Ring Around the Rosie

By Robert Ecksel on April 21, 2012
Ring Around the Rosie
The Ring magazine has just released a list of its top-10 greatest middleweights of all time


The writing has been on the wall and is as indelible as graffiti on a derelict overpass. Golden Boy’s promise of impartiality at the time of its purchase ring hollower with each passing year. Those who believed then can still believe now if they so choose—and you better be a good boy or Santa will put coal in your Christmas stocking.

The Ring magazine, a Golden Boy property, has just released its top-10 greatest middleweights of all time. Oscar De La Hoya wasn’t on the list. But Felix Sturm was, incredibly ranked number seven, and Arthur Abraham (yes, that Arthur Abraham) just made the cut at number 10.

There’s nothing wrong with Sturm and Abraham, per se, except for the fact that they no sooner belong on the list than does my proctologist.

The inclusion of Sturm and Abraham suggests—I can’t bring myself to use the word means—The Ring believes they are greater middleweights than Jake LaMotta, Charley Burley, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bob Fitzsimmons, Dick Tiger, Mickey Walker, Thomas Hearns, Marcel Cerdan, Roy Jones Jr., James Toney…and the list goes on.

According to The Ring, the top-10 greatest middleweights of all time are:

1. Bernard Hopkins (1995-2005)
2. Carlos Monzon (1970-1977)
3. Marvin Hagler (1980-1987)
4. Harry Greb (1923-1926)
5. Stanley Ketchel (1908-1910)
6. Ray Robinson (1951-52/1955-57/1958-60)
7. Felix Sturm (2003-04/2006/2007-present)
8. Les Darcy (1915-1916)
9. Gene Fullmer (1957)
10. Arthur Abraham (2005-2009)

I can’t say enough about The Ring‘s top-10 middleweight selection or the process by which that selection was made. Instead, I defer to the inestimable boxing historian Mike Casey.

“For my money,” he said, “this is truly the end of The Ring as even a halfway credible proposition. Back in 1967 when Joe Frazier refused to join the WBA’s knockout tournament to determine Ali’s successor, the WBA demoted Joe to number 9 in their ratings. The Ring denounced that action as boxing’s big joke. Now The Ring itself—sadly—is a big joke.”

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This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. henry dicarlo 09:35am, 04/29/2012

    What do you expect from a magazine that didn’t even know what Marciano’s right hand was called.  This magazine lost its credibility when Nat Fleischer died.

  2. CharlieN 07:47am, 04/28/2012

    If I was Ketchel and Greb I would be asked to be taken off that list.

  3. Frank 07:43am, 04/28/2012

    Ring Magazine been crap for so long, it stopped stinking and its just mush now.
    When was the last time Ring Magazine blasted any of the orgs and assns that are involved with title belts now. God forbid they step on the feet on those who produce championship fights for guys who barely connected on a combination in their careers.
    Hauser and Hirsch give those in the BWAA something to think about before joining in their band of sad sacks.

  4. the thresher 05:41am, 04/24/2012

    The Ring uses the BWAA which in turn determines who gets into the IBHOF. The connections are sickening. Given Tommy Hauser has a great influence on who gets into the BWAA, it doesn’t take much logic to figure out who is pulling the strings here, Time to call Hauser and Hirsch on this stuff. Time to stop the conflicted crap that goes on. The stench overwhelmes and articles like the one in the Ring are the result.

  5. Robert Ecksel 05:21pm, 04/23/2012

    To quote Mark Twain, “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

  6. the thresher 04:35pm, 04/23/2012

    raxman, the author has his head firmly up his ass.

  7. raxman 03:19pm, 04/23/2012

    ted - you have to realise this isnt a list of greatest middleweights - its of middleweight champions - la motta held the title for only 1 successful defense and for only 16months - thats what separates this list; its about the titles not quality at the weight. (although see my comments below on what i think about comparing original titles to alphabets). in 2004 RIng mag had Lamotta #5 all time middleweights. but his reign as actual champ was short.
    the author uses stats to comply a list of those who held their titles longest and against quality of oppositon - and by quality he means win-loss record. he tries to remove the subjectivity by using stats to measure success as champion - usually even when doing so you must use some subjectivity when determining the quality of challengers but he doesnt he measure purely on the numbers so to (jumping weight classes) sven ottkes undefeated recorded is considered a match to say floyds- and thats where this subjective list breaksdown as common sense tells us its not - but common sense gives way to opponent win-loss stats and home town advantages,and ko’s vs decisions.

  8. the thresher 08:53am, 04/23/2012

    BWAA = Ring = IBHOF connect inducting the dots. It’s bile-inducing.

  9. the thresher 08:49am, 04/23/2012

    This is sickening and more proof that the BWAA is composed of writers who don’t know their rear end from a hole in the ground. These twerps are clueless when it comes to boxing history. Felix Sturm over Jake LaMotta. WTH is that all about? Hauser and his minions and suck ups should be very proud of this garbage.

  10. raxman 05:29pm, 04/22/2012

    its important to read lee groves justifications in the comments section of this article. firstly he is not making a list of greatest middleweights - its greatest middleweight champions. so in that he takes into consideration longevity and quality of defenses.those fighters that were only fighting at 160 for a short period of time don’t get considered. guys like zale that only held the actual title for a short period arent considered - although the flaw in this all of this is the lack of value to todays alphabet titles as opposed to 1 champion in zales day.
    i still think, no matter the criteria, those two guys (sturm and aa) in particular don’t belong and i dont know how anyone is above hagler but i havent gone thru the records - and as i say he has removed emotion from his choices and based this list on facts ie stats although at some point he has used his opinion to decide on the quality of opposition.
    i think we can’t compare champions of yesteryear unless we only count the champions of today who have unified (at least say 3 of) the titles.

