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Larry Holmes

1980-85

Known early in his career as a sparring partner for Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Holmes became one of the most underrated champions in history thanks to an incomparable left jab. The "Easton Assassin" won his first title by split decision over Ken Norton in 1978 and claimed the lineal championship after defeating a 38-year-old Ali, who came out of retirement in 1980.

Holmes raised his record to 48-0 (one short of Rocky Marciano's record unbeaten run for a heavyweight) before being upset by light heavyweight champion Michael Spinks in 1985. Holmes' 20 title defenses are second only to Joe Louis (25) among heavyweights.