americans often rooting for his opponent.
Growing as a boxer in a racially charged environment, Ali was not afraid of his words, because he knew he could back them up on the ring.
He refused to enter the military in the Vietnam War, stating, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong…No Viet Cong ever called me a nigger.”
A convert to Islam, Ali is considered a cultural icon, whether loved or hated, due to his politics and the ability to polarize a nation in a time of radical change in America.
A relentless trash talker, Ricardo Mayorga is sometimes called the craziest person in boxing. A Nicaraguan national, Mayorga is only 5’9” and weighs only 159 pounds.
His boxing career includes 29 wins and 23 knockouts. He has since joined MMA.
It appears for all his trash talking, he hasn’t met anyone who can match him in boxing. Instead, he’d prefer the ranks of MMA, where he can insult opponents with a variety of fighting styles.
"Bad" Bennie Briscoe was among the most feared boxers in the middleweight division. Growing up in the streets of Philadelphia, Briscoe had to be tough to escape his neighborhood, where it wasn’t easy for anyone to survive.
As he traveled around the world taking on opponents, Briscoe became known as one of the scariest competitors in the ring for his strong body punch and ability to take a shot—he was only knocked out once.
"Bad" Bennie Briscoe certainly lived up to his name.
Immortalized in the movie "Cinderella Man," Max Baer was a beast in the ring and a talker outside the ring. His incessant taunting called attention to his fights. The Nebraska native not only bragged but supported his talk with the ability to destroy opponents.
A brawler from Panama, Roberto Duran’s punches earned him a Spanish nickname meaning “Hands of Stone.”
He was raised in the slums of El Chorrillo, Panama before embarking on his path to becoming one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Duran had no filter in front of the media, often cursing opponents, especially if he was offended by their taunts. Famously, he was accused of purposefully throwing a low blow after the bell in a match against Ken Buchanan.
Additionally, Duran is famous for quitting a match against Sugar Ray Leonard after being solidly beaten and taunted on the mat by Leonard.
Though his career was successful at many weights, Duran’s emotion and passion as a person landed him in a realm of negative public opinion, placing him on this infamous list.
An Argentine boxer followed often by the media, Carlos Monzon is one of boxing’s most notorious men in and the ring and out.
He was certainly successful in the ring with 100 fights and 87 wins, including 59 knockouts.
In 1975, the public started to realize the other side of Monzon, who regularly abused his wives and girlfriends. He was ultimately shot in the leg by one of them, requiring a trip to the hospital and seven hours of surgery.
Eventually, Monzon was convicted of killing his wife and sentenced to 11 years in prison. Before he could serve his sentence, however, he died in a car wreck.
A violent life and strength in the ring make Monzon a bad boy of boxing.
Spending the majority of his life in mental institutions, Terry McGovern had a successful but controversial career. A native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, McGovern’s nickname was "Terrible" Terry McGovern.
His punch was ferocious and many recognize him as the greatest featherweight of all time. He often claimed to dope before matches, which may be the reason for his 42 knockouts in 65 wins.
A mentally unstable boxer is always intimidating to confront.
A master of fighting dirty, Harry Greb had much success against opponents who were no match for his quick punching style and cheap tactics.
Known as the “Pittsburgh Windmill,” Greb would use the butt of his gloves or laces to injure his opponents unfairly.
Greb fought in over 300 fights in his lifetime, holding the World Middleweight boxing crown from 1923 until 1926. He often bloodied his opponents but had his career cut short when he went into the hospital to have injuries to his respiratory tract and nose fixed.
He never woke up from the anesthesia.
Despite being a product of a famous boxing lineage and being a former Olympian, Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s boxing career was forged by his environment at an early age.
His own grandmother encouraged him to box rather than get a job. When he was a baby, Mayweather’s father used him as a shield against his uncle, who was threatening to shoot his father.
Many fans believe Mayweather’s tactics are unsportsmanlike, especially in the context of his incessant taunting of opponents.
Though his career has been successful, Mayweather’s bad boy image has been magnified by his guest appearances in story lines for World Wrestling Entertainment, where he has notably fought the Big Show.
His image has been further defined by a history of domestic violence.
Mayweather is a great fighter, but a bad boy, as well.
Forced into fighting as a child by his father, Jake LaMotta grew up in the Bronx with boyhood friend Rocky Graziano. Together, both had troubled childhoods.
LaMotta’s father encouraged his son to fight other children to entertain the adults in the neighborhood for spare change.
LaMotta’s style was forged as a youth, aggressively tracking opponents around the ring while taking multiple shots of his own. Absorbing punches, he’d finally land his own in his “bully” style of fighting.
Eventually, LaMotta testified to the FBI that he threw fights to gain favor with the Mafia.
LaMotta’s attitude and style put him near the top of the list.
From the tattoo on his face to the images on the news, Mike Tyson sticks in everyone’s mind as a bad boy of boxing. His powerful punch was feared by boxers for many years, but his many antics earned him a place in the top 25.
Arriving on the scene in 1986 after defeating Trevor Berbick, Tyson has given fans multiple knockouts and plenty to ponder.
He’s chewed off the ear of Evander Holyfield and he’s been in prison for sexual assault.
There is a softer side to Mike Tyson, but his career shows a significant mean streak as well.
A beast from Poland, Andrew Golota has been nicknamed the “Foul Pole.” Weighing 245 pounds, he carries himself as an intimidating boxer both inside and outside the ring.
Many may compare him to Rocky’s fictional opponent, Ivan Drago.
Golota’s bad boy image comes from his dirtiness in the ring, being disqualified for two low blows against Riddick Bowe in 1996.
Additionally, he’s tried to take bites out of opponents’ shoulders. A habitual rule-breaker, Golota actually had a fight against Mike Tyson after Tyson’s famous ear-biting incident against Evander Holyfield.
Ike Ibeabuchi is a Nigerian heavyweight boxer who nearly joined the Nigerian military before witnessing Mike Tyson’s defeat at the hands of Buster Douglas.
At that moment, Ibeabuchi decided he wanted to box.
After learning his craft in his native country, Ibeabuchi immigrated to Texas with his mother. From there, he garnered a record of 20 wins and no losses with 15 knockouts.
Unfortunately, that’s as successful as his career would be.
The Nigerian had multiple troubles outside boxing, including a psychiatric break where he thought he saw demons. This resulted in a suicide attempt by car that left his girlfriend’s 15-year-old son permanently injured.
Ibeabuchi gained a new persona after the car wreck. He thought he was the President. Many times, his team would have to employ him to do tasks by treating him like a king or president.
The persona so engulfed him, he thought he could do anything, including assaulting his trainers for minor incidents.
Eventually, Ibeabuchi landed in prison for raping a stripper in Las Vegas. It’s difficult to tell if Ibeabuchi is a bad boy of boxing or a bad boy who liked to box.
The meanest guy on the list, Rocky Graziano was in and out of trouble with the law growing up. He had one of the hardest punches in the history of boxing and hated authority.
He even knocked out a captain in the Army and went crazy afterwards.
Despite his success in the ring and respect from his peers, he couldn’t stay out of trouble in the professional world. For all these reasons, Graziano is the No. 1 bad boy fighter of all time.