Calzaghe – The Best or Simply Undefeated?

Calzaghe. The Pride of Wales. 46 Wins. 0 Losses. Widely considered one of the greatest undefeated boxers in British boxing history. Whilst his legacy is undoubtedly impressive – does this rank him a better athlete than, for example, Nigel Benn? Who opened his career with a streak of 22 wins, 0 defeats – with every win accomplished by Knock Out. Or Chris Eubank? Whose 45 wins (Over half by KO) spanning 13 years made him a household name and widely recognised figure.

As a contribution to boxing history, titles are of course an important set of milestones. But the overall talent, technique, participation and influence can’t be ignored in favour of a series of (undoubtedly impressive) statistics.

Calzaghe is still today ranked top internationally when comparing international Super-Middleweight fighters, but when looking Pound-for-Pound, his ranking slips to a staggering 39th. In terms of UK fighters, he still falls short of pole position – beaten by Lennox Lewis who’s heavyweight fight career of 41 wins*

In a time when boxing participation is soaring, and these men become heroes and idols – or at least, those of recent history do.

Statistically, the greatest undefeated boxer is Jimmy Barry, The Little Tiger. Barry boasted a 70 fight record, 59 wins (39 KO’s), 9 draws and 2 no contest. In just 5 years, he set a record which hasn’t been beaten in over 117 years – fighting 1894-1899.

How do you feel these undefeated records stand up against the thousands of boxing contributions made my athletes of incredible strength, endurance and discipline?

Undefeated boxing world champions

BoxerWeight classChampionship yearsTitle defensesNotes
Jimmy Barry[1]World 118 lbs1894-18996 (3 draws)Retired undefeated (59-0-9 with 2 NC).
Joe Calzaghe[2]WBO1997-200721Vacated title to move up to light heavyweight.
IBF/Ring 168 lbs2006-20071 (IBF)
3 (The Ring)
Unified WBO, IBF and The Ring titles. Vacated IBF title to fight Peter Manfredo, Jr. instead of #1 contender Robert Stieglitz. Vacated The Ringtitle to move up to light heavyweight.
WBA/WBC 168 lbs2007-20080Unified WBO, WBA, WBC and The Ring titles. Vacated titles to move up to light heavyweight.
Ring 175 lbs20081Retired undefeated (46-0).
Ji-Won Kim[3]IBF 122 lbs1985-19864Retired undefeated (16-0-2).
Mihai Leu
aka Michael Loewe[4]
WBO 147 lbs19971Retired undefeated (28-0). Forced to retire from boxing due to an injury.
Ricardo López[3]WBC 105 lbs1990-199821 (1 draw)Vacated title to move up to junior flyweight.
WBO 105 lbs1997-19980Unified WBC and WBO titles. Stripped of WBO title for saying he wanted to give the belt to his father.[5]
WBA 105 lbs19980Vacated title to move up to junior flyweight.
IBF 108 lbs1999-20022Retired undefeated (51-0-1).
Rocky Marciano[3][6]World heavyweight1952-19566Retired undefeated (49-0).
Terry Marsh[3][4]IBF 140 lbs19871Retired undefeated (26-0-1). Forced to retire from boxing due to epilepsy.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.[7]WBC 130 lbs1998-20028Vacated title to move up to lightweight.
WBC 135 lbs2002-20043Vacated title to move up to super lightweight.
WBC 140 lbs2005-20060Vacated title to move up to welterweight.
WBC/WBA 147 lbs2006-2008, 2011-20158Retired undefeated (49-0).
WBC/WBA 154 lbs2007, 2012-20152
Jack McAuliffe[8]World 135 lbs1886-18937 (2 draws)Retired undefeated (30-0-5 with 1 No decision).
Sven Ottke[3]IBF 168 lbs1998-200421
WBA “Super”-Super-middleweight 168 lbs2003-20044Defended IBF title and defeated WBA champion to become WBA “Super” champion. Retired undefeated (34-0).
Dmitry PirogWBO 160 lbs2010-20123Retired undefeated (20-0). Forced to retire from boxing due to debilitating back injury.
Harry Simon[9]WBO 154 lbs1998-20014Vacated title to move up to middleweight.
WBO 160 lbs20020Won interim WBO middleweight title in 2001 and the outright title in 2002. Stripped of title when he was unable to defend it due to injuries suffered in a car crash.
Pichit Sitbangprachan[9]IBF 112 lbs1992-19945Retired undefeated (21-0) and then made a comeback, winning three more times before retiring for good (24-0).
Edwin Valero[10]WBA 130 lbs2006-20084Vacated title to move up to lightweight.
WBC 135 lbs2009-20102Vacated title to move up to junior welterweight. Committed suicide after killing his wife in 2010. His record was 27-0 with 27 knockouts.

Got a boxer you think challenges these fighters? Or a viewpoint we haven’t presented? Get involved – comment on our Facebook page or reply to the comments of our post!


Calzaghe Fan? Check out these great pieces of the icons’ memorabilia

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