My Top Pound-for-Pound Fighters (Since 1945): Numbers 21-25

By Ted Sares on November 22, 2013
My Top Pound-for-Pound Fighters (Since 1945): Numbers 21-25
Auguello was able to impose his will on many of his opponents, often in their home country.

The “Explosive Thin Man” used his height and reach to leverage the tremendous one-punch power he possessed in his right hand…

This is the last in a four-part series. Thus far, my list looks like this:

1. Sugar Ray Robinson
2. Willie Pep
3. Joe Louis
4. Eder Jofre
5. Muhammad Ali
6. Carlos Monzon
7. Sandy Saddler
8. Sugar Ray Leonard
9. Roberto Duran
10. Ezzard Charles
11. Salvador Sanchez
12. Julio Cesar Chávez Sr.
13. Marvelous Marvin Hagler
14. Tie between Pernell Whitaker and Aaron Pryor
15. Khaosai Galaxy
16. Archie Moore
17. Ricardo Lopez
18. Kid Gavilan
19. Jose Napoles
20. Larry Holmes

Excluding men who are still fighting (Jones, Hopkins, Mayweather, etc.) and using the 1945 starting point, the field begins to narrow, but the difference in the selections is even thinner. Here are my last five:

21. Alexis Arguello: “The Explosive Thin Man” (El Flaco Explosivo) used his height and reach to leverage the tremendous one-punch power he possessed in his right hand.  He was able to impose his will on many of his opponents, often in their home country.

While he suffered a first round TKO loss in his fourth professional fight in 1968, he won 36 of his next 38 bouts. In 1973, he beat Cuban Jose Legra (133-10-4) by TKO in the first round, but then lost to experienced WBA featherweight champion Ernesto Marcel in Panama in 1974. After four quick wins, he battled Ruben Olivares for the WBA title and in the 13th round, both men threw simultaneous hooks but Arguello’s got there first and he became champion for the first time. After four successful defenses, he stopped Alfredo Escalera (in what was nicknamed The Bloody Battle of Bayamon) to claim the super featherweight title in 1978, which he defended eight times against tremendous opposition including Rafael Limon, Bobby Chacon, Ruben Castillo, and Rolando Navarrete. After beating Cornelius Boza-Edwards, the “Explosive Thin Man” beat Jim Watt in 1981 in London and became the WBC lightweight champion, a title he successfully defended four times. He was only the sixth boxer to win world titles in three divisions at the time. He had become an equal opportunity destroyer.

After defeating “Bubba” Busceme by sixth round stoppage in 1982, Argüello moved up in weight once again, and on November 12, 1982, attempted to become the first world champion in four different divisions, meeting the heavier and future Hall-of-Famer Aaron Pryor, but he was stopped in the 14th round in a tremendous back-and-forth fight. After two impressive wins over Vilomar Fernandez and Claude Noel, Alexis was KO’d in a rematch with Pryor in 1983 and retired, but he later returned to the ring.

In 1986, Arguello came from behind to stop Billy Costello (31-1) in Reno, Nevada with his patented long and explosive right hand. Had the “Explosive Thin Man” retired there and then, his career would have ended on a high, but like so many others, he had financial needs that compelled a return. Arguello came back and in 1994 and barely squeaked by a terribly limited Jorge Palomares Lopez (2-12-1). Arguello was a shell of his former self. On January 21, 1995, he lost a UD to the “Pink Cat,” feather-fisted Scott Walker. It was painful to witness this once noble, soulful,  and universally respected warrior with the classic power-laden long right lose to the Cat, but then, most ill-advised boxing comebacks are painful to witness. He retired for good in 1995 with a record of 82 -8 and 65 KOs, along with the recognition of being one of the sport’s most respected fighters among fans, experts, and fellow boxers.

Arguello was elected to the IBHOF in 1992. In 2008 he was honored by being selected as Nicaragua’s flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

22. Thomas Hearns: Nicknamed the “Motor City Cobra” and more famously “The Hitman,” Hearns became the first boxer in history to win world titles in four divisions. His record was 61-5-1 with a KO percentage of 72%. His unforgettable battle for the middleweight championship against the menacing Marvelous Marvin Hagler on April 15, 1985 was full-tilt boogie and is hailed as one of the great bouts of the last thirty years. In fact, few fighters have participated in so many classics as this angular Detroit killing machine. Throw a dart and you are likely to hit names like LaPaglia, Olajide, Kinchen, Barkley, Juan Domingo Roldan, Maynard, Andries, DeWitt, Hutchings, Minichillo, Sutherland, Shields, Pipino Cuevas (against whom he won his first championship in 1980), Bruce Curry, Weston, Clyde Gray, and Finch.

His face-off with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981 was a study in ebb and flow and demonstrated Tommy’s great boxing ability, especially the manner in which he adjusted—though in a losing effort. His MD over Wilfred Benitez in 1981 and Virgil Hill ten years later affirmed this. But it was his one-punch KO power that endeared him to fans and his sedation of Roberto Duran in 1984 remains one of the truly indelible moments in modern boxing history.

Cuevas, Leonard, Benitez, Hagler, Duran and Hill are all members of the IBHOF. Barkley may not be far behind.

