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

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) Floyd Mayweather vs. (4) Evander Holyfield

It’s a battle between two of the leading lights of their respective generations, but a real study in contrasts, and not just in terms of weight class. Mayweather was lightning quick and, especially in his later years, a defensive genius first and an offensive force a distant second; Holyfield, in contrast, was the definition of not just skill but heart and hustle and all-but-guaranteed action. 

Floyd Mayweather
Super Featherweight/Lightweight/Super Lightweight/Welterweight/Junior Middleweight Champion
50-0 (27 KOs)
Years Fought: 1996-2017

Best Wins:
TKO 10 Diego Corrales 1-20-2001
W 12 Oscar De La Hoya 5-5-2007
W 12 Manny Pacquiao 5-2-2015

Round 1 Result: Defeated Vasyl Lomachenko 63%-37%

Evander Holyfield
Cruiserweight/Heavyweight Champion
44-10-2 (29 KOs)
Years Fought: 1984-2011

Best Wins:
W15 Dwight Muhammad Qawi 7-12-1986
W 12 Riddick Bowe 11-6-1993
TKO 11 Mike Tyson 11-9-1996

Round 1 Result: Defeated Michael Spinks 95%-5%

(2) George Foreman vs. (3) Larry Holmes

A meeting of two great heavyweights that could actually have conceivably taken place at a number of points in these two men’s long careers – that, in fact, was actually signed to happen in 1999 before ultimately falling through. Both men were outstanding in the 1970s – Foreman in the early 70s, Holmes in the latter part of the decade, and into the 80s – and both had successful second careers after initially retiring: Holmes after two years away, and Foreman after a full decade on the shelf. 

George Foreman
Heavyweight Champion
76-5 (68 KOs)
Years Fought: 1969-1997

Best Wins
KO 2 Joe Frazier 1-22-1973
TKO 2 Ken Norton 3-26-1974
KO 10 Michael Moorer 11-5-1994

Round 1 Result: Defeated Felix Trinidad 76-24%

Larry Holmes
Heavyweight Champion
69-6 (44 KOs)
Years Fought: 1973-200

Best Wins:
W 15 Ken Norton 6-9-1978
TKO 11 Earnie Shavers 9-28-1979
TKO 13 Gerry Cooney 6-11-1982

Round 1 Result: Defeated Marco Antonio Barrera 55%-45%

(1) Sugar Ray Leonard vs. (4) Alexis Arguello

This clash features two outstanding, multiple-weight champions, two men who were first-rate boxers and also terrific punchers, both of whom participated in some significant matchups and faced and beat many of the other big names who occupied the sport at the same time they did. The Thin Man from Managua is beloved in his native Nicaragua, but is he sweet enough to overcome Sugar Ray?

Sugar Ray Leonard
Welterweight/Junior Middleweight/Middleweight/Super Middleweight/Light Heavyweight Champion
36-3-1 (25 KOs)
Years Fought: 1977-1997

Best Wins:
TKO 8 Roberto Duran 11-25-1980
TKO 14 Thomas Hearns 9-16-1981
W 12 Marvin Hagler 4-6-1987

Round 1 Result: Defeated Shane Mosley 93%-7%

Alexis Arguello
Featherweight/SuperFeatherweight/Lightweight Champion
77-8 (62 KOs)
Years Fought: 1968-1995

Best Wins:
TKO 11 Rafael Limon 7-8-1979
W RTD 7 Bobby Chacon 11-16-1979
TKO 14 Ray Mancini 10-3-1981

Round 1 Result: Defeated Salvador Sanchez 53%-47%

(2) Marvin Hagler vs. (3) Bernard Hopkins

It’s a showdown between two dominant middleweight champions – for Hagler, his second in a row after his Round 1 win over Gennady Golovkin. Hopkins set the record for middleweight title defenses, while Hagler bestrode the division during the 1980s. These are two men who had to wait until a little bit later in their careers to secure the acclaim and recognition they merited, but whose outstanding records are now universally respected. 

Marvin Hagler
Middleweight Champion
62-3-2 (52 KOs)
Years Fought: 1973-1987

Best Wins
TKO 3 Alan Minter 9-27-1980
KO 3 Thomas Hearns 4-15-1985
KO 11 John Mugabi 3-10-1986

Round 1 Result: Defeated Gennady Golovkin 51%-49%

Bernard Hopkins
Middleweight/Light Heavyweight Champion
55-8-2 (32 KOs)
Years Fought: 1988-2016

Best Wins:
TKO 12 Felix Trinidad 9-29-2001
W 12 Antonio Tarver 6-10-2006
W 12 Kelly Pavlik 10-18-2008

Round 1 Result: Defeated Andre Ward 51%-49%