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Old 09-27-2009, 05:02 PM   #46
Stonehands89
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Default Re: Ranking the Greats: your assistance please

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You may have defined the term better for me.

Perhaps it should describe an fighters ability to adjust and react to what is in front of him combined with his fight plan?

The ring general maintains control of how the fight unfolds.
That's how I look at the ring general... although room has to be made for those guys who didn't need a grand strategy or technical prowess... Monzon. Foreman. Armstrong to a lesser degree. They are also ring generals albeit for different reasons. In a word, it'd be "effectiveness."
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:15 PM   #47
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Yeah, my last post was of course useless.


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And by the way McGrain, fantastic post at the beginning of page #2.
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:20 PM   #48
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Very cool stuff here.

One thing that comes to my mind is, is there anyway of standardizing the different rules/trends of boxing throughout the eras?

12 rounds/15 rounds has already been brought up (which I don't think modern fighters should be punished for), but boxers also used to be able to fight far more often in the past. That is an impossibility in recent decades, and it isn't a fault of the fighters, nor do I think modern wouldn't be capable of handling it either. The game has just changed.

So, do you see these criteria skewing data towards one era or another? And if so, again, how can this be standardized.

Also, Longevity seems to be highly represented (more than once--it is listed as a part of the Dominance score as well) in this criteria. Sometimes longevity can be a result of poor competition or other factors, such as different fight frequencies. More than just a period of time should be looked at.

Also, how are fights far beyond a fighter's prime taken into account? Are overall records looked at as purely numbers?

And while I agree that H2H is primarily speculation, it seems that talent/impressiveness shouldn't be completely ignored.

Just some brainstorming.
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Old 09-27-2009, 06:38 PM   #49
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Default Re: Ranking the Greats: your assistance please

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Performance Against Larger Opponents (PLO): This is a worthy measure of greatness and is similar though not the same as “Longevity”. When facing a physically larger opponent, the natural disadvantage forces the fighter to rely on experience and technical skill. A win over a larger challenge can be compelling evidence about how good that boxer is.
I dont understand this rating. Is a win over Golota or Carnera worth more than a win over Ali? Do Tunney and Spinks' forays into the heavyweight world rate them much higher than foster in this category? Is Dempseys win over Willard worth less than Schmellings win over Louis or Tunneys over Dempsey? I really think this category is best left alone.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:41 PM   #50
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Very cool stuff here.

One thing that comes to my mind is, is there anyway of standardizing the different rules/trends of boxing throughout the eras?

12 rounds/15 rounds has already been brought up (which I don't think modern fighters should be punished for), but boxers also used to be able to fight far more often in the past. That is an impossibility in recent decades, and it isn't a fault of the fighters, nor do I think modern wouldn't be capable of handling it either. The game has just changed.

So, do you see these criteria skewing data towards one era or another? And if so, again, how can this be standardized.

Also, Longevity seems to be highly represented (more than once--it is listed as a part of the Dominance score as well) in this criteria. Sometimes longevity can be a result of poor competition or other factors, such as different fight frequencies. More than just a period of time should be looked at.

Also, how are fights far beyond a fighter's prime taken into account? Are overall records looked at as purely numbers?

And while I agree that H2H is primarily speculation, it seems that talent/impressiveness shouldn't be completely ignored.

Just some brainstorming.
There are two discrimations in the measures and you picked one of them up. Yes, fighter who fought more often and were exposed to 15 rounds are favored. I don't see the problem with that. Boxing is one of the few sports that was better yesterday... that's because size matters less than skill and skill is grounded in experience. Aside from a few modern fighters -Floyd is a helluva a talent and a techician -most guys would not in my estimation have done as well in the 40s. I'm not even sure about Floyd. Ike Williams sure as hell wouldn't have been psyched out by his smooth delivery!

Longevity focuses on length of career, length of prime, that sort of thing. Dominance is more of how many serious guys were defeated and perhaps how easily they were... time is less of a factor. I should clarify that.

Past prime wins are subsumed under Longevity. I look at how the wins are taken into account more subjectively than I want to. For example, Duran has hugely impressive wins past prime, but was inconsistent. Jofre has two very impressive wins late, the rest of average. Considering the number of Duran's fights, the Leonard and Barkley wins, and his 5 decades of activity, I'd score Duran higher...

