Which heavyweight champion fought the most tomato cans during his reign, and who fought the least?
Off the top of my head, I say Patterson fought the most tomato cans. He and Cus purposely ducked Sonny Liston for 4-5 years and fought everyone they could find elsewhere, although some of Floyd’s challengers were somewhat decent at best, like Hurricane Jackson and Tom McNeely.
I think that overall, Evander Holyfield fought the least amount of tomato cans. Once Evander made it to the championship level, he stayed there. No matter how many losses, retirements, steroid controversies, etc, Holyfield was almost always within one fight or so from a title shot. He was a top contender from 1990 onward. Even as late as 2011, he would have gotten title opportunities if the Klitschkos didn’t outright refuse to fight him.
Honorable mention to Joe Frazier who generally beat up or fought the top guys, but during his title reign he took easy fights. Terry Daniel was a young college student who tried boxing (Joe even bought him some textbooks) and Ron Stander was far from championship material but Joe fought him anyway. Joe even thought Foreman would be a tomato can. He had never even seen Foreman fight before! He was expecting another easy left hook knockout. George may have been inexperienced at the time but he was strong, as Frazier found out. But honestly I think Joe purposely took easy fights as champ to avoid Ali as punishment for all of his trash talking. He refused to fight him for a few years and by the time they fought again, Joe had already dropped the title.
Ali and Louis both fought great competition but took easy fights sometimes as well. Brian London, Chuck Wepner, and a few others for Ali, and Johnny Paycheck, Lee Savold and other unrecognizable names for Louis.