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Old 01-07-2013, 01:50 AM   #1
Manassa
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Default Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

This is an open question as opposed to a persuasion - not necessarily an argument in favour of, nor intended to be a well structured essay, just some food for thought.

Leonard is pretty well regarded anyway, and many if not most posters here seem to have him in their top fifteen all-time list. Less frequently he will appear in the top five - but should it be a case of more frequently?

For a time I rated Duran the greatest lightweight ever, and I can't think why. Ability? Arguable (I'd say painfully even), but not if we're talking about what they accomplished at the weight.

Leonard's record is incredible. At one point, between the years 1917 and 1924 he amassed a streak of 80-2-1 (counting newspaper decisions), the only losses being a four rounder to the excellent Willie Ritchie who he later knocked out and a disqualification to the great welterweight, Jack Britton, with the draw coming against the other great welterweight of the era, Ted Kid Lewis. During this period he also expressed superiority over such Hall of Famers as Johnny Dundee, Johnny Kilbane, Freddie Welsh and Lew Tendler, against whom he resulted 4-0, 1-0, 1-0 and 2-0 respectively - and 2-1 against Britton. Rocky Kansas and the previously mentioned Willie Ritchie were two particularly notables who Leonard went 4-0 and 1-1 with. He beat everyone worth fighting within about ten pounds of the lightweight limit either way; Charley 'KO' White and Soldier Bartfield were among the other top names Leonard beat on his run of dominance.

They say he had it all, scoring high in categories such as 'intelligence', 'technique' and 'movement' whilst also possessing excellent power and a great jaw. It's important to realise that up until Ray Robinson became consensus, Benny Leonard was considered by many to be the greatest of all time and was also a big draw in his own era, commanding massive crowds and setting records. It is interesting to note that although Leonard was stopped five times, four of those occured within his first year fighting (aged fifteen and sixteen) and the other in his very last fight against Jimmy McLarnin - a knockout-free period of twenty years and one hundred and ninety eight bouts.

I rate Leonard #5 and I may move him to #4 on my pound-for-pound list.

Last edited by Manassa; 01-07-2013 at 02:04 AM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

Number 1 lightweight of all time for me.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

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Number 1 lightweight of all time for me.
And me. How about in all divisions, all time?
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

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And me. How about in all divisions, all time?
I really struggle with the all time p4p lists. Havent attempted to do one for quite a few years to be honest.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

p4p top 12 and lightweight top 2 are both ok. I had him at #8 and #2 last time I did lists I think.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

Have him at no.7 or .8 P4P
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

p4p, I would rate him in the top 4 or 5, personally. Arguably he deserves #1 status. I couldn't have him any lower than 7.

As a lightweight, I'd say definite #1, but I possibly don't know enough about Joe Gans.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

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Have him at no.7 or .8 P4P
#8 seems to be the typical rating. I'm believing more and more that he's a top five lock.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

1. Harry Greb
2. Henry Armstrong
3. Ray Robinson
4. Sam Langford
5. Benny Leonard
6. Ezzard Charles
7. Bob Fitzsimmons
8. Willie Pep
9. Roberto Duran
10. Archie Moore

This is what I seem to have settled on for now, having given Fitzsimmons' fans the benefit of the doubt and moved him up.

11. Joe Gans
12. Packey McFarland
13. Barney Ross
14. Mickey Walker
15. Muhammad Ali
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

Solid list, Manassa. I took particular notice, off topic if you'll beg my pardon, of Ali at 15. Perhaps I have not spent enough time in classic yet, but it frustrates me that many fans, perhaps casuals or quasi casuals, feel the incessant need to rank Ali P4P top 5; to those who give into his self-professed hype of being "The Greatest", I find myself not rustled in the least, as there is no room to take them seriously in the least. Off topic again, I was curious to see where Ray Leonard falls on your rankings.

Oh, and to be on topic, I am not well-schooled yet enough on Leonard to make an educated response.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:50 AM   #11
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

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Solid list, Manassa. I took particular notice, off topic if you'll beg my pardon, of Ali at 15. Perhaps I have not spent enough time in classic yet, but it frustrates me that many fans, perhaps casuals or quasi casuals, feel the incessant need to rank Ali P4P top 5; to those who give into his self-professed hype of being "The Greatest", I find myself not rustled in the least, as there is no room to take them seriously in the least. Off topic again, I was curious to see where Ray Leonard falls on your rankings.

