6 most inspirational boxers in history
Boxing was first introduced into the ancient Olympic Games in the 7th Century, but other versions can be traced back to 3000 BC. Throughout history, this great sport has provided spectators with uncountable memorable battles, leaving them in awe. In recent history, boxing is considered as one of the most popular types of martial arts in the world. Many athletes have dedicated their lives to providing spectators with exhilarating matches, and their unique contributions to the sport cannot be overlooked. Here are six of the most inspirational boxers who have made their mark on history through their unique fighting styles and exemplary showmanship.
- Muhammad Ali, USA
He is fondly known to many boxing fans as ‘The Greatest’ because he had already carved a spot among the legends even before he became a professional. In 1960, he won a gold medal at the Summer Olympics, which was hosted in Rome, Italy. As a professional boxer, Ali transformed into an icon who was also known as a human rights activist; he refused to serve in the US Army during the Vietnam War. He was agile but lethal; he flew like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
- Jack Johnson, USA
In 1910, Johnson rose to stardom after defeating the then heavyweight champion James Jeffries, who was white and claimed that white people were better than black people. He made history by being the first black heavyweight world champion after he knocked-out Jeffries in the 15th round of their match. Jeffries was previously undefeated and this was the first loss of his boxing career. Johnson was a great showman, so he became one of the first black athletes worldwide to receive numerous endorsement deals.
- Oscar De La Hoya, Mexico
He was also known as ‘The Golden Boy’ because of his good looks and charisma. De La Hoya played a huge role in catapulting boxing match viewership to a non-boxing fanbase. As a Mexican American, he created a large fan base crossing country borders which made him one of the first athletes to truly amass wealth through boxing. He can be credited for paving the way for other boxers like Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in the era of Pay-Per-View extravaganza.
- Mike Tyson, USA
Tyson is a polarizing figure in the sport because of his outside of his outside the ring troubles. His ferocious and explosive “peekaboo” fighting style made him a fan favorite. His nickname ‘Iron Mike’ came as a result of winning all of his first 38 professional fights, with 34 of them being via knockout. Although Tyson was incarcerated for 4 years, he went on to win the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles. After he retired from the sport, he became an actor and has appeared in many Hollywood productions such as The Hangover movie series. He also hosts live shows.
- Floyd Mayweather, USA
After Oscar De La Hoya set the stage, Mayweather took the mantle of being the biggest boxing star by successfully transforming boxing from being a simple sport into a mainstream part of daily life. In his early 30s, the aggressive boxer became a household name, winning millions of dollars through his fights. He retired with 49 wins and zero losses in boxing. He gained his 50thcombat sport win after defeating MMA’s Conor McGregor. Mayweather was the highest-paid athlete in 2018after winning $275 million (£223 million) and he is currently the highest-paid boxer of all time. His net worth is approximately $1 billion (£814 million).
- Manny Pacquiao, Philippines
Nicknamed Pacman, Pacquiao is a true cultural icon who captivated spectators worldwide with his relentless and unique fighting style. He started as a flyweight and quickly made his mark on other weight classes, going as high as a super welterweight. He rivalled Mayweather by amassing a fortune throughout his boxing career; however, he has used a lot of his wealth to give back to his country and community. His career has been remarkable mainly because he managed to win against opponents much larger than him.
Moving forward, boxing is bound to get more interesting because new athletes are using a more modern social media approach to fighting to get their names on this list. Fans are also keenly following the athletes from their beginnings and placing stakes in their success.