The Hit Man’s “hit” on undefeated James Schuler on October 3, 1986 showcased some of the most debilitating body work ever seen, setting up “Black Gold” for a first round sedation at the 1:13 mark. Tommy delivered it with a picture perfect right hand that was as clean as a whistle. Videos of this fight should be used to teach young fighters how to use body work to break an opponent down rapidly.

Shuler was killed shortly after in a tragic motorcycle accident. Thomas flew into Philadelphia and brought with him the NABF middleweight championship belt he had won from Shuler. He planned to give it to James’ parents, Paul and Betty Shuler. “I think that he deserved it a lot more than I did,” Hearns said. “It’s been in the family a long time, a lot longer than I had it.”

Tommy was a boxer/puncher who knew how to work a ring. He was what excitement was all about and the fans sensed it even before the bell rang to start his fights. He was unique.

Hearns was inducted into the IBHOF in 2012

23. Holman Williams: While I never had the good fortune to see Charley Burley in action, I did see Holman Williams. Therefore, I can include him here. But Burley would most certainly have been included had I witnessed him work.

Williams fought the great Burley seven times with three wins apiece and one no decision, though they may have fought one another even more in cash dukes. Holman was a member of Murderers’ Row, a group of great black boxers that battled in the 1930s into the late 1940s and who were avoided by elite white fighters because of their skills and because of racial barriers that then existed. The group included Lloyd Marshall, Charley Burley (maybe the best of the bunch), “Cocoa Kid,” dangerous Jack Chase, Elmer “Violent” Ray, Aaron “Little Tiger” Wade , Bert Lytell, Charley Williams, Eddie Booker, and others. Holman, who was half white, fought seven members of those ranks a total of thirty-six times. These men had to fight among themselves on a regular basis just to get a payday—and Holman was no exception as he also went up against Joe Carter, Kid Tunero, and Archie Moore.

Williams’ talent far exceeded that of his contemporaries and once inspired stable-mate Eddie Futch to reportedly say that “he would rather watch Holman Williams shadowbox than watch most other fighters in the ring.” Be that as it may, Holman, who was fastidious about the manner in which he trained, worked with Joe Louis and Futch. This slickster, who could adjust as necessary, was a defensive wizard who had all the tools including left hooks, right crosses, educated and set-up jabs, and superb ring movement. He used these tools to fight and beat the best welterweights, middleweights, and even light heavyweights that were around at the time.

He fought Jake LaMotta and Marcel Cerdan only after he had been a pro fighter for almost fourteen years and after time had finally caught up to him. He lost to both on points. The only fighter to beat him consistently while in his prime was the great but also ignored “Cocoa Kid” who beat Williams eight times while losing only three times. Williams would lose 11 of his remaining 22 fights, as his magnificent reflexes left him. Still, he fought top-notch opposition right up to the end in1948, and some of those defeats were controversial as well. His final record was an amazing 146-30-11. And get this; he was stopped only three times—once on cuts! He fought many times in New Orleans and Chicago, but he was the essence of a road warrior and toiled at his trade in just about every big city in the country.

I almost got to see Williams fight Bob Satterfield in 1946 (at age 9) just before his LaMotta and Cerdan encounters, but unfortunately my dad took my much older brother instead (he had returned from the War in 1945) and their account was that Satterfield gave a great showing but simply could not reach Williams who was able to dodge and deflect the bomber’s shots, though it would later be said that even when Bob missed, he could hurt you. As it was, Williams won an entertaining 10-round decision with Satterfield stalking throughout but never catching the veteran who used a superb left jab to keep the KO artist at bay. My brother said it seemed impossible for Satterfield to land a clean shot.

I did get to see him fight and lose on cuts to Puerto Rico’s Jose “Joe” Basora in 1948, but by then he was at the end of his largely ignored career. Moreover, my memory of this event is less than crystal clear.

Avoided by many of the higher ranked white fighters and historically neglected by all except aficionados, this superb technical boxing wizard fought the best of his time. Inducting him into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008, albeit posthumously, was manifestly the right thing to do. For Holman, justice was finally served. The Cocoa Kid (Herbert Lewis Hardwick) joined him in 2012. But incredibly and sadly, neither had ever fought for a title, nor was either properly celebrated at the Hall during their inductions.

As boxing writer and historian Angelo Prospero wrote in “Around the Boxing Scene,” Boxing World Magazine, February 2008: “They were shunned by champions and top contenders as being ‘too good for their own good.’ Rarely did they fight in the prestigious arenas of the country.”

Tragically, Holman Williams died in a fire in Akron, Ohio, in 1967 at the young age of 52.

“Holman Williams encouraged me a lot. He was a beautiful boxer.”—Joe Louis

24. Ike Williams. The late 1940s-1950s could well be seen as the early part of modern boxing’s historical landscape. And who better to be the exemplar for that great boxing period than Ike Williams?

Unfortunately Williams was one of television’s late coming sports stars when the medium was in its infancy more than a half a century ago, but his name was familiar to anyone who followed boxing back then. His amazing career—which included being blacklisted—and also being shrouded in controversy as a result of his association with Blinky Palermo and Frankie Carbo—was nothing less than brilliant. A vicious body puncher, Ike was super skilled, fast, game, and could hit hard with devastating power in his right hand. In short, Williams blended graceful moves with deadly power and the combination resulted in an atomic cocktail.

