Hot take: many recent ATGs who became famous at welter aren't best evaluated with h2h matchups there

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by IntentionalButt, Jan 25, 2023 at 8:50 AM.

  1. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Guy wants to name his çock 'macho' that's ok by me Full Member

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    Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Manny Pacquiao, and Shane Mosley, Sr. in particular come to mind.

    In my view, none of these was in their absolute peak form at 147lbs, even if that is where they had their biggest fights and drew the most dollars and expanded their name value the most. That just happens to be a marquee division, by which time all three had built up their names with a slow-burn accumulation having already collected belts at lighter weights.

    Of the aforementioned trio, I think you can only really argue that SSM was a natural welter (or even light middle) as he is by far the largest-framed of the group, but his most effective weight is unquestionably lightweight. He was very good welter, but a straight up mythical beast at 135lbs.

    Mayweather & Pacquiao, however, are much too small to be considered natural welters. That is where they cemented their legacies and laid their claims to eternal fame, and set PPV and gate records, and where they fought each other, sure. That doesn't make a true 147lber of either. Mayweather is 100% a natural super feather and it was there he scaled the apex of his physical abilities in the ring, and nobody will ever alter my thinking on that. As for Pac-Man, he's a bit trickier because he traipsed along through so many classes; he obviously didn't belong at flyweight, the limit at which he debuted while a starving, desiccated teenager - but he's not even close to being a proper welterweight, and is truthfully smaller than natural super feather Mayweather. Super bantam feels about right, for him.

    So in addition to being done to death, historical fantasy h2h match-ups involving these guys against past welter greats are just not apples to apples. We should be putting Mayweather into fantasy match-ups with the best of all time at 130lbs; Pacquiao with the kings of 122, and Mosley with the lightweights. Those are the more interesting match-ups, as well as being far less well-trodden ground. Let's open it up a bit.

    99% of hypothetical Mayweather threads don't have to be against the likes of Trinidad, Crawford, Spence, Margarito, Cuevas, Leonard, Napoles, Forrest, Whitaker, Curry, Basilio etc. At this point every iteration of Mayweather versus a well known historical welter has been done, ad nauseum. Where are the Mayweather vs. Argüello/Nelson/Lockridge/JCC/Uncle Roger (tantalizing and virtually never discussed!)/Chacón/Limón/Shibata threads?

    The overwhelming majority of Pacquiao threads likewise don't have to just exclusively occupy the welter space. How about pitting him against Fenech, Zaragoza, Gómez, Vázquez (as in either Izzy or Wilfredo Sr.), Monshipour, Patterson or Jones for a change of scenery? Besides, again, it makes for more appropriate peak-for-peak (if not exactly aligned with a more fully matured prime for prime, factoring in experiential wisdom benefits) match-ups.

    Mosley is closer to being a "real" welter than either of them, but he too gets relegated almost uniformly to welter match-ups as thought experiments. It's weird how many people have forgotten just what a mad wrecking ball he was at 135lbs. Granted his tenure was short, but looking at Mosley on film at lightweight, how can you not want to speculate on him being thrown in with the likes of ...hell, everyone from The Ghetto Wizard straight on through Lomachenko?

    It's one thing for the dregs of the General forum to always come up with the painfully obvious same old same old "hEy WhAt AbOuT iF tHe NuMbEr OnE aNd NuMbEr TwO iN tHe DiViSiOn FoUgHt EaCh OtHeR? :roto2nuse:" (great job, pal, think up that one all by yourself? :eaea:) - but the denizens of Classic en masse I think expect, rightfully so, to be held to a bit of a higher standard.

    ...enter IB, doing just that. :sisi1 Where are the more interesting and off-the-beaten path threads imagining fights between recent greats who achieved their greatest fame at welter versus peers in the division where they actually were at their physical best? Why does it always have to be welters, just because they're closely associated with raising their profiles at that weight?
     
  2. Melankomas

    Melankomas Member Full Member

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  3. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Active Member Full Member

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    I understand your point.

    Mayweather & Pacquiao probably rank higher at WW than any other division based on work done in that division. They were arguably competing at WW when at their respective absolute peaks, too. Which is why they're most often compared to other WWs.

    I agree neither is naturally as big as the average modern day WW & I agree that both would rank higher H2H in lower weight divisions.

    I'm not sure if he qualifies as a "recent" ATG, and it's perhaps the different direction from WW than you're after, but I suspect Hearns would be even more formidable at LWM than WW.

    Incredibly, there may even be an argument that the Benetiz who beat Cervantes was more a formidable H2H LWW than any WW version. I say incredible, because that would mean his H2H prime was at age 17!
     
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  4. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Guy wants to name his çock 'macho' that's ok by me Full Member

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    Alright, you're just tossing out a name without context, hard to know what your meaning is. :lol:

    Are you suggesting we dissect a match-up between he and PBF at 130lbs? ...he and SSM at lightweight? Or are you adding him as somebody who unfairly gets locked up in Welterweight Matchup Penitentiary even though it wasn't the division in which he peaked?

