Top 10 Champions Who Were Legit Past 40Written by Lee Cleveland
Most boxers start to lose a step in their late thirties, but this list isn't about most boxers. This list is about those special boxers who found the Fountain of Youth.
This list is based on the
1) boxer's record at the age of 40+
2) level of competition faced during those years and
3) the titles won or fought for during that time.
10. Glen Johnson
Record Past: 40: 3-3
OK so he's only 3-3 past 40 but his loses were gritty battles against Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud and Carl Froch - all of which were world champions. Johnson's recent KO over a top young contender, Allan Green, puts him on this list but a loss to Bute may banish him.
9. Oliver McCall
Record:56-11, 37 KO
Record Past 40: 13-3, 1NC
Like him or not, McCall has been stellar past 40 losing only three times in seventeen bouts. He has wins over respectable heavyweights Przemyslaw Saleta, Darroll Wilson, Yanqui Diaz, Sinan Samil Sam, Lance Whitaker and Fres Oquendo. All three of his loses came via decision to fellas in the division's top 20.
8. Sugar Ray Robinson
Record: 173-19-6 (2 NC)
Record Past 40: 33-10-1 (1NC)
Acclaimed by many as boxing's best pound-for-pound, Sugar Ray Robinson had 45 fights beyond the age of 40, going 33-10-1-1.
7. Jack Johnson
Record Past 40: 13-6
Johnson was a force until the age of 52. Astounding!
6. Evander Holyfield
Record Past 40: 7-5 (1 NC)
At the ages of 44 and 46, Holyfield fought for a share of the heavyweight title. He came up short in both fights but the fact that he is still competitive at a high level says a lot. In addition, many believe he (at 46) was robbed against Valuev when gunning for the WBA heavyweight title in 2008.
5. Larry Holmes
Record Past 40: 21-3
With 21 wins in his 40s and fighting for a major heavyweight title on two occasions, Larry Holmes earns the number five spot on this list. Although he was defeated in those title matches (to Holyfield and McCall), he fought admirably both times. His loss to McCall came via a razor thin decision.
4. Roberto Duran
Record Age Past 40: 18-7
Not many fighters fought twenty-five times in their 40s, but Roberto Duran did exactly that. Although Duran never held a major title in his 40s, he stayed active against good competition. Duran defeated Tony Menefee, Heath Todd and upstart Sean Fitzgerald (then 17-0-2). He lost two wars to Vinny Pazienza and a close and entertaining fight to Hector Camacho (in their first encounter). He also split with Jorge Castro.
3. Bernard Hopkins
Record Past 40: 7-3-1
Hopkins is still fighting top level opposition at the age when most fighters have been retired for years. Even though B-HOP has only 11 fights in his 40s, most of them were against top competition and in different weight classes. He defeated Kelly Pavlik, Winky Wright and Antonio Tarver while losing a split decision to Joe Calzaghe who was 45-0. In May, At 46, Bernard Hopkins defeated Ring Magazine/WBC light heavyweight Jean Pascal by unanimous decision to become the oldest fighter to win a major world championship. He has also remained on most publications' Pound-for-Pound list during most of his 40s.
2. Archie Moore
Record Past 40: 26-2-2
Archie Moore defied age more than anybody else. He held the light heavyweight title at the ages of 40, 41 and 42. He defeated Yvon Durelle twice (the first time was an absolute slug-fest) and KO'd Olympic champ Pete Rademacher. His only loses were to Floyd Patterson and a young Muhammad Ali. The man also fought well over two-hundred professional fights spanning four decades. Imagine the wear and tear on his body by age 35!
1. George Foreman
Record Past 40: 17-3
Big George Foreman launched the greatest comeback of all time. He began his comeback at age of 38 and strung together 24 victories in a row within a three-year time frame. Foreman would eventually become the oldest heavyweight champion ever when he knocked out Michael Moorer at the age 45. George continued to fight until the age of 48 when retired after losing a hotly disputed decision to young upstart, Shannon Briggs.
Honorable Mentions: Hector Camacho, Vinny Paz, Ray Mercer, James Toney and Francois Botha