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Auggie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 01:52 PM
Original message
Top 10 boxers of all-time?
Vittorio Tafur / S.F. Chronicle / 5-6-2011

The 10 best pound-for-pound fighters of all time (regardless of weight class):

1. Muhammad Ali: The three-time heavyweight champ (56-5), says Sugar Ray Robinson is best. But Ali floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee - with fist and tongue. The larger-than-life entertainer turned trash talk into an art form.

2. Sugar Ray Robinson: They coined the phrase "pound for pound" for this welterweight and middleweight champ, the ultimate combination of speed and power. He was 175-19-6 from 1940-65.

3. Roberto Duran: Forget the "No Mas" in the second Leonard fight. "Manos de Piedra" (Hands of Stone) terrorized opponents and held titles at four weight classes. He stuck around 10 years too long, but is the only fighter to win fights in five different decades, finishing 103-16.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/05/SPFL1JCJ1U.DTL#ixzz1LbE6wJFw

4. Henry Armstrong
5. Joe Louis
6. Sugar Ray Leonard
7. Rocky Marciano
8. Willie Pep
9. Julio Cesar Chavez
10. Manny Pacquiao

I missed many of these guys, of course. Ali, Duran and Leonard were on top when I followed boxing regularly. Wish I could have seen Louis and Robinson.

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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
1. Interesting choices.
Yesterday, at a high school track meet, I was discussing Ray Robinson with an older friend, who grew up watching him. This gentleman was a big fan of Rocky Marciano, too. (I would not put Rocky on my list of the top ten.)

Both Henry Armstrong and Willie Pep rank high among the sport's all-time greats. I've got a handful of photos of Pep working as the referee in one of my bouts.

And I put Ali at the very top.
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Condem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Hey, H2O. I saw that 'Enry Cooper died this past week. Almost KO'd Ali.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yes, sad news.
Friend "kingofalldems" mentioned that on the OP/thread with my fight preview. I had read about it earlier. Cooper was a great guy -- perfect left hook, too -- and had been a big support to Ali in recent years.
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Kingofalldems Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. True or false--Did Willie Pep actually win a round
without throwing a punch? BTW, Very cool he refereed one of your bouts.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. I watched film of
that round numerous times. Pep won it without landing a punch. He did feint several times, and some have argued that he technically "threw a punch." My belief is that had he thrown a punch, it would have landed. The guy had impressive accuracy.
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wilt the stilt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. As great as Ali was he never really had a knock out punch
Ray Robinson had more power and Rocky Marciano is the only undefeated champion.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Ali showed
very real power, in my opinion, but not at the level of a Louis, Liston, or Foreman. Yet, guys like Liston and Foreman ended up flat on their backs, staring at the ring lights, against Ali.

Ray Robinson, at welterweight, was as close to unbeatable as any person could. At middleweight, he was outstanding -- definitely great -- but not as dominant.

Marciano, as I have documented on this forum, was not actually undefeated. He lost several of his early fights. His manager "removed" these from his record. However, there are photos and records of how much Rocky earned in these bouts. That's really no big deal, though, as he was great in his prime, rather than as a young fighter.

(Also, in one of his fights, shortly before he won the title, the judges scored the fight a draw. The promoter over-turned that verdict, and announced Rocky as the winner.)
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Awsi Dooger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 04:47 PM
Response to Original message
7. I think Roy Jones belongs on that list
Edited on Fri May-06-11 04:53 PM by Awsi Dooger
He's severely punished for the masochistic final stage of his career, which is understandable. It's fashionable to downgrade him. Speed fighters decline rapidly and at an earlier age so they are vulnerable to late career high profile flops. But I can't overlook how dominant Jones was for more than a decade.

Jones had by far the highest percentage of scored rounds won in boxing history. I've seen it broken down and it's astonishing. At one point he was more than 10 percentage points higher than any major fighter in history. You couldn't touch him. From well before the '88 Olympic final to the second Tarver fight, Jones was clearly the best fighter in the ring, a point that Max Kellerman properly emphasized many times. That's a span of more than 15 years. Everyone assumes Jones' chin always would have been suspect if he had been tagged earlier but I can't make that leap.

Jones would overwhelm many guys on that list based on athletic ability alone. I'm always hard pressed to restrain a chuckle when old timers in any sport want to downgrade sheer ability in deference to experience or smarts or similar conventional wisdom malarkey. You're never going to convince anyone. I learned that long ago in Las Vegas. But when there's opportunity to wager the other way it's not exactly gambling. They wobble away silently with a worthless ticket.

