Lords of the Eight

By Clarence George on May 2, 2013
Lords of the Eight
Joe Louis was truly poetry in motion, if any boxer then or now can make that claim.

I don’t hold with newfangled notions or practices. I deride boxing gloves that aren’t black or burgundy, snort at boxing trunks that aren’t black or white…

The wise men will bow down before the throne
And at his feet they’ll cast their golden crowns

Who’s the greatest strawweight of all time? Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. Cruiserweight? Next! The current WBA, but not WBC, heavyweight champ? I’d rather think of the color gray in all of its many permutations.

I don’t hold with newfangled notions or practices. I deride boxing gloves that aren’t black or burgundy, snort at boxing trunks that aren’t black or white, and bitch slap (however metaphorically) trainers and cornermen who dare to presume they can improve on the dietary and workout regimens of Ray Arcel and Whitey Bimstein. And I have never fully recovered from the abandonment of the detachable collar and spats.

It’s in this spirit of unapologetic curmudgeonliness that I present those who reign supreme over the Sweet Science’s original eight weight divisions—our fiercest lords.

Flyweight

Pancho Villa (1919-1925; 78-4-4, 22 KOs)

Following an invitation of boxing promoter Tex Rickard, Pancho Villa came to the U.S. in 1922 and fought 13 bouts that year against the likes of Abe Goldstein and Frankie Genaro, and bested American flyweight champ Johnny Buff. Although Villa lost the title six months later in a rematch with Genaro, he was selected to fight for the vacant Flyweight Championship of the World against former titlist Jimmy Wilde. Villa stopped the game Welshman by seventh-round KO in 1923 and became the first Filipino (indeed, Asian) to win a world title.

Villa was successful in defending his crown against Benny Schwartz in 1923, Frankie Ash in 1924, and Clever Sencio in 1925. He faced Jimmy McLarnin in a non-title bout that same year, on July 4.

On the day of the bout, which he lost on points, Villa had an infected tooth removed, but the poison had already spread. He died on July 14, just shy of his 24th birthday.

Bantamweight

Panama Al Brown (1922-1942; 131-19-13, 61 KOs)

The first world champion from Panama (in fact, from all of Latin America), Panama Al Brown won the vacant NYSAC championship by defeating Gregorio Vidal by unanimous decision in 1929. He defended his title against Johnny Erickson in 1930, winning by disqualification, at which time he was awarded the NBA world title. He defended against Pete Sanstol in 1931, winning by split decision. Other unsuccessful challengers include Eugene Huat, defeated by unanimous decision in 1931, and Emile Pladner, dropped by first-round KO in 1932.

Neither Villa nor Brown were stopped in their respective careers. While this factor didn’t serve as sole criterion, it was dispositive—in combination with the number, regularity, and frequency of fights—in my selection of flyweight and bantamweight kings.

Featherweight

Willie Pep (1940-1966; 229-11-1, 65 KOs)

Willie Pep’s career couldn’t be written as fiction—nobody’d believe it.

“Will o’ the Wisp” won his first 62 bouts, 23 by stoppage. Following his first defeat, to Sammy Angott by unanimous decision in 1943, Pep won the next 73, 22 by stoppage (save for the sole draw of his spectacular career).

He won the NYSAC title from Chalky Wright via unanimous decision in 1942; defended against Wright in 1944, again winning by unanimous decision; engaged in another successful title defense in 1945, defeating Phil Terranova by unanimous decision; stopped Sal Bartolo by 12th-round KO in 1946 in another title bout, at which time he also won the NBA crown; stopped Jock Leslie by 12th-round KO in a 1947 title defense; and stopped Humberto Sierra via 10th-round TKO in 1948 in the first defense of his title that year.

In 1948’s second title match, Pep lost by stoppage to Sandy Saddler, who took the championship by fourth-round KO. The defrocked champ regained his crown in 1949, beating Saddler by unanimous decision. He defended his title the same year, stopping Eddie Compo by seventh-round TKO, and defeating Ray Famechon by unanimous decision in 1950. Pep again lost his title to Saddler, in 1950, retired in the eighth. He faced Saddler for a fourth and final time in 1951, but his nemesis retired him in the ninth in one of the dirtiest fights in the history of “the red light district of sports,” as Jimmy Cannon described the Sweet Science.

