Welcome to The Ring's Centennial page where you'll learn about The Ring's century long journey in boxing and come to appreciate the publication’s place in American and world history. The Ring has stood the test of time, witnessing Prohibition, the Great Depression, World War II, the rise of broadcast media, and the social-political revolutions of the 1960s. These events were the backdrop to legendary fighters, such as Jack Dempsey, Henry Armstrong, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Marciano, and Muhammad Ali, all chronicled in the pages of The Ring.
Browse the vintage covers and championship lineage. You’ll see iconic images of the transcendent boxers previously mentioned, but also often-overlooked greats of past eras: Jimmy McLarnin, Tony Canzoneri, Kid Chocolate, Maxie Rosenbloom.
This page will be updated frequently throughout 2022. Check back for video features, and announcements on upcoming products, collaborations, and events celebrating The Ring's 100 years in boxing.
Dempsey held the heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926. He was the first recipient of a Ring Magazine championship belt, which he was awarded in 1922. No other athlete, save for Babe Ruth, captured the spirit of the 1920s like Dempsey, who was once ranked 10th on The Ring’s list of all-time heavyweights and seventh among its Top 100 Greatest Punchers. Some of Dempsey’s title bouts, vs. Georges Carpentier, Luis Angel Firpo and Gene Tunney, set attendance, purse and event revenue records that lasted for several decades.
Prior to Manny Pacquiao, Villa was the greatest champion from the Philippines (and for much of the 20th century was considered the greatest Asian boxer of all time) and very popular in New York City, where he stopped legendary Welshman Jimmy Wilde for the flyweight title in 1923. He held the title until his untimely death (due to throat infection) in 1925.
Known as “The Toy Bulldog,” Walker was one of the most popular and talented fighters of the 1920s. He competed with the best middleweights, light heavyweights and heavyweights of his era – including the great Harry Greb, Tiger Flowers, Tommy Loughran, Maxie Rosenbloom and Max Schmeling – but he won his first world title in the 147-pound division, outpointing hall of famer Jack Britton over 15 rounds in 1922. Walker was awarded Ring Magazine’s inaugural welterweight championship belt in 1924.
Born in Ireland, McTigue made his name in New York City as a prize fighter. While not as skilled or talented as contemporaries – such as Harry Greb, Mickey Walker, Tommy Loughran and Young Stribling, who beat him via newspaper decisions – but he was every bit as popular. McTigue won the light heavyweight title from Battling Siki via 20-round decision in Ireland in 1923 and held it until 1925.
Greb faced and beat the best middleweights, light heavyweights and heavyweights of the late 1910s and the early 1920s, including future heavyweight champ Gene Tunney, before he settled in at middleweight where he held the world title from 1923 to 1926. Greb, known as “The Pittsburgh Windmill” because of his frenetic, volume-punching style, was awarded the Ring title in 1924. He defended it against fellow all-time great Mickey Walker in 1925, but died tragically (after losing the title to Tiger Flower) while undergoing surgery to repair facial injuries in 1926.
Before Roberto Duran’s reign during the 1970s, Benny Leonard was unanimously regarded as the greatest champion in the history of the 135-pound division. Leonard won the title from hall of famer Freddie Welsh in 1917 and held it until his retirement in 1925. Leonard, who was awarded the Ring Magazine belt in 1924, is regarded as one of the finest defensive and technical boxers ever, but he could also punch.
Flowers, the first African-American middleweight champion, lifted the title from the legendary Harry Greb in 1926. The ultra-aggressive southpaw, known as “The Georgia Deacon,” beat the fading Greb in a rematch before losing the title to Mickey Walker via controversial 10-round decision. Flowers remained a top middleweight and light heavyweight contender until his untimely death (the result of an operation to remove scar tissue from around his eyes) in November 1927.
Handsome, erudite, supremely skilled but also tough-as-nails, Tunney was a respected but underrated boxer who upset an icon and retired as heavyweight champ. “The Fighting Marine” had star potential but was overshadowed by his rival, Jack Dempsey, who was a transcendent sports figure of the 1920s. Tunney is best known for his back-to-back victories over Dempsey and the infamous long count of their revenue record-shattering rematch, but he faced – and defeated – several other standouts of his era during his years as America’s top light heavyweight, including Battling Levinsky, Georges Carpentier, Tommy Gibbons and the great Harry Greb. In 68 pro bouts, Tunney’s only loss was a bloody 15-round decision to Greb, which he avenged in two competitive return bouts (they also fought two 10-round “newspaper decision” bouts). He received Ring Magazine’s inaugural Fighter of the Year award in 1928.
