Re: Is it feasible to rank Wills over Dempsey in an ATG list?
The Ring Magazine did put out ratings (done, I believe, by Rickard) starting in 1924. The ratings were just one to ten.
This certainly backs up that Wills would have been considered the top challenger from 1919 to 1926 most of the time. Carpentier was hyped. He was a super-middleweight. A case could be made for Firpo supplanting Wills for a few months in 1923 after a streak of impressive wins. But Firpo immediately got his shot at the title.
Time Magazine 4-23-1923
"It is generally accepted opinion that Harry Wills is the only man in the game who can stand at Dempsey's level. There is vague talk of a fight between the two at the Polo Grounds on Labor Day."
In all the articles I have read, starting with Dempsey drawing the color line in 1919, to the day of the Tunney fight, Wills is always the first listed challenger. Always. Whoever else comes and goes--Fulton, Carpentier, Willard, Firpo, Renault, Gibbons, Godfrey, Weinert, Tunney--Wills is listed first.