In addition to Saddler, only three men managed the virtual miracle of stopping Pep: Tommy Collins by sixth-round TKO in 1952, Lulu Perez by second-round TKO in 1954, and world featherweight titlist Hogan Kid Bassey by ninth-round TKO in 1958.

Lightweight

Benny Leonard (1911-1932; 90-6-1, 70 KOs)

Lightweight Champion of the World from 1917 to his first retirement in 1924, a record, Benny Leonard won the title by stopping Freddie Welsh by ninth-round TKO. “The Ghetto Wizard” defended his title several times. He stopped Leo Johnson by first-round TKO in 1917, Young Erne by sixth-round KO in 1919, Lockport Jimmy Duffy by second-round TKO the same year, Joe Welling by 14th-round TKO in 1920, and Richie Mitchell by sixth-round TKO in 1921. Leonard twice defeated Rocky Kansas for the title, both times in 1922, the first time by unanimous decision and the second by eighth-round TKO, and he defended his championship against Lew Tendler in 1923, winning by unanimous decision. When Leonard first quit the ring, he was undefeated as Lightweight Champion of the World.

Leonard returned to the squared circle in 1931, winning 20 of 21 (one draw) before facing McLarnin in 1932. “The Belfast Spider” stopped Leonard by sixth-round TKO.

A word on McLarnin…hard to believe, but he proved to be the last opponent of Villa and Leonard, both of whom he defeated. And his last opponents were Tony Canzoneri and Lou Ambers, both of whom lost.

Welterweight

Henry Armstrong (1931-1945; 150-21-10, 101 KOs)

Henry Armstrong is the only fighter to simultaneously hold three universally recognized titles, becoming featherweight champ by stopping Petey Sarron via sixth-round TKO in 1937, welterweight titlist by beating Barney Ross via unanimous decision in 1938, in what proved to be the future war hero’s last fight, and lightweight champ by beating Ambers via split decision, also in 1938. “Homicide Hank” would have held four of the eight, albeit not simultaneously, had he been awarded the win he so richly deserved in his 1940 bout with middleweight champ Ceferino Garcia. The match was declared a draw, though spectators and journalists at the time, and analysts and historians since, agree that Armstrong was robbed.

His already sterling achievements and record are further burnished by his having been stopped only twice, by Al Iovino and Fritzie Zivic. The unknown Iovino, who was Armstrong’s first opponent, won by third-round KO, while Zivic stopped “Perpetual Motion” via 12th-round TKO in 1941.

Zivic had won Armstrong’s crown the previous year by unanimous decision, but not until “The Human Buzzsaw” had successfully defended his title 18 times—a record at the welterweight division. Among those who tried and failed were the superb Baby Arizmendi and Pedro Montanez. The former had once beaten Armstrong, despite a broken wrist, in “one of the most courageous exhibitions in Mexican ring history.” The latter, “El Torito De Cayey,” was stopped only twice in his career, first by Davey Day and then by Armstrong in what was the Puerto Rican’s second-to-last fight.

Middleweight

Sugar Ray Robinson (1940-1965; 173-19-6, 108 KOs)

Sugar Ray Robinson’s first defeat came three years into his pro career (he won his first 40 bouts, 29 by stoppage). Jake LaMotta is the man who holds the singular honor, defeating Robinson by unanimous decision. But Robinson paid “The Bronx Bull” back fivefold, winning five of their six matches. In their last bout, in 1951, Robinson won the middleweight crown by stopping LaMotta via 13th-round TKO.

Robinson lost the title to Randy Turpin on points in 1951, but regained it the same year by 10th-round TKO. He defended his crown against Bobo Olson, beating him by unanimous decision, and Rocky Graziano, stopping him by third-round KO, both in 1952. Robinson retired that year, following his failed try for the Light Heavyweight Championship of the World, Joey Maxim retiring him in the 13th, Robinson’s only stoppage.

Because of the usual suspect (money—lack thereof), Robinson returned to the ring in 1955, winning the middleweight crown a third time by knocking out Olson in the second. Olson challenged him in 1956, losing by fourth-round KO. Robinson lost the championship to Gene Fullmer by unanimous decision in 1957, but regained it the same year by fifth-round KO. He again lost his crown in 1957, this time to Carmen Basilio by split decision, but won it back the following year by split decision.

