Originally Posted by Vano-Irons
Dempsey was a little past his best tho was he not?
I think he was, though it wasn't seen that way by the majority at the time (Fitz was favoured though). It doesn't really matter though. How often do you see a p4p #1 and incumbent champion outclasssed
? It hasn't happened since.
But, for me, Duran is the greatest fighter we have a large collection of footage of. His blend of attack and defensive, body work and head shots, footwork and ring smarts, are all there to be seen. His victory over Ray (a great p4p fighter in his own right), may well be the greatest victory ever.
Comparing them for skill/head to head etc. is obviously frought with difficulty because we have snatches of Fitz competing under very different rules and that is all, but in a general sense, I don't see Duran running away with the eye-test in the way you do. I think he has plenty of company, and I'd include Whitaker, who inhabits the same division - which is to say, I don't think Duran is unequivocally the most skilled fighter ever to appear in his own division. I think it's a brave man who makes that call.
I do think the way he seams attack and defence together are as special as anything I've ever seen in that regard though, his instinct there was asonishing, his greatest strength in his prime.
As for the greatest victory of all time, as i've said, it's up there, but i'd take the one punch ko of a former lightweight over the reigning HW champion and put it a sliver above.