Hola, boxing fans. It has been a dark first quarter of the year in terms of sports and with our heroes falling like dominos it is always nice to manufacture some nostalgia and good debate.
The agenda today, ladies and gents, is the age-old debate of just who is the greatest. It is very difficult as I found out to name the greatest fighter of all time due to an array of interesting factors.
I initially wanted to do a piece on the No. 1 fighter all time pound for pound but after doing my research I concluded that in order to off set the difficulty of naming one man I have reformed my initial Plan and will now name the top 10 greatest fighters of all time.
Please don’t take my judgment lightly. I spent a combined 10 hours at an old friends house watching fight film going back to the Pf flyers and based on what I saw I compiled this very gaudy list.
Keep in mind fans that each fighter is being rated thus according to work done in their prime. I don’t want any dumb fans complaining that certain fighters have too many losses or fought too long.
These rankings are based on these men being in their primes and at the height of their powers. Another important component is the fighter’s best weight.
Within the eminent analysis you will find fighters that excelled in various weights, however, I have ranked them based on how they did in their premier division and I rank them against others who were great that fought in the same division. Dive in and enjoy try and keep the arguing to a minimum (=
10. ”Sugar” Shane Mosley Lightweight 46-5
The case can be made that Shane Mosley is the greatest lightweight that ever lived. He Went to war 34 times and emerged a winner all 34 times.
Shane today has tremendous power at welterweight, as evidenced by his recent shut down of you know who. His power at 135 pounds may be unmatched in the history of boxing.
Larry Merchant calls Shane the most physically dominant lightweight he has ever covered. I cannot go that far but the numbers do not lie.
He matches up with any lightweight who has ever laced them up, therefore he is easily one of the greatest fighters of all time due to the high profile patronage that has visited the division through out the years.
9. Larry Holmes Heavyweight 69-6
The numbers that Larry amassed in boxing’s greatest division are staggering. He made 20 title defenses, second only to Joe Louis. He fought anybody and everybody while ducking nobody.
Ernie Shavers, Ken Norton, Michael Spinks, looking at his record there is really no one of any relevance who DIDN’T fight Larry Holmes in the late '70s and early '80s.
He was the ultimate tactician. The Easton assassin had the full offensive kitchen. His Jab was numbing and his straight right was about as textbook as it gets.
He is shortchanged by history due to his reign being in the wake of ALI but he is truly one of the greatest Professional prize fighters of all time.
8. Joe Louis Heavyweight 69-3
I must say that I am basing this on what he did in the ring and not his impact on America or the African-American community. If that were the case then Joseph Barrow Louis would be number one.
The Brown Bomber was so very dominant during his reign as the champ of the world. He shattered the myth that Jack Johnson created that a black man could not be champion and be dignified. He had awesome power in both fists.
It was evident when he made Max S. shriek like a damsel in distress during their historic second tilt. It was evident when you see Billy Conn evaporate after a brown-spiced combination.
He is one of the top three greatest power punchers who ever lived. My only fault with him is that he seemed to have a suspect chin and sometimes fought down to his competition.
All in all though, it does not get much better then Joe due to his record as the longest tenured heavyweight champion in history.
7. Roberto Duran Lightweight 103-16
Manos de Piedra! I pontificated on whether Shane Mosley was the greatest lightweight of all time. However that is impossible to confirm, due to Roberto Duran and his sustained onslaught on the lightweight division in the 70s.
Physically in his prime was the most punishing fighters that ever lived. He was a tornado of a fighter, overwhelming his opponents with tact and speed. He also had a gung-ho attitude that made him even more dangerous.
He knew how to box, of course, but he actually preferred to fight. A high-class brawler if you will. He really does not have an equal outside of Sugar in the history of this division. He was Manny before there was Manny.
His career spanned 40 years and saw him take titles in 4 different weight classes. He is already a Hall of Famer and he can rest at night knowing that everyone considers him the greatest lightweight world champion...ever.
6. Jack Dempsey Heavyweight 66-6
Since this is not a popularity contest, I cannot rank the second most popular man in boxing history at No. 2. Instead, I would rather look at him, the fighter. The man I saw on tape was a straight monster.
He also had a swagger that made his power and aggression even that much more enhanced. He was in so many words, a white Mike Tyson.
He held the title for seven years, and I know there was inactivity during that tenure, but his dominance of the heavyweight division cannot be refuted or ignored. I guess it helps him a little that he is the biggest "butts in seats" draw in boxing history.
It’s not even close. I mean just massive amounts of people as far as the eye can see. It makes sense in retrospect though. If you have a fighter who is a matinee idol outside of the ring and an animal of a world champion in it, I would pay to see that, too.