Oh, and to be on topic, I am not well-schooled yet enough on Leonard to make an educated response.
Rating Ali as an ATG and a P4P top fighter doesnt necessarily mean a person is a casual or semi-casual fan, nor should it be deserving of your complete dismissal of their boxing knowledge for thinking so. It seems to be the hipster thing to say on these forums this while back and i cant see why i, and many others, should be made to feel guilty for thinking highly of him. Im not saying hes top 5 or even top 10, but he sure as fuk is knocking on the door. I dont want to go on but i could, and be completely reasonable in my argument, but this is a benny leonard thread and maybe its for another place.

I dont really do lists but ive always thought of Leonard and Duran as being interchangable depending on my mood, as 1 and 2 at lightweight, and just inside the top 10 p4p
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:02 AM   #12
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

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Originally Posted by DavidChao View Post
Solid list, Manassa. I took particular notice, off topic if you'll beg my pardon, of Ali at 15. Perhaps I have not spent enough time in classic yet, but it frustrates me that many fans, perhaps casuals or quasi casuals, feel the incessant need to rank Ali P4P top 5; to those who give into his self-professed hype of being "The Greatest", I find myself not rustled in the least, as there is no room to take them seriously in the least. Off topic again, I was curious to see where Ray Leonard falls on your rankings.

Oh, and to be on topic, I am not well-schooled yet enough on Leonard to make an educated response.
Thank you. Looking at a list like that, someone could easily call me biased towards old, sub-heavyweight greats, but I find the simple fact to be that smaller, older fighters tended to box more often and therefore rack up deeper lists of opponents. Ali, while truly great, doesn't have the same phenomenal record as some of those above him*. Neither does Louis, Holmes or Lewis.

Ray Leonard relates to the same point. He didn't fight enough for my liking, even if he crammed in several big wins - Jimmy McLarnin did that too, but even more so; shit, he beat twelve Hall of Famers in a career as long as Hagler's. Leonard rates about twenty four or thereabouts, only because there are too many greats who fought much more than he did.

*A funny thing happens with more famous fighter's opponents, and in particular, Ali's. Some fighters who were good but otherwise unspectacular have their reputations inflated. Two of Ike Williams' opponents who seem perfect comparables - Willie Joyce and Freddie Dawson - were likely better than Ken Norton and Jerry Quarry but are largely forgotten. Ali rates above Williams for me, I'm just saying.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:18 AM   #13
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

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Originally Posted by DavidChao View Post
Solid list, Manassa. I took particular notice, off topic if you'll beg my pardon, of Ali at 15. Perhaps I have not spent enough time in classic yet, but it frustrates me that many fans, perhaps casuals or quasi casuals, feel the incessant need to rank Ali P4P top 5; to those who give into his self-professed hype of being "The Greatest", I find myself not rustled in the least, as there is no room to take them seriously in the least. Off topic again, I was curious to see where Ray Leonard falls on your rankings.

Oh, and to be on topic, I am not well-schooled yet enough on Leonard to make an educated response.
Ali makes my top 10 and what of it?
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

BL was and is a top 3 all time LW and I would question any list that had him below the top 5. He beat everyone, had a record that would be hard to match and the greatest trainers of his time thought he was the best of the best.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:30 AM   #15
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Default Re: Should we rate Benny Leonard a little higher?

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Ali makes my top 10 and what of it?

Means we must do battle. En garde!




Top 10 also is not top 5. All the same, justification is all I ask for. I do not outright oppose Ali being in a top 10 list, though I would not put him there and vehemently refuse that he may be classified as top 5. Additionaly, I feel Ali fanboys get a pass while Tyson ones do not. If anything, Tyson fanatics receive way too much flak. Both were larger than life figures, so fandom is expected. The extent of Ali's being permissible though, from my encounters, is unjustifiable on its own and more so when one considers how mean I feel many are to the more vocal proponents of Tyson.
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