The Greatest HBO Fighter of All-Time Tournament Round 1: Merchant Region

Inside HBO Boxing is crowning the greatest boxer ever to compete on the network, as determined by you, the fans. Among the countless icons and Hall of Famers who’ve battled on the HBO airwaves, we’ve selected an elite field of 32 fighters for entry in a bracket-style tournament. All matchups are previewed in depth on the HBO Boxing Podcast, and you can vote for the winners on Twitter (@HBOboxing). Who is truly the greatest? That’s for you to decide.

See the other regions: Lampley | Kellerman 


Named after Hall of Fame HBO Boxing color analyst Larry Merchant, this region features a trio of Mexican legends, a pair of power-punching heavyweights, and a matchup as loaded with star power as any in the first round of the tourney.

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(1) Roberto Duran vs. (8) Erik Morales

If you’re into grunting, sneering bad-assery, there is no better matchup for you than “Manos de Piedra” vs. “El Terrible.” Latino pride is on the line when arguably the greatest lightweight ever takes on the newest Hall of Famer in a battle of four-division champions.

Roberto Duran
Lightweight/Welterweight/Junior Middleweight/Middleweight Champion
103-16 (70 KOs)
Years fought: 1968-2001
Best Wins:
KO 11 Esteban De Jesus, 3-16-1974
W 15 Ray Leonard, 6-20-1980
W 12 Iran Barkley, 2-24-1989

Erik Morales
Junior Featherweight/Featherweight/Junior Lightweight/Junior Welterweight Champion
52-9 (36 KOs)
Years fought: 1993-2012
Best Wins:
KO 11 Daniel Zaragoza, 9-6-1997
W 12 Paulie Ayala, 11-16-2002
W 12 Manny Pacquiao, 3-19-2005

(4) Julio Cesar Chavez vs. (5) Juan Manuel Marquez

Viva Mexico! In a showdown that arguably determines the best fighter in the nation’s history, it’s JCC vs. JMM, a battle of versatile boxer-punchers—one a stalk-forward body-banger, the other a clever counterpuncher—who provided fans with countless thrills.

Julio Cesar Chavez
Junior Lightweight/Lightweight/Junior Welterweight Champion
107-6-2 (85 KOs)
Years fought: 1980-2005
Best Wins:
KO 11 Edwin Rosario, 11-21-1987
KO 12 Meldrick Taylor, 3-17-1990
W 12 Hector Camacho, 9-12-1992

Juan Manuel Marquez
Featherweight/Junior Lightweight/Lightweight Champion
56-7-1 (40 KOs)
Years fought: 1993-2014
Best Wins:
W 12 Marco Antonio Barrera, 3-17-2007
KO 11 Joel Casamayor, 9-13-2008
KO 6 Manny Pacquiao, 12-8-2012

(3) Joe Frazier vs. (6) Aaron Pryor

You aren’t going to need ringside judges for this one. When “Smokin’ Joe” squares off with “The Hawk,” it’s a guaranteed brawl. Both men were defined by one rivalry, ruled a single division, and burned out quickly after about a decade of shining brightly. Who’s left standing when this slugfest is over?

Joe Frazier
Heavyweight Champion
32-4-1 (27 KOs)
Years fought: 1965-1981
Best Wins:
KO 7 Jerry Quarry, 6-23-1969
KO 4 Jimmy Ellis, 2-16-1970
W 15 Muhammad Ali, 3-8-1971

Aaron Pryor
Junior Welterweight Champion
39-1 (35 KOs)
Years fought: 1976-1990
Best Wins:
KO 4 Antonio Cervantes, 8-2-1980
KO 14 Alexis Arguello, 11-12-1982
KO 10 Alexis Arguello, 9-9-1983

(2) Manny Pacquiao vs. (7) Mike Tyson

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You won’t have any trouble selling tickets or pay-per-views for this clash between two of the most popular, truly global superstars boxing has ever known. Non-stop action is assured when the spellbinding speed of “Pac-Man” meets the bone-crunching power of “Iron Mike.”

Manny Pacquiao
Flyweight/Junior Featherweight/Featherweight/Junior Lightweight/Lightweight/Junior Welterweight/Welterweight/Junior Middleweight Champion
59-7-2 (38 KOs)
Years fought: 1995-present
Best Wins:
KO 11 Marco Antonio Barrera, 11-15-2003
KO 10 Erik Morales, 1-21-2006
KO 8 Oscar De La Hoya, 12-6-2008

Mike Tyson
Heavyweight Champion
50-6 (44 KOs)
Years fought: 1985-2005
Best Wins:
KO 2 Trevor Berbick, 11-22-1986
KO 4 Larry Holmes, 1-22-1988
KO 1 Michael Spinks, 6-27-1988