Convicted Artist Magazine

Mar 01st
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pound_per_poundIn the discussion of the greatest all-time fighters... there are the usual suspects that enter the top 3.  Most have Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, and Sugar Ray Robinson in those spots.  There may be disagreement as to the order, but rarely are there others in the top 3 spots.  When looking at the next few names down the list, there are of course a few I'd put in different places.  In my not-so-humble option, here is a list of a few names who often rank higher than they should.  I already compiled a list of a few that rate too low.  To start, let's look at my criteria for what makes an all-time great: 
1) Offensive ability (should have top shelf speed, power, combinations, the basics of "hit and not get hit" at the highest level)
2) Defense (self explanatory)
3) Chin (when you got through that defense, did anything happen?)
4) Adaptability (did he win fights that he should not have won, by adjusting... even going against his own nature?)
5) Heart (when pushed, did he show a champion's mettle?)
6) Quality of opposition (who was there to push him?)
He was smart to quit when he did.  While a 49-0 record is nothing to scoff at, you must take into consideration that Marciano perhaps fought in the weakest era of heavyweight.  Yes, perhaps even weaker than now... because back then they were small and weak.  His best victories were against shot former champions: Charles, Walcott, Moore, and Louis.  And in most cases, they still gave him hell.  He also barely beat Roland La Starza, and had tough goes of it with a few journeyman along the way.  He had a murderous right hand, a strong training ethic, a humble personality, and a lot of heart.  That will make people love you, sometimes too much.  In my categories 1, 3, 5, he ranks extremely high, and you can even say so about 4.  But category 6 is very lacking, as is number 2.  For that reason, he should be left out of the top 10 completely.  Not far behind it, sure.  Heck, I am a fan, too.  But let's be realistic. 
He was a icon of the 1920's, with an animalistic personality, magnetism, and above all, an explosive punch.  But let's look at his career realistically.  He beat a big awkward oaf in Jess Willard, who had lucked into the title against an uninspired Jack Johnson.  He then had his best victories against Luis Firpo (