Robinson lost the title to Paul Pender by split decision in 1960, never to regain it.

Never mind Muhammad Ali fantasy matches. Imagine instead Robinson taking on Stanley Ketchel, Harry Greb, Mickey Walker, Tony Zale, Marcel Cerdan, Carlos Monzon, or Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Wars with quarter neither asked nor given, and yet I’m sure Robinson’s hand would be raised in victory in each and every case, with Cerdan giving him the hardest time. The stuff dreams are made of.

Into Robinson’s hand—his, most of all—I place the scepter that denotes the status and authority of Lord of the Ring. Commissioned by me and crafted by the most skilled hands my imagination could conjure, it’s of yellow, white, rose, and green gold, encrusted with emeralds, blue diamonds, orange sapphires, and pigeon-blood rubies.

Light Heavyweight

Archie Moore (1935-1963; 185-23-10, 131 KOs)

Archie Moore, who scored more knockouts than any other man in the history of the sport, became Light Heavyweight Champion of the World at the ripe old age of 36. “The Old Mongoose” took the title from Maxim by unanimous decision in 1952, fending off the former champ’s challenges in 1953 and 1954, both times by unanimous decision. In the latter year, Moore also defended his title against Harold Johnson, stopping him by 14th-round TKO. In 1956, he beat off challenger Yolande Pompey, stopping him by 10th-round TKO. He beat Yvon Durelle twice, in 1958 and 1959, stopping him first by 11th-round KO and then by knockout in the third. Moore also defended his title against Giulio Rinaldi, defeating him by unanimous decision in 1961.

Moore became increasingly interested in the heavyweight division, and ceased to defend his light heavy crown. The NBA stripped him of his title in 1960, and NYSAC followed suit in 1962. But Moore’s quest for what was then the ultimate boxing accolade fell short. He failed in his challenge to heavyweight king Rocky Marciano in 1955, losing by ninth-round KO in what turned out to be The Rock’s farewell match. He was equally unsuccessful in his 1956 bout with Floyd Patterson for the vacant heavyweight championship, losing by fifth-round KO, and he also lost to Ali by fourth-round TKO in 1962. Moore is the only man to have taken on both Marciano and Ali.

After Maxim became light heavy champ, Moore approached Eddie Egan, New York’s boxing commissioner, hoping to get a shot at the title. But Egan “swept me aside like a bread crumb on a waiter’s tip.”

Crumb, eh? Rather reminiscent of Churchill’s “Some chicken; some neck.”

Heavyweight

Joe Louis (1934-1951; 66-3, 52 KOs)

Ah, “The Sultan of Swat.” Oh, wait, that’s a legend and icon from a different and lesser sport, the appeal of which is no less mysterious to me than how fictional super villains such as Dr. Moriarty, Fu Manchu, and Ernst Stavro Blofeld managed time and again to escape situations unsurvivable by mere mortal men. A moment while I have one of my buxom amanuenses check my notes… Here we are. “Thank you, Hephzibah.” Ah, “The Brown Bomber.”

An understandable mistake, given that no boxer is more legendary than Joe Louis (though the rawest and most elemental personification of “The Boxer” is Jack Dempsey).

Louis became Heavyweight Champion of the World by stopping James Braddock by eighth-round TKO in 1937. He reigned for 12 years, retiring the year after stopping Jersey Joe Walcott by 11th-round KO in 1948. He engaged in 25 title defenses, taking on both boxers and rough-and-tumblers, including John Henry Lewis, Tony Galento, Arturo Godoy (twice), and Abe Simon (twice).

Louis’ first title defense, against Tommy Farr in 1937, was The Ring‘s Fight of the Year, as were his bouts with Bob Pastor in 1939 and Billy Conn in 1941. Conn had been winning (“Gorgeous audacity!” said Hype Igoe), but Louis stopped him by 13th-round TKO. “You could have sort of loaned me the title for six months,” said Conn to Louis years later. “Billy,” said Louis, “you had that title for 12 rounds.”

