Originally Posted by Manassa
Esteban De Jesus (x2)
Edwin Viruet (x2)
Jack Britton (x2)
Lew Tendler (x2)
Freddie Welsh (x2)
Soldier Bartfield (x3)
Johnny Dundee (x4)
Rocky Kansas (x4)
Doesn't this just speak for itself?
Yes, Leonard lost every once in a while, but you're talking about an era where you might fight four times in as many weeks. Nobody had a record like Leonard's back then apart from Harry Greb.
You can say Duran was better, and use that as part of your criteria - but if accomplishments are what you go by, there's no denying Benny Leonard.
This post i hope is seen as in no way being a criticism of Benny Leonard or his selection as the greatest ever.
Leonard won the lightweight title by beating Freddie Welch. Welch had held the title since 1915. He had three defences, one of which was a No decision fight against Benny Leonard himself, where he retained his title. He had before winning the title held the British and European title, had only lost to fights on points and both of those were avenged. He retired straight after the Leonard loss (presumably this suggest he had lost focus and desire by the time of the Leonard loss), They had 3 fights with 2 no decisions. I wonder whether there is an argument that Welsh may have been just as good or better than Leonard based on an argument similar to the Tyson-Lewis or Holyfield-Lewis or Dempsey Tunney Arguments.
Jack Britton - According to CBZ, he fought 2 No Decisions and lost a fight on DQ to Britton. And it seems that these fights took place over and above the lightweight limit, also. The ND was apparently a fight that Britton was winning but he was hit after a Kd. I think Leonard may have got Some newspaper necisions in the NDs. Anyone else have more info.
Johnny Dundee - was fought 4 times for 4 NCs. the first was (boxrec) a 4 newspaper decision to Dundee at lightweight. The second has Leonard over the lightweight limit and Dundee under the limit. Boxrec has Dundee winning a close fight on two newspapers and one listing it as a draw. The third again has Leonard over and Dundee under. Again the newspapers cited list Leonard as the loser one says by a big margin. The 4th has no weights listed with a paper cited for both a win and a loss. Dundee was a world Featherweight and Junior lightweight champion. It would appear at first glance that he bested leonard even though leonard weighed over the lightweight limit. This shouldnt really add that much to his lightweight legacy should it?
Soldier Bartfield - was a much bigger fighter and despite all fights being listed as NCs, it seems that Leonard won them comfortably. Still, Leonard was over the lightweight limit in at least one of them, and looking at his records you have to question whether he was over the limit for all of them. Actually, looking at his best wins you have outlined, i am starting to question wheter or not Leonard was in fact a lightweight at all. Or was he more of a junior welterweight.
Rocky Kansas - These seem good dominant newspaper wins, one by stoppage. Although technically he was a pound over the limit in one of the fights.
Ritchie - Is a good KO win, although again both were slightly over the lightweight limit.
Kilbane - Another excellent win against the Kilbane at a time when Kilbane was the reigning Featherweight champion of the world.
Lew Tendler - Was again, an excellent win and one no contest, although the papers seemed to indicate that Benny had the advantage although one did say it was a draw (boxrec again).
So looking through this list, much of Benny's best work was done just over the lightweight limit. And if boxrec is accurate Dundee, in particular appears to have bested Benny. If this is correct, would that make Dundee a better lightweight than Benny? I am not really sure, but i tend to think that Benny might have a fighter or two ahead of him at lightweight. McAuliffe springs out, but dare i say it, without investigating further i think Duran also may have the better record. And possibly Napoles too.