During his long and productive career, he won the lightweight championship of the world. Amazingly, his second pro opponent, Leroy Born, had 85 fights under his belt. Along the way, Ike defeated the likes of Kid Gavilan, Beau Jack (thrice), Bob Montgomery, Sammy Angott (twice), George Costner, Sonny Boy West, Juan Zurita, Johnny Bratton (thrice), Tippy Larkin, Charlie Salas, Freddie Dawson, Joe Miceli, Gene Burton, Lulu Constantino, Johnny Bellus, Dave Castilloux, Lester Felton, John L. Davis, Maxie Berger, Livio Minelli, Eddie Giosa, Fitzie Pruden, Enrique Bolanos (thrice), Gene Burton (thrice), Lefty LaChance (twice),  Bobby Ruffin, Vic Cardell, Cleo Shans, Ralph Zanelli, Juan Zurita,  and many more.

Ike lived in Trenton, New Jersey, and was a fixture at Madison Square Garden (13 outings), the Arena in Philadelphia (26 bouts), and at smaller venues throughout Jersey such as Laurel Gardens in Newark, the Waltz Dream Arena in Perth Amboy, and arenas in Trenton (12 bouts). Fittingly, however, his last bout was a win over Beau Jack in 1955 in Augusta, Georgia (Ike’s home state), ending a legendary career that began in 1940.

Ike gained notice when he twice beat the talented Sammy Angott in 1944. One year later, he earned recognition as NBA lightweight champion with a second-round knockout of Juan Zurita (130-22-1). He unified the lightweight crown in 1947 by knocking out fellow Hall-of-Famer Bob Montgomery (75-12-1). Ike then made five successful title defenses before losing the lightweight title to Jimmy Carter in 1951. Williams engaged in numerous non-title fights, many of which were more dangerous than his title defenses at a time when the lightweight division was chockfull of superb fighters.

Ike testified during a Senate investigation in 1960 into organized crime and boxing that his manager Blinky Palermo kept most of his ring earnings. Williams also testified that he was offered bribes to throw his fight against Jimmy Carter and the second fight against Kid Gavilan. He said he refused the bribes. After Williams lost his lightweight title, he continued to fight the best in the world, meeting hyped and slick Chuck Davey to whom he lost under somewhat suspicious circumstances, stylish Gil Turner, and rugged Carmen Basilio. He retired in 1956 after scoring a knockout over Beau Jack (91-24-5) whom he fought four times. Jack retired after that loss. Ike’s official final record was 127-24-4.

Bill Kelly said in The History of the Sweet Science, “Ike Williams was more than a world-class fighter to me. Ike was a mythic. Ike was quite simply – with apologies to Benny Leonard, Henry Armstrong, Lew Jenkins, Beau Jack, Jimmy Carter and Bob Montgomery and even Roberto Duran – the best lightweight fighter who ever lived.”

Said Jim Murray in 1991 in the Los Angeles Times, “If you have ever seen a Warner Bros. fight movie, circa 1940s, you know all you need to know about the life and times of Ike Williams. He could have been a model for ‘Golden Boy.’ ‘Body and Soul.’ A great part for John Garfield. It had everything – the Mob, the would-be fixed fights, the title, betrayal, heartbreak. The fight game in all its glory. It wrote itself. Ike was something to behold when he first climbed into the prize ring in his native New Jersey.”

In his last interview with Bill Kelly, Ike stated, “A broken marriage after the money ran out. My daughter, Barbara Ann, died of pneumonia in 1958. She was only 10. Most of my friends disappeared when the money ran out. And now, I’m broke and desperately need work. I know I could be a good trainer or referee. But boxing doesn’t take care of their own. It’s money. Look at me; no one will give me a job sweeping floors in the gym.”

Williams was named to Ring Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Punchers of All Time. He was also Ring’s Fighter of the Year for 1948. Ike was inducted into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame in 1971, Ring Boxing Hall of Fame in 1978, World Boxing Hall of Fame in 1983, and finally the IBHOF in 1990. These honors more than validated his amazing ring achievements, but more importantly, they validated his integrity.

Ike Williams died in Los Angeles of natural causes in 1994 at the age of 71. We may never see his kind again.

“He could have played piano with boxing gloves on.”—Ringside reporter as quoted in Bert Sugar’s Boxing’s Greatest Fighters

25. Marcel Cerdan: His final record was 119-4 with 61 KOs. The popular Algerian-born Frenchman, known as the “Casablanca Clouter,” won European titles at 147 and 160 pounds, and a world title at 160. Throughout his career, he rarely witnessed an opponent’s hand being raised in victory. Right out of the professional gate, he went 46-0, until he was disqualified in the fifth-round against Englishman Harry Craster on Jan. 9, 1939 in London. He then whipped ranked Saverio Turiello twice, the second time for the European welterweight crown. After he lost to Victor Buttin by disqualification (he later avenged the loss by KO victory), he put together another long winning streak from 1942-48.

He beat world-ranked middleweight Holman Williams in Paris. In an impressive 10-rounder that was described as furious and bloody, he also beat Georgie Abrams in New York. Then he defeated Lavern Roach in 1948, decking him three times in the second and four more times in the eighth (setting up Roach for his fateful fight with Georgie Small), as he continued his march toward his title shot at Tony Zale, the “Man of Steel.” Indeed, undefeated in his first 45 matches, it wasn’t until Cerdan was 108-3-0 (and 33 years old) that he beat Zale by 12th round KO in 1948 for the middleweight title. It was named Ring Magazine’s Fight of the Year for 1948.

