Photo by Manny Millan/SI

The 1990s are widely considered to be one of the greatest decades of boxing.

Harboring legends like Bernard Hopkins, Pernell Whitaker, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., Felix Trinidad, and Oscar De La Hoya, numerous divisions were in constant contention for their titles.

The pound for pound title was held by numerous different fighters throughout the 90s.

If you were born in the 90s, continue reading to see who ruled the boxing world the year you were born.


1990-1992: Julio Cesar Chavez

Photo by Ken Levine/All sports/ Getty Images

Julio Cesar Chavez sr. had an incredible year in 1990. Fighting a staggering five times, he book-ended the year by knocking out Meldrick Taylor in the 1990 fight of the year, then Kyung-Duk Ahn.

1991 was identical to the previous year for Chavez. The Mexican legend fought five more times in the year, knocking out four and causing Ignacio Perdomo to quit on his stool.

As if fighting ten times in two years wasn’t enough, Chavez fought six times in 1992. He remained consistent, winning every fight in the year with five knockouts and a dominating UD victory over Hector “Macho” Camacho.


1993-1995: Pernell Whitaker

Photo by: Bob Daemmrich/AFP/Getty Images

Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker is one of the greatest defensive fighters of all time, absolutely dominating the lightweight division before moving up to welterweight in 1993. Until his move up to welterweight, Whitaker sat at a bitter 2nd place in the pound for pound rankings under Julio Cesar Chavez.

In ’93 however, Whitaker stormed the Welterweight division with fury, taking the WBC strap from James McGirt, then immediately moving to Julio Cesar Chavez. The two pound for pound kings met in San Antonio in September of 1993.

Throughout the fight, Whitaker dominated Julio Cesar Chavez, winning in the eyes of the commentators, the crowd, and even Ring Magazine. The judges, however, scored the fight a draw, robbing Whitaker of his deserved victory.

He did fight well enough however, to overtake Chavez on the pound for pound list.

After the draw against Chavez, Whitaker bounced back immediately in 1994. He fought twice that year, defeating Santos Cardona by UD and then coming back from a second round knockdown by James McGirt to win by UD as well.

Whitaker opened 1995 in exciting fashion, moving up to super welterweight to face WBA champion Julio Cesar Vasquez. In the bout, Whitaker climbed up from a knockdown that was his own fault and went on to win a title in his fourth weight division.

Following Whitaker’s victory over Chavez, “Sweet Pea” fought twice more in ’95, defeating Gary Jacobs by UD before knocking out Jake Rodriguez.


1996 & 1999: Roy Jones Jr.

World Light Heavyweight Championship: Antonio Tarver v Roy Jones

Doug Benc/Getty Images Sport

1996-1999 were four of the most exciting years in boxing in the 1990s. Though he was dethroned in ’97 and ’99, Roy Jones Jr. was the most exciting fighter of the 90s in many boxing fans’ eyes.

In 1996, Roy Jones dispatched 4 opponents, taking three out before the final bell. Jones’ best performance of the year came in his first fight in the light heavyweight division, taking out Merqui Sosa in only 2 rounds.

1999 proved to be yet another successful year for Jones, as he took out two game contenders in Richard Frazier and Reggie Johnson. The bout against Johnson was one of the most historic of his career,as he became the first undisputed light heavyweight champion since Michael Spinks.


1997 & 1998: Oscar De La Hoya

Photo by Manny Millan/SI

Oscar “The Golden Boy” De La Hoya was the second reason the pound for pound battle from ’96 to ’99 was so exciting.

Along with being pound for pound king, De la Hoya was also the only fighter on this list to defeat other fighters on this list. Between the years 1996 and 1998, De la Hoya defeated both Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez.

In 1997, De La Hoya started the year strong, fighting five times. Bouncing off his first defeat of Chavez in ’96, The Golden Boy took out household names in ’97, including Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho, and Wilfredo Rivera.

1998 went similarly for De La Hoya. He fought only twice, but he took out both opponents in exciting fashion.

De la Hoya’s best performance of the year came in his second bout with Julio Cesar Chavez. He dominated the Mexican legend for eight rounds before Chavez quit on his stool in the 9th.

The only reason De La Hoya did not remain Pound for pound champ in 1999 was due to his loss to Felix Trinidad at the end of the year.

Header photo Rich Schultz/Getty Images