My top 10 favourite fighters of all time, in no particular order:
Pernell Whitaker - Fantastic fighter, a true genius in the ring. Yet despite all of his skill and abililty he could mix it in a dogfight with the best, and is one of the underrated toughsters of all time. His level of competition was great aswell. The fact that he was on the receiving end of some very dubious decisions made me support him more.
Matthew Saad Muhammad - He was truly the Arturo Gatti of the early 80's. He was involved in some incredible fights and was a joy ot watch in the ring because he took no prisoners. He beat some great fighters, and was fighting world class competiton from the get go in his career. Its such a shame he ended up homeless and broke in his later life, an all too often recurring theme in boxing.
Steve Collins - Ive always been a fan of the Celtic warrior. He was one of the toughest men to ever grace the ring, and I loved his rough tough style and attitude in the ring. He fought and beat some very good fighters and always left it all in the ring. His fights with Reggie Johnson and Mike McCallum are a a testament to his will. Being Irish, hes certainly left me with some great memories, none more so than when he became the first man to beat Chris Eubank, in front of a big Irish crowd in Cork.
Oscar De La Hoya - The biggest star of the 90's and early 2000's. Ive always respected the way he wanted to fight every opponent out there. A real throw back attitude is what he had, and I think that he is slightly underrated today, largely because hes known by some fans more for his money making ability than he was for his abilities int he squared circle.
Jeff Fenech - What an amazing pressure fighter the man was, a non stop punching skilled machine. very pleasing to watch inside the ring, and he also had a class resume.
Roberto Duran - Hands of stone. He has become almost a mythical fighter today, I dont think we will see the likes of him again. An incredible fighter, he was so well rounded and had so much ability, its scary to think how good he good he could have been had he stayed consistently disciplined outside the ring. As it was, he still had one of the best resumes of all time. His win over Sugar Ray Leonard the most spectacular performance ive ever seen. His persona outside the ring only helped me be a fan of him more. His wild man persona was the stuff of legend.
Evander Holyfield - Whats not to like? He was a fighter with very good all round ability, and he had one of the biggest hearts of all time. Hes been in memorable fighter after memorable fight, throughout his career, and is certainly one of the all time great heavyweights. I could watch all of his fights 10 times and still not get bored of them.
Lennox Lewis - No doubt he wont be on many posters lists, but I always liked him. Never as well like or supported as someone like Tyson or Ali, but someone who just quietly went about proving all of his critics wrong, and building a great career. He was a true champions in every sense of the word, and coming back from two devastating loses to avenge them, really shows how much character the man had. I always enjoyed his style to, contrary to how other people consider him boring, I always considered him as a very smart fighter, and one who, when pushed could bring excitement in big knockouts and quality action fights. I think the fans were lucky having him as champions back then, he was as exciting as Gatti in comparison to the Klitschko's
Juan Manuel Marquez - An excellent technician and a fighter whos fought and beat the best throughout his career. Also one of the hard luck fighters unfortunately. He rightfully should have two wins over Pacquiao and a win over Norwood. Hes on of the few fighters who started out solely as a technician, and a sometimes dull one at that, and end up as one of the most exciting fighters around. Hes still the best counter puncher in boxing, and its hard to believe that hes still, around playing his trade.
Arturo Gatti - There's really nothing to say about him that hasnt already been said before. The blood and guts warrior will always be one of the most exciting fighters who ever lived.