Cerdan then returned to the United States for his first title defense and fought Jake LaMotta in Detroit in 1949. He was sent to the canvas in the first round and surrendered after the tenth due to a shoulder separation. He had fought courageously one-armed and in pain for almost 10 rounds. Tragically, it would be his last fight. While flying to the United States to fight the rematch, Cerdan’s plane went down in the Azores killing all 48 on board.

He was considered one of the greatest fighters in European, French and African boxing history.

A hairy-chested Marcel Cerdan in smoke-hazy Madison Garden Square Garden getting ready to go to war with tough Georgie Abrams in 1946 defined the subgenre of boxing noir. During his short period as world champion, his much romanticized affair with famous French chanteuse Edith Piaf added to his mystique.

Said fellow-writer Mike Casey, “His was a wonderful, seamless blend of culture and controlled savagery. He stalked and threw punches constantly in the manner of Rocky Marciano, but with far greater education and precision. At his raging best, there didn’t seem to be a single aspect of the game at which Marcel Cerdan wasn’t breathtakingly efficient. Boxing observers looked in vain for any vital physical or mental component that he lacked. He was a natural and versatile predator who could prosper in any given climate.”

Here are my top 25 since 1945:

1. Sugar Ray Robinson
2. Willie Pep
3. Joe Louis
4. Eder Jofre
5. Muhammad Ali
6, Carlos Monzon
7. Sandy Saddler
8. Sugar Ray Leonard
9. Roberto Duran
10. Ezzard Charles
11. Salvador Sanchez
12. Julio Cesar Chávez Sr.
13. Marvelous Marvin Hagler
14. Tie between Pernell Whitaker and Aaron Pryor
15. Khaosai Galaxy
16. Archie Moore
17. Ricardo Lopez
18. Kid Gavilan
19. Jose Napoles
20. Larry Holmes
21, Alexis Arguello
22 Thomas Hearns
23. Holman Williams
24. Ike Williams
25. Marcel Cerdan

Serious consideration was also given to Michael Spinks, Ruben Olivares, Emile Griffith, Luis Manuel Rodriguez, Carlos Zarate, and Fighting Harada.

Using 1980 as an arbitrary date, 13 of the selections fought after 1980 and 13 retired before 1980. Fourteen were black; nine were Latino; two were white; and one was Asian.

My Top Pound-for-Pound Fighters (Since 1945): Numbers 1-10
My Top Pound-for-Pound Fighters (Since 1945): Numbers 11-15
My Top Pound-for-Pound Fighters (Since 1945): Numbers 16-20
My Top Pound-for-Pound Fighters (Since 1945): Numbers 21-25

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Alexis Arguello vs Ruben Olivares

Thomas Hearns vs Roberto Duran

Black Murderers' Row

Ike Williams Beau Jack LEGENDS almost a death fight TKO

Tony Zale vs Marcel Cerdan

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  1. Ted 07:16pm, 11/30/2013

    Thanks Mike

  2. bkermike 06:15pm, 11/30/2013

    Delicious footage….Zale Cerdan…holy shit

  3. bkermike 05:23pm, 11/30/2013 dispute Ted’s list is sort of like the public defender who has to make his case against some thug…caught on camera…beatingup on an eighty something yr old lady…to steal her purse….

    Ted…you have a solid case…well reserached…and presented very well…..!CEPT THAT leonard OVER ROBERTO DURAN THING…...

    ....c’mon….Still….one of your best articles this year buddy

  4. bkermike 05:15pm, 11/30/2013

    I noticed that ......‘the bull’ managed to put leonard ahead of ROBERTO DURAN…….Still a great list…haunting memories

  5. BIG WALTER 06:20pm, 11/27/2013

    Ditto Big Ted

  6. kid vegas 05:16pm, 11/27/2013

    Thank you and the very same to you and yours

  7. Ted Sares 03:27pm, 11/27/2013

    For those who celebrate Thanksgiving, I take a moment to give thanks unto the Lord. And I also pray that Mago recovers.

  8. Ted 01:19pm, 11/27/2013

    Same to you Sammy.

  9. Sonny Crockett 11:34am, 11/27/2013

    Gil Clancy (God rest his soul), told me once that: “Roberto Duran is one of the top three fighters who has ever lived, remember that.”
    I did and he is.  Duran should be ranked way higher.
    Happy Holidays
    Sonny Crockett

  10. Ted 06:18am, 11/26/2013

    Big Walter, I tend to agree at this point.

  11. Ted 06:05am, 11/26/2013

    Beaujack. many, many thanks for your post and prop.