Louis’ first defeat, before becoming champ, came by way of Max Schmeling, who won by 12th-round KO in Ring‘s Fight of 1936. Said Louis, following his becoming champion, “I don’t want to be called champ until I whip Max Schmeling.” And whip him he did, in 1938, stopping the Teuton by first-round KO in Ring‘s Fight of the Decade. The ref “could have counted off a century and Max would not have regained his feet,” as the New York Times put it.

One of Louis’ seemingly innumerable qualities was his skill as a boxer-puncher. I rank him first in this regard, and I’m not excepting such outstanding practitioners as Ike Williams and Robinson. He was truly poetry in motion, if any boxer then or now can make that claim.

Feeling blue? Watch some Louis fight footage. The black dog that is depression will run…and hide.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Pancho Villa vs Jimmy Wilde - 1923



Panama Al Brown - Paris (1930)



1952-11-19 Willie Pep vs Fabela Chavez



In This Corner - Benny Leonard



Henry Armstrong vs Lou Ambers



Sugar Ray Robinson knocks out Randy Turpin



Archie Moore vs Jimmy Bivins V



Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling, II (Full Film, HD)



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  1. Clarence George 02:57am, 05/05/2013

    Yes, I can’t imagine him wearing a baseball cap, especially with the bill backwards—a fashion statement I’ve always found unspeakably offensive.

  2. Mike Casey 02:44am, 05/05/2013

    Yes, Tommy was an elegant gent, Clarence!

  3. Clarence George 02:39am, 05/05/2013

    Thank you, Mike Casey—always the go-to guy.

    A very tanned Canzoneri.  And Loughran!  Ach, I didn’t see that, perhaps because I was focusing too much on the faux pas of the bottom button of his vest being done up.  An older friend of mine (now deceased) frequently saw him on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, always beautifully dressed and often wearing a Homburg.  He used to dine, my friend told me, at the casual (and now sadly gone) Hickory Pit, looking wonderfully out of time and place.

  4. Mike Casey 02:21am, 05/05/2013

    The other gents (left to right) are Braddock, Tony Canzoneri and Tommy Loughran.

  5. Clarence George 01:36am, 05/05/2013

    Thank you, Mike Silver!

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, Nicolas.  There’s no more effective tool than a list to distill a boxing fan’s knowledge and quirks.  While I disagree with yours, you know what you’re talking about.  The basic criterion should be:  Is the selection defensible?  For example, Rocky Marciano as greatest heavyweight of all time can be defended, but Al Ettore (whom I respect) can’t be.

    You think the gentleman to Louis’ left is Tunney?  I don’t.  But looking at him more closely…I’m not sure who it is!

  6. nicolas 11:15pm, 05/04/2013

    I am thinking that two of the men in the picture are Bradock and Tunney.

  7. nicolas 11:10pm, 05/04/2013

    First, who are the gentlemen with Joe Louis in that picture. Also,, I did not think about this being a list of champions. Since Charles was not a world light heavyweight champ, I would have to go with Michael Spinks.

  8. nicolas 11:07pm, 05/04/2013

    I would list nine classes here, the one also being cruiserweight. And in this order from heavyweight to flyweight. Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, he was sometimes under 200 pounds, and certainly the best ever under that weight in his prime. Ezzard Charles, Harry Greb, Ray Robinson, Henry Armstrong. Willie Pep, Eder Jofre, and Pascual Perez. Where Mr. George and I differ also is that he has Robinson at middleweight, whereas I have him as Welterweight, and he has Armstrong at welterweight, where as I have Armstrong at lightweight. The flyweight division is a curious division for me. First if Mr. George had had a mini flyweight division, I would not have Ricardo Lopez, but Jimmy Wilde, and at light flyweight division Pascual Perez. The greatest fighter pound for pound ever to hold a flyweight championship is Manny Pacquiao.

  9. Mike Silver 09:25pm, 05/04/2013

    Unapologetic curmudgeon? No need to apologize George. Your choices are on target.

  10. tED 06:44am, 05/04/2013

    AND THIS HAS BEEN A FUN THREAD AS THE REMARKABLE HITS TO POSTS RATIO REFLECTS. 5 +% IS AN IMPRESSIVE NUMBER.

    I ENJOY BANTER

  11. Ted 06:42am, 05/04/2013

    Yeah, I’d probably lose the debate on it.

  12. Clarence George 06:41am, 05/04/2013

    Thanks, Ted.

