The last line of defense for a boxer is the durability of his mandible. Here are the 12 best chins in boxing history, the men who faced the heaviest artillery but rarely, if ever, went down. And never took the count.
12. Carlos Monzon: One of the toughest of middleweight champs, the Argentinian had 100 bouts and was down only once, courtesy of a Rodrigo Valdez right cross in “Escopeta’s” final fight.
11. William ‘Gorilla’ Jones: In 144 bouts, Jones was off his feet a single time, courtesy of great middleweight champion Freddie Steele.
10. Carmen Basilio: The rugged “Onion Farmer” was on the canvas just once in 79 fights against some of the best welterweights and middleweights in boxing history. When he narrowly beat Robinson in their first epic battle, it was reported he “shook off punches that would have knocked down a horse.”
9. Panama Al Brown: This great bantamweight champion was knocked down on a single occasion in a grand total of 168 bouts. ‘Nuff said.
7. Pancho Villa: 104 contests in the ultra-competitive 1920’s — never knocked down.
6. Muhammad Ali: What champion ever faced more heavy artillery? Liston, Foreman, Frazier, Bonavena, Norton, Lyle, and maybe the hardest puncher in boxing history, Earnie Shavers — all tested Ali’s chin. As Frazier said after their third battle: “Man, I hit him with punches that’d bring down the walls of a city.”
4. Marvelous Marvin Hagler: Hagler was the best middleweight in the world for almost a full decade and a host of terrific punchers could not put him down. Tasted the canvas only once, on a bogus knockdown to Juan Roldan.
3. Jake LaMotta: 106 fights, hit the deck on just one occasion. Fought Ray Robinson six times, and even the great Sugarman couldn’t put The Bronx Bull down.
2. Kid Gavilan: Against the likes of Ralph Jones, Beau Jack, Tommy Bell, Ike Williams, Carmen Basilio, and of course the great Sugar Ray Robinson, Gavilan proved his chin rock hard. Knocked down just twice in 143 bouts.
1. George Chuvalo: 93 fights in the most competitive heavyweight division in history. Took the best from Ali, Foreman, Frazier, Patterson, Bonavena, Quarry, Yvon Durelle and Cleveland Williams, among others. Amazingly, he was never off his feet.
Honorable Mentions: Rocky Marciano, Julio Cesar Chavez, Randall “Tex” Cobb, Juan LaPorte, Oliver McCall, Salvador Sanchez, Sugar Ray Robinson, Marion Wilson, Oscar Bonavena, Harry Greb, James Toney, Johnny Risko, Juan Manuel Marquez, Jack Dempsey, Joe Grim.