Top 10 American heavyweights: Who's the "best"?

Scott Heavey

American heavyweight boxing once mattered. Now it sucks. But here's the best of what we have to offer, inspired by a tweet from Tyson Fury.

The state of the American heavyweight division is awful. This is not new information to anyone who watches boxing or even thinks about it once a year, but sometimes it bears pointing out just how bad it's really become. There's a perfectly good case that there is no American heavyweight who is really among the top 10 in the world. And that's a real crying shame, and I won't go into football and basketball "stealing" some guys who might have otherwise become fighters, because that's well-worn territory.

What got me to casually thinking about this tonight was Tyson Fury saying of Deontay Wilder, "I see u like to kiss the ass of David haye! I have beat the best USA heavyweights! The rest r shit u have fought on1"

(I decided to leave the tweet unedited, for sake of personality accuracy. Fury later said, "u & haye r a pair of bitch ass pussy boys who I could beat together on same night!")

Now the first quote is the relevant quote here, such as it were. Fury says he's beaten the best U.S. heavyweights. This isn't exactly true, but the question is, how untrue is it? Is there at least an argument that what he's saying is valid enough to matter?

Maybe. So I came up with the idea to, for the sake of discussion, rank the 10 best American heavyweights. Fury has beaten Steve Cunningham and Kevin Johnson. Then after I mentioned it, Ryan Bivins offered to jump in, too. Now we're here.

Here's Ryan's top 10:

  1. Malik Scott
  2. Tony Thompson
  3. Johnathon Banks
  4. Steve Cunningham
  5. Chris Arreola
  6. Deontay Wilder
  7. Bryant Jennings
  8. Amir Mansour
  9. Joe Hanks
  10. Kevin Johnson

And here's mine:

  1. Tony Thompson
  2. Johnathon Banks
  3. Malik Scott
  4. Steve Cunningham
  5. Deontay Wilder
  6. Bryant Jennings
  7. Chris Arreola
  8. Seth Mitchell
  9. Amir Mansour
  10. Joe Hanks

There are mild disagreements here, but that's about it. I think very, very little of Kevin Johnson -- I don't deny that he has the ability to be here (and higher than sneaking in, too), but he doesn't use that ability. He was a statue against Vitali Klitschko and Tyson Fury. There's only so much that can be said for unused reach and jab, and having the ability to hold your gloves up, at least in my view.

Anyway, the point is, I don't think Tyson Fury's statement is really all that crazy. And even if it's not 100% accurate, would you be confident picking any of these guys to beat him?

Maybe it's not "I've beat the best USA heavyweights" that really matters, or even "the rest r shit." It might be mostly that they all r shit, and that unless Deontay Wilder delivers, the shittiness will not soon subside.

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