The Crossover: Athletes Who Excel in MMA, NBA, and Boxing
While everyone is going gaga over combat sports, no one is paying attention to the athletes who don’t shy away from showing their dedication and courage to make sports a good experience. Ranging from MMA to NBA and boxing, every athlete shows incredible skills and has left a mark in their respective fields. All these sports are gritty and have high stakes, which is why athletes have to show their best skills.
The athletes have versatile skills and raw athleticism, which makes them the master of their fields.
Athletes Who Excel in MMA
MMA was built on martial arts and had a variety of disciplines, which is why many athletes have mixed styles. MMA started with two disciplines, but they have produced many well-rounded fighters. In simpler words, they have changed the game, and the athletes are constantly adapting themselves to meet the stringent rules of ever-changing sports.
It’s safe to say that MMA has new athletes coming in all the time, so people are forgetting the best ones. However, we don’t want this to happen to MMA, which is why we are sharing the best names to come out of MMA.
1. Yoshihiro Akiyama
This athlete has coined his name in Judo, which is a Japanese art that revolves around takedowns and grappling. However, the main focus is throws. These are exciting for the fans, and this athlete knows how to use them to his advantage. He has a top-notch game, which can be seen through his amazing performance in his career.
In addition to martial arts, he has been a decorated Judoka, which he has been playing since he was three. Also, he is trained in boxing, kickboxing, karate, and submission wrestling. He won the gold medal for South Korea in the 2001 Asian Championships and in the 2002 Asian Games for Japan.
He is known for his defensive fighting style, and he doesn’t opt for throws anymore. For instance, he usually defends the takedown and loves to take the top position. Since he has an experience in grip fighting, he can work well with low kicks.
2. Lyoto Machida
He is a Shotokan karate fighter and has managed to make the mark in MMA. He has a very calm and patient style, with which he sits back on the hips and waits for the opponents to award him an opening. Once they provide an opening, he is pretty precise and fast about it. His quick adaptation and reflexes are the reason he has become the most elusive fighter.
He has a Brazilian origin and has a black belt. In addition, he has trained in sumo wrestling, boxing, and BJJ. He signed a Bellator MMA in 2018, with which he won a few matches with split decisions. He has one of the most unique fighting styles in MMA because he has a diverse training background. In fact, this training prepared him for every type of gaming situation.
He usually depends on counter-striking, which leads to frustration for his opponents. However, he also has a cerebral style, which can be boring to watch.
3. Alistair Overeem
MMA cannot be complete without kickboxing, and kickboxing isn’t complete without mentioning Alistair. This is one of the best kickboxing stars the industry has seen, as he has some great submission victories on his hat. In addition, he is a heavyweight martial artist and is currently competing in Glory. He fought his first MMA fight when he was 19 years old.
He stayed with UFC from 2011 to 2021, and he left after winning the heavyweight title after getting kicked in the liver. As far as kickboxing is concerned, he started back at the age of 17, and now, he has a multi-flight contract with Glory. He has great finesse in the striking field because he has the power and excellence to make it big.
He tends to kick the legs and body, and his knee strikes have been named devastating. In addition, after wearing down the opponents, he uses hooks and left overhands. He also uses the guillotine choke because of his height and strength.
4. Anthony Pettis
He is a known name in Tae Kwon Do, which is a combination of different strikes. He has a third-degree black belt. Ranging from takedowns to punches, this sport is a perfect way of climbing the rankings. He has fought in the featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight divisions of PFL and UFC. He started training in MMA back in the year 2006.
Even as an amateur, he hit the record of 3-0, which won him his MMA debut in 2007. In addition to Tae Kwon Do, he has a kickboxing background. He has a technical and smooth fighting style. In recent events, he made a professional debut in boxing in 2023. However, he said that he would come back to the cage!
5. Anderson Silva
Muay Thai is a martial art that combines clinching and striking, which originates from Thailand. This art has kicks and elbows, but one cannot ignore the vicious kneeing and clinching. Having said that, Anderson Silva is the best athlete in this game, and he has fought two fights with Rich Franklin by using the Muay Thai style.
He is the UFC Middleweight Champion and managed to hold the record for more than 2400 days. In addition, he has been trained in capoeira and taekwondo. It wouldn’t be wrong to call him a stand-up fighter because he has honed his boxing, taekwondo, and muay thai skills. He has been named the best striker in MMA’s history as his striking accuracy is 60%.
He leverages transitions, jabs, and technical precision to fight opponents. In fact, his ground game has helped him submit industry-famous grapplers like Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Travis Lutter.