    You mentioned school, which reminded me of how things were done in my young day.  When the teacher entered the classroom, we shot to our feet and remained standing till given permission to resume our seats.  And the little boys bowed and the little girls curtsied.  Not like the boorishness and savagery of today.  A propos of not a whole lot, but I enjoy a good rant myself.

  13. Clarence George 06:31am, 05/04/2013

    Tex:  Thanks for sharing your views.  While I don’t agree, you haven’t come up with an opinion that’s had me scratching my head in wonderment and dismay; on the contrary.

    Eric:  While I consider Leonard incomparable, I hold Gans and Duran (one of my favorites) in the highest regard.  As for Langford…he’s generally considered a heavyweight; I certainly consider him such.  He’s among my top 10 heavies (I also think he’s the toughest of the heavyweights) and absolutely one of my favorites.  As you know, Matt has him in first place.  On the one hand, I completely disagree; on the other…I’m no end pleased.

  14. Ted 06:28am, 05/04/2013

    “Most sources” Who are these most sources? I always wonder about where these guys get their historical info. Not saying they don’t dig, but I’d just like to know because I have this strange feeling that someone once said something and then a whole lot of cutting and pasting went on. And thats ok, too, because there really aren’t many alternatives, but for me, I’d like to see dome references to old newspapers or links to old video footage. When i did my research work in grad school, the methodology had to be accepted before the end result was accepted.
    Boxing.com historians excepted from this group or the comments above, of course, because my sense is they dig pretty hard and it shows as in CG” case and with the others..
    Just a rant.

  15. Eric 06:10am, 05/04/2013

    Being that Sam Langford is often ranked highly and the fact that Langford fought in several weight divisions, it would be interesting to know if Langford would be ranked as the best in one of the traditional eight weight classes. Langford did get his weight up high enough to fight heavyweight but was he ever really a true heavyweight? I’ve read sources that list his best fighting weight at about 165lbs which makes him a very small light heavyweight. Could Langford be considered the greatest light heavy or even drop a few pounds and claim the middleweight crown? Most sources say he got the better of Ketchel in their 6 round “no decision” bout, while a few claim a Ketchel victory. Believe Sam weighed over the middleweight limit and I’m not sure of Ketchel’s weight.

  16. Eric 05:56am, 05/04/2013

    Just my opinion, but I would rank Duran as the greatest lightweight and Joe Gans a very close second.

  17. Tex Hassler 08:56pm, 05/03/2013

    Harry Greb would be my pick at middleweight. Robinson was the greatest welterweight of all times. Ezzard Charles would be my pick of all time great light heavies. Nothing wrong with Mr. George’s picks but I am just expressing mine. Benny Leonard is fine at lightweight.

  18. Eric 02:33pm, 05/03/2013

    Ray Robinson is arguably the best fighter of all time but I wouldn’t say he’s the best middleweight IMO. Can’t imagine Ray Robinson giving 6’1” 175lb Gene Tunney a savage, one-sided beating, like Greb did in his first match with Tunney. Greb gave a Tunney a good scrap in their subsequent bouts as well while weighing just a few pounds more than the middleweight limit. Walker would go on to beat some good light heavyweight and heavyweight contenders while never weighing more than about 170lbs. Ray Robinson was beating Joey Maxim before the heat got the better of him, but then again, Joey Maxim was no Gene Tunney. Stanley Ketchel and Monzon would be too strong for Robinson IMO. Both Ketchel and Monzon were incredibly strong middleweights albeit awkward. Remember watching a vid on Youtube where Cus D’Amato was asked about a proposed Ray Robinson vs Floyd Patterson matchup, and D’Amato stated it would be suicidal for Robinson. Never really thought Robinson was a full-fledged middleweight and was really a natural junior middleweight.

  19. Clarence George 01:08pm, 05/03/2013

    I assure you, Irish, that I did indeed consider boxers from the ‘60 to the present (such as Duran and Monzon), but the previous decades won out…not surprisingly.

    I had no idea Johnny Paychek had been a songster!  Well, why not?  If Mickey Walker could be a painter…

  20. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:04pm, 05/03/2013

    Eric Jorgensen-Very interesting list…..I actually think I could make some money betting on some of your matchups (for a change).....but I’d probably lose it back on the others.