Impressiveness is subsumed under Ring Generalship...

---------
Great points. Very helpful. Where are you from?
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:44 PM   #51
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I dont understand this rating. Is a win over Golota or Carnera worth more than a win over Ali? Do Tunney and Spinks' forays into the heavyweight world rate them much higher than foster in this category? Is Dempseys win over Willard worth less than Schmellings win over Louis or Tunneys over Dempsey? I really think this category is best left alone.
You have picked up the second discriminatory category.... HWs won't do as well here, generally, and that is fine with me because historically speaking they are far too apparant in these kinds of rankings. I am tired of seeing Ali, Louis, Dempsey, and Marciano in the ATG top ten. It's a damn popularity contest. No one is gonna tell me that Dempsey belongs in the top 10 and Greb doesn't. That's just gibberish.

Greatness is decided by many things, not least of which is how well the fighter did past prime and how well they did when they were completely outgunned and had to rely on ring savvy...........think... Toy Bulldog.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:48 PM   #52
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Someone play Devil's Advocate.

I'm considering taken out "Adversity Overcome" because those fighters who were too good for their own good shouldn't suffer by scoring low here. Charley Burley, for instance.
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Old 09-27-2009, 08:16 PM   #53
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Default Re: Ranking the Greats: your assistance please

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You may have defined the term better for me.

Perhaps it should describe an fighters ability to adjust and react to what is in front of him combined with his fight plan?

The ring general maintains control of how the fight unfolds.
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Ring Generalship (RG): This includes not only level of skill, but adaptability, strategic ability, and athleticism. The standard here would be Sugar Ray Robinson who would score a 20.
I reckon you've described adaptabilitity to a tee.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:17 PM   #54
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Default Re: Ranking the Greats: your assistance please

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Some months ago, I had a thread asking for a pool of those fighters that ESB Classic posters believed should be among the TOP TEN greatest fighters ever. This sprang from an earlier thread that used more or less objective measures to offer a list of the ten greatest HWs who ever lived. It was much fun...

I'm asking ESB Classic -the most knowledgable coven of the dark arts and golden history of pugillism I know- to critique some work I am doing which I hope will have an impact on how we rank ATGs.

I am at work on an upcoming series of articles entitled "The Gods of War".

The first one will introduce a ranking system (see below). The next ten will unveil the countdown and I already see a few surprises. I am trying to at least approach objectivity but without sacrificing the insider's knowledge, which is necessarily subjective. I believe that the best way to do it is to organize input about a fighter and his career comparative to his peers.

Bert Sugar started from a place where he pretended that all fighters were the same size and weight and were fighting in the same conditions. I think that is faulty. I'm going to rank them on what they were and what they did. This means no "H2H category" (too speculative), no "impact on sport" category (which is really nonsense. This ain't about popularity). It also means, yes, that those fighters who fought 15 rounds and had more than 50 career bouts will have an advantage. You had to be tougher to go 15 and longevity/experience matters....

Finally, I will include only those fighters who had reached their peak after 1920 (the year that NY's "Walker Law" was passed which effectively modernized rules and regs).

Does it sound sensible so far?

Here are the categories:

