Top 10 Most Intimidating Boxers of All Time


This is my countdown of the top 10 most intimidating boxers of all time. Please note that this list is highly subjective and what I find intimidating, you may not. I feel like 10-2 can be debated but the true number 1 spot only rightfully belongs to one man.

1. Sonny Liston – Was an American professional boxer known for his toughness, punching power and intimidating appearance. A long-avoided contender, he became world heavyweight champion in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round, repeating the knockout in a defense of the title. Although widely regarded as unbeatable, Liston lost the title in 1964 to 7–1 underdog Muhammad Ali. Controversy followed with claims he had been drinking heavily the night before the fight. In the rematch Liston suffered a shocking first round knock-out that led to unresolved suspicions of a fix. He was still a world-ranked boxer when he died in mysterious circumstances. Underworld connections—along with his unrecorded date of birth—added to the enigma. The Ring magazine ranked Liston as the seventh greatest heavyweight of all time.

2. Mike Tyson – Is an American former professional boxer. He held the undisputed world heavyweight championship and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at 20 years, 4 months, and 22 days old. Tyson won his first 19 professional bouts by knockout, 12 of them in the first round. He won the WBC title in 1986 after defeating Trevor Berbick by a TKO in the second round. In 1987, Tyson added the WBA and IBF titles after defeating James Smith and Tony Tucker. This made him the first heavyweight boxer to simultaneously hold the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, and the only heavyweight to successively unify them.

3. George Foreman – Is an American former professional boxer. In his boxing career he was a two-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medallist. Outside the sport he went on to become an ordained minister, author and entrepreneur.

4. Thomas Hearns – Is an American former professional boxer. Nicknamed the “Motor City Cobra” and more famously “The Hitman”, Hearns’ slender build allowed him to move up over fifty pounds in his career and become the first boxer in history to win world titles in four weight divisions: welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight.

5. Marvin Hagler – Is an American former professional boxer who was Undisputed World Middleweight Champion from 1980 to 1987. Hagler made twelve undisputed title defenses and holds the highest KO% of all undisputed middleweight champions at 78%. At six years and seven months, his reign as undisputed middleweight champion is the second longest of the last century.

6. Roberto Duran – Is a Panamanian former professional boxer, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. A versatile brawler in the ring, he was nicknamed “Manos de Piedra” (“Hands of Stone”) during his career.

7. Aaron Pryor – Is a former boxer from Cincinnati, Ohio. He was World Junior Welterweight Champion from 1980 to 1985 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1996. Pryor was voted by the Associated Press as the #1 junior welterweight of the 20th century in 1999.

8. Joe Frazier – Nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe”, was an American professional boxer, Olympic gold medalist and undisputed world heavyweight champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981. Frazier was known for his sheer strength, durability, punch power and all-out relentless attack.

9. Nigel Benn – Known as the “Dark Destroyer”, is a British former professional boxer who held the WBO middleweight and WBC super middleweight titles.

10. James Toney – Is an American professional boxer. He is a former three-weight world champion, having held the IBF middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight titles, as well as having challenged for the WBA and WBC heavyweight titles.