6. Demian Maia
Demian is a well-known athlete of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), which was brought to MMA by the Gracie family. He has a Brazilian origin and has BJJ black belt. In addition, he is a professional martial artist and a submission grappler. He has played in UFC’s welterweight and middleweight divisions. He started training in Judo as a kid, but he has also tried his hands on karate and kung fu.
As far as BJJ is concerned, he won the tournaments while playing for Team Brasa. According to him, he took a three-hour lesson with Rickson Gracie, which changed his BJJ game. He has great ground skills, so he can easily dominate the opponent.
He uses single and double-leg takedowns. In addition, he trips to be in the dominant position and starts softening his opponents by using the ground and pound technique. In addition, he takes the back mount as he likes playing with a rear-naked choke.
7. Georges St. Pierre
Wrestling has gained popularity as a professional sport in America, and Georges St. Pierre has established himself as a prominent figure in this arena. Despite not having an extensive wrestling background, he has risen to prominence due to his finesse and strength, making him one of the top fighters. He is also a two-division champion in UFC, as he has won the middleweight and welterweight divisions.
He has won the UFC welterweight championship three times. In fact, Sherdog called him the number-one welterweight in the world. However, he retired in 2013 once he gained the record for the highest number of wins in title bouts. He started training when he has 19 or 20 years old and never stopped until he resigned from his career.
8. Conor McGregor
In the past decade, he has had a great impact on MMA. To begin with, he was the face of the promotional campaign when UFC embarked on 2015’s World Tour. He is an Irish martial artist and is a former UFC. He has won the lightweight and featherweight championships and became the first UFC athlete to win two weight classes.
In addition, he is the Cage Warriors champion. His game made him a superstar, and if you watch any sports fan, you would know who Conor is. This popularity is the reason UFC made him the face of five pay-per-view events. His highest was 4.3 million buys. In fact, Forbes has named him the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2021.
Conor McGregor is famous as a striker, and he tends to stand up while fighting. In addition, he is left-handed and opts for an orthodox stance. On the other hand, many people say that his boxing is the best, as he uses technical knockouts and punches.
9. Jon Jones
Many people know him for being in the Octagon, but that was only the beginning because he has extended himself beyond that steel structure. He is signed to the UFC, where he is the graceful heavyweight champion. In addition, he has been a light heavyweight champion two times. When he won against Mauricio Rua when he was 23 years old, he became the youngest UFC champion.
Over the years, he has achieved multiple UFC records in the light heavyweight category. Some of these records include most wins, longest streak, and title defenses. In addition, he is a popular pound-for-pound fighter. However, he lost his title three times when he became a center of multiple controversies during 2015 and 2017.
Before becoming a shining star of MMA, he used to be a defensive lineman and won an NJCAA wrestling championship as well. His MMA career started in 2008. If you are thinking about his fighting style, it’s safe to call him an ever-evolving fighter because he constantly improves this technique. However, he usually favors front kicks to the head and body. In addition, he targets the knees of his opponents.
10. Ronda Rousey
There aren’t many women in MMA, but Ronda Rousey is paving the path for women who want to take up this “unconventional” career path. She is a mixed martial artist, a professional wrestler, and she has played judoka in the past. Currently, she is signed with WWE and is known as the 8th Women’s Triple Crown Champion.
Before she became a part of WWE, she played in UFC. In addition, she has won an Olympic bronze medal in Judo. When we say that she paved the path for women, it’s because she was the first to fight at UFC 157 as a woman. In addition, her exceptional game empowered her to get the most title defenses in UFC, which is 6.
Her wrestling career started in 2018, and she made a debut with WrestleMania 34. In addition, she has won the Royal Rumble match as well as SmackDown Championship for Women two times. In simpler words, she has won three championships in WWE, so it’s okay to call her the combat woman. Along with wrestling, she has been trained in BJJ as well!
11. Khabib Nurmagomedov
He is a Russian mixed martial artist and has been a popular part of the lightweight division of the UFC. That’s because he reigned champion for 3 years. What’s surprising is that he doesn’t have any losses but has 29 wins under his belt. In simpler words, he retired with a clean record and only wins on paper.
In fact, his exceptional performance made him a part of the UFC Hall of Fame in 2022. He has also won the Combat Sambo World Championship two times because he has a background in wrestling, sambo, and Judo. He has a shining record in pound-for-pound matches. As far as his lightweight performance is concerned, Fight Matrix still ranks him at the top.
During his career, he also promoted the EFC, and after taking a leave from his career, he became a cornerman and coach. During his career, he has used the mauling technique, which is a combination of judo and wrestling takedowns. This technique involves forcing the opponents against the cage and locking their arms and legs, so they cannot escape.
