3. Sonny Liston
With a stony stare and a foreboding silence, just the look of Liston was enough to send you running for the hills. He marched his way to title contention with chilling stoppage victories over the likes of Zora Folley and Cleveland Williams.
Liston blitzed Floyd Patterson inside a round to claim the heavyweight title and did the exact same thing in the immediate rematch. The big brute had proven himself as not only world class, but a forced to be reckoned with.
When young upstart Cassius Clay (who would become known as Muhammad Ali) was handed an opportunity at Sonny, most feared for the health of the gangly youngster. As he would so often do, Clay dazzled the champion and “shook up the world,” forcing Liston to retire on his stool after six captivating rounds.