Originally Posted by Boilermaker
In light of some previous criticisms to this spur of the moment list i did, i have made a few changes, I cant promise it will stay the same until the end of this period, but i think we are getting quite close.
1. Bob Fitzsimmons - To be honest, if he isnt on a top 10 list, the list almost defies belief and it is clear the writer simply hasnt got around to researching him yet, imo. To list briefly, SOME of his achievements:
- At one point in time, he was the best lightweight in the world (as good a claim as any)
- At one pont in time, he was the undisputed World Welterweight (150) champion or at least as close as you can get to that title.
- He was the considered the best middleweight in the world for far longer than any other fighter has ever been considered the best middleweight in the world.
- He is the only light heavyweight, ever to win the undisputed World Heavyweight title.
- He was the best light heavyweight in the world for as long or longer than any other light heavyweight.
- For most of this time, he doubled as the best light heavyweight and heavyweight in the world.
- he fought over 300 fights with his only real stoppage losses coming well after his prime against heavyweights Jeffries and Lang.
- He has as many KO stoppages against top 3 heavyweight contenders as anyone else, and probably more one punch KOs and countouts than virtually any other fighters. Except he never weight more than a super middleweight.
- His other accomplishments are too numerous to list.
2. Harry Greb - Another absolute great record, but while he is definitely one to be mentioned in close to the same breath, his record doesnt compare. He wasnt the same brutal puncher and as a result, on his bad nights, many fighters did run him close or even gain newspaper results (sometimes controversially). Still, He scored wins over some of the best fighters in history, and as many point out, the sign of a champion, even when he lost his sight, he still performed great. I dont always rate him quite this high, but today i think he deserves position 2.
3. Sam Langford. - Like Fitzsimmons, Sam Started as a lightweight and moved on to a bonafide heavyweight. Strangely though, Sam doesnt have the same spectacular performances as a lightweight and certainly didnt carry on as successfully in the past prime period as Bob either. Still, as Sam gained experienced he became a truly great fighter and his performances at heavyweight and incredible power almost defied belief. A true pound for pound great.
4. Henry Armstrong - What a true pound for pound great. Triple Crown winner says it all. No one has replicated this (well probably except for Fitzsimmons) but this truly defines pound for pound great. Compared to other greats he burned bright and quick in a pound for pound sense, which is the only reason why i have dropped him from no 2.
5. Roberto Duran - Invincible at lightweight, beat a top 10 Welterweight in Sugar Ray Leonard, Competed with a top 10 and probably better middleweight in Hagler. As an old man he beat a good middleweight like Barkley, and he even competed reasonably as a cruiserweight even though he was old out of shape and totally passed it. He is a true pound for pound great, in my book.
6. Rocky Marciano - This will really cause some stirs, but i am sticking it to it. He is given a raw deal in this category by most people, but the Fact is he beat pound for pound greats Ezzard Charles, Joe Walcott, Joe Louis. And he was outweighed by all of them at one point! Louis was old. And Yes charles did a lot more at the lighter weight, but if you compare the size of Ezzard to the size of Rocky at their respective ages, Ezzard was probably naturally bigger! certainly in height and eventually in weight also. If Rocky hadnt started so late, who knows, he probably would have been a middleweight and light heavy in his teens and early 20s if in fighting shape also. Rocky made the most of very limited natural advantages and was a small heavyweight always outweighed and never ever having been beaten. I think he can make a top 10.
7. Gene Tunney - Often underated on these lists, but he did beat every fighter he faced. He beat a top 3 atg middleweight in Greb (in a series), a top 10 (higher on many lists) Heavyweight in Dempsey, and arguably a top 10 light heavyeight in Loughran. Yes he got them all at perfect times, but that was part of his skill, he was the smartest fighter of many, and he timed his challenges perfectly. Plus, he looked pretty great on film. I could have easlily put Charles here, and some may say should have, but I think Tunney's smarts lift him above.