    Any of those is a valid and welcomed contribution, just not sure which you meant. :thumbsup:
     
  5. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Active Member Full Member

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    Good shout. Pernell Whittaker too.

    Was ODLH more formidable H2H below WW than at it? If so, it's likely down to weight draining, ala IB's example on SSM.
     
  6. Melankomas

    Melankomas Member Full Member

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    I mean that Chavez is a fighter who fought at welterweight, but isn't at his H2H peak in that weight class.
     
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  7. Melankomas

    Melankomas Member Full Member

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    Prime Benitez is probably from somewhere between the Cervantes fight and the Hearns fight. Hard to say, but I highly doubt he peaked at 17.
     
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  8. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Active Member Full Member

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    You may well be right. Great natural talent & lack of discipline meant the best version of him was very young though.

    Did he ever beat a WW as good as Cervantes? Would you consider Palomino a better WW than Cervantes LWW? Both were SD wins, so that would be a good barometer as to where his H2H prime was.

    Duran is obviously the greatest fighter he beat, but was he a better LMW than Cervantes LWW?

    As I say, you may well be right, you probably are, peak at 17 sounds crazy. However, I think a reasonable argument can be made that he if he got better H2H relative to the weight divisions he was competing in, from the 17 year old that beat Cervantes, it certainly wasn't by much.
     
  9. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Guy wants to name his çock 'macho' that's ok by me Full Member

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    :thumbsup:

    I sought to carefully delineate between 122/130/135 being where I viewed their respective peaks and 147 being where they fought the bulk of their primes, as those are not synonymous. The former to me connotes the culmination of physical ability, the attributes often lumped into athleticism such as reflex, power, speed combined which usually coincides with the most intensive periods of training most youngish bodies can withstand in the gym and the zenith of amateur styles being refined into pro. The latter incorporates maturity, experiential learning, increased ring IQ, and filling up one's bags of tricks with tweaks in technique accommodating the flesh no longer being capable of what it once had been. So to say, a "prime" Bernard Hopkins (from the waning days of his MW reign through his old man rampage at LHW) is a hell of a lot better than a "peak" Executioner from the 90's.

    There is good reason to discuss Pac, FMJ, and Shane against the cream of the crop at welter. It just...has been done, a lot, and slotting them into the other mentioned weights is both underexamined and IMO equally (if not arguably in a sense more) appropriate.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2023 at 9:23 AM
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  10. Melankomas

    Melankomas Member Full Member

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    I'd say Duran is better than Cervantes, but even if you consider Cervantes his best win at WW, the dude was still 17. I don't think anyone's skill peaks at 17.
     
  11. IntentionalButt

    IntentionalButt Guy wants to name his çock 'macho' that's ok by me Full Member

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    Yes, I do like that. And likewise @Greg Price99's mention of Sweet Pea.

    As for ODLH, he's a tough one to ponder. I do agree that like his rival Mosley, he looked incredible on film at lightweight (not as terrifying as Mosley, though). I just do also think his peak and prime dovetailed, at least somewhat, at 147. He's a big fella. Wasn't even really all that undersized in his ventures into MW.

    (to be clear: he wasn't very good at the weight, but I don't think it was down to being undersized. His frame is massive for even welter; if we're to call him a natural anything it's probably a 154lber)
     
  12. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Active Member Full Member

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    I agree with your distinction between peak & prime.

    I agree the best H2H version of SSM is LW & FM is SFW.

    Pacquiao is a strange 1, he's clearly substantially naturally smaller than FM, so SBW seems a reasonable pick. But, he did, for whatever underlying reason, seem to get better relative to his bigger opposition as he moved up the weights. Maybe I'm underestimating Morales & Marquez relative to Hatton & Cotto, but honestly he looked a more formidable LWW/WW to me than FW/SFW, despite clearly being well undersized at 140lbs+.

    I don't normally speculate on fantasy match ups between fighters in different eras, but I'll give a prediction on 1 you've mentioned. I think Arguello is great & am no Mayweather fan (not a hater either), but I think Floyd would have been a stylistic nightmare for Arguello, and would pick him by surprisingly wide UD prime for prime at 130lbs. Alexis would have a live punchers chance, though.
     
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  13. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Active Member Full Member

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    Duran is clearly greater than Cervantes overall/P4P. I'm not sure he wasn't (apologies for the double negative) a better LWW than Duran was LMW, though.

    I agree, even in Benetiz's case, being absolute peak at 17 is probably a stretch too far.

    Remember though, natural physical prime is not the only contributory factor. Tyson obviously wasn't past his natural physical peak at age 23, he probably wasn't even in it yet, but the best version of his was most certainly pre-23.
     
  14. Melankomas

    Melankomas Member Full Member

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    Very fair point. If Benitez wasn't in his prime when he fought Duran and Leonard, then he probably would've obliterated them if he was lmaooooooooo
     
  15. Greg Price99

    Greg Price99 Active Member Full Member

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    I think he was prime for both, most certainly for SRL. It's a question of H2H, relative to other fighters competing in the respective weight divisions, his peak was LWW, WW or LMW. Credible arguments could be made for LWW & WW, imo.