Top 10 Worst Heavyweight Title Challengers from 1970-1990

As is evident by my title, my original plan was to rank the worst heavyweights from 1970 until the present day, however after considering what has transpired over the last twenty years in heavyweight boxing, my course changed, and I decided only to consider the first 20-year period of my life from 1970-1990 when being World Heavyweight Champion truly meant something.

So here goes, and before anyone starts complaining, this list relates only to true heavyweight championship fights. So let me make this clear from the outset - I am only considering true heavyweight title fights.

10) Joe Roman

Roman was knocked out early in his career by Jack Bodell but won numerous other bouts against Terry Daniels and Chuck Wepner and beat Jack O'Halloran twice before encountering George Foreman, who easily dispatched him in round one.

9) Chuck Wepner

(commonly referred to as "The Original Rocky") wasn't a terrible fighter before taking on Muhammad Ali for the title fight in 1971. Wepner held some notable wins such as the decision win over Manuel Ramos but lost by stoppage against Sonny Liston in round 9. Wepner then suffered defeat against young Joe Bugner and Jerry Judge before beating Randy Neuman twice out of three matches before beating an aged Ernie Terrell.. Wepner will probably never see another title fight with "The Greatest", yet many worse fighters got title shots over two years compared with Wepner. Wepner achieved prominence through his stunt of stepping on Ali's foot and then falsely claiming he knocked him down - Ali won via 15th round stoppage.

8) Terry Daniels

Daniels had an overall record of 35-30, though many of those losses occurred after attempting to take Joe Frazier's title away. Daniels first loss came against Tony Doyle; then in 1971 against an old Floyd Patterson by unanimous decision when Daniels was virtually shut out does not indicate him as being worthy of title contention. Manuel Ramos gave him a hard-fought decision win. At the same time, in his three fights leading up to a title shot he suffered an unexpected TKO loss to Jack O'Halloran and then two nondescript victories over Sonny Moore and Ted Gullick - before Joe Frazier made history by knocking Daniels down five times before stopping him with an impressive fourth round stoppage! No betting line existed for that fight!

7) Lucien Rodriguez

Rodriguez gained the most notoriety for going the ten-round distance with Michael Dokes in 1980. Other than this loss, he split four fights with Alfredo Evangelista and beat Jean Pierre Coopman twice before getting an opportunity to fight Larry Holmes' NBC Sportsworld in 1983 - where one of the worst heavyweight title fights you will ever witness took place - as Rodriguez grabbed, held and ran away throughout all 12 rounds before ultimately losing in a unanimous decision to Holmes.

6) Marvis Frazier

Frazier earned himself an opportunity at Larry Holmes' title through two slightly impressive decision wins against James Broad and Joe Bugner, with Frazier's last name earning him this opportunity. Unfortunately for Marvis, Larry quickly ended it within one round, although not sanctioned by WBC at this time.

5) Lorenzon Zanon

Zanon had such an eventful career he should have been known by another name - Yo-yo! Although he earned two wins against Alfredo Evangelista, his best-known achievements came at being knocked out repeatedly by Ken Norton and Jerry Quarry, eventually getting his shot against Larry Holmes at Caesar's Palace where, to no surprise whatsoever, he was knocked down three times on route to being defeated 6th round KO victim by Larry Holmes in 1980.

4) Richard Dunn

Dunn was a domestic level heavyweight fighter from Great Britain whose primary opponent was 9-4 Jimmy Young who knocked Dunn cold. By some miracle, this domestic fighter managed to get in with Muhammad Ali - it wasn't pretty; an older Ali knocked Dunn down five times before scoring an incredible knockout victory with one punch in round 5. That knockout would become Ali's final win of his career.

3) Jean Pierre Coopman

Coopman was stopped by Rudi Lubbers, and his biggest win was a DQ win against Joe Frazier victim Terry Daniels before making an unsuccessful bid at Muhammad Ali's title fight, in which Coopman mercifully submitted in five rounds and Ali mercifully stopped Coopman with an early knockout victory; later Ali stated it should not be considered as anything special as Coopman had not been an impressive opponent.

2) Scott Frank

Scott Frank earned himself the opportunity to fight Larry Holmes due to his complexion. His most notable win was beating an elderly Chuck Wepner; another accomplishment of note for him was drawing with Renaldo Snipes -- though that fight ended badly for Frank anyway. Holmes toyed with Frank relentlessly, beating him from head to foot until the fight was halted and acting like everything was fine after it ended while Frank actually wasn't. Nobody has heard from him since.

1) Steffen Tangstad

Tangstad held victories over Alfredo Evangelista, Lucien Rodriguez and Joe Bugner at his prime; all were past their prime. Unfortunately for Tangstad though he was knocked out in four rounds by 10-2-1 Anders Eklund and narrowly managed a win against 7-3-2 John Westgarth before challenging Michael Spinks for his heavyweight crown in September 1986 when being put on ice, dropping three times before eventually succumbing. Tangstad never fought again!

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