  12. beaujack 09:59pm, 11/25/2013

    I was lucky enough to see many on your list of great fighters of the 1940s ringside, such as Ike Williams, Beau Jack, Willie Pep, Sandy Saddler, Marcel Cerdan, Kid Gavilan and of course the welterweight edition of Ray Robinson. I saw a fading Henry Armstrong being “carried” by Ray Robinson at MSG. It was apparent that Robinson never wanted to hurt his
    boyhood idol Ray Robinson. And as a young lad I and a pal traveled by bus to Philly to see the best lightweight I ever saw Ike Williams, demolish a past prime Beau Jack who was lucky to escape with his life…
    And I recall the night at MSG, when Marcel Cerdan won a very close decision from the vastly underrated Georgie Abrams…Cerdan won onhis aggressive style. Speaking of Marcel he flattened a neighbor of mine
    Harold Green in the 2nd rd at MSG.Green told us a day later when he and Cerdan went into their first clinch, Green knew it was over for him because of Cerdan being too strong. He was right. I also saw Cerdan flatten a great MW prospect from the U.S. Marines Laverne Roach, who a few fights after was kod and died from the bout with another
    neighborhood fighter I knew Georgie Small, as you Ted mentioned.
    Too bad Jake LaMotta claimed injury before his return match with Marcel Cerdan…When their rescheduled date was announced, Cerdan hopped on a plane to fly to America, but the plane crashed over the Azores, and
    Cerdan lost his life. The curse of the middleweight history…Good list Ted…

  13. Ted 06:12pm, 11/25/2013

    Here is what I said about Jones back in 2007:

    Roy Jones Jr.* is currently at 51-4 with 38 KOs. He is a former middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight boxing champion. He could punch from unorthodox angles that would shock and awe his opponents. He was Ring magazine’s Fighter of the Year in 1994 and was voted the Fighter of the Decade in 1999 by the Boxing Writers Association of America. Between 1999 and 2003, he was considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

    An amazing and seldom-mentioned fact is that Jones has faced 19 fighters who have been a world champion at one time or another, including John Ruiz, Bernard Hopkins, James Toney, Mike McCallum, Vinny Pazienza, Virgil Hill and Jorge Castro. He also beat 9 fighters who came in with impressive undefeated records including Eric Harding, Glen Thomas, Julio Cesar Gonzalez, Glen Kelly and Anthony Hanshaw

    After shocking KO losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, he has launched a comeback with impressive wins over Prince Badi Ajamu and Anthony Hanshaw in which he showed shades of his past greatness. While there are unanswered questions that only the future will resolve, his place on this list appears secure, but if he loses to Tito Trinidad in a fight scheduled for early 2008, he would move south …

  14. Ted 06:05pm, 11/25/2013

    But one thing about Roy. He fought an monster amount of fights with guys who were world champions at one time or another. Well over 20 maybe closer to 30.

    Tarver (3), Hopkins (2), Griffin (2),  etc. etc. He also hit the road running as he fought stiff opposition from the get go. Major points in his favor IMO.

  15. Jim Crue 04:57pm, 11/25/2013

    Roy Jones is not an all time great. All time great means you could fight the other all time greats competiveley and maybe best them. RJ had no chin. If Monzon or Hagler or Archie Moore tapped him on the chin it would be goodnight sweet prince. That’s why he’s not an all time great

  16. Ted 03:53pm, 11/25/2013

    Eric, you say “We have to measure these fighters during their prime.” But why? What about their entire body of work which is an objective measure or at least one that is not as subjective as trying to determine a prime period.  I’d rather go with the entire record because it allows a more even comparison for me. But that’s just me. I DO get your point and it is well made.

    Saad Muhammad is a case in point.

  17. Eric 01:39pm, 11/25/2013

    I would say Roy Jones definitely is one of the truly elite fighters since 1945, if not top 25, at least top 30. We have to measure these fighters during their prime. We certainly wouldn’t measure Ali on the fights he had after Manilla. Look at how Ali, Joe Louis, and Ray Leonard went out. Roy made the mistake of hanging around too long. Roy Jones became the second man to win the middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight and the first since Bob Fitzsimmons pulled the trick over a 100 years ago. In his prime, Roy Jones would have been a match for nearly all but the very best of the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. The Ali who struggled with fighters like Evangelista, Shavers, Wepner, and lost to Spinks, Holmes, and Berbick wouldn’t rank in the top 100 if we rated him as a fighter using that period of his career.

  18. BIG WALTER 12:17pm, 11/25/2013

    I say that Maywether will have the best chance of breaking the party. 45-0 is not bad. Neither is 50-0.

  19. Ted 11:10am, 11/25/2013

    Jesse, Chavez Sr????????? WTF is that insanity all about? Roy has seriously damaged his legacy especially losing two out of two Tarver and by getting TKOd by Danny Green whom Tarver later stopped. His two scary KO’s at the hands of Johnson and Lebedev and his pathetic loss to Hopkins not to mention his loss to Calzaghe makes his inclusion difficult but if I did this on a prime basis he gets on. But then who is to decide what “prime” means? Do I put Roy in front of Hopkins? Moreover, Roy IS still fighting and if he beats Gunn, watch for a circus side-show announcement immediately thereafter. You hear it here first.

    Mayweather and Pac will be given very serious consideration and they each stand a good chance at inclusion on my list, especially Mayweather.

    However, there are others like El Feo, Griffith, Spinks, Calzaghe, Harada who must be considered as well

  20. jesse 07:37am, 11/25/2013

    Ted, yes they’re still fighting but their legacies are still “cemented”, especially Roy Jones, I don’t think he’ll fight anymore and if he does it won’t take away/add to what hes already done. if that’s the case Chavez shouldn’t be on the list bc hes looking to fight some more.  With that said I know where you’re coming from and I just believe RJJ is a top 5 p4p fighter.

  21. Ted 01:58pm, 11/24/2013

    The Snatcher was something, I saw him beat Stevie Collins in Boston. Boring but effective, Stevie had no chance and he was no slouch either.

