Ten of the scariest boxers of all time
by Kate Rosindale on Oct 15, 2021
Down the ages there have been boxers with amazing speed, strength and technique. But as Halloween approaches, we are taking the opportunity to celebrate some of the most dangerous, intimidating and downright frightening fighters of all time.
Read on to find out more about ten of the scariest boxers – if you dare.
Often cited as the best middleweight to ever set foot in the ring, and also one of the most destructive. With a record of 31 wins and 29 knockouts, opponents paid tribute to McClellan’s power. Sadly, McClellan was forced to retire from boxing after he sustained a severe brain injury fighting Nigel Benn in 1995.
When American boxer James Tillis was asked to name the hardest puncher he had ever faced, he said: "“Earnie Shavers hit me, man, and knocked me face down on the canvas. I was in the land of make believe. I heard saxophones, trombones. I saw little blue rats, and they were all smoking cigars and drinking whisky.”
Nicknamed The Hawk, Pryor was at his peak for around five years during which time he scared many opponents in the light welterweight and neighbouring classes. A bad guy in the ring, his goal was to overcome his opponents with the highest amount of violence possible.
With incredible power, Jackson won 55 fights, 49 by knockout and 37 of those were done in the first three rounds. He was quoted as saying “Whenever I enter the ring I feel the fight will not go the distance… I believe that when I hit my opponent in the right places he cannot stay up.”
Another of the middleweight greats despite never being a fan favourite. Hagler was described as being mentally strong, with an iron chin and impeccable discipline. He would methodically press the hope out of his opponents. In 62 wins, 52 were knockouts and he was never knocked down.
Although often smaller than his opponents, Dempsey was guaranteed to always be the more aggressive fighter. 'The Manassa Mauler' learnt how to box in bars and fight clubs. He had a formidable reputation for ferocity in the ring, no doubt helped by his ever-present scowl and his record of 60 first round knockouts.
With his only plan being to destroy his opponent, Foreman was the most powerful of the powerful during the 1070s. He took apart Joe Frazier in two rounds, making him hit the canvas six times. Fans actually feared for Ali’s health prior to their fight.
A simply unstoppable boxer, whether it was for a prize fight or a scrap in the back streets. Duran inspired Tyson, and people were scared to even look at him. He loved to stamp his superiority on opponents and during 119 fights over five decades he won 70 by knockout.
No introduction needed for this scary fighter. Uncontrollable and full of rage outside the ring, you better believe it translated into his actions within the ring. Tyson himself said his style was 'impetuous', but the truth is he broke most competitors before a fight had even begun.
A boxer shrouded in mystery, Liston started boxing while serving time for robbery. The fearsome fighter was unstoppable while at his peak in the 1950s and early 1960s. He has been described as 'the greatest intimidator of all time' and, by Foreman, as "the scariest human being I’ve met in the ring".