All Time Middleweight Poll: Windmill Keeps On Turning

By Mike Casey on November 12, 2012 All Time Middleweight Poll: Windmill Keeps On Turning
Harry Greb charged from his corner to take an early lead and never relinquished it.

The magnificent triumvirate of Carlos Monzon, Stanley Ketchel and Sugar Ray Robinson kept trying to muscle in on Greb as the polling progressed…

He is long dead and gone, but Harry Greb, the great Pittsburgh Windmill, is still turning and still burning.

In the no-nonsense way that typified his relentless style, Harry charged from his corner to take an early lead in our middleweight poll and never relinquished it. The magnificent triumvirate of Carlos Monzon, Stanley Ketchel and Sugar Ray Robinson kept trying to muscle in on Greb as the polling progressed, but Harry chased them all off with an impressive tally of first, second and third place finishes.

His final advantage over second placed Monzon was 35 points, while Ketchel won his race with Sugar Ray for third slot by just two points.

A glance down the final Top 20 once again reminds us of the enormous breadth of talent that has graced the middleweight ranks through the decades. A glut of outstanding champions and contenders didn’t even get a look-in, including Joey Giardello, Nino Benvenuti, Gene Fullmer, Roy Jones Jr., Bobo Olson, Tommy Ryan, Teddy Yarosz, Thomas Hearns, Joey Archer, James Toney, Paul Pender and Tiger Flowers.

The richness of our Top 10 tells the story of quality. After Greb, Monzon, Ketchel and Robinson, we have triple weight legend Bob Fitzsimmons, followed by the magical names of Marvin Hagler, Mickey Walker, Charley Burley, Marcel Cerdan and Mike Gibbons.

None of this, of course, would be possible without the input of our loyal readers, to who we owe another big thank you. Your response was fantastic and your selections were varied and quite obviously well thought out.

Details of our Welterweight poll will follow shortly, but in the meantime here’s how the Middleweights finished. Gloves off, gents – discuss as you will!

01. Harry Greb (USA) 186
02. Carlos Monzon (Argentina) 151
03. Stanley Ketchel (USA) 140
04. Sugar Ray Robinson (USA) 138
05. Bob Fitzsimmons (England) 117
06. Marvin Hagler (USA) 85
07. Mickey Walker (USA) 81
08. Charley Burley (USA) 54
09. Marcel Cerdan (France) 43
10. Mike Gibbons (USA) 37

11. Bernard Hopkins (USA) 33
12. Dick Tiger (Nigeria) 19
13. Freddie Steele (USA) 15
14. Jake LaMotta (USA) 13
15. Holman Williams (USA) 13
16. Nonpareil Jack Dempsey (USA) 11
17. Tony Zale (USA) 11
18. Philadelphia Jack O’Brien (USA) 10
19. Kid McCoy (USA) 8
20. Ezzard Charles (USA) 8

Mike Casey is the Founder & Editor of ALL TIME BOXING at He is a freelance journalist and boxing historian and a member of the International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO).

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  1. Jethro Tull 08:22am, 12/07/2012

    “And lest we forget for the last 5 years or so with the use of only ONE EYE.
    Greb was almost surreal in his 300 bout career, and surely deserves the accolade as the best middleweight ever…”

    Ah, ‘black is white’ reasoning.

    I note that Gene Tunney beat Greb in 4 out of 5 of their matches but, if he was able to beat all those men with only one eye then it can’t have been a great era.

    How much of a slagging would Hagler, Monzon et al get for even facing an opponent with one eye, let alone losing to one?

    Same goes for the early 70’s when the undisputed heavyweight champ was blind in one eye. Holmes, Tyson, Holyfield, Lewis and the K brothers would all get massacred for even entering the ring with such an opponent, let alone losing to one.