  22. Eric 01:48pm, 11/24/2013

    McCallum is indeed overlooked, myself included. Maybe because he more or less came on the scene at the wrong time. When McCallum took his first title at 154lbs, Hearns was moving on up to fight Hagler and Leonard and Duran were out of the picture at the time. Year or two later all of the boxing world was focusing on “Kid Dynamite” Mike Tyson, and later it was Leonard’s comeback victory over Hagler. Meanwhile, McCallum quietly went about winning world titles at 154, 160, and 175lbs.

  23. Ted 08:41am, 11/24/2013

    Mike McCallum is overlooked by just about everyone (including me to my dismay).

  24. tuxtucis 12:27am, 11/24/2013

    I agree about Harada-Jofre fights…those were close fights that in Brazil would be scored for Jofre…But Harada fought at the same level with Jofre at bantams, and he is the only one to can say that…About his accomplishments, I would remember that he was flyweight champion kayoing outstanding Kingpetch and he would have been featherweight champion if not robbed with Famechon…About Finito and Canto, hard to call…The first one was more continuous, but he fought in a very weak division and with no great opposition; the second has losses, but his resume is maybe the best of any flyweight champion…I admire Galaxy, but when he was champ, at the same weight there were Watanabe, Laciar and Roman, and the Thai never fought them…Mike McCallum was maybe the best natural jr.middleweight of all time, he has kos vs. J.Jackson and D.Curry; even at middleweight he has in his records decisions over Kalambay, Graham and Collins and, when he was no more in his prime, a draw with a prime Toney…He was even light heavy titlist when he was 38…

  25. Ted 03:56pm, 11/23/2013

    And I don’t mean to be truculent!

  26. Ted 03:54pm, 11/23/2013

    Tuxtucis, hmm,  I think I know who you might b and you DO know your stuff, but you cannot put Harada in for his two famous wins over Jofre because both were controversial and aside from those, what would justify it? Canto is great but hardly great enough to slip in front of Finito who was almost perfect fighting everyone everywhere..

    I see the Hearns and Arguello argument and if I could do it over again, I just might have done that, but dammit, it is what it is, and many others applauded Galaxy’s inclusion. So it stays!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And so does Finito. And remember, the difference between these guys is razor thin except for maybe the top 3.

  27. Clarence George 03:29pm, 11/23/2013

    Good point about Harada and excellent one about Canto, Tuxtucis.  Can’t believe “El Maestro” slipped my mind…easily among the three greatest flyweights of all time.

  28. tuxtucis 03:23pm, 11/23/2013

    I have no top 25 after 1945, but I feel strongly Mike McCallum is a vastly underrated boxer who has to be ranked ahead of Lopez and Galaxy. I think Hearns and Arguello have to be ranked higher. Miguel Canto has an underrated resume. Harada too has to be ranked higher.

  29. Ted 11:27am, 11/23/2013

    Hmm. Good point

  30. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:47am, 11/23/2013

    Ted Sares-Yikes! Not denigrating your work which I hold in high regard….just giving my take on things….which reminds me…..level of opposition….I hear that about Rocky too…..hmmmm….how about this….Little Bill Daggett: “You just shot an unarmed man.” Will Munny: “Well, he should have armed himself if he’s going to decorate his saloon with my friend.” By the same token, past their prime or not,  Louis, Walcott, Charles, and Moore shouldn’t have climbed up those steps and ducked through those ropes if they weren’t ready for the ass whipping that was waiting for them.

  31. Ted 09:21am, 11/23/2013

    Calzaghe over Monzon is something I don’t buy. Monzon would have outlasted him over 15 rounds.

    JC’s level of opposition was fair to middling at best. Tucker Pudwill!!!!!!!!!! A shot Jones who decked him.  Lacy who he could not stop. Manfredo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Puleeeeeze. He was a great boxer with super foot hand coordination, but he was never tested on a continuous basis. He would be in my next 5.

  32. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:08am, 11/23/2013

    Here’s the thing about these lists….even well researched and thoroughly documented lists like this….someone like me gives the list a once over and doesn’t see our all time favorites and we say….WTF!....then we start nitpicking like this….I loved Willie Pep but truth be told with all his will and skill in the end he just wasn’t strong enough to hold Saddler off….then I look at the list again and I see three on the list that Rocky beat to a pulp and KO’d….then I look again and I see fighters like the great Monzon who and I’m dead serious about this….. just couldn’t keep up with Joe Calzaghe….and no he wouldn’t one punch KO Joe and no again he wouldn’t just walk Joe down because as he tried Joe would buzz saw the shit out of him. I could go on but I think you get my drift.

  33. Ted 08:56am, 11/23/2013

    Holman fought over 35 times after 1945

  34. Ted 08:50am, 11/23/2013

    Eric has the beat

  35. Ted 07:20am, 11/23/2013

    You guys are tough.