After a reportedly undefeated amateur career in Cuba, this wildly popular boxer made his name in New York City during the late 1920s and early 1930s by taking on the top contenders and titleholders from bantamweight to junior welterweight – including fellow future hall of farmers Fidel LaBarba, Jackie “Kid” Berg and Tony Canzoneri. Kid Chocolate (born Eligio Sardinias-Montalbo) won his first world title by stopping future hall of famer Benny Bass in seven rounds in 1931. He would later win the featherweight crown in 1932.
One of the best pound-for-pound fighters of the late 1920s and during the first half of 1930s, Canzoneri was a top-level threat from bantamweight to junior welterweight. The scrappy Louisiana native won world titles in three weight classes but he captured his first championship in the featherweight division by outpointing legendary Johnny Dundee over 15 rounds. Canzoneri battled many fellow future hall of farmers – including Bud Taylor, Billy Petrolle, Jackie “Kid” Berg, Kid Chocolate, Lou Ambers and Barney Ross – during his 14-year, 175-bout pro career.
Barney Ross was a celebrated three-division champion, simultaneously holding the lightweight and junior welterweight titles before winning the welterweight crown. Ross, born Beryl David Rosofsky to Orthodox Jewish parents in Chicago, was a fast and clever amateur boxer who won the Inter-City Golden Gloves Championship in 1929 before turning pro. He won the 135- and 140-pound titles from legendary Tony Canzoneri in 1933.
Hailing from the upstate New York village of Herkimer, Ambers (born Luigi Giuseppe D’Ambrosio) quickly climbed the lightweight rankings during the early-to-mid 1930s. “The Herkimer Hurricane” lost his first title shot, to his idol Tony Canzoneri, but rebounded with 14-consecutive victories that included decisions over fellow future hall of farmers Fritzie Zivic and Baby Arizmendi en route to a rematch decision victory over Canzoneri for the championship. Ambers won a rubber match with Canzoneri before losing and regaining the title from legendary Henry Armstrong.
Joseph Louis Barrow (May 13, 1914 – April 12, 1981) was an American professional boxer who competed from 1934 to 1951. Nicknamed the Brown Bomber, Louis is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential boxers of all time. He reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1937 until his temporary retirement in 1949. He was victorious in 25 consecutive title defenses, a record for all weight classes. Louis had the longest single reign as champion of any boxer in history.
Armstrong is universally recognized as one of the all-time greats of boxing. The Mississippi native who made his name in Los Angeles simultaneously held world titles in three weight classes – featherweight, lightweight and welterweight – and almost won title recognition in a fourth (middleweight) when there were only eight established divisions. Armstrong won his first title at featherweight by stopping Petey Sarron in six rounds in 1937. He fought 27 times that year, winning 26 by KO (including future hall of famer Benny Bass).
Known as “The Pittsburgh Kid,” Conn turned pro at 16 in the lightweight division without any amateur experience. Although he lost seven of his first 20 bouts (including a three-round stoppage in his fifth fight), Conn learned his hard lessons and blossomed into a clever-boxing middleweight by 1936, a year he went unbeaten in 18 bouts (all in Pittsburgh) capped with a decision over Ring-rated (and future welterweight champ/hall of famer) Fritzie Zivic. By 1938 he was ranked by The Ring thanks to victories over future hall of farmers Teddy Yarosz and Young Corbett III.
Sandy Saddler is considered one of the greatest featherweights of all time, in part due to his storied four-bout rivalry with Willie Pep. However, the Boston native was a prolific fighter apart from his three stoppage victories over Pep in world title bouts. Saddler, a tall and rangy swarmer with power in both hands, finished his career with 144 victories, 103 knockouts, with only 16 losses and two draws. He began his career with a torrid schedule that was busy even by 1940s standards. Saddler fought 22 times during his first year as a pro (1944), winning 19 bouts. In 1945, he was unbeaten in 24 bouts.
Ike Williams was arguably the best lightweight during the 1940s, a golden age for the 135-pound division that was home to future hall of famers such as Sammy Angott, Bob Mongomery and Beau Jack. Williams, a fierce boxer-puncher with textbook technique, fought them all (multiple times), including Mexican stars Juan Zurita (who he KO’d in two rounds in Mexico City in 1945 to win the NBA title) and Enrique Bolanos, as well as welterweight standouts Kid Gavilan and Johnny Bratton. Williams stopped rival Bob Montgomery in six rounds in 1947 to gain universal recognition as lightweight champ, which he retained until 1951.
