Winning multiple world titles in boxing was a little harder several decades ago as there were just eight different weight divisions in the sport. Today there are 18 weight classes mainly due to the introduction of junior and super divisions as well the cruiserweight class. Some four-division champs have achieved the feat by gaining just 10 lbs between weight classes while others have had to bulk up by at least 40 lbs.
The list below consists of the top 16 boxers to win at least four major world or lineal championships in different weight classes throughout their careers. Major world titles are those sanctioned by the IBF, WBO, WBC, and WBA. There have been several other boxers to win four or more different weight classes, but these include fringe titles from organizations such as the IBO, WBF, WBU, and NBA.
Before getting underway, we’ll list the current divisions and their weight limits: Jr. Minimumweight (102 lbs), Minimumweight (105), Light Flyweight (108), Flyweight (112), Super Flyweight (115), Bantamweight (118), Super Bantamweight (122), Featherweight (126), Super Featherweight (130), Lightweight (135), Super Lightweight (140), Welterweight (147), Super Welterweight (154), Middleweight (160), Super Middleweight (168), Light Heavyweight (175), Cruiserweight (200) and Heavyweight (unlimited).
16. Leo Gamez
Leo Gamez is probably the least unknown boxer listed here as the native of Venezuela fought in the lower weight classes. Gamez won four WBA World Titles in total at minimumweight, light flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight. Gamez’s four titles were separated by just 10 lbs, but that was about 10 per cent of his body weight. He fought from 1985 to 2005 with a record of 35-12-1 along with 26 Kos. However, six of his losses came in his last nine bouts. Gamez became the first flyweight boxer in history to win titles in four different weight classes. He attempted to make it five, but was beaten by WBA Champion Johnny Bredhal by unanimous decision when he tried to win a bantamweight crown in 2002.
15. Jorge Arce
Mexico’s Jorge Arce was another four-time world champion in the lighter divisions as he won WBO World Belts as a light flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight and super bantamweight. He was also the Lineal Light Flyweight Champion and the interim WBC Flyweight Champion. Arce’s titles were spread out over 14 lbs weight difference. He was the second Mexican to win championships in four different divisions after Erik Morales. Arce fought from 1996 to 2014 and was a five-time world champion in total, winning the light flyweight title when he was just 19. Arce also tried to win a fifth belt, but was stopped by Jhonny Gonzalez n the 11th round in a shot for the WBC Featherweight Championship in 2014. Arce retired after the bout with a record of 64-8-2 with 49 Kos and one no-contest.
14. Adrien Broner
Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner of Cincinnati, Ohio is one of the latest boxers to win world titles in four weight divisions as he achieved the feat in 2015. Broner became the second-youngest boxer to do it at age 25, behind Oscar De La Hoya who was 24. Broner has won the WBO Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight, WBA Super Lightweight, and Welterweight Titles. There has been a 17 lb weight gap between Broner’s belts and he won them all in a span of just under four years. Broner, who turned pro in 2008, has a current record of 33-2 with 24 Kos and one no-contest. The 27-year-old Broner is scheduled to meet undefeated current WBC Lightweight Champion Mikey Garcia (36-0, 30 Kos) in a junior welterweight bout in Brooklyn, New York on July 29th.
13. Roman Gonzalez
Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez is still considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world right now even though he lost his super flyweight title to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai by controversial majority decision in March. Like Leo Gamez, the 30-year-old native of Nicaragua has won world titles as a WBA Minimumweight, WBC Light Flyweight, Flyweight and Super Flyweight. Gonzalez turned pro in 2005 and was 46-0 with 38 Kos when he was upset by Rungvisai. However, he’ll get the chance to regain the WBC Super Flyweight Title when the two meet in a rematch in California on September 9th. Gonzalez is the first boxer from Nicaragua to win titles in four weight divisions as his idol, the late Alexis Arguello, won three different weight classes. Gonzalez is also the latest boxer to achieve the feat as he pulled it off last September.
12. Nonito Donaire
Known as the Filipino Flash, Nonito Donaire is destined to always live in the shadow of fellow countryman Manny Pacquiao. He’s also been based in the USA for most of his career as well. The 34-year-old has won the IBF Flyweight, WBC Bantamweight, WBO and Lineal Super Bantamweight and WBA Featherweight Titles between 2007 and 2014. There has been a 14 lb weight difference between Donaire’s titles and he also beat fellow four-weight champion Jorge Arce by third-round knockout in 2012. However, he lost his WBO Super Bantamweight Title by unanimous decision to Jessie Magdaleno in his last outing in November, 2016. Donaire still has a fine record of 37-4 with 24 Kos. Altogether, Donaire has won seven world titles from the four main sanctioning bodies and has also held the lesser-regarded IBO Flyweight Title and WBA Interim Super Flyweight Crown.