5. Guglielmo Papaleo Featherweight 230-11
Yes you read that amazing record correctly. The speedster from CT (YEAH QU!) was on paper the most dominant fighter ever during the forties and early fifties.
"Willie Pep” was the most graceful and fluid of the fighters that I saw. His power and hand speed was almost breathtaking at times. The “Wisp” compiled over 200 victories in the featherweight division.
That is pretty hard to get your mind around, right? Well on top of that it is speculated that he fought in even more fights then the record states.
He is the greatest featherweight in boxing history and with that elegant movement that I saw when viewing his fights, I can see why so many people have told me he is the greatest ever.
I don’t go that far but he is on the Mt. Rushmore make no bones about it.
4. Ray Charles Leonard Welterweight 36-3
“Sugar” was a mini Ali. With the boring Larry Holmes supplanting Ali, boxing needed a spark. A revolution. They got it from the super talented kid from Palmer Park, Md.
Ray emerged from the Montreal Olympics as boxing's sure bet. He delivered and he ushered in a golden era in Boxing’s little divisions. He ran through the welterweight division minus the speed bump against the formidable Duran.
After disposing of Roberto in their rematch, he would go on to the unify the titles against the Motor City Cobra in 1981. Look that that welterweight division. Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Wilfred Benitez.
Ray was great during a time of great fighters and he did in a glamour division. His talent and smile saved boxing in a time when the country needed a new fighter to grab onto and follow. He legacy is sealed.
3. Floyd Mayweather Jr. Welterweight 39-0
I would assume I might hear some music over this selection. However anyone that would argue is letting this personal bias get in the way of the facts.
Again I sat there on a Saturday recently and watched hours upon hours of tape and I had trouble finding even three fighters who had the physical talents of FMJ.
His radar like senses, lightning quick reflexes, and Boxing intuition are virtually unmatched to my eye.
It is very difficult to find someone who has more PURE talent then FMJ. He is not a reader of how to win friends and influence people but that does not give all these people the right to discout his merit.
That is unacceptable and I wont have it. Floyd is the only pound-for-pound fighter with out a loss. I don’t know how it’s possible to refute that but I am sure that some of you will try.
2. Muhammad Ali Heavyweight 56-5
What can I say? He is the undisputed peoples champion. In his prime before the draft and name change he was a true work of art. At 6 foot three he has the movement of a dancer, the height of a two guard, the power of a heavyweight but the skill tact and speed of a light Middleweight.
His boxing skills are hard to compare. He utilized the jab to dimensions not since visited and he also knew where to hit you hence the second Liston fight. He won the title three different times and took on anyone that stepped up.
I don’t think anyone fought a wider range of heavyweights due his traveling the world over the course of his career.
He is the greatest heavyweight that ever lived and if you ask him that same question I am sure he would concur, haha.
1. Sugar Ray Robinson Welterweight 175-19
I present to you the Greatest Pound for Pound fighter that ever lived. Never mind the fact that he won titles at lightweight and light heavyweight. It’s more due to his service in the welterweight division.
A smooth as ice Prizefighter with super duper talent, the dimensions to his skill set were without limits. I saw him throw every kind of punch the craft can possibly allow. I saw glide across the canvas with ease and land those speed-of-sound accurate shots.
He was the total Package and while Many others can claim that same notion, few have demonstrated it and none if any have done it like this man.
If God, whoever you believe him to be, could create the ultimate fighting machine this is exactly the product that he would pop out. I wish I would have seen his pugilistic wheelhouse, I wish I could have seen the music that was his fighting style.
I saw it on tape, but in person, I am sure it was even more impressive. He is the greatest fighter of all time and I now know for sure.
Thanks, boxing fans. I hope my rankings were up to the task. I will get at you guys soon, I am going to leave you guys with some random thoughts, be well!
-It was truly disheartening to hear about former lightweight world champ Nate Cam and his weight troubles. In an age of interim and super champions he was a very real unified champion in a glamour division. He blew that tremendous position and all talk about 140 is nice but it seemed like a convenient out to a major league screw up.
-The administrative contingent really blew it last night. From the refs to the judges to the promoter….what a disaster.
- How bout my 2008 prospect of the year? I spoke of his brutality two months ago and last night he manifested it
-Lennox Lewis is the worst boxing commentator of all time, why do they continue to indulge him? At this point, it is bordering on unprofessional to have Lennox and his lacking vernacular present in the announcers' booth.
-Strap in fans, in wake of the seventh round of the Sergio-Kermit fight boxing now will have to address the concept of instant replay…..this debate will get louder and louder until commissions address it.