Home Boxing 101 Best of a Nation Top 5 Best Caribbean Fighters

Top 5 Best Caribbean Fighters

Best Boxers from the Caribbean

Take a look at the top 5 boxers in history from the Caribbean. Many great fighters in the sport’s history hail from some of the Caribbean islands outside of boxing powerhouses like Cuba and the Puerto Rico, which of course each merit their own respective lists.

  1. Emile Griffith (Career: 1958-1977): Virgin Islander was the best to ever come out of the Caribbean, winning titles at welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight. Beat Benny Paret for the welterweight belt, lost it to Paret, then knocked out Paret to win his title back in a bout that tragically cost Paret his life and probably put a dent into the fighting spirit of Griffith. Reigned as 147-pound kingpin until 1966, beating greats like Gaspar Ortega, Ralph Dupas, and Luis Rodriguez (three times). Won Middleweight crown from Hall Of Famer Dick Tiger, beat clever Joey Archer twice, and then lost the title to 71-1 Nino Benvenuti. Beat Benvenuti in the rematch, lost the rubber match, and then went on to contend at 160 for almost another decade.
  2. Mike McCallum (Career: 1981-1997): A somewhat-overlooked mega-talent and one of the best bodypunchers of all-time. 1976 Jamaican Olympian was a peer of Leonard, Hearns, Hagler, and Duran, but was locked out of those big matchups. He still forged on, eventually compiling a compelling resume. Became the best 154-pounder of the decade with knockouts over 35-1 David Braxton, 29-0 Julian Jackson, 31-1-1 Milton McCrory, and 27-1 Donald Curry. Beat 41-1 Herol Graham for a vacant 160-pond belt in 1989 and defended it against Steve Collins and Michael Watson, before avenging his only loss by beating Sumbu Kalambay. Fought to a draw and majority decision loss in a pair of 160-pound title fights with James Toney and added a belt at light heavyweight by beating WBC Champion Jeff Harding in 1994. Never stopped.
  3. Be sure to check out the rest of our Boxing: The Best of a Nation series for more top 5 and 10 lists of the best boxers from different countries and locales.
  4. Simon Brown (Career: 1982-2000): An unmistakably great welterweight, if not an incredibly accomplished one. While the Jamaican never really booked the big fights at 147 despite a division roster booming in talent, still reigned for almost 4 years, defending belt 8 times. Wins included names Tyrone Trice (twice), Jorge Vaca, and Maurice Blocker. Was considered an afterthought after Buddy McGirt relieved him of his title in 1991, but Brown came back to shock high-flying Terry Norris by upset 4th-round knockout in 1993 in his biggest and final important win.
  5. Julian Jackson (Career: 1981-1998): One of the pound-for-pound hardest hitters in the history of the sport, Jackson was over-anxious as he tried to bomb out Mike McCallum in 1986, suffering a 2nd-round knockout. Rebounded to become a worthwhile 154-pound champ in his own right, knocking out 41-1 In-Chul Baek for the vacant WBA belt in 1987 and defending with crushing stoppages of Buster Drayton and Terry Norris. The Virgin Islander poleaxed Herol Graham for the WBC Middleweight Title in 1990, making 4 defenses before twice running into the fists of Gerald McClellan. When McClellan moved up, briefly reclaimed his belt by knocking out Italian Agostino Cardamone, before Quincy Taylor ended his run at the top in 1995.
  6. Peter Jackson (Career: 1882-1899): “The Black Prince” was one of the top heavyweight practitioners of the late-nineteenth century. Won the Australian Heavyweight Title, the “Colored Heavyweight Championship” against George Godfrey, and the Commonwealth title against Jem Smith. Also fought a 61-round no-contest with Gentleman Jim Corbett in 1891. Long denied the matches befitting a fighter of his worth due to the overt racism practiced in boxing during this period.

Hopefully you enjoyed our list of the best boxers from the Caribbean countries and locales besides the legendary boxing breeding grounds like Cuba and Puerto Rico. Some truly great names and champions on this list.