  • Ring Generalship (RG): This includes not only level of skill, but adaptability, strategic ability, and athleticism. The standard here would be Sugar Ray Robinson who would score a 20.
  • Experience/Level of Competition (Exp): Fighters with less than 50 professional bouts are difficult to include here. Fighters who never fought 15 rounds are also difficult to include here. More important than number of bouts is how many serious opponents were faced. For example, if a fighter is 50-0 and yet faces 40 opponents who were made of glass, the score would be lower than if a fighter’s finished record is 42-6-2 but there are future champions, world-beaters and ranked contenders on that record. The standard here would be Ezzard Charles, who would score a 20.
  • Longevity (Lgv): Years active isn’t enough to score high here. The real questions ask how long did the fighter perform at a world-class level and whether there is a significant win over a world-class challenger that occurred when the fighter in question was past prime. The standard here would be Roberto Duran whose last world title was earned 16 years after his first.
The above categories have a 20-point must system. Those below have a 10-point must system.
  • Adversity Overcome (Adv): Comebacks, cuts, knockdowns by world class punchers, and handicaps, are all factored in here. The standard? Harry Greb had some of his best wins while virtually blind in one eye.
  • Dominance (Dom): This considers win/loss ratios, length and strength of championship reigns, and knockout rates. Those fighters who were routinely ducked are not penalized here. A suitable standard here would be Joe Louis who reigned for almost 12 years as world heavyweight champion.
  • Performance Against Larger Opponents (PLO): This is a worthy measure of greatness and is similar though not the same as “Longevity”. When facing a physically larger opponent, the natural disadvantage forces the fighter to rely on experience and technical skill. A win over a larger challenge can be compelling evidence about how good that boxer is.
  • Durability (Dur): The greatest fighters are rarely stopped during their prime. Due credit is applied in this category although “Experience” and “Ring Generalship” is factored in. The former because if few punchers were faced, then “Durability” is less impressive. The latter because if a fighter’s style is magnificently defensive, then that fighter should not be credited twice.
Am I missing anything? Are the categories fair? Do you foresee any problems...? Chris Pontius, JT, McGrain (McLarnin is in the running), Sweet Pea, Robbie, Fists of Fury, Old Fogey, Sweet Scientist, Manassa (so isn't Archie), Prime, Suzie Q, Bummy Davis, Bokaj, Magoo, Vanboxingfan, John Garfield, Mendoza, Doppleganger, Guilalah, janitor and everyone else...

I'd appreciate any and all input, advice, criticism on the above.
I would like to ask what kind of relationship exists between the categories themselves? Do you think you have hit upon distinct characteristics with these categories, making them perhaps easy to compute? What I am driving at is the idea it seems the categories overlap and are interconnected. A number of people seem to be asking questions which lead in the same direction.

Take you first category "RG." It includes such wide concepts as "level of skill" which itself seems to be presupposed by, say, the category "PLO." Wouldn't you agree? If so, what way then is level of skill or even athleticism, another characteristic of RG, tied to performance against larger opponents? (Many peopel would claim they are relevant).

I chose PLO but a number of your categories may be in the same boat, ie, depending upon the characteristics of RG.

Perhaps you wanted to say that such characteristics are tied to other of the categories. But then does this not render a redundancy in the categories? Then you would end up computing it twice.

It would seem if the categories are going to be useful they must be rendered precisely enough that their distinctness can be maintained. Hence there computional value. I think that this would be the bedrock for anyone who wished a measure of objectivity. It may be though you intended this interconnection and are just bringing more precise focus and computional facility with the other categories.

Another question I have is related to what appears to be a manifest circularity in your enterprise. For in order to rank a boxer you are required, as it were, to put the boxer in an evaluative context. That is why you speak of "ranked" and "world class" competition and so on. But then, would you not have to have already presupposed an evaluative ranking which is precisely what you own enterprise is supposed to do?

Perhaps such questions seem a little remote but they may be the sort of thing that comes back to bite us in the ass when we try to be as "objective" as we can. We realize we have been presupposing a set of values either our own or ones we have grown up within.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:00 AM   #55
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Default Re: Ranking the Greats: your assistance please

Great idea Stonehands!

Perhaps we could see a first draft of the rankings to see if everybody agrees on the list?

Im sure people may be able to raise a few interesting points or pick out a few holes once the first has been compiled then re-adjusted?
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:11 AM   #56
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Default Re: Ranking the Greats: your assistance please

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I would like to ask what kind of relationship exists between the categories themselves? Do you think you have hit upon distinct characteristics with these categories, making them perhaps easy to compute? What I am driving at is the idea it seems the categories overlap and are interconnected. A number of people seem to be asking questions which lead in the same direction.

Take you first category "RG." It includes such wide concepts as "level of skill" which itself seems to be presupposed by, say, the category "PLO." Wouldn't you agree? If so, what way then is level of skill or even athleticism, another characteristic of RG, tied to performance against larger opponents? (Many peopel would claim they are relevant).

I chose PLO but a number of your categories may be in the same boat, ie, depending upon the characteristics of RG.

Perhaps you wanted to say that such characteristics are tied to other of the categories. But then does this not render a redundancy in the categories? Then you would end up computing it twice.

It would seem if the categories are going to be useful they must be rendered precisely enough that their distinctness can be maintained. Hence there computional value. I think that this would be the bedrock for anyone who wished a measure of objectivity. It may be though you intended this interconnection and are just bringing more precise focus and computional facility with the other categories.