  21. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:55pm, 05/03/2013

    Clarence George-Your list is well thought out, features authentic ATGs and I don’t challenge your selections or your tastes in dream girls like Martine for that matter….I was just pointing out that it didn’t include fighters who campaigned from the Sixties to the present day. The genre is Country ya’ll and that tune while not bona fide Country is one of my favorites along with George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and Johnny Paycheck’s “Old Violin”.

  22. Clarence George 12:27pm, 05/03/2013

    I disagree, Eric, if I may be so bold.  I find Robinson much more impressive as middleweight than as welterweight.  And while I hold the guys you mentioned in the highest regard, I’m confident Robinson would win out over all of them, which is not to imply that he’d find any of them easy pickings.

  23. Eric 12:14pm, 05/03/2013

    I wouldn’t rank Ray Robinson as the greatest middleweight, however, I would rank him as the greatest welterweight. I would rank in no particular order Greb, Ketchel, Walker, and Monzon all above Robinson in the middleweight division.

  24. Clarence George 12:10pm, 05/03/2013

    Some outstanding match-ups, Eric, but you know perfectly well that recognition of any division beyond the original eight is, at the very least, frowned upon.

  25. Clarence George 12:04pm, 05/03/2013

    Thanks for the confirmation, Mike.  I confess to knowing precious little about Slattery.

    Thank you for the characteristically offbeat compliment, Irish.  Speaking of beats…I’m not the Rock-and-Roller you are, so I’m unfamiliar with the ditty you mentioned.  But am I to infer that my list is too 1950s-oriented?  But not so, me auld warrior!  Not true of Villa, Brown, Leonard, or Armstrong, and it was hardly Pep or Louis’ heyday.  Could only be argued of Robinson and Moore.

    I await a retraction and an apology, as well as some monetary compensation…at the very least, a photo of Martine Beswick.

  26. Eric Jorgensen 11:55am, 05/03/2013

    Here’s who I’d pick to fight for the all-title in each division (older fighter listed 1st):

    Jr. Flyweight:  Jimmy Wilde v. Ricardo Lopez
    Flyweight:  Frankie Genero v. Pascal Perez
    Jr. Bantamweight: George Dixon v. Khasaoi Galaxy
    Bantamweight:  Eder Jofre v. Ruben Oliveres
    Jr. Featherweight:  Abe Attel v. Wilfredo Gomez
    Featherweight:  Willie Pep v. Sandy Saddler
    Jr. Lightweight:  Alexis Arguello v. Manny Pacquiao
    Ligthweight:  Henry Armstrong v. Roberto Duran
    Jr. Welterweight:  Jose Napoles v. Aaron Pryor
    Welterweight:  Sugar Ray Robinson v. Sugar Ray Leonard
    Jr. Middleweight:  Stanley Ketchel v. Charley Burley
    Middleweight:  Harry Greb v. Carlos Monzon
    Super Middleweight:  Bob Fitzsimmons v. Billy Conn
    Light-Heavyweight: Sam Langford v. Ezzard Charles
    Cruiserweight:  Jack Dempsey v. Joe Louis
    Heavyweight:  Muhammad Ali v. Larry Holmes
    Super Heavyweight: Lennox Lewis v. Vitaly Klitschko

  27. Mike Casey 11:18am, 05/03/2013

    Yes, Clarence, correct on Slattery. Jimmy was another wonderfully gifted boxer, but didn’t like the part where you have to train!

  28. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:59am, 05/03/2013

    Clarence George-You’re Mahatma Gandhi…but why do I start humming Ronnie Milsap’s” Lost in the Fifties Tonight” when I review your list?

  29. Clarence George 09:34am, 05/03/2013

    Apologies!  That was a title defense.  He won the championship, I think, from Jimmy Slattery.  But I’ll bow to the superior knowledge of my betters and elders.

  30. Clarence George 09:08am, 05/03/2013

    Mike:  Rosenbloom is strangely underrated, almost forgotten.  Few remember that he’d been light heavyweight champ, and that he became such by beating the great Mickey Walker.  An outstanding fighter, despite being amazingly feather-fisted.

