Who is the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time? What is the best era for heavyweight boxing? Two polarizing questions with no certain answer. Today, we look to decide the answer to the first question with a grand tournament pitting the best of the 1970s heavyweights against the best of the 1990s heavyweights.
The 1970s is the Golden Age of heavyweight boxing. Everyone fought everyone and the matches almost always surpassed expectations. Various rivalries and trilogies, of which Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier headlined. Arguably every notable name would be a champion today.
The 1990s is the “Silver” Age of heavyweight boxing (depending on who you ask; some may say the 50s or 80s were better). Though there were some missed opportunities and lost chapters, the ones we did get were stellar. It turned out to be a decade which hosted all the answers to Mike Tyson’s dominance in the 80s while seeing some old names from as far back as the 70s return to prominence. It was the last great crop of heavyweights, featuring a roster which, just as the 70s, would arguably all be champions today. So what if we took the headliners and put them in a fantasy tournament against one another.
This means all out dream matches with no ducking, politics, injuries, or any other plague to get in the way of obvious matchups. Ten fighters will represent each decade, ordered as they were in my retrospectives for each decade, as published here on Boxing 24/7 in the past month. The number 10 spot will be decided (for each decade) via wildcard. Three fighters will face off; the number 10 ranked heavyweight from the retrospective will compete against the winner of the wildcard matchup, of which the two fighters are runner-ups of their respective decades.
Six overall rounds in the tournament: Wildcard, Right for the Fight, Vacant Champs and Challengers, Quarter Final Dream Round, Championship Finals Truth, and Undisputed Greatest. Six championships: the lineage, RING magazine recognition, WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO titles are up for grabs in the bracket and will see unification all the way to the finals in which an undisputed champion will be crowned. The king of the jungle and top of the mountain who presides over both the 1970s and the 1990s as its supreme heavyweight champion.
Obviously, the attraction will feature names like Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier, Evander Holyfield, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Ken Norton, Riddick Bowe, and Larry Holmes. We’ve long wondered what would come if we matched a combination of these legends (and others unlisted) in prime-for-prime bouts. The time has come. Who do you believe will be the winner? Make your prediction before watching and enjoy the video boxing fans.