In a sport as unpredictable as boxing, it’s almost damn near impossible to embark on a long, successful and storied career without ever tasting defeat.
It only takes one punch to destroy a lifetime of dedication. In boxing, losing seems to be almost a certainty, some fighters hold on for too long, reflexes get slower, chins weaken or even a controversial decision left to the judges can go against you.
But somehow, a very select few have managed to defy the odds and have hung up their gloves with a spotless record.
Floyd Mayweather Jr – 50-0-0, 27KO’s (1996-2017)
Over the past two decades, Floyd Mayweather has proven just why he is almost universally regarded as the best fighter of his generation.
Last month the money man moved on to 50-0 and broke Rocky Marciano’s record, a record that stood for over 65 years.
Since first gracing a boxing ring in 1996, Mayweather has been in with the best and he has convincingly dismantled the best, people still wonder, was Mayweather ever actually challenged?
A five weight world champion with a total of 12 world titles and lineal championships, Mayweather not only finished his career undefeated but the master tactician was never even put down.
Rocky Marciano – 49-0-0, 43 KO’s (1947-1955)
Although many boxing purists feel that Marciano’s record didn’t deserve to be eclipsed by an event such as Mayweather vs McGregor, Rocky Marciano’s legacy will long be remembered in boxing’s history books.
He will always be remembered as the fighter who first laid the foundation of modern boxing and it’s pay per view events, pathing the way for the likes of Muhammad Ali.
In the modern era, many fighters would spend decades trying to match Marciano’s resume, he managed to squeeze all 49 fights in over a nine year period, knocking out almost everyone who crossed his path.
Much like the film named in his honour, Rocky was the peoples champ, a swarmer and a brawler, what he lacked in fitness he made up for with brute force and ability to push his body to the limits.
Ricardo Lopez – 51-0-1, 38 KO’s (1985-2001)
With the most minuscule blip on his record, it almost seems that El Finito’s legacy is never spoken about in the same breath as Mayweather’s or Marciano’s.
Never the less, Lopez is still regarded as one of the finest fighters Mexico has ever produced, his induction into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame are more than deserved.
A two weight world and Lineal champion, Lopez is regarded as the best fighter to grace boxing’s lighter divisions. Still only the third champion in boxing history to retire undefeated and the first to never be defeated as both an amateur and a professional, that’s some record right there.
Joe Calzaghe – 46-0-0, 32 KO’s (1993-2008)
The only Brit to make the list, but during his 15-year career, Calzaghe certainly earnt the title of ‘The Pride of Wales.
Undefeated on 46-0, the former super-middleweight and light heavyweight unified champion still remains the longest reigning super-middleweight champion in history, having held the WBO crown for over 10 years.
Wales faviroute son is ranked as the second greatest super-middleweight of all time, with names such as Chris Eubank, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr on his list of victims.
Edwin Valero – 27-0-0, 27 KO’s (2002-2010)
The Venezuelan’s name is always going to be tarnished for the tragic circumstances outside the ring, but, inside the ring, the man nicknamed ‘El Terminator’ was a real warrior.
Valero is still the only boxer in the history of the sport to retire with a perfect 100% knockout ratio, 27 fights, 27 brutal KO’s.
It probably should have been a story that never happened tho, after being signed by Oscar De La Hoya in the early 2000’s, Valero was involved in a motorbike accident where he fractured his skull. Although he was constantly denied a boxing license in the US, he carried on his career across the globe and later returned to the States, becoming both a super-featherweight and lightweight world champion.