This is my countdown of the 10 best Lightweights in boxing history. Please note that I do have Henry Armstrong in my top 5 P4P list but he’s only #8 here because I rate him higher in the Featherweight and Welterweight divisions.
1. Roberto Durán – Is a Panamanian former professional boxer, widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. A versatile brawler in the ring, he was nicknamed “Manos de Piedra” (“Hands of Stone”) during his career.
2. Benny Leonard – Was an American professional lightweight boxer. Widely considered one of the all-time greats, he was ranked 8th on The Ring magazine’s list of the “80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years” and placed 7th in ESPN’s “50 Greatest Boxers of All-Time”.
3. Joe Gans – Was an African-American boxer, born in Baltimore, Maryland, who was rated the greatest lightweight boxer of all time by boxing historian and Ring Magazine founder, Nat Fleischer.
4. Pernell Whitaker – Is an American former professional boxer and current boxing trainer. He won a silver medal as a lightweight at the 1982 Amateur World Championships, followed by gold at the 1983 Pan American Games and 1984 Olympics.
5. Ike Williams – Was a lightweight world boxing champion. Williams was known for his great right hand, and was named to the Ring Magazine’s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time as well as Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year for 1948.
6. Packey McFarland – Was a popular American boxer in the lightweight and welterweight divisions. Despite an extraordinary winning record, he was unable to secure a match for either world title. The Ring Record Book and Boxing Encyclopedia suggests McFarland was the best fighter to never become a world champion.
7. Carlos Ortíz – Is a Puerto Rican former professional boxer. He won three world titles, two at lightweight and once at light welterweight. Along with Félix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto, Wilfredo Gómez, Héctor Camacho, and Wilfred Benítez, Ortiz is considered among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time by sports journalists and analysts.
8. Henry Armstrong – Was an American professional boxer and a world boxing champion who is regarded as one of the greatest fighters of all time by many boxing critics and fellow professionals.
9. Tony Canzoneri – Was an American professional boxer. A three-time world champion, he held a total of five world titles. Canzoneri is a member of the exclusive group of boxing world champions who have won titles in three or more divisions.
10. Ken Buchanan – Is a retired British professional boxer and the former Undisputed World Lightweight Champion from Edinburgh. Buchanan is regarded by many as not only the greatest Scottish boxer of all time, but also one of the greatest British fighters ever, and the greatest British lightweight boxer in history.