Originally Posted by Surf-Bat
I don't put much stake in KO percentages because for some strange reason they take losses into account. I'm no math whiz, but this makes zero sense to me. Ike stopped 61 opponents in 127 wins during one of the toughest stretches in division history. He floored Kid Gavilan (something no one else but Carmen Basilio ever did), stopped the dreaded Freddie Dawson with one punch and stopped a veritable who's-who of the LW division champs and challengers- Beau Jack, Bob Montgomery, Juan Zurita, Johnny Bratton, Tippy Larkin, Enrique Bolanos, Jesse Flores, Buddy Garcia, Ronnie James, Dave Castilloux...
That's a lot of top names. Williams was obviously a deadly puncher.
You mentioned Gatica. That Argentinean boy was on a tear when Ike stopped him.
Also remember that Franke Carbo (via Blinky Palermo) controlled Ike's career. According to Ike he had to sometimes hold back from utilizing his sleep-inducer, like in his fight here in L.A. with Enrique Bolanos. Who knows how many fights he held back in?
Yeah that's what I meant by 'political reasons.' I didn't like to say too much but from the various stories I've read, it seems like Ike often fought with the weight of outside-the-ring matters hanging over him.
I would suggest Williams' era was the toughest in lightweight history. He came out on top, in between fighting welterweights, and for that he's definitely top five all-time in the division.