According to the latest research, roughly ten percent of the human population is left-handed. This presents few problems for the other ninety percent, but in boxing, those problems become very serious indeed. In the past it was common for orthodox boxers to simply refuse to face “lefties,” which led to many a natural southpaw being converted to a right-handed stance. Thus, the number of great southpaw champions has always been small. Here we rank the greatest southpaws to ever lace up the gloves.
12. Marvin Johnson: Two-time light-heavyweight champ and one of the most exciting fighters of the 70’s and 80’s. Defeated Mate Parlov, Victor Galindez, Charles Williams and Leslie Stewart. His thrilling wars with Matthew Saad Muhammad are ring classics.
11. Joe Calzaghe: Retired undefeated with 22 world title wins, including victories over Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins and Mikkel Kessler.
10. Khaosai Galaxy: The hard-punching Galaxy scored 43 knockouts in 49 wins while dominating the super-flyweight division from 1984 to 1991.
9. Gabriel Elorde: One of the greatest of the great Filipino boxers, “Flash” Elorde was a long-reigning champion boasting wins over Sandy Saddler, Harold Gomes and Ismael Laguna.
8. Freddie Miller: Featherweight champion in the 1930’s, Miller notched victories over Petey Sarron, Baby Arizmendi, Chalky Wright, Panama Al Brown and Freddie Cochrane.
7. Vicente Saldivar: Arguably the finest featherweight of the 1960s, Saldivar defeated such top-notch talents as Sugar Ramos, Howard Winstone and Jose Legra.
6. Lew Tendler: Generally considered one of the greatest boxers of all-time to never win a world title, Tendler had the misfortune to compete in the lightweight division at the same time as the great Benny Leonard. Gave “The Ghetto Wizard” two of his toughest fights while also notching wins over Richie Mitchell, Rocky Kansas and Johnny Dundee.
5. Young Corbett III: With 124 victories to his credit, many against some of the greatest boxers of all-time, Corbett remains a true southpaw great. Avoided by champions for years, he finally seized the welterweight crown by defeating Jackie Fields. He holds wins over fellow greats Ceferino Garcia, Gus Lesnevich, Mickey Walker, Billy Conn and Fred Apostoli.
4. Manny Pacquiao: One of the dominant boxers of his time, Pacquiao has won ten world titles in eight divisions and defeated such champions as Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar DeLaHoya, Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto and Timothy Bradley.
3. Tiger Flowers: Competing with Mickey Walker and Harry Greb when both were in their primes automatically sets Flowers apart. He gave Greb two tough battles and his loss to Walker was widely viewed as a robbery. Racked up an incredible 118 wins in less than a decade.
2. Marvelous Marvin Hagler: Hagler was a dominant middleweight for a full decade. Avoided by the champions of his time, he finally won the world title in 1980 and held it for over six years, defeating, among others, Vito Antuefermo, Alan Minter, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and John Mugabi, as he tallied 62 victories in 67 bouts.
1. Pernell Whitaker: Arguably the finest boxer, pound-for-pound, of the 1990’s, “Sweet Pea” won world titles in four divisions and did not suffer a truly legitimate defeat until he was 35-years-old. One of the greatest defensive boxers of all-time, he boasts victories (official or unofficial) over such excellent fighters as Freddie Pendleton, Azumah Nelson, Jose Luis Ramirez, James McGirt, and of course, Julio Cesar Chavez.
Honourable Mentions: Jiro Watanabe, Duilio Loi, Cornelius Boza-Edwards, Mark Johnson, Hilario Zapata, Rolando Navarette, Winky Wright, Lou Brouillard, Melio Bettina, Al McCoy, Jose Luis Ramirez, Rafael Limon, Yoko Gushiken, Ayub Kalule, Hector Camacho, Antonio Tarver, Daniel Zaragoza, Sergio Martinez, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Michael Moorer, Zab Judah, Johnny Wilson, Naseem Hamed.