12. Demetrious Johnson
He is an American MMA professional and is currently playing in ONE Championship. In addition, he has served his time in UFC Flyweight Championship. He has an elusive and striking movement, which is the reason he has landed the maximum number of takedowns. In fact, he is the only fighter in UFC with ten takedowns.
According to Sherdog, he is the 9th pound-for-pound fighter. In addition, he is the 2nd best flyweight athlete. His MMA career started in 2006, and by playing the first-round knockout, he earned his professional debut. After his debut, he won eight fights. He has been a part of different local shows. In addition, he won the WEC deal by playing for Alaska Fighting Championship.
He is one of the fastest fighters in MMA, and he doesn’t shy away from using his wrestling career to control his opponents. In addition, he uses kicks and fast punches to his body and head.
13. Fedor Emelianenko
While many people know him as a Russian politician now, he is also a former MMA. In addition, he has played judoka and sambist. Starting from 2003 to 2007, he remained at the PRIDE Heavyweight Championships. Also, he has two national bronze judo medals. Over the years, he has played in M-1 Global, Bellator, RINGS, Rizin, and Strikeforce.
What’s most surprising is that even with the most stellar record, he has never played for UFC. He was the best heavyweight fighter from 2003 to 2010. His MMA career began in 2000 when he won four matches straight, after which he lost a match in December 2000. However, this loss only pushed him more because he won the next 28 fights.
He retired from the sports industry in 2012 but made a comeback in 2015. However, he retired for the final time in February 2023 with around 41 wins under his belt. During his entire career, he had only seven losses, which is pretty nice.
14. Amanda Nunes
She is a Brazilian MMA and is competing in UFC. She is the champion of UFC Featherweight, and she has won the Bantamweight Championship two times. In fact, in 2023, she was named the first pound-for-pound woman athlete. Many people don’t know, but she is the first woman to become the UFC champion two times.
When she was only five years old, she started capoeira classes but was considered too hyperactive. For this reason, she started karate training when she was seven. When she was 16 years old, she started BJJ training, and after dominating this field, she started training in Judo. As far as MMA is concerned, she made her debut in 2008, when she played against Ana Maria but lost.
15. Stipe Miocic
He is an American MMA athlete and is playing in the heavyweight division of the UFC. In fact, he has won this championship two times. Many commentators and critics have called him the greatest heavyweight fighter to come out of the UFC. Also, he has become the third-best heavyweight fighter. Also, he has the most wins in the heavyweight division as well as the longest defending streak.
Another record is that he has a fight-night bonus. Before becoming a part of the MMA industry, he was the boxing champion in Golden Gloves.
Athletes Who Excel in NBA
NBA has the cream athletes, which is why every athlete in the NBA seems like he is the master of his sport. We have seen some of the toughest and most skilled basketball athletes, but there are still some athletes who are constantly winning over others. In simpler words, there are some athletes who jump higher and are stronger and faster than others.
In fact, many people say that NBA has become a brand that attracts the best talent. So, if you want to know a few phenomenal athletes who have changed the world of basketball (and the NBA, of course), we have some names to share with you!
1. Shawn Kemp
If you want to see the athletic power, nothing can come near Shawn Kemp. He might have left the NBA world, but his legacy lives on. Having played for Cleveland Cavaliers, Seattle SuperSonics, Orlando Magic, and Portland Trail Blazers, he is one of the strongest athletes out there. He won NBA All-Star six times, while the All-NBA Second Team had him as a member three times.
When he graduated high school, he had the label of a leading scorer, which helped him kickstart his career. He started his career with Seattle SuperSonics, as he played with them from 1989 to 1997. He was the youngest NBA athlete at that time and played under the mentorship of Xavier McDaniel. After completing two seasons, he was named the Reign Man.
He played for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1997 to 2000, achieving top scores in all three seasons, with an average of 26 points. Despite his performance, the Cavaliers couldn’t secure a win. Subsequently, he joined the Portland Trail Blazers between 2000 and 2002 but was waived before the 2002-2003 season. He then joined the Orlando Magic for one season, where he reached his 1000th game milestone.
2. David Thompson
He has been named the Skywalker, and he managed to achieve things others couldn’t even dream of. Many people know him for his performance in ABA Slam Dunk Contest in 1976. However, that’s not the first time he showed exceptional performance because he achieved the high-flyer label long before that. In fact, his game was strong that the coaches needed to invent ways, so he could score without violating the ban on basketball dunking.