11. Miguel Cotto
The one and only Puerto Rican boxer to win world belts in four different weight classes is 36-year-old Miguel Cotto. He turned pro back in 2001 after competing at the 2000 Olympics and has won the following championships: WBO Super Lightweight, WBA Welterweight, WBA Super welterweight and the WBC and Lineal Middleweight. Cotto achieved the feat from 2004 to 2014 with a weight difference of 20 lbs between titles. His current record stands at 40-5 with 33 Kos and Cotto is scheduled to meet Yoshiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO Jr. Middleweight Title in California on August 26th. Cotto defended his titles a combined 12 times and has taken on the best of his era. His five losses have been against world champions Antonio Margarito, Canelo Alvarez, Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
10. Juan Manuel Marquez
He’s still contemplating another fight, but if Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez retires now at the age of 43 he’ll do so with a record of 56-7-1 with 40 Kos since turning pro in 1993. He also went 82-4 as an amateur with 72 Kos. Marquez has been a WBA, IBF Featherweight, WBC Super Featherweight, Lineal, WBA and WBO Lightweight, and WBO Super Lightweight Champion. Marquez won his titles between 2003 and 2012 with a weight differential of 14 lbs between them. He’s the third Mexican to achieve the feat after Erik Morales and Jorge Arce and has won a total of seven world belts. Marquez is well known for his four fights against Manny Pacquiao as well as battles with Floyd Mayweather Jr., Marco Antonio Barrera, Joel Casamayor, Timothy Bradley and Orlando Salido.
9. Erik Morales
The first Mexican boxer to win world championships in four weight divisions was the great Erik Morales. He achieved the feat between 1997 and 2011 when he won the WBC Super Bantamweight, Featherweight, Super Featherweight and Super Lightweight Titles. There was 16 lbs difference between Morales’ championships and he also won the IBF Super Featherweight Crown. He managed to beat 15 world champions during his career from 1993 and 2012 and retired with a record of 52-9 with 36 Kos with eight of his nine defeats came in his last 13 fights. Morales fought trilogies with Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera and also met the likes of Danny Garcia, Jesus Chavez and Marcos Maidana. Morales is rightly regarded as one of the finest and most exciting Mexicans in boxing history.
8. Pernell Whitaker
Pernell ‘Sweet Pea’ Whitaker was a gold-medal winner at the 1984 Olympics and then fought pro from 1984 to 2001. He had a fine record of 40-4-1 with one no-contest and 17 Kos and went 201-13 as an amateur with 91 Kos. Whitaker won his world titles at WBA, IBF, WBC and Lineal Lightweight, IBF Super Lightweight, WBC and Lineal Welterweight, and WBA Super Welterweight. His belts came between 1989 and 1995 with 19 lbs between them. Whitaker’s power didn’t travel with him from amateur to pro, but he was widely regarded as an excellent defensive boxer with smooth-as-silk skills. He took on the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad, Buddy McGirt, Julio Cesar Chavez, Greg Haugen and Azumah Nelson.
7. Oscar De La Hoya
The youngest boxer to win four different world titles was Oscar De La Hoya of Los Angeles. His fourth belt came at 24 when he beat Pernell Whitaker for the WBC and Lineal Welterweight Titles in 1997. He won the WBO Super Featherweight Crown in 1994, added the WBO Lightweight Title in 1995 and the WBC and Lineal Super Lightweight Titles in 1996. However, he wasn’t finished there as De La Hoya would go on to win the WBC and Lineal Super Welterweight Titles as well as the WBO and Lineal Middleweight Crowns for championships in six different divisions by 2004. In total, De La Hoya won 10 belts in six weight classes and met fellow four-time champs Whitaker, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. along the way. De La Hoya, who’s known as The Golden Boy, turned pro in 1992 after winning a gold medal as a lightweight at that year’s Olympics. He fought until 2009 with a record of 39-6 with 30 Kos and four of his losses coming in his last seven fights.
6. Roberto Duran
Known as ‘Manos de Piedra’ in Spanish and ‘Hands of Stone’ in English, the legendary Roberto Duran of Panama would lose to four-division champs Tommy Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. But he also beat Leonard on his way to four different world titles. Duran managed to capture the WBA, WBC and Lineal Lightweight, WBC and Lineal Welterweight, WBA Super welterweight and WBC Middleweight Titles. He might have won two more weight divisions, but lost in attempts to win a super middleweight title and basically skipped over the super lightweight division. However, he did win a minor NBA Title at super middleweight. Duran fought pro from1968 to 2001 to become just the second boxer behind Jack Johnson to compete in five different decades. He took on the world’s best with a record of 103-16 with 70 Kos.
