Re: More Skilled: Jose Napoles or Sugar Ray Leonard ??
Napoles is one of the most accomplished fighters I've seen.
In terms of difficulty rating, his fighting method was right up there. It took a lot of natural ability and savvy to fight like he did; seemingly hittable, but not.
Napoles took some shots, but it was all part of the method. His rock of a jaw allowed him to chase the perfect counter punch, which he often pulled off or delivered in bundles.
I noticed a while back that in one of his fights he was moving to his left the entire time, and contrary to what someone said above, his jab was sharp and useful.
In another fight, he moved to his right the entire time, creating leverage for the left hook, which was doubled and sometimes tripled.
Napoles after 1970 or 1971 can sometimes seem too methodical and devoid of any discernible athletic prowess. He'd had a tough career can was slowing down and drinking heavily.
But against Cokes or Griffith he's superb. About as polished and unplayable a boxer as you could wish a welterweight to be at his diminutive stature. Against smaller fighters he was even more effective.
Napoles' tendency to cut has probably been overblown although there's no doubt it would happen from time to time. At least three of his losses were due to severe lacerations.
For a while now I've been trying to push the idea that Napoles was an explosive phenomenon like Robinson or Duran belonging in the top tier for ability (at 140lbs), rather than a methodical long-term champion who was getting cut all the time. We have to remember that he amassed a staggering amateur record of 114-1, and his professional record stands an excellent 81-7, and at least four of those losses can be reasoned with.
Oh, and I'm of the opinion that Napoles' opposition was excellent. No nit picking required:
A very respectable upper tier - better than Marvin Hagler's, for example. Napoles also beat about another thirty contenders on top.
Just a summary.