He is known for his strong leaping abilities, which made him the superior dunker of his time. He played on the Varsity Basketball team while in high school. During his professional career, he has been a role model to Michael Jordan. Coming back to David Thompson, he became a drug addict and went into rehabilitation. After he came out, Sonics hired him, but his average was only 12.6.
Before Sonics could oust him, he got a knee injury, which forced him to retire. After retiring, he completed his degree and shot an autobiography-based movie named Skywalker. Currently, he gives motivational lectures, and sometimes, you can see him at the Hornets and Denver Nuggets events.
3. Dominique Wilkins
If you want to enjoy pure athleticism, all you’ve to do is watch a few games that Dominique did. He has played for Atlanta Hawks for the majority of his career. He has earned nine All-Star selections, made it to the All-NBA Team seven times, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest slam dunkers in NBA history. This is why he is famously known as the Human Highlight Film.
On NBA’s 75th Anniversary, he was honored as the greatest athlete of all time. In fact, he has been added to the Basketball Hall of Fame of Naismith Memorial. His scoring made it to the top during the 1985-86 season. In total, he played eleven seasons with the Hawks, but there he has been associated with the Panathinaikos Athens, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Clippers.
He retired in 1999, but he played in the Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs before retiring. In addition, he was a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, and he got the gold medal at FIBA World Championship. This championship was in 1994, and this win was the last feather in his hat.
4. Julius Erving
There aren’t many people who play basketball above the rim, but Julius Erving is the ultimate man who won it. He is popular as Dr. J, and he has a huge role to play in the legitimization of the ABA. In fact, when the ABA merged with NBA, he was known as the best athlete. He scored three championships as well as four awards for being the Most Valuable Player.
During his basketball career, he played sixteen seasons and has a total of 30,026 points under his name. If you are thinking about his playing technique, he slam dunks while standing by the free-throw line. In fact, many people call him the godfather of slam dunking, and every athlete who uses this technique credits him for his great work.
Also, many people credit Dr. J for his amazing acrobatics for the never-ending popularity of the NBA. In addition, to slam dunking, he was popular for a layup. It’s just too sad that he retired in 1987 before millennials and Gen-Z could enjoy the class Dr. J had.
5. Vince Carter
He is an American NBA athlete who now works as a basketball analyst at ESPN. For the most part of his career, he used to play the small forward and shooting guard positions, but there were instances when he played the power forward. He won the All-Star eight times and was selected into All-NBA Team two times, which shows how great his game was.
The surprising fact is that he played 22 seasons during his basketball career from 1999 to 2020. While on the ground, he used to keep the fans entertained with slam dunks and leaping powers, which is the reason he was called Air Canada, Vinsanity, and Half Man, Half Amazing. Another skill of his is that he is a three-point shooter.
Before joining the NBA, he was playing in the NCAA Tournaments because he used to play in college. In addition, he represented America during the 2000 Summer Olympics, and his skills won him a gold medal. Over the course of his career, he has played for Orlando Magic, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, and more.
However, he is more than just a great NBA athlete because he created the Embassy of Hope Foundation, which is all about helping people in Ontario, New Jersey, and Florida. Overall, he has scored 21,000 points, which is pretty amazing.
6. LeBron James
He is one of the best athletes to exist in the NBA, and even Dan Gilbert agrees to it. According to Charles Barkley, his athletic gifts are even better than Michael Jordan, which is the biggest compliment a basketball athlete can ever get. This is because LeBron James is stronger, faster, and bigger. He has the speed of a leopard, so we all can imagine what he can pull off on the ground.
He is the leading scorer in the NBA world and is known as King James. During his career, he has won four championships while playing in ten finals. In addition, he has four MVP awards and two gold medals from the Olympics. LeBron James has been an All-Star nineteen times and has been on the All-Defensive Team around six teams.
He started playing basketball when he was in high school and was named the future NBA superstar by all the national channels. His first two championships were won when he was playing for the Heat. However, after playing four seasons with the Heat, he shifted to the Cavaliers. He was with them until 2018, but he started playing for the Lakers.
7. Michael Jordan
Another gem of the NBA is Michael Jordan, a man known by his initials. His career as a basketball athlete has been amazing, and after retiring, he is now a businessman. While in NBA, he played 15 seasons and won six championships when he was associated with the Chicago Bulls. During the 1980s and 1990s, he was one of the most popular faces of the NBA, which helped increase the league’s popularity.
He used to play under Dean Smith as a part of his college basketball team. In 1982, he played with Tar Heels’ National Championship, but he shifted to the Bulls back in 1984. He became a league star and gained popularity for being the best defensive athlete out there. He has exceptional leaping power, which can be seen through his slam dunks.