5. Roy Jones Jr.
Those with less determination than Roy Jones Jr. may not have succeeded as a professional boxer after being clearly robbed of the gold medal at the Olympics. Jones carried on though and is still fighting today at the age of 48 after turning pro right after winning the super welterweight silver medal at the 1988 Games in Seoul. The native of Pensacola, Florida, who is also a Russian citizen, has a record of 65-9 with 47 Kos. Jones is a six-time world champion in four different weight divisions. He won the IBF Middleweight, IBF Super Middleweight, WBA, IBF and WBC Light heavyweight and WBA Heavyweight Titles between 1993 and 2003 with 40 lbs difference between the weight classes. In fact, Jones is the only boxer ever to begin his career at junior middleweight and eventually win a heavyweight championship. He was also the first middleweight champion to go on to win a heavyweight belt in 106 years. Jones did also win a title at cruiserweight but it was the minor WBU version.
4. Sugar Ray Leonard
1976 super lightweight Olympic gold-medal winner Sugar Ray Leonard of Wilmington North Carolina went on to win world championships in five different weight classes. Leonard fought as a pro from 1977 to 1997 with a record of 36-3-1 with 25 Kos. Two of his losses and the draw came in his last four fights. Leonard fought two other members of this list as he won and lost against Roberto Duran and won and drew against Tommy Hearns. He also beat greats such as Marvin Hagler and Wilfredo Benitez. Leonard won the WBA, WBC Welterweight, WBA Super Middleweight and the WBC Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight Titles between 1979 and 1988 with 28 lbs between weight classes. He was also the Lineal Welterweight, Super Welterweight, and Middleweight Champion at one time.
3. Tommy Hearns
Thomas Hearns, nicknamed both the ‘Hitman’ and ‘Motor City Cobra’, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but fought out of the famous Kronk Gym in Detroit. Hearns fought professionally from 1977 to 2006 and compiled a record of 61-5-1 with 48 Kos. He won world titles in five different weight classes between 1980 and 1988 as he captured the WBA Welterweight, WBA Super Welterweight, WBC Middleweight, WBO Super Middleweight and WBC Light Heavyweight belts with 28 lbs between divisions. He was the first boxer to win titles in four and then five different divisions and then also won minor WBU and IBO Titles at cruiserweight. Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard won their titles in the same divisions, but Hearns went straight from junior middleweight to light heavyweight champion before coming back down in weight to win middleweight and super middleweight crowns. Hearns lost and drew to Leonard and destroyed Roberto Duran when he met fellow four-time champs.
2. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
When it comes to major world titles in boxing, undefeated 40-year-old Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. of Grand Rapids Michigan has racked up five of them. Mayweather turned pro in 1996 after winning a bronze medal as a featherweight at the Olympics that year. Since turning pro, Mayweather has taken on the cream of the crop in his era and is currently 49-0 with 26 Kos. He’s aiming to go 50-0 when he meets Conor McGregor of the UFC in a boxing match on August 26th. Mayweather has won the Lineal and WBC Super Featherweight, Lineal and WBC Lightweight, WBC Super Lightweight, IBF, WBC and Lineal Welterweight and WBC and Lineal Super Welterweight Championships. He achieved the feat between 1998 and 2007 with 24 lbs between titles. Mayweather has beaten both Manny Pacquiao and Oscar De La Hoya from this list.
1. Manny Pacquiao
So far, there’s been just one man in history to win world titles in eight different divisions and that’s 38-year-old Manny ‘Pac Man’ Pacquiao of the Philippines. Pacquiao has won titles between 112 and 154 lbs for a weight difference 42 lbs. However, he could have won belts in 10 divisions if he didn’t skip over the super flyweight and the bantamweight classes. Pacquiao has been a WBC and Lineal Flyweight, IBF Super Bantamweight, Lineal Featherweight, WBC and Lineal Super Featherweight, WBC Lightweight, Lineal Super Lightweight, WBO and Lineal Welterweight and WBC Super Welterweight Champion. Pacquiao achieved his amazing feat between 1998 and 2010 and his current pro record is 59-7-2 with 38 Kos since turning pro in 1995. He’s faced Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Juan Manuel Marquez and Floyd Mayweather from this list with two wins and a loss against Morales, a win over De La Hoya, two wins, a draw and a loss against Marquez, and a loss to Mayweather. Pacquiao has won 11 major world titles in total and is the only boxer to win the Lineal Championship in five divisions. He’s also just the third man to win major world championships three in of boxing’s original eight weight classes at flyweight, featherweight and welterweight.