  31. Mike Casey 08:10am, 05/03/2013

    Nice to see you giving credit to Maxie Rosenbloom, Clarence. For some time, I have been working my way through the weight classes and rating fighters on the quality of their career opposition as well as their peak career form (a rewarding but slow and grinding process!). I wanted to see how the results challenge our perceptions of the fashionable fighters and the not so fashionable. Even I was surprised when Rosenbloom topped the light heavies - followed by Gene Tunney, Tommy Loughran, Archie Moore, John Henry Lewis and Ezzard Charles in that order.

  32. Clarence George 07:24am, 05/03/2013

    Very naughty.

  33. Ted 06:02am, 05/03/2013

    ‘...to-be-dusted-in-paprika-and-gobbled-up”. That wins hands down-no pun intended.

  34. Clarence George 05:12am, 05/03/2013

    Well, I prefer Salma Hayek.  But how does even she compare to the to-be-dusted-in-paprika-and-gobbled-up Barbara Nichols?

  35. Ted 05:05am, 05/03/2013

    That include Angelina Joile?

  36. Clarence George 04:56am, 05/03/2013

    I cast a jaundiced eye on the new (air conditioning and antibiotics are exceptions).

  37. Ted 04:46am, 05/03/2013

    Super MW class IS MY CURRENT FAVORITE.

  38. GlennR 04:45am, 05/03/2013

    Gee Clarence, contempt is a bit strong.

    I actually really like the Super MW class, nice blend of power and speed

  39. GlennR 04:36am, 05/03/2013

    Hey Ted
    Yeh, i know his record is good and all that but its just a gut thing with me. Personal taste and all that…..... must be the miffing!!

    FWIW, as an unabashed Dempsey-Doubter (dont hate me Clarence), i love Tunney and i guess i can see the comparison but Tunney never got slaughtered by a guy that didnt make Matts top 100 so…....... i rest my case!! ;)

  40. Clarence George 04:36am, 05/03/2013

    Exactly right, Ted—the Johnny-come-lately divisions were dismissed, and with no small contempt.

    Try these light heavies on for size, Glenn:  Ezzard Charles, Jimmy Bivins, Bob Foster, Philadelphia Jack O’Brien, and Maxie Rosenbloom…all of whom I’d put ahead of Michael Spinks.

  41. Ted 04:30am, 05/03/2013

    Glen, thanks for your answer, mate. Those are good choices, especially RJJ

  42. Ted 04:29am, 05/03/2013

    Hey Glen, I think you are dead wrong about Spinks. He fought at a time when the division was full of great Light Heavies and then moved up and beat Heavyweights. And God forbid, I didn’t mean to get you miffed this early in the morning. :)

    Finished with a great record. I’m not saying he is best, but who are you saying is better?

    He is kind of like Gene Tunney in that he beat Dempsey twice and Harry Greb more than twice but never gets his due,

  43. GlennR 04:28am, 05/03/2013

    Hi Ted.
    I actually regretted using the word “many”..... several would suit better.

    Of the top of my head RJJ, Foster, Moore, Loughran, Conn…... i personally think in the currents that he has trouble with Dawson and Hopkins

    Maybe it was the Tyson slaughter, but he just never convinced me

  44. Ted 04:23am, 05/03/2013

    I agree that the easiest would be heavy and middle. But I would add Holyfield to cruiserweight even though he was just passing through. Virgil Hill as well.

    However, I do understand that you have excluded this division for historical purposes.

  45. GlennR 04:22am, 05/03/2013

    Yes, it is hard to go past Ali for 2nd…. whether you like him or not.

    Rest of the list is good but im not so convinced about Billy Conn , theres a few id pick in front of him.

    The whole M Spinks thing has me a bit miffed. A great boxer in his own right ,but there is many fighters i have ahead of him. Almost instant destruction at the hands of Tyson probably dont help his legacy, but i think theres 5-8 at LHW that are way ahead of him. And FWIW i think RJJ at prime gives him a lesson.

  46. Ted 04:14am, 05/03/2013

    Who are the “many” light heavyweights better than Spinks, Glen?

  47. Clarence George 04:02am, 05/03/2013

    Thanks, Glenn, glad you liked it.

    So, you want two lists for the price of one, eh?  Matt’s quite correct—these boyos are my best of the eight.  Who would be my second best? 

    Flyweight:  Jimmy Wilde or Miguel Canto.

