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The only elite prizefighter to remain undefeated in 15 years?

Joe “The Italian Dragon” Calzaghe went to win all 46 bouts (32 by knockouts) in his 15-year professional boxing career before he decided to hang up the gloves. In the process, Calzaghe nabbed all four major alphabet titles (IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO) in the super middleweight division and faced elite opposition that included former and current world champions like Roy Jones, Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Chris Eubank, Mikkel Kessler, Sakio Bika, and Jeff Lacy.

Mexican ring legend and Hall-of-Famer Ricardo Lopez boasts of a better record than Calzaghe. Lopez, whose 16-year boxing career flourished from 1985 to 2001, won 51 bouts out 52, 38 by knockouts. The draw with Rosendo Alvarez in March 1998 is the only spot in an otherwise storied career. Lopez would score a split decision win over Alvarez seven months later. During his streak, Lopez won the WBA, WBC, and WBO minimumweight and the IBF light flyweight titles.

Rocky Marciano (right) lands a right hook on Jersey Joe Walcott

To say that apart from Floyd Mayweather, Jr., “no other elite boxer in history has remained undefeated for 15 years” is ridiculous and absurd.

The statement came from Mayweather’s lawyer, Mark G. Tratos, who represents the former world champion and ex pound-for-pound top dog in his legal battle against Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao over the former’s alleged defamatory acts, including Mayweather’s accusations that Pacquiao supposedly took performance-enhancing drugs to aid him in his recent ring battles.

Other better “undefeateds

Like him or hate him, the late Edwin Valero was an entertaining pug who never got the chance to reach the peak of his career and abilities. The former super featherweight and lightweight world champion from Venezuela, however, managed to leave behind a legacy that is hard to replicate – 100% win rate coupled with 100% knockout rate. The Venezuelan power puncher registered a 27-0 slate, with all 27 opponents kissing the canvas. And stayed there.

Speaking of undefeated boxers, it is a sin not to include Rocky Marciano in the conversation. The late heavyweight champion of the world remains to be the only pugilist in the heavyweight division to call it quits with a pristine record of 49-0, with 42 fights won by stoppage. That’s eight more fights than Mayweather. Oh, Rocky also did all that in a span of eight years, from 1947 to 1955.

Photo credits: American Memorabilia

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.