In fact, his slam dunks earned him the nicknames like His Airness and Air Jordan. As far as the NBA is concerned, he won the first one in 1991 and won the next two years as well. Many don’t know, but he went to Minor League Baseball during the 1993-94 season, but he came back to the Bulls in 1995. Also, he has a record of making over 30 points in every game, a record that not everyone’s been able to break.
8. Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram, currently playing for the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA, was drafted in 2016 by the Los Angeles Lakers. He holds the distinction of being the first NBA All-Star and was named the Most Improved Player in 2020, early in his career. Ingram’s impressive high school record includes multiple state titles each year, earning him the title of Mr. Basketball.
He has played for Duke Blue Devils and didn’t continue his education after this. He announced the NBA draft and participated in three Lakers’ seasons. However, in 2019, he underwent a transfer to New Orleans as part of the deal that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Throughout his career, people have drawn comparisons between him and Kevin Durant, and according to Ingram, he draws inspiration from Durant but also has his own unique style of play.
In fact, he has a slim profile, which got him a lot of criticism, but he doesn’t have any strength issues. Off the court, he has an endorsement deal with Adidas, which is why he made a commercial appearance in the advertisement. Also, he has a thing for drawing cartoon characters and basketball athletes, which is why he is often seen at Duke, taking a drawing class.
9. CJ McCollum
He plays for the New Orleans Pelicans as an NBA athlete and earned the title of Most Improved Player during the 2015-16 season. While in college, he played basketball with the Lehigh Mountain Hawks. The Portland Trail Blazers selected McCollum in the 2013 NBA draft, and he transitioned into a full-time starter within two years, despite being the tenth pick in the draft.
Back in 2021, he became the president of NBPA, and he was the one to replace Chris Paul. He spent nine years with the Blazers and shifted to New Orleans Pelicans in 2022. He used to play as a high schooler in Ohio. Despite initial perceptions of his height as short, his exceptional athleticism ultimately earned him a spot on the Golden Eagles roster, with his growth spurt occurring a bit later.
He has been popular for his shooting stroke, which is the reason he averages around 29 points in every game. When he graduated high school, he had 1405 points under his belt. In college, he played for Mountain Hawks and was a part of 33 games. His average was 19 points, and his shooting percentage was 45.9. In addition to all this, he has a weekly podcast, which he does with Jordan Schultz.
10. Franz Wagner
He is a German athlete, showing his exceptional skills for Orlando Magic. In college, he used to play for Michigan Wolverines. Many people are unaware that he began his career with a BBL Club and earned recognition as the best young German athlete. He has played for the youth national teams and was the winner of a gold medal at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament 2018.
He is a four-star recruit by Rivals and 247Sports. As far as the recruiting programs are concerned, they had Stanford, Michigan, and Butler. Back in 2019, he agreed to play for Michigan under Juwan Howard, which is another reason why he didn’t sign a professional contract even when he had an offer from Alba Berlin.
His popularity soared in 2022 when he scored 31 points, but the NBA suspended him nonetheless because he had come off the bench. As far as the sophomore season is concerned, he averaged 18.6 points and had 3.5 assists in every game.
11. Zach LaVine
Zach LaVine has been playing for Chicago Bulls and has been around since the NBA draft 2014. He was the 13th pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He has also won the slam dunk contest two times and got the badge for an All-Star in 2021 as well as 2022. In fact, he has a gold medal around his neck which he won in Tokyo during the U.S. Olympics in 2020.
When he was in college, he used to play for UCLA Bruins and played one season. After one season, he went into the NBA after this and won the slam dunk contest. In fact, he was the NBA All-Rookie Second Team and won many slam dunk contests consecutively. However, in 2017, he went to Chicago. If you are wondering where he got the game from, his father used to play in USFL and NFL.
He used to play the three-point shootout with his father and played as a ball handler. When he was playing as a senior in high school, he used to average 28.5 points and 2.5 assists in every game. In addition, he was highlighted in Parade All-American, from where he became a part of top-performing teams.
12. Bradley Beal
He is from the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns, but he was with the Florida Gators when he was in college. He was picked up during the 2012 draft. To begin with, he became a part of the NBA All-Rookie First Team 2013 and has been an All-Star three times. He used to play for the U.S. in the FIBA World Championship, where he averaged eighteen points in every game.
While he made that his team wins, he also won the MVP award for the All-Tournament Team. While playing in high school, he used to average 32.5 points. When his senior year ended, he was named Mr. Show-Me Basketball. In addition, he was the Gatorade National Player in 2011. During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he played under Billy Donovan.