  11. raxman 04:41pm, 04/22/2012

    jim crue - i dont know how what you’ve said actually disagrees with anything i said. my problem is living in the past is a waste of time and for the most part nostaglia is viewing the sport with rose colored glasses. i agree that the ring mag is a relic. i don’t believe sturm or aa belong anywhere near the list. perhaps you need to re read my comments.

  12. Jim Crue 04:27pm, 04/22/2012

    Raxman you must be joking. When boxing was a major sport there were many thousands registered fighters. The champions fought 15 round fights and the fighters wore 6 ounce gloves and did not wear body armor foul protectors. There are at least 15 fighters I can name who were not champions who could beat the likes of Sturm and lead footed AA. The Ring list is a complete joke and dishonors the great history of boxing. This is not nostalgia but fact.

  13. raxman 04:10pm, 04/22/2012

    oh also robert - how do you put ray leonard and hearns in this piece alongside great middleweights - ray was a great welter and tommy a great welter and light middle - neither belongs on a greatest 160’s list anymore than sturm or AA

  14. raxman 04:06pm, 04/22/2012

    RE - i think boxing fans are amongst the worst when it comes to nostalgia. one of the biggest issues i have with people on here is the “good ol days” obsession. the old days are just that; the old days - i could get distracted here and go on rant about how readers here like to lionise the 4 kings as fighters that never ducked (trying that aaron pryor) but i (almost) wont.
    the ring magazine belongs in the past. in the old days. we no longer need it coz we have sites like this. they had a chance to change up but when the internet boomed they were too slow off the mark.
    their titles are the only thing that matter now. or do they? i like the “have to beat the champ to be the champ” rule and i like that they leave the belt vacant if the champ isnt obvious. but i have noticed recently that what once looked like objective rankings has begun to look subjective and that is bound to destroy the belt i believe is worth having.
    actually i think belts in general now have all the relevance of number 1 songs. they may make the owner some dough but they don’t mean dick when measuring quality.

  15. Robert Ecksel 06:52am, 04/22/2012

    The original Ring magazine article can be read here: http://ringtv.craveonline.com/blog/172407-10-greatest-middleweight-champions

  16. Jim Crue 03:25am, 04/22/2012

    Ring magazine has become irrelevant. This top 10 list is a complete joke. Golden Boy who owns the magazine is trying to rewrite history. The Nazi minister of Propaganda Josef Goebbels said that if you tell the people enough lies they will eventually believe them. I call it the Ali Syndrome. Call your self the “greatest” long enough and everyone will finally believe you.
    This list does a disservice to the history of boxing and is not to be taken seriously. Oscar has again proven himself to be a con man.

  17. Matt McGrain 03:14am, 04/22/2012

    I think Ring Magazine is great - it’s a magazine about boxing.  I’m a subscriber.  But this list is atrocious and some of the reporting connected with it is atrocious.  Highlighting that is fine, and certainly gave me a giggle.

  18. Robert Ecksel 07:31pm, 04/21/2012

    raxman—I don’t have a “hungry hatred” for The Ring. Indifference would better describe it. A once great magazine is no longer great. The once relevant “Bible of Boxing” has lost its relevance. Those are the facts. A template, a blueprint for The Ring is embedded in its DNA and no one seems to care or notice. I think Bernard is great fighter and an amazing character, but question his being listed as the greatest middleweight of all time. How can one not, even with stats to support it? But I think you may have hit the nail on the head when you write about the “relevance” of the Ring championship belts. If the magazine is compromised by conflicts of interest (hence Hopkins being listed as number one), would that not apply to The Ring championship belts as well?

  19. raxman 07:01pm, 04/21/2012

    i havent read the article in Ring Magazine - but i saw this mentioned on another site and it was stated that the writer backed up his decisions with facts - basically this was a stat based list. most lists are emotion based, nostalgia based. - whether one is better than the other is a moot point. But i think that all lists should be viewed as “hit and giggle”  - even the bs that is a Pound for Pound list. its all so bloody arbitrary and subjective, and i can’t believe that anyone, espec RE wasted the time writing about it. it must be food to satisfy a hungry hatred for Ring Mag itself. i would’ve thought the only thing about ring worth noting these days is the relevance of their championship belts.

  20. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat saijo 06:05pm, 04/21/2012

    Hopkins couldn’t beat Ezzard Charles if his very soul depended on it…his only chance with Monzon would be to up his “game” to the point where he would likely be DQ’d out….Robinson would be the one most likely to find the sweet spot on that big chin and put him down and out! Would his grappling style work with Hagler or Leonard at their best….not likely. Fullmer would love to “rassle” with him.

  21. MIKE SCHMIDT 03:45pm, 04/21/2012

    Are your sure it was not an April Fools joke fearless Editor: 1) Robinson 2) Monzon 3) Greb 4) Jones (I do not know how you can put Hopkins ahead since they went head to head and Jones had his way 5) Ketchel 6) Steele 7) Langford 8) Walker 9) Cerdan 10) Hagler or Burley—Hagler stays on the bottom end—draw with Vito, two point win over 15 against an aging little man Duran, loss to Leonard—adios and now let’s here it from the peanut gallery!!!!

  22. Matt Autio 02:21pm, 04/21/2012

    I’m trying to find something to say that isn’t going to “offend someone.”  I’m trying, honestly.
    I can only implore the author to watch some boxing once in a while.  Or another sport altogether and leave this one for someone else.

  23. Matt McGrain 01:31pm, 04/21/2012

    I’m thinking of that scene from Tropic Thunder where Robert Downey Jnr. says to Ben Stiller, “you don’t ever go full retard.”

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