Otherwise, I don't like to evaluate athletes from before my time. In the 40+ years I've been old enough to follow, history books have made some ridiculous summations, in sports and other aspects of life. Consequently I don't trust earlier reference works. Boxing is a bit different in that you can scrutinize old tapes, but even at that point the overall setting is hazy. I remember every supporting variable prior to Ali/Frazier or Ali/Foreman or Leonard/Hearns or Mosley/De La Hoya. That would hardly be the case if I inherited a 50 year old tape and watched it a la carte.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Roy was a great
example of "hit and don't get hit."

The end of his career was a direct result of his bulking up to fight John Ruiz, for a paper "heavyweight title." Even Ruiz, a solid top 10 contender, could not land a meaningful punch in that fight. And Roy definitely put some pain on a surprised John -- who has able to take most heavyweight's punches very well.

When Roy attempted to cut weight after that, he lost his uncanny physical skills. In a very real sense, he had never needed some of the basic skills almost everyone else requires and learns as an amateur. Losing the weight translated to losing his speed and reflexes. It is part of his record, of course, but meaningless in rating how great he was.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-07-11 01:29 AM
Response to Reply #7
12. agreed on Jones
he had to keep moving up because nobody in his class was anywhere near his class. In the 90s, Jones was in a class by himself.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-06-11 06:10 PM
Response to Original message
10. This is as good a time as any to point out that
Edited on Fri May-06-11 06:15 PM by KamaAina
our esteemed MrScorpio is related to Joe Louis.
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-07-11 05:57 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. Yes!
If I remember correctly, his mother and Joe are cousins.
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Awsi Dooger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-07-11 12:58 AM
Response to Original message
11. Jones was in such great shape he had ripples down the back of his neck
I've been fortunate enough to attend dozens of fight cards and weigh ins in Las Vegas. Midsize town in the '80s, with frequent cards at Showboat, Silver Slipper, you name it. Boxers are unimposing, for the most part. The exceptions really stand out. Ali and Foreman are massive guys. You can't believe how big Ali is for someone of that speed and skill. I got his autograph in Miami during the '70s before the physical decline. Tyson is such a midget I still laugh about it. He should never venture outside minus a top hat.

Among the midsize group, I remember Hagler walking right past me at Caesar's Palace before the Mugabi fight in '86. Moderate shoulders. Nothing dramatic. Same when I saw Leonard, Duran, and twiggy legged Hearns.

Roy Jones didn't fight often in Las Vegas but once I saw him in '94 I was amazed at what a physical freak he was. The wise guys were betting James Toney to small favorite. Meanwhile, at the weigh in at MGM Grand the comparison between the two physiques was a farce. No one stayed in shape like Jones, and he did it for more than a decade.

Even a Philadelphia tough guy like Hopkins who was several years older and more mature than Jones was no match for Roy when Jones was in his prime. I'm convinced the same dynamic would have applied if Jones were to face more lauded fighters from other eras, the guys higher on the all time lists. Put them in the same ring and it's like Clay/Liston again, the physical stature not remotely close to what anyone expects, and the speed and athletic ability tilted in favor of the bigger guy. That's particularly true if Jones were evaluated in his best weight class of super middleweight. It was not a well attended or glamorous division in the '90s so Jones was forced to move up to light heavyweight.

Jones didn't have enough mega fights and he came around a decade too late, so he's devalued. I fully understand that. He won too easily, like Seattle Slew from the front. Fans want adversity and late heroics. Everyone was looking to denounce a fighter who relied on talent and not classic style. His late career defeats were improperly weighed. It's all flawed handicapping but Jones set himself up for that by sticking around too long. I distinctly remember the biggest boxing bettor in Las Vegas, and a huge Jones fan, telling me in the early 2000s that Jones had at least 5 more great years. I told him, "Two if he's lucky."
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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-07-11 05:56 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Hearns ...




My brother was in Tommy's training camp then. These photos are from the last week's training. I have numerous pictures from John "The Beast" Mugabi's camp, as well.

Mark said that Mugabi was the hardest puncher he ever saw. I think John took a lot out of the aging Haglar, setting up Leonard's challenge. Old champions rarely have two good fights, back-to-back.

Haglar's camp was closed.
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