To be successful in professional boxing, while keeping marketability and skill in mind, one must possess a key attribute: longevity. Not just longevity for 12 rounds, but the longevity to be at the peak of your powers for as many fights as possible. These six champions have proven their ability to always have what it takes come fight night, and had the most consecutive title defenses in history.
6. Bernard Hopkins
After losing to Roy Jones by unanimous decision in 1993, Hopkins was not going to let a second chance go wasted. After originally fighting to a draw in 1993, Hopkins defeated Felix Trinidad in 1995 to become Middleweight Champion. B-Hop then successfully defended his belt 20 times, before finally losing at age 40 to Jermain Taylor by split decision in 2005.
5. Gennady Golovkin
When you think of modern boxing greats, "GGG" certainly pops up quickly in the mind. After knocking out Milton Nunez for the WBA Middleweight championship, Golovkin defended his belt 20 consecutive times before famously losing by majority decision to Canelo Alvarez in 2018.
4. Joe Calzaghe
"The Pride of Wales," as Joe Calzaghe was known, terrorized the super middleweight class in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His inaugural title came in 1995 against Stephen Wilson with an eighth-round KO. Calzaghe then went on to defend his belt 21 more times before moving up to light heavyweight in 2008 and eventually relinquishing his titles in retirement having never once lost a professional fight.
3. Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez is the lightest fighter on this list, fighting at strawweight and light flyweight from 1985 to 2001. "El Finito" won his first title in 1990 against Hideyuki Ohashi with an eighth-round KO finish. The Mexican then defended his belt 21 successive times, before moving up a weight class in 1999 and vacating his belt.
2. Dariusz Michalczewski
Michalczewski was a Polish boxer who possessed a ton of power. The "Tiger" ruled the upper weight-classes in the 90s and early 2000s. Michalczewski captured his first organizational title in 1994, defeating Leeonzer Barber for the WBO light heavyweight title. The "Tiger" defended that title 23 consecutive times, before losing in 2003 to Julio Gonzalez by split decision.
1. Joe Louis
There was no one in history better at defending titles without faltering than the legendary Joe Louis. "The Brown Bomber" began his reign in 1937, after defeating James Braddock by knockout to become the heavyweight world champion. Louis would then go on to defend his title an improbable 26 straight times. The record-setting streak was finally brought to a halt in 1950, nearly 13 years after it began. Louis lost to Ezzard Charles by unanimous decision after 15 rounds of battle.