  36. Eric 07:20am, 11/23/2013

    Marciano, like Foreman were awesome punchers, but both were widely criticized for their lack of boxing skills. No doubt this hurts both of these super punchers on all time rankings. Of course Foreman had stamina problems to go along with his suspect boxing skills. I rank both fighters highly because Foreman only lost twice in his prime and Marciano was undefeated. Marciano might have weighed only about 184-188lbs but he was lucky enough to rule the roost when quality heavyweights mostly all weighed under or only slightly above 200lbs. The only two top fighters that weighed over 200lbs that Marciano fought were a bloated former light heavyweight Don Cockell, and a 37 year old Joe Louis. Cockell weighed a blubbery 205lbs and Louis who usually wasn’t much heavier than 200lbs in his prime weighed 212lbs. Jersey Joe, Ezzard Charles, Roland LaStarza, Archie Moore, all scaled under 200lbs, and Jersey Joe at 197lbs was the only one even close to 200lbs. Even Marciano’s major opponents early on in his career were under 200lbs, Rex Layne was 193lbs, and Harry Matthews weighed about 179-180lbs for his fight with the Rock. Sure, Marciano kayoed some 200lb stiffs early on in his career but for the most part, heavyweights that weighed under 200lbs were the rule back in the 1950’s and not the exception. Dempsey and Louis knocked out some huge fighters back in their day, but Marciano for the most part, at least as far as quality opposition goes, feasted on small heavyweights.

  37. Jim Crue 07:19am, 11/23/2013

    great list Ted.. thanks for taking the time.
    There are always some disagreements with all time great lists. For me, I do not see a prime Ray Leonard beating a prime Kid Gavilan.

  38. FrankinDallas 06:57am, 11/23/2013

    Ok now let’s have a list of 25 worst boxers of all time. I’ll start:
    Tye “Big Sky” Fields, etc.

  39. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:05pm, 11/22/2013

    The only fighter that retired undefeated on this list is Ricardo Lopez….Calzaghe retired undefeated and would literally wear out every fighter on this list 175 and under and yes….forget the flash knockdowns…. he could deal with Robinson because he had a better chin than Fullmer…..pure titanium like Oscar DelaHoya’s. To me P4P means just that….pound for pound and transcends weight classes….Rocky Marciano retired undefeated and he was the best 185 lb fighter that ever walked the face of this earth.

  40. Ted 06:22pm, 11/22/2013

    Thanks Darrell. Appreciate that.

  41. Darrell 05:38pm, 11/22/2013

    Am enjoying this whole series…..but have wondered where the current fighters are, until the disclaimer that they are ineligible, fair enough.  Good bio’s….

  42. Larry Link 05:29pm, 11/22/2013

    The Ring Magazine’s Annual Ratings: 1950

    As selected by The Ring magazine in the February 1951 issue.

    Ezzard Charles, Champion

    Joe Louis
    Lee Savold
    Joey Maxim
    Clarence Henry
    Bob Baker
    Rex Layne
    Jersey Joe Walcott
    Jack Gardner
    Lee Oma
    Rocky Marciano

    Light Heavyweights
    Joey Maxim, Champion

    Archie Moore
    Harry (Kid) Matthews
    Bob Murphy
    Bob Satterfield
    Nick Barone
    Jimmy Slade
    Charley (Doc) Williams
    Dan Bucceroni
    Conny Rux
    Don Cockell

    Jake LaMotta, Champion

    Sugar Ray Robinson
    Laurent Dauthuille
    Dave Sands
    Randy Turpin
    Jimmy Beau
    Eugene Hairston
    Ray Barnes
    Robert Villemain
    Walter Cartier
    Paddy Young

    Sugar Ray Robinson, Champion

    Kid Gavilan
    Billy Graham
    Charley Fusari
    Johnny Bratton
    Eddie Thomas
    Johnny Saxton
    Mickey Tollis
    Charley Cotton
    Joe Miceli
    Charley Salas

    Ike Williams, Champion

    John L. Davis
    Freddie Dawson
    Tommy Campbell
    Jimmy Carter
    Art Aragon
    Johnny Gonsalves
    Eddie Chavez
    Del Flanagan
    Rudy Cruz
    Arthur King

    Sandy Saddler, Champion

    Willie Pep
    Ray Famechon
    Percy Bassett
    Charley Riley
    Luis de Santiago
    Ronnie Clayton
    Al Phillips
    Ciro Morasen
    Rudy Garcia
    Lauro Salas

    Vic Toweel, Champion

    Luis Romero
    Manuel Ortiz
    Peter Keenan
    Luis Galvani
    Elley Bennett
    Emile Chemama
    Maurice Sandeyron
    Tommy Proffitt
    Hadi Tijani
    Gianni Zuddas

    Dado Marino, Champion

    Jean Sneyers
    Terry Allen
    Louis Skena
    Vic Herman
    Honore Pratesi
    Stumpy Butwell
    Teddy Gardner

  43. Ted 02:56pm, 11/22/2013

    My thing about Rocky is that his level of opposition could have been better, though he DID beat everyone they put in front of him. I just don’t see a tall and jabbing Holmes getting beat by him.

    Tiger Ted Lowry gives the Rock all he can handle twice. Holmes can do it far better.

  44. Ted 12:49pm, 11/22/2013

    Djata Bumpus, Foreman and Young never fought Holmes either. Spinks would have been number 26.

  45. Tex Hassler 12:16pm, 11/22/2013

    Great picks Mr. Sares. Holman Williams was one of the truly great fighters even though most of today’s fans have never heard of him. Cerdan also belonged in that class of fighters. Both Cerdan and Williams would have easily become Champs today. There is no one with their skill fighting today anywhere in the world.