  2. beaujack 05:56am, 12/07/2012

    Correct, it HAS to be Harry Greb as the top middleweight EVER and in my eyes the best P4P boxer ever….When I was a lad my dad would tell me of the night in 1922 at MSG when the MW Greb 12 or so pounds lighter than Gene Tunney gave Tunney a horrendous whipping over 15 rounds. So much blood shed by Tunney…Greb in his prime was called the “human windmill” for a good reason. HE WAS! My criteria for choosing Harry Greb is simple: What other middleweight can you name that could beat these BIGGER men that Greb beat as Gene Tunney, Tommy Loughran, Tommy Gibbons, Jack Dillon, Maxie Rosenbloom, Bill Brennan (4 times), Kid Norfolk, Gunboat Smith, roly poly Willie Meehan, etc, time and again???
    And lest we forget for the last 5 years or so with the use of only ONE EYE.
    Greb was almost surreal in his 300 bout career, and surely deserves the accolade as the best middleweight ever…

  3. Jim Glen 04:24pm, 12/02/2012

    the Middleweights are probably the Greatest fighters and division in history, so this is a hard task trying to list 20, when you could list 200 of them with little between them.

    My only concern is the omission of Jock McAvoy (?), he always gets forgotten and isn’t even mentioned among the outstanding fighters who are not in the top 20. I know the writer was just throwing out other names there, but McAvoy is not just an honest omission but also a fighter greater and better than many of them listed.

    This is clearly seen in the great fighter Freddie Steele, McAvoy & Steele fought at the same time and in fact should have met one another and a quick look at their respected fight records will show you that Jock McAvoy was much more impressive in his victories of the top men they both faced, but McAvoy also stepped up to the L-HWs and even HWs too.

    To list Steele and exclude Jock McAvoy is a serious oversight, and in fairness a whole peice, story and report should be given Jock McAvoy as well as a top 20 ranking here!

  4. Eric 05:08am, 11/17/2012

    Finally a middleweight poll that doesn’t claim Sugar Ray Robinson as the best middleweight. Couldn’t agree with you more that Greb is the best middleweight of all-time and if he would have had more fights at light heavyweight he would have surely been ranked in the top twenty there also. While the heavyweights get all the attention as boxing’s glamour division, it is the middleweights who are boxing’s thoroughbreds, combining the strength and the power of the big men with the speed, stamina, and agility of the smaller men. My top 5 middleweights in order would be 1)Greb 2)Ketchel 3)Robinson 4)Monzon 5)Hagler, with Walker, Fitzsimmons, LaMotta, all being just a tad below the top 5. Tiger Flowers should have definitely made the top 20, if not the top 10 in my opinion.

  5. the thresher 04:43am, 11/14/2012

    Jethro, I was ringside for several of his bouts. Hell, I’m so old that if I were kidnapped, I’d be dead before they paid the ransom.

  6. Jethro Tull 04:16am, 11/14/2012

    I wonder how many people who voted have actually seen Greb, Ketchel or Fitzimmons fight?

    And, if they have, how good was the footage?

  7. Matt McGrain 08:52am, 11/13/2012

    Absolutely love Ketchel’s high ranking.  He cleared out one of the best MW divisions ever for me.

    Greb…a phenom.  A once in a decade (century?) type of fighter.  But.  I think his MW resume is considerably weaker than his LHW resume.  He wasn’t my choice for #1.

  8. Mike Casey 06:49am, 11/13/2012

    I gave Walker Smith the elbow, Irish. Trust me, he was just a cocky guy who thought he was Ray Robinson.

    Ted, we’ll take a consoling malt together over the Oscar-inspired selection of Arthur Abraham.

  9. Darrell 09:00pm, 11/12/2012

    Man!!  That talent goes deep!  Disappointed to miss this vote….

    I was about to say that’s a fantastic top 6,....well fantastic is much deeper than six. Could shuffle that top 6 or more & get it pretty well “right”.

    Monzon for mine…simply dominant & dominating.  Hagler, Dick Tiger & Tony Zale are up a spot or two as well…but who to shuffle down?

  10. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 05:12pm, 11/12/2012

    I’ve checked and double checked the list….what in the devil happened to my vote for Walker Smith Jr., the greatest pound for pound fighter of all time…please don’t tell me it was done in by a hanging chad!

  11. Robert Ecksel 01:29pm, 11/12/2012

    That’s what separates the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys.

  12. the thresher 12:57pm, 11/12/2012

    How can this be? A Ring Mag writer recently had Arthur Abraham in the top ten!!!!!

  13. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 12:30pm, 11/12/2012

    Mike Casey-This is fun…keep’em coming…which reminds me….I always wondered about “tough as nails” Greg Haugen….now I’m sure of it…he wasn’t a throwback….he was a time traveler…one look at Greb and I’m certain of it now!

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