The Greatest HBO Fighter of All-Time Round 2: Savage Sixteen Part 1

By Eric Raskin

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 Round 1: Lampley Region | Merchant Region | Kellerman Region | Lederman Region


(1) Muhammad Ali vs. (5) Lennox Lewis

It’s a meeting of two heavyweight greats who broke the mold — Ali with his quickness and his personality, Lewis with his effectiveness at 6’5”, 250 pounds and his ability to bring the heavyweight title home to England. One ruled the ’60s and ’70s, the other stood astride the division 30 years later. Which generation’s kingpin deserves to advance?

Muhammad Ali
Heavyweight Champion
56-5 (37 KOs)
Years Fought: 1960-1981
Best Wins:
KO 6 Sonny Liston, 2-25-1964
KO 8 George Foreman, 10-30-1974
KO 14 Joe Frazier, 10-1-1975
Rd 1 result: Defeated Miguel Cotto, 89%-11%

Lennox Lewis
Heavyweight Champion
41-2-1 (32 KOs)
Years Fought: 1989-2003
Best Wins:
KO 2 Razor Ruddock, 10-31-1992
KO 4 Hasim Rahman, 11-17-2001
KO 8 Mike Tyson, 6-8-2002
Rd 1 result: Defeated Thomas Hearns, 51%-49%

(2) Pernell Whitaker vs. (3) Roy Jones

This isn’t just about determining who moves on to the quarterfinals. Whitaker vs. Jones addresses the question, “Who was the true pound-for-pound king of the 1990s?” It’s a showdown of remarkable reflexes between two of the finest Olympians the United States produced in the ’80s.

Pernell Whitaker
Lightweight/Junior Welterweight/Welterweight/Junior Middleweight Champion
40-4-1 (17 KOs)
Years Fought: 1984-2001
Best Wins:
W 12 Greg Haugen, 2-18-1989
W 12 Jose Luis Ramirez, 8-20-1989
W 12 Azumah Nelson, 5-19-1990
Rd 1 result: Defeated Roman Gonzalez, 77%-23%

Roy Jones
Middleweight/Super Middleweight/Light Heavyweight/Heavyweight Champion
66-9 (47 KOs)
Years Fought: 1989-2018
Best Wins:
W 12 James Toney, 11-18-1994
KO 1 Montell Griffin, 8-7-1997
W 12 John Ruiz, 3-1-2003
Rd 1 result: Defeated Oscar De La Hoya, 77%-23%

(1) Roberto Duran vs. (4) Julio Cesar Chavez

“Hands of Stone” vs. “The Lion of Culiacan” gives us a meeting of quite possibly the two greatest Hispanic fighters ever, not to mention maybe the greatest 135-pound and 140-pound champions of all-time. They’re a pair of vicious, suffocating, attacking but highly skilled fighters who were always ready with a sneer.

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
Rd 1 result: Defeated Erik Morales, 72%-28%

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
Rd 1 result: Defeated Juan Manuel Marquez, 75%-25%

(3) Joe Frazier vs. (7) Mike Tyson

With “Smokin’ Joe” and “Iron Mike,” fans get a heavyweight dream fight, a style matchup that, like both men’s vicious power punches, couldn’t miss. Proving you don’t have to be a giant to be a towering figure in heavyweight lore, Frazier and Tyson would stand toe to toe and try to take the other man’s head off.

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
Rd 1 result: Defeated Aaron Pryor, 86%-14%

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
Rd 1 result: Defeated Manny Pacquiao, 66%-34%