Graziano, a former juvenile delinquent from the mean streets of New York City, wasn’t the brightest natural talent or the most skilled technician, but he was a born puncher with a savage fighting spirit who developed into a bona-fide attraction by the mid-1940s. Graziano (born Thomas Rocco Barbella) entered The Ring’s middleweight rankings in 1945 with back-to-back knockouts of welterweight champ Freddie “Red” Cochrane (twice) and Ring-rated Harold Green, who had twice outpointed Rocky in 1944. Win or lose, Graziano always delivered action and drama, but he saved his best efforts for middleweight champ Tony Zale, who he challenged in 1946.
Pep achieved near-mythical status during a stellar career that began in 1940. In less than two and half years, Pep (born Guglielmo Papeleo) streaked to a 53-0 record before lifting the featherweight crown from fellow future hall of famer Chalky Wright in November 1942. The wizardly stick-and-mover from Connecticut reached 62-0 before he suffered his first loss – a 10-round decision to fellow future hall of famer Sammy Angott in a lightweight bout in March 1943 – but he would hold the featherweight title until being stopped by arch rival Sandy Saddler in October 1948.
“The Man of Steel” was an underrated journeyman from Gary, Indiana, who primarily fought out of Chicago during the 1930s. The hard nosed body puncher turned his career around in 1940 when twice beat NBA middleweight titleholder Al Hostak and scored a decision over fellow future hall of famer Fred Apostoli. In 1941, Zale outpointed the New York State Athletic Commission’s middleweight champ Georgie Abrams over 15 rounds to gain universal recognition as the 160-pound king.
Giacobbe “Jake” LaMotta (July 10, 1922 – September 19, 2017) was an American professional boxer, world middleweight champion, and stand-up comedian. Nicknamed “The Bronx Bull” or “Raging Bull”, LaMotta was a rough fighter who was not a particularly big puncher, but he would subject his opponents to vicious beatings in the ring. With use of constant stalking, brawling and inside fighting, he developed the reputation for being a “bully”; he was what is often referred to today as a swarmer and a slugger.
Sugar Ray Robinson is widely regarded as the greatest boxer of all time. The man born Walker Smith Jr. gained worldwide fame and fistic immortality during four dramatic reigns as middleweight champion in the 1950s, but his prime years were in the previous decade as an untouchable welterweight. Robinson was recognized by boxing aficionados and the sports press as one of the best prize fighters ever very early in his pro career, which began in October 1940. He compiled a 26-0 record in his first 12 months as a pro, beating future lightweight champ Sammy Angott, future welterweight champ Marty Servo and recently dethroned welterweight king Fritzie Zivic during that span.
Rocco Francis Marchegiano (September 1, 1923 – August 31, 1969, better known as Rocky Marciano, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1947 to 1955, and held the world heavyweight title from 1952 to 1956. He is the only heavyweight champion to have finished his career undefeated. His six title defenses were against Jersey Joe Walcott (from whom he had taken the title), Roland La Starza, Ezzard Charles (twice), Don Cockell and Archie Moore.
Muhammad Ali is widely regarded by boxing commentators and historians as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. Boxing magazine The Ring named him number one in a 1998 ranking of greatest heavyweights from all eras.
Oscar Albarado (September 15, 1948 in Pecos, Texas – February 17, 2021) was an American former professional boxer who held the light middleweight world championship. Oscar Albarado died on February 17, 2021, in Uvalde Texas at Amistad Nursing home at the age of 72.
Roberto Durán Samaniego (born June 16, 1951) is a Panamanian former professional boxer who competed from 1968 to 2001. He held world championships in four weight classes: lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight, as well as reigns as the undisputed and lineal lightweight champion, and the lineal welterweight champion. He is also the second boxer to have competed over a span of five decades, the first being Jack Johnson. Durán was known as a versatile, technical brawler and pressure fighter, which earned him the nickname of “Manos de Piedra” (“Hands of Stone”) for his formidable punching power and excellent defense.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler (born Marvin Nathaniel Hagler; May 23, 1954 – March 13, 2021) was an American professional boxer and film actor who competed in boxing from 1973 to 1987. He reigned as the undisputed champion of the middleweight division from 1980 to 1987, making twelve successful title defenses, all but one by knockout. Hagler also holds the highest knockout percentage of all undisputed middleweight champions at 78 percent. His undisputed middleweight championship reign of six years and seven months is the second-longest active reign of the last century.