His NBA career started with Washington Wizards, but now plays for the Phoenix Suns. He was a part of the U.S. Olympics Team as well, but his career was on hold till 2021 because of the pandemic.
13. Desmond Bane
Desmond Bane is an American basketball athlete and played for Memphis Grizzlies. He has also played for TCU Horned Frogs in college. He is pretty new to NBA because he was picked in the 2020 draft. Within his first year, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team. The ironic fact is that he was into baseball more than basketball. In fact, he played baseball until he graduated in 8th grade.
He used to play basketball in high school, and he first got in because his childhood coach, Josh Jurgens was coaching. He used to average 30 points and 6.1 assists in every game. His exceptional game helped him win the MVP title in the Wettig Memorial Holiday Tournament. Over the course of four years on the high school team, he scored 1991 points.
He also played college basketball in 2019 for TCU. As a freshman in college, he won the match against NIT by averaging 7.1 points. As far as NBA is concerned, he started with Memphis Grizzlies in 2020 and is still with them.
14. Kristaps Porzingis
Playing for the Boston Celtics, Kristaps is a basketball athlete from Latvia. He is actually the tallest active athlete in the league, which empowers him to play the center as well as power forward positions. He started his career in 2012, and by the end of 2013, he achieved higher ranks in the market. Given his athletic prowess, he got the EuroCup Basketball Rising Star award after two years.
He was only nineteen years old at that time, so he became the youngest recipient of this award. In 2015, he announced going in for the NBA draft, where he was picked by the New York Knicks. His potential helped him become the All-Star in the year 2018. However, he had a few “secret” fights with the front office, which is why he went to Dallas Mavericks.
He started his off-season training sessions when he was only 12. He entered the basketball world by joining the ABC season of 2012-13, but he rose to fame when he became the EuroCup rising star. Also, he has been a part of the New York Knicks as he played for them from 2015 to 2019. The primary reason for him leaving the Knicks was his injury, but after that, he was taken on by Dallas Mavericks.
15. Draymond Green
Draymond Green, an athlete for the Golden State Warriors, is recognized for his role as a power forward. He has helped his team win four times in NBA as well as All-Star. In addition, he was a member of the All-NBA Team two times. In fact, he won the gold medal at the Olympics two times, so it’s pretty clear that his skills are exceptional.
Many people call him the best defensive athlete in NBA, as he was a part of the All-Defensive Team eight times. He started playing for Michigan State in college and kept collecting honors for four years. He has been with Golden State Warriors since 2012.
Athletes Who Excel in Boxing
Being in the ring is exhilarating, and people outside the ring have always seen boxing masters put on fiery games. Ranging from fearlessness to tenacity, the boxing experts have it all in the ring, so their fans can have the experience of their lifetime. In most cases, they become successful because of their athleticism, but there are some gifted boxers who have physical undertakings like no others. So, let’s check out the best boxers the world has ever come across.
1. Muhammad Ali
You cannot create a list of best boxers and not mention Muhammad Ali. He was named “The Greatest” because he was an exceptional sports figure of the 20th century. He was a heavyweight boxer, and Sports Illustrated called him the Sportsman of the Century. In addition, BBC called him the Sports Personality of the Century. He started training when he was only 12.
As he reached the age of 18, he earned a gold medal in the light heavyweight category, in the 1960 Summer Olympics. After 1961, he accepted Islam, and in 1964, he won the heavyweight championship. It’s safe to say that he has been a part of historic matches, such as the Rumble in the Jungle and Thriller in Manila. He became popular for his provocative attitude in an era where every other boxer hired a manager.
He would indulge in trash-talk and never stayed away from showing his poetry skills. That’s the reason he became a spoken word artist.
2. Sugar Ray Robinson
He might be too far into history, but the years between 1940 and 1965 were the best boxing years because he was playing. His exceptional work helped him get into the International Boxing Hall of Fame back in 1990. He is considered the greatest boxer for pound-for-pound fighting.
He became a professional boxer at the age of 19, and within eleven years, he had a score of 129-1-2 through 85 knockouts only. Even with his exceptional performance, he retired in 1952 but returned after 2.5 years. It seems like getting into the ring was the right decision because he became the first one to win the divisional championship 5 times.
After his performance in 1952, he was named the Fighter of the Year. In addition to boxing, he was one of the people to invent entourage. In fact, he also tried his luck in the entertainment industry but didn’t succeed. Soon after, he passed away in 1989, and that too after a lot of financial issues.
