Who is the greatest fighter of all time? Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and 29 top boxers' records compared

The Greatest? Mayweather claims to be even better than Muhammad Ali (Source: Getty)

Not one known for modesty, Floyd Mayweather Jr. proclaimed himself to be the greatest fighter of all time earlier this week - claiming to be even better than Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson.

Does Mayweather have a point? If the American beats Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night he will extend his record to 48 fights undefeated - just one win away from equalling Rocky Marciano’s record 49 fights without loss.

As things stand, there is a general consensus in the boxing world that 38-year-old Mayweather is the pound-for-pound best fighter still active in the sport - but in an age short of a great heavyweight division, that does not automatically guarantee you a place at the very top table in boxing’s hall of fame.

Bob Arum, Manny Pacquiao’s promoter who has also worked with Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya and Marvin Hagler, once argued that Filipino was greatest fighter he’d ever seen.

Barring a career-best demolition of his adversary at the MGM Grand on Saturday night, Pacquiao’s chance to claim such a crown has likely been and gone.

In an ESPN ranking published nearer the two fighters’ peak in 2007, Mayweather was ranked just the 49th best fighter in the world while Pacquiao did not feature at all - however the stock of both has undoubtedly risen since.

Read more: Revenue, prize money, earnings and all the figures behind the richest fight in boxing history

Read more: Mayweather top of sport rich list with £66m haul

Indeed, in a recent poll of experienced boxing writers and broadcasters conducted by Yahoo Sports, neither of the welterweight supremos featured in the all-time top 10, yet Mayweather did rank 19th while Pacquiao came in joint 22nd.

Despite his unblemished record, Mayweather’s detractors would argue that he avoided the most challenging opponents - such as Oscar De La Hoya and even Pacquiao - until they were well past their peak.

The debate of who should be considered the greatest fighter is one that will continue to be held as long as people keep getting into a ring to trade blows for three-minute rounds. What defines greatness? The longevity and endurance displayed by Sugar Ray Robinson? The ferocious knock-out rate boasted by Mike Tyson or Sonny Liston? The technique refined by Mayweather? Or the cultural impact made by Muhammad Ali?

Below we’ve visualised the records of some of history's most renowned and remembered pugilists for your consideration.

 

 

Related articles