Jeff Mayweather’s 10 greatest defensive fighters

Lists are fun to make an an easy way to piss people off.  So we decided to get Jeff Mayweather to make one.  Of course, defense is his specialty, so we went in that direction.  Here are the 10 greatest defensive fighters in his opinion.


Video of all 10:

10. Celestino Caballero-  The former unified super bantamweight champ gets things rolling.  In 2011 he also added the WBA featherweight crown to his trophy case, but surrendered the title when promotional issues made it difficult for him to land a fight.

Jeff’s take:  “Celestino is very crafty.  When I first saw him, I didn’t even see that part of him.  Once I watched him more, he amazed me.  He is very creative and great at creating angles.”


9. Willie Pep-  Pep’s hallmark was his speed and finesse.  Considered by most as one of the best fighters of all time, he was indicted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990.  He has also been named as the greatest featherweight of all time.

willie pe

8. Chris Byrd- 2 time heavyweight champion of the world.  In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, he captured a silver medal.  He quickly rose through the ranks as a pro, picking up wins against  Vitali Klitschko and Evander Holyfield along the way.

chris byrd getty

7. Wilfredo Benitez-  He is remembered best as a skilled and aggressive fighter with exceptional defensive abilities who won world championships in three separate weight divisions, and was the youngest world champion in boxing history at the age of 17.

benitez, wilfredo

6.  Marlon Starling- Two-time US world champion boxer.  He turned professional in 1979.  After 25 straight wins, he lost his first fight.  He ended up with a 45-6 career record.

Marlon Starling on fellow CT native, Chad Dawson, strength & conditioning coaches gives picks for tonights fights, and a lot moreMarlon Starling on fellow CT native, Chad Dawson, strength & conditioning coaches gives picks for tonights fights, and a lot more

5. Cassius Clay- At the age of 22 he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston.  In 1967, three years after Ali had won the heavyweight championship, he was publicly vilified for his refusal to be conscripted into the U.S. military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War. Ali was eventually arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges; he was stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended.  He was not imprisoned, but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was eventually successful.

Ali would go on to become the first and only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.  Known for his unorthodox fighting style, epitomized by his catchphrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” he employed techniques such as the Ali Shuffle and the rope-a-dope.

Cassius Clay 1965 ListonNeil Leifer

4. Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson- Johnson, a fast and skilled southpaw, won titles at flyweight and junior bantamweight twice.  He also was a pound-for-pound ranked stalwart during the prime of his career, which ran from 1990 to 2006.  If Johnson’s resume was largely devoid of star names, it was because standout fighters of the day, such as Johnny Tapia, Danny Romero, Michael Carbajal and Ricardo Lopez are widely considered to have avoided him.

Mark Johnson Jahi ChikwendiuThe Washington

3. Michael Nunn- Nicknamed “Second to Nunn,” he was a 6′ 2″ southpaw with great speed.  Nunn was the IBF middleweight champion and the WBA super middleweight champion.

michael-nunn getty

2. Pernell Whittaker- Whitaker was a lightweight gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics.  He then embarked on a pro career in which he became world champion in four different weight divisions.  During his career, he fought world champions such as Julio César Chávez, Oscar De La Hoya and Félix Trinidad.

Whitaker is also a former WBA Light Middleweight Champion, WBC Welterweight Champion, IBF Light Welterweight Champion, WBC, WBA & IBF Lightweight Champion and NABF Lightweight Champion.  He is universally heralded as one of the top 5 lightweights of all time.

Pernell Whitaker

1. Floyd Mayweather- He is a five-division world champion, who has won eight world titles and the Lineal championship in three different weight classes.  Mayweather is a two-time Ring Fighter of the Year and also won the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) Fighter of the Year award in 2007.

Jeff’s Take:  He’s been hit less than anyone.  His ratio of hitting versus being hit is the greatest of all time.  He’s the best defensive fighter in history.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Natalie Tolmaire

    December 4, 2016 at 12:16 am

    Jeff, Ernie Terrell in my opinion should absolutely be on this list . He had a 82 inch reach and truely awsome defence . Ernie went 15 rounds with Ali and seemed as if he loved every minute of the his fight. Jeff watch the fight and you will see exactly why I say he is in the top ten.He was a real fighter!!

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