3. Joe Louis
Professionally known as Brown Bomber, he was in the boxing world from 1934 to 1951. He is one of the most influential and greatest boxers out there. He was the heavyweight champion until 1949 because that’s when he temporarily retired. This man has a record of weight classes and 25 consecutive defenses on his title.
He was actually the first boxer of African-American origin, which is why he had a cultural impact. In fact, he was the main focus of the anti-Nazi movement, especially because he played against Max Schmeling in 1938. In addition, he played an important role in developing golf. He first played his boxing game in 1932, which was a lost game.
However, after the first lost game, he got multiple victories, which helped him win the championship of a recreation center in Brewster Street. His amateur career ended with a 50-4 score. As far as a professional career is concerned, he earned 66 wins from the total of 69 fights that he participated in. He also got the championship till 1949 but retired in 1951 when he lost against Rocky Marciano.
4. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd MaHe was a professional boxer in the past but is not a boxing promoter in America. He played from 1996 to 2017, and truth be told, his tenure was one of the most exciting ones. He retired with a record of 15 championships, ranging from super featherweight to middleweight. In addition, he took part in the Olympics of 1996 and played in the featherweight division and won a bronze medal.
According to BWAA, he is the fighter of the decade. In addition, ESPN ranked him on the top for pound-for-pound. He is considered the best defensive boxer because he has an extremely accurate punching ability. He has a record of playing and winning 26 fights consecutively. In addition, he has participated in the lineal title fights.
In fact, he was on Forbes’s list of top-paid athletes in 2012 as well as 2013. This is the prime reason that he was an important part of PPV streaming. Throughout his career, he has generated $1.67 billion through pay-per-view programs.
5. Manny Pacquiao
Many people know him as a Filipino politician, but he has been a professional boxer in the past. He was named PacMan by boxing enthusiasts because he has 12 major world titles under his belt. In fact, his great game has earned him the title of eight-division world champion. In addition, PacMan was the first person to win the lineal championship in five weight classes.
Manny has won titles in four different divisions, including welterweight, lightweight, flyweight, and featherweight. It seems like Manny has a thing for keeping records because he has championship wins in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s. Back in 2019, he won the welterweight championship at the age of 40, which was another record in itself.
He has taken part in twenty-five PPV bouts, which has helped him generate around $1.2 billion. Also, Forbes labeled him as the second highest-paid athlete in the world in the year 2015. As far as his political career is concerned, he joined in 2010 as Sarangani’s representative.
6. Mike Tyson
He reigned the boxing world from 1985 to 2009 and gained the title of Iron Mike. In fact, some people called him the Kid Dynamite because he is the best heavyweight boxer. During his tenure from 1987 to 1990, he experienced his most successful era, securing victory in 19 fights, with 12 of them occurring in the first round. He became the youngest heavyweight titleholder by claiming the belt at the age of 20, a feat that earned him this distinction.
In addition, he is part of WBA, IBF, and WBC. When he was 21 years old, he took the title of a lineal champion in less than 100 seconds. The tables turned on him when he was convicted of rape in 1992, but after three years, he got parole. He was released in 1995 and started taking part in comeback fights.
Tyson has an intimidating and ferocious boxing style, which has actually made him a part of controversies. He has a knockout-to-win percentage of 88, which put him in 16th rank in The Ring’s magazine. To honor his great game, he has been admitted to the World Boxing Hall of Fame and the International Hall of Fame.
7. Oscar De La Hoya
Oscar has been a boxer from 1992 to 2008, and now, he is showing off his skills as a boxing promoter. Before becoming a part of the professional boxing industry, he won the Junior Olympics championship when he was 15 years old. He has won eleven world titles, and three of them include lineal championships. In the pound-for-pound division, he was ranked at 38.
He has named The Golden Boy. In addition, he has won a gold medal in the lightweight category. Many people say that Oscar put the boxing game back on its feet. He was also a part of pay-per-view shows and generated around $700 million. However, his income still couldn’t surpass Manny Pacquiao. He has had a boxing career of sixteen years, but he announced retirement in 2009.
He is also the owner of Golden Boy Promotions, which is a promotional company. Back in 2018, he started promoting MMA.
8. Sugar Ray Leonard
His official name is Ray Charles Leonard, and he is a professional boxer. However, he retired, after which he became a motivational speaker. In fact, he has played a few roles in the movies. He used to compete in 1977 and 1997, and during this time, he won five world titles. In addition, he has won the lineal championship and undisputed welterweight championship.