    Bantamweight:  Eder Jofre, Fighting Harada, or Sixto Escobar.

    Featherweight:  Sandy Saddler.

    Lightweight:  Joe Gans, Lou Ambers, Tony Canzoneri, Ike Williams, Beau Jack, or Roberto Duran.

    Welterweight:  Barney Ross, Emile Griffith, Kid Gavilan, or Jimmy McLarnin.

    Middleweight:  Harry Greb.

    Light heavyweight:  Billy Conn.

    Heavyweight:  Muhammad Ali (albeit with reluctance, reservations, and some distaste).

    By the way, I share your opinion of Michael Spinks.

  48. GlennR 03:26am, 05/03/2013

    Hey Clarence, nice list.
    So, if these guys didnt exist, who would take their place?

    And regarding Spinks, IMO there’s many LHW’s better

  49. Matt McGrain 01:55am, 05/03/2013

    Yeah, Bantamweight is definitely one of the hardest, because this is BEST right? Like the best guy from each division?  Brown, definitely is a reasonable choice for Bantamweight in that case.  So is Jofre, Olivares, Zarate and maybe even Canizales.

  50. Michael Hegan 07:21pm, 05/02/2013

    comparing benny leonard ....is not real…..when he came back…..he was not himself

  51. Michael Hegan 07:02pm, 05/02/2013

    Michael Spinks is not recognized

  52. Clarence George 06:58pm, 05/02/2013

    Thanks for the kind attention to my article, gents.

    I considered many of the names you mentioned, such as Eder Jofre and Sam Langford, but do keep in mind that my objective was to select one man, the best man, to represent each of the original eight weight divisions. 

    I struggled with some divisions more than others.  The two equally easiest were heavyweight and middleweight; the hardest was bantamweight.  The others fell more or less in the middle of the difficulty spectrum.

  53. Michael Hegan 06:37pm, 05/02/2013

    Archie Moore had to deal with the JIM CROW things….and it was a barricade o his greatness

  54. Michael Hegan 06:22pm, 05/02/2013

    no disrespect….

    check out SAM LANGFORD

  55. Ted 06:22pm, 05/02/2013

    Where the hell is CG

  56. Michael Hegan 06:20pm, 05/02/2013

    back in the day…..a fighter only got paid when he was in the ring…..and even then…..he’d collect, but a fraction of the gate….

    If you wanted to eat meat and have a bath every day…...you had to fight every week

  57. Michael Hegan 06:13pm, 05/02/2013

    lotsa talent ...;proven…with THE LIST….

  58. Ted 06:11pm, 05/02/2013

    But yes, the list CG sets forth is solid.

  59. Ted 06:10pm, 05/02/2013

    Mooer vs. Charles vs. Spinks is a difficult one. I can see the argument for Moore given his incredible record. But Spinks was able to win at heavyweight.

    It’s all very close. Nothing easy. I can’t judge the early ones because I am not a historian as many suspect I am. I am just a writer.

  60. Michael Hegan 06:10pm, 05/02/2013

    when we limit ourselves to film and video….we leave out some great fighters…...like….Sam Langford….

    There was life on earth .....before we were born…...

    Still….the list is solid…the fighters are legit…........they just don’t go back enough

    ....After all ...Benny Leonard ...before his ‘comeback’ ....was sublime….simply a beautiful master of the ring…

  61. Michael Hegan 06:03pm, 05/02/2013

    Great list….
    lots of facts…and those videos…..FAN FKN TASTIC…

    Ted…I’m a big fan of Michael Spinks…...only Lt HVY to beat the HVY WT Champion…
    Fitz beat Gentleman Jim….when he was Middleweight Champion…...
    Gotta find a place for Michael Spinks

  62. Ted 04:10pm, 05/02/2013

    I also think that boxing did not stop featuring great fighters after 1950. SRL, Duran, Spinks, Ali, Hagler, Monzon, Asian greats, Brit greats, etc, etc.

    Everything looks better through the prism of nostalgia, but it’s predicated on generational bias. 

  63. Ted 04:06pm, 05/02/2013

    No major argument with Louis, Pep, and SRR. After that, it becomes a very interesting discussion. I’d go with Jofre on Bantamweight. And Charles as Light Heavyweight.

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