Another question I have is related to what appears to be a manifest circularity in your enterprise. For in order to rank a boxer you are required, as it were, to put the boxer in an evaluative context. That is why you speak of "ranked" and "world class" competition and so on. But then, would you not have to have already presupposed an evaluative ranking which is precisely what you own enterprise is supposed to do?

Perhaps such questions seem a little remote but they may be the sort of thing that comes back to bite us in the ass when we try to be as "objective" as we can. We realize we have been presupposing a set of values either our own or ones we have grown up within.
This is invaluable, hermeneut. I'm off to work now but will be back tonight to discuss. Thank you.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:12 AM   #57
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Great idea Stonehands!

Perhaps we could see a first draft of the rankings to see if everybody agrees on the list?

Im sure people may be able to raise a few interesting points or pick out a few holes once the first has been compiled then re-adjusted?
I shall, but still want to bang out how I'm measuring them. Then we'll debate the rankings...
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:08 PM   #58
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it's on an excel program. Anyone know how to show it here? I can't figure it the hell out...
just try and copy and paste it
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:11 PM   #59
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Default Re: Ranking the Greats: your assistance please

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I would like to ask what kind of relationship exists between the categories themselves? Do you think you have hit upon distinct characteristics with these categories, making them perhaps easy to compute? What I am driving at is the idea it seems the categories overlap and are interconnected. A number of people seem to be asking questions which lead in the same direction.

Take you first category "RG." It includes such wide concepts as "level of skill" which itself seems to be presupposed by, say, the category "PLO." Wouldn't you agree? If so, what way then is level of skill or even athleticism, another characteristic of RG, tied to performance against larger opponents? (Many peopel would claim they are relevant).

I chose PLO but a number of your categories may be in the same boat, ie, depending upon the characteristics of RG.

Perhaps you wanted to say that such characteristics are tied to other of the categories. But then does this not render a redundancy in the categories? Then you would end up computing it twice.

It would seem if the categories are going to be useful they must be rendered precisely enough that their distinctness can be maintained. Hence there computional value. I think that this would be the bedrock for anyone who wished a measure of objectivity. It may be though you intended this interconnection and are just bringing more precise focus and computional facility with the other categories.
I see Ring Generalship as effectiveness in the ring. It is what your eyes see. Take off the top 15 opponents that Floyd has faced in his 40 fights. He would still rank high on RG. However, he needs to face bigger men in higher divisions for PLO, he has to face the iron of his division to score on Dom.

Your point about overlap is, I fear unavoidable. I will work on conceptualization of the categories to bring it to a minimum. As it is though, boxing is a skills sport. Therefore those fighters with the highest level of demonstrable skill will do well here ...which is probably as it should be, right?

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Originally Posted by hermeneut View Post
Another question I have is related to what appears to be a manifest circularity in your enterprise. For in order to rank a boxer you are required, as it were, to put the boxer in an evaluative context. That is why you speak of "ranked" and "world class" competition and so on. But then, would you not have to have already presupposed an evaluative ranking which is precisely what you own enterprise is supposed to do?

Perhaps such questions seem a little remote but they may be the sort of thing that comes back to bite us in the ass when we try to be as "objective" as we can. We realize we have been presupposing a set of values either our own or ones we have grown up within.
I think that we can exert some control over our presuppositions if we are mindful of them, but we have to also factor in those values that we honestly believe as important. For example, I believe that Roberto Duran was a top 10 ATG fighter. I believe that he was highly skilled, and his accomplishments proved that in terms of dominance in his natural division, in how he did against larger men, his longevity, and so on. I hold this view of Duran based on evidence, not based on how much he reminded me of my favorite aunt.

What I am doing here with this thread is inviting critique as a check and balance.... I will submit the rankings and scores later for the same.

Please feel free to rebut this. Your post was welcome!
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:47 PM   #60
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Stonehands...Facinating idea.

You guys are all over this and I'm anxious to see what comes of it. Two of your classifications fall under more of a subjective nature 'Adversity Overcome' and 'Ring Generalship'. All the other rankings are objective which is great.

How many subcatagories do you have represented in Ring Generalship? Is it a ranking of each individual fighter's assets such as speed, strength, durability, counterpunching ability, etc.
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