The greatest single belt alphabet heavyweight champion of the 1980s?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by themostoverrated, Feb 11, 2024.

  1. themostoverrated

    themostoverrated Member Full Member

    Feb 9, 2022
    The 1980s and the 2000s are notorious for several single belt alphabet champions. The 1980s produced the following alphabet champions who only won titles from a single sanctioning body in their careers.

    John Tate (WBA, 1979-1980)
    Mike Weaver (WBA, 1980)
    Micheal Dokes (WBA, 1982)
    Gerrie Coetzee (WBA, 1983)
    Greg Page (WBA, 1984)
    Tony Tubbs (WBA, 1985)
    Pinklon Thomas (WBC, 1984)
    Trevor Berbick (WBC, 1986)
    James 'Bonecrusher' Smith (WBA, 1986)
    Tony Tucker (IBF, 1987)
    Francesco Damiani (WBO, 1989)

    Note: Damiani's WBO title wasn't a 'major title' at the time. Pinklon Thomas would win the IBO title in 1991. Michael Spinks only held the IBF title at heavyweight but was the undisputed champ at light-heavyweight.

    Who was the best boxer among these guys? I would vote for Tony Tucker, who only lost to Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis in his prime years.
    HistoryZero26 likes this.
  2. Bronze Tiger

    Bronze Tiger Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jun 23, 2018
  3. HistoryZero26

    HistoryZero26 New Member Full Member

    Jan 6, 2024

    In hindsight Tucker v Buster Douglas were the 2 best Tyson opponents of the 80s when he fought them. And what must have seemed like a random IBF matchup at the time aged very well. That 1987 IBF title fight is the only alphabet HW title fight of the 80s I take seriously.
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  4. JohnThomas1

    JohnThomas1 VIP Member Full Member

    Apr 27, 2005
    On his best night Page, for a period of time Thomas.
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  5. Stevie G

    Stevie G Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 17, 2009
    I go along with this assessment.
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  6. Levook

    Levook Well-Known Member Full Member

    Aug 26, 2020
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  7. LoadedGlove

    LoadedGlove Boxing Addict Full Member

    Dec 6, 2019
    Non Heavyweight.

    Eusabio Pedroza - WBA Featherweight
    Jiro Watanabe - WBC Flyweight

    Both seemed to defend their titles every month and their reigns felt endless. Both completely dominated their divisions.
    Jel likes this.
  8. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 25, 2014
    Well, though he doesn't tend to stand out, Trevor Berbick beat three of the remaining 10 on that list.

    Trevor knocked out the 25-year-old former champ John Tate and handed him his second loss in 1980.
    Berbick handed the 23-year-old #1 contender Greg Page his first loss as a pro in 1982.
    And Berbick handed the reigning WBC Champ Pinklon Thomas his first pro loss, too, in 1986.

    Nobody else on the list beat three of the other guys. Berbick is 3-0 against the other champs in the original post.

    Thomas certainly didn't beat three of them. His only win over one of the others came against Mike Weaver.

    Tony Tucker didn't beat any of them.

    And, not for nothing, Berbick was also the first guy to go 15 rounds with Larry Holmes, breaking Larry's then record-tying, eight-straight defenses by KO. That was a big deal at the time.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2024
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  9. Titan1

    Titan1 Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Oct 18, 2004
    Even though I am more of a Page stan, Tubbs may have been a better pure boxer. Shame that he really did not accomplish more.
  10. Jel

    Jel Obsessive list maker Full Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    Wow - that was a bit of a misleading thread title!

    First thought was to run through all the single belt dominant titlists across the divisions and then I saw a list of heavyweights and thought, ‘oh, it has to be Larry Holmes’. Then I saw that Holmes wasn’t listed but the thread title had the word ‘greatest’ and being brutal, that word doesn’t describe any of those titlists.
    ‘Best’? Fine; ‘Most talented’? Definitely. But ‘greatest’, within the list of fighters here? No, I can’t pick one.

    So I stick with my first answer - Larry Holmes.
  11. themostoverrated

    themostoverrated Member Full Member

    Feb 9, 2022
    I think I made it clear with this statement:

    "The 1980s produced the following alphabet champions who only won titles from a single sanctioning body in their careers."

    Holmes held a title each from two different sanctioning bodies - WBC and IBF. Tim Witherspoon also held the WBC title and the WBA title.

    I should have mentioned 'heavyweight' in the title though, I will make that correction.
    Jel likes this.
  12. Jel

    Jel Obsessive list maker Full Member

    Oct 20, 2017
    Oops. Soz.
  13. mhudson

    mhudson Member Full Member

    Nov 4, 2022
    It's really a criteria-based question, as depending on how you're assessing "best" or "greatest" you'll probably come up with a different name. Berbick and Weaver probably have the deepest resumes in terms of wins (particularly if you give the Dokes rematch to Weaver), but using "on their best night", a few of those guys showed flashes of greatness at times that you never really saw from those two.

    Tucker is a bit of a curious one. He is often lumped in with the 80s short-term alphabet champs, but never actually fought any of the others. The Douglas win looks much more significant in retrospect, and he gave Tyson a more competitive title fight than anyone prior to Tokyo. However, he disappeared for a couple of years after the Tyson fight, and then found himself in the early 90s mix, noticeably heavier and slower. His roll call is more detailed from that point, but he was of those heavies who looked better at a lighter weight.