8. Manny Pacquia. I have tried to pick guys with a legacy to stand apart from others. There are countless guys who have dominated one division spectacularly but to be a true pound for pound great you need to move through the divisions (at least the way i am doing todays list). Manny is clearly doing this, at a time when massive weight divisions and title belts do make it hard. In modern times, not many others have done what he is doing and i see that my list doesnt have many modern fighters or lighter weight fighters. I am not so certain that he will rate here at the end of his career, but i am giving him a little benefit of the doubt.
9. Ezzard Charles - The most likely in this list to move up through the rankings, but i am keeping him here for now. He was better than Archie Moore, Joe Walcott and of course Joey Maxim. A world class fighter at light heavyweight and a world champion at Heavyweight (something which Moore couldnt achieve and probably the only difference between the two)
10. THis is a really hard spot. You guys made your point with Maxim, in that his win over Sugar Ray Robinson was not that great for a number of reasons, and i do agree (it is still a very underated win, but not in this company). The problem is that the same applies to Robinson. If the win wasnt that great, neither was the loss. In this company, Robinson's reign at Welterweight was still probably the greatest ever (well Ryan has a challenge but that is another story) but this does not allow for other equally great reigns or even better fighters by others at their own division. For example, Joe Louis as a heavyweight, Carlos Monzon as a middleweight, Benny Leonard, etc. Ray went up to middleweight and to be honest, he was not consistently able to dominate the best middleweights. ON his best day, he beat them all, but he was too inconsistent. To win the title so many times, you have to lose it that many. And when he tried to climb further to light heavy, he failed. And significantly, he didnt try again. I think as you guys pointed out, if Maxim was outclassed by the light heavys of his time, Moore and Charles and maybe others like Bivins, Robinson had no chance against these guys either. That isnt a real knock on the guy, but in this all time great company it is. For example, i dont think JOe Louis who technically went from Cruiser to heavyeight would struggle to compete with any Superheavyweights of his era or any other.
The problem is who to pick.
Roy JOnes or Pernell whittaker were both dominant in the allegedly talent rich 90s. Both rose through the ranks and neither lost until they were past it. They would be good picks. Tommy Ryan dominated at Welterweight as Ray did, and stepped up to hold the middleweight title in more dominant fashion for just as long as Ray. I would pick him without hesitation except for one thing, he was only ever the second best middleweight of his time, as he was never considered a better fighter than Bob Fitzsimmons who was pretty much capable of fighting him at middle through his own reign. Barbados Joe Walcott is another. He was a truly great fighter, probably not as dominant in any one division, but a small guy who took on much much larger guys with a great success. And of course, then there are those great fighters who dominated one division. Or of course, Robinson himself or ARchie Moore could easily fill this spot.
10 Joe Walcott - Barbados Joe knocked climbed weights like you would not believe. He was a tiny guy who noet only faced, but also defeated Giants. I think his record against bigger fighters is unsurpassed in that no one so small would defeat guys so big, so consistently. And i have probably put more stock in raising through the weights, in this particular list.
Other mentions (from previous post)
Sugar Ray Robinson - He dominated his own class as well as anyone and then went up to middleweight. Although i think his middleweight dominance was overrated, it is very rare and special for a fighter to be so clearly the top fighter in two separate weight divisions.
Joey Maxim - This is the first time i have rated Joey top 10, and i came within an inch of rating him above Sugar Ray Robinson, but didnt because he didnt have the same dominance in any particular weight division. Still, His win list includes Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Paterson, Jersey Joe Walcott, Lee Oma, Curtis Hatchetman Sheppard, Ted Lowry, Gus Lesnevich, Jimmy Bivins, Pat Valentino and others. That is an extremely impressive list of names that not very many have. And despite fightting all of these greats, plus other greats like Archie Moore, Eddie Machen and Lloyd Marshall, and several while he was out of prime, only the hatchetman was able to stop him (and that was avenged).