4. Joe Louis
Division: Heavyweight (175+)
Years Active: 1934-1951
Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis held the world heavyweight title for an unprecedented 12 years between 1937 and 1949. His 25 straight title defenses is also a record. He was ranked No. 1 on Ring‘s “Greatest Punchers” list.
However, even more significant than his impact in the ring was his social impact. The good, hardworking Louis was also the first African-American to legitimately become a cultural hero to mainstream America.
During the late ’30s and early ’40s, during the Nazi era, Louis became a shining example of America’s social, cultural and athletic superiority. His 1938 rematch win over Max Schmeling was possibly the most culturally significant moment in boxing history.
(source: bleacherreport.com by Dave Carlson)