  46. kid vegas 11:05am, 11/22/2013

    Many of these boxers like Cerdan and the two Williams’s are really guys I never saw fight, but I’ll take your word for it based on your supportive narrative. How about Foreman?

  47. Djata Bumpus 10:59am, 11/22/2013

    Where’s Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson, and Joe Frazier, much less Mike Spinks?...They all fought bigger guys at a smaller weight…The list has no credibility, if the fighters never fought anybody bigger…Larry Holmes never fought George Foreman or my beloved Jimmy Young…smdh

  48. Ted 10:43am, 11/22/2013

    Thanks Steven

  49. Ted 10:41am, 11/22/2013

    jesse , they are still fighting!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:23am, 11/22/2013

    Ted Sares-“He illustrates how significant it is to possess a myriad of intangibles as well as amazing mental composition if one is to be extraordinary. So many before and after him have possessed some of the pieces however no one has ever put their pieces together in a manner that would bring them the results that his brought him and IT’S HIGHLY IMPROBABLE THAT ANYONE EVER WILL.” (Louis J. Marciano)....Amen and Amen! Maybe I’m too friggin’ dense to grasp the concept of P4P….but when I review the list above and it really sinks in that you honestly feel that Rocky Marciano doesn’t even deserve the # 25 spot or even honorable mention for that matter…it literally floors me….you were there…you must have been 18 or 19 that night he almost beat Moore to death…I was there as well and here’s what I’m thinking….there’s no doubt in my mind that Rocky Marciano was one of the ten greatest fighters of all time.

  51. Clarence George 10:19am, 11/22/2013

    Ted:  While I don’t have Marciano on my list of top 10 pound-for-pounders of all time, I think a strong case can be made for his inclusion on a post-‘45 list.  That said, there’s nothing ridiculous or unacceptable about not including him.

  52. jesse 10:13am, 11/22/2013

    No roy jones or mayweather??? this list is very incomplete w out those two names

  53. Steven 10:12am, 11/22/2013

    Finally a REAL top P4P list written by an educated boxing mind.. And thankfully no Floyd Mayweather Jr. When history is written he will not be anywhere in the top 25 due to his careful selection of opponents. All the guys on this list ENGAGED their opponents.

  54. Ted 09:55am, 11/22/2013

    Prov, I could see a good argument for moving him in front of Khaosai Galaxy, but I’ll stick with my first choices.

  55. Don from Prov 09:35am, 11/22/2013

    I wanted Arguello higher—but who would he move in front of?  Good list.
    I remember that the Weston fight was the first clue that Hearns lacked stamina,

  56. Ted 09:31am, 11/22/2013


  57. dollarbond 09:13am, 11/22/2013

    No Marciano?

  58. Ted 08:51am, 11/22/2013

    Thanks kindly, Dan. I had a hard time excluding Spinks, but the others were just far more active.

  59. Ted 08:50am, 11/22/2013

    Your list is an excellent one CG. Not much I can argue with. I never saw Beau Jack fight. My only real disagreement would be on Marciano whom I just could not justify as a P4P. Many THANKS FOR YOUR KIND COMMENTS..

  60. Dan Cuoco 07:41am, 11/22/2013

    I am glad to see the often overlooked Ike Williams in your top 25. Good pick. I also like the Marcel Cerdan selection. He is another who does not get his just dues. I know and appreciated the hours you put into this list, and I commend you for a job well done. This is one of the toughest tasks for a historian to pick a top 10, 20…...100. The orders can flip-flop and favorites left off, etc. But, that said, your list is solid, and your reasons for where you placed them is concise.

  61. Clarence George 05:22am, 11/22/2013

    What’s struck me about this list from the beginning is its reasonableness.  That’s not at all meant to be faint praise—very much to the contrary, in fact.  I’ve come across way too many lists, even by supposed experts, that are nothing short of nonsensical.  But the reasoning underlying and feeding Ted’s is as manifest as it is solid.

    I’m very glad Ike Williams made it on, though I would have him much higher.  The same is true of Marcel Cerdan, fifth on my own list of all-time greatest middleweights.  Disappointed that Rocky Marciano wasn’t included.  And where’s Carmen Basilio, outstanding welterweight and ridiculously underestimated middleweight?

    But a certain degree of disagreement is to be expected.  After all, this isn’t my list.  What matters is if the selection and placement reflect solid knowledge, analysis, and reasoning.  That’s indubitably the case here.

    My ego demands that I share with you my own top 10, in descending order:

    Sugar Ray Robinson
    Joe Louis
    Willie Pep
    Sandy Saddler
    Ike Williams
    Beau Jack
    Rocky Marciano
    Marcel Cerdan
    Carmen Basilio
    Roberto Duran

    Painful to cut, at least from the top 10, guys like Muhammad Ali, Carlos Monzon, and Marvelous Marvin Hagler.  Not to mention my all-time favorite middleweight, Tony Zale.

    While Ted’s top 10 isn’t quite mine, I was struck at the time (and still am) by just how very good it is.

  62. Ted 05:07am, 11/22/2013

    tuxtucis, what are your top 25? And did you check out their records post-45? This is not about only prime.

  63. bwhite 04:44am, 11/22/2013

    No way does SRL belong in front of Roberto Duran.

  64. tuxtucis 04:14am, 11/22/2013

    Hmmm…Cerdan was a great, underrated nowadays, fighter, but he was at his prime before 1945 (same for Louis and Holman Williams)...

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