Carlos De León, also known as “Sugar” De Leon, (May 3, 1959 – January 1, 2020) was a Puerto Rican boxer who made history by becoming the first cruiserweight to win the world title twice. Subsequently, he kept breaking his own record for the most times as cruiserweight champion by regaining the title on two further occasions.
Michael Gerard Tyson (born June 30, 1966) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. Nicknamed “Iron Mike” and “Kid Dynamite” in his early career, and later known as “The Baddest Man on the Planet”, Tyson is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Bernard Humphrey Hopkins Jr. (born January 15, 1965) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1988 to 2016. He is one of the most successful boxers of the past three decades, having held multiple world championships in two weight classes, including the undisputed middleweight title from 2001 to 2005, and the lineal light heavyweight title from 2011 to 2012.
Oscar De La Hoya (born February 4, 1973) is an American boxing promoter and former professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2008. His accolades include winning 11 world titles in six weight classes, including the lineal championship in three weight classes. He is ranked as the 29th best boxer of all time, pound for pound, by BoxRec. De La Hoya was nicknamed “The Golden Boy of boxing” by the media when he represented the United States at the 1992 Summer Olympics where, shortly after having graduated from James A. Garfield High School, he won a gold medal in the lightweight division, and reportedly “set a sport back on its feet.”
Joseph William Calzaghe CBE (born 23 March 1972) is a Welsh former professional boxer who competed from 1993 to 2008. He held world championships in two weight classes, including the unified WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO, Ring magazine and lineal super-middleweight titles, and the Ring light-heavyweight title.
Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao Sr., CLH (born December 17, 1978) is a Filipino politician and former professional boxer. Nicknamed “PacMan”, he is regarded as one of the greatest professional boxers of all time. He has been serving as a senator of the Philippines since 2016.
Santos Saúl Álvarez Barragán (born 18 July 1990), popularly known as Canelo Álvarez, is a Mexican professional boxer. He has won multiple world championships in four weight classes from light middleweight to light heavyweight, including unified titles in three of those weight classes and lineal titles in two. Álvarez is the first boxer in history to become undisputed champion at super middleweight, having held the WBA (Super), WBC and Ring magazine titles since 2020, the WBO title since May 2021, and the IBF title since November 2021.
Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. (born Floyd Joy Sinclair; February 24, 1977) is an American professional boxing promoter and former professional boxer. He competed between 1996 and 2015, and made a one-fight comeback in 2017. During his career he won fifteen major world championships from super featherweight to light middleweight, including the Ring magazine title in five weight classes, the lineal championship in four weight classes (twice at welterweight), and retired with an undefeated record. As an amateur, Mayweather won a bronze medal in the featherweight division at the 1996 Olympics, three U.S. Golden Gloves championships (at light flyweight, flyweight, and featherweight), and the U.S. national championship at featherweight.
Naoya Inoue (井上 尚弥, Inoue Naoya, born 10 April 1993) is a Japanese professional boxer. He is a three-division world champion and currently a unified bantamweight world champion, having held the WBA (Super), IBF, and Ring magazine titles since 2019. He previously held the WBO junior-bantamweight title from 2014 to 2018, and the WBC light-flyweight title in 2014.
Josh James William Taylor (born 2 January 1991) is a Scottish professional boxer. He is the undisputed light-welterweight champion, having held the WBA (Super), IBF, and Ring magazine titles since 2019 and the WBC and WBO titles after defeating José Ramírez in May 2021. At regional level, he held the Commonwealth light-welterweight title from 2016 to 2017, and as an amateur, he won a silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and gold at the 2014 edition. He is one of only 6 men to be a unified four belt world champion.
George Kambosos Jr. (born 14 June 1993) is an Australian professional boxer who has held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and The Ring lightweight titles since 2021.
Tyson Luke Fury (born 12 August 1988) is a British professional boxer. He is a two-time world heavyweight champion, having held the WBC and The Ring magazine titles since defeating Deontay Wilder in 2020; previously he held the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and The Ring titles after defeating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. With his defeat of Wilder, Fury became the third heavyweight, after Floyd Patterson and Muhammad Ali, to hold The Ring magazine title twice, and is widely considered by media outlets to be the lineal heavyweight champion. As of November 2021, Fury is ranked as the world’s best active heavyweight by ESPN, the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB), and BoxRec, as well as the third-best active boxer, pound for pound, by BoxRec, fourth by ESPN, and seventh by the TBRB and the Boxing Writers Association of America.