If you are a true boxing fan, you would know about the Four Kinds, which was a group of boxers who fought during the 1980s. This group had Sugar Ray, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran, and Marvin Hagler. In addition, he won a gold medal in the Summer Olympics in 1976. He was the boxer of the decade in the 1980s and also earned $100 million plus.
Also, not many people know this, but he became a professional boxer because he couldn’t get any endorsement opportunities even after winning the gold medal. So, he might not have chosen a boxing career, but boxing chose him and made him the best.
9. Evander Holyfield
Evander Holyfield used to play between 1984 and 2011, and he was the cruiserweight champion during the late 1980s. However, he didn’t stop at this because he won the heavyweight championship during the early 1990s. He might be from the three-belt era, but he has won two weight classes. In fact, he is a four-time champion in the heavyweight division.
He has won different titles in IBF, WBA, and WBC. The IBF and WBA titles were won in 1993 and 1994. He also played at the Summer Olympics of 1984, where he won a bronze medal, particularly in the light heavyweight division. Holyfield became a professional boxer at the age of 21 and became the cruiserweight boxer in 1985. He has defended his titles 3 times, making him the best in this field.
While his career has been shining, he struggled through many financial difficulties. In addition, there are allegations of HGH and steroids.
10. Devin Haney
If you are a fan of the lightweight division, you cannot not like Devin Haney. He is a professional boxer who has had the WBC for the last four years. In addition, he has the Ring, WBO, IBF, and WBA titles from 2022. In 2023, he was named the most active lightweight boxer – ESPN, BoxRec, and Transnational Boxing Rankings Board agrees.
He is from California, but he moved to LA when he was 14 years old. As far as the boxing career is concerned, he started training when he was seven. Many people don’t know this, but he practices Islam. However, he has been in controversy for a long time when he commented on beating a white man ten times. After the backlash, he tweeted that he isn’t a racist and he only wants to achieve greatness.
11. Josh Taylor
Josh Taylor is a Scottish boxer and has become the light welterweight champion in Ring as well as WBO. He has been holding on to the Ring title ever since 2019, but he got the WBO title in 2021. He has had the unified titles, including WBC, WBA, and IBF. In addition, he had the Commonwealth light-welterweight title in 2016 and 2017.
He beat Jose Ramirez in 2021, which earned him the title of the second Scottish man to become an undisputed champion. In fact, he was the first-ever Briton to get this title during the four-belt era. The boxing fans have given him the title of The Tartan Tornado because he has an aggressive boxing style. This style has also helped him achieve a 68% knockout and win percentage.
12. Artur Beterbiev
Artur Beterbiev is a Russian boxer with a unified light and heavyweight championship on his hat. He has had the IBF title since 2017, while he won the WBO title in 2022. As far as the WBC is concerned, he earned it in 2019. Beterbiev won his first silver medal in the 2007 World Championship, but he also has two gold medals from World Cup 2008 and European Championship 2010.
He is popular for his punching power because he has won all the fights through stoppage and knockout. He debuted in 2013, and ever since then, he has been beating people with his punching skills. In addition, he is a Muslim!
13. Dmitry Bivol
He is a Russian professional boxer who has been enjoying the WBA light heavyweight title ever since the year 2017. As an amateur boxer, he earned a gold medal at the World Combat Games of 2013. He has been the 3rd best active boxer since 2022, and this badge was given by BoxRec.
He picked up boxing as a career when he was six years old because he had a bigger body and more weight compared to kids of his age. In fact, this stature helped him win two world championships as an amateur. In addition, he wears a bronze medal around his neck at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championship of 2008.
14. Jermell Charlo
He is a world-famous undisputed world champion in the light middleweight division. He has been enjoying the WBC title since 2019. In addition, he has had the Ring, IBF, and WBA titles since 2020. In fact, he also has a WBO title, which he won in 2022. His brother, Jermall Charlo is also a boxer.
For pound-for-pound, he has been named the 10th best active boxer. He also won a bronze medal at the Junior Olympics of the year 2005.
15. Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez
He is a Mexican professional boxer who has won various world championships in four different weight classes, ranging from light heavyweight to middleweight. In addition, he has unified titles in three different classes as well as lineal titles. Not many know this, but he is the first one to win an undisputed championship in super middleweight.
He has won the WBO and IBF titles since the year 2021. In addition, he has had the WBA, Ring, and WBC titles since 2020, which shows how amazing his game has always been. He has won all these fights because of his counter-punching techniques. With his technique, he uses his body and head movement to avoid punches!
Overall, the sports world is filled with athletes who are ready to give their best to their fans. Ranging from boxing to basketball and judoko to martial arts, there are many arenas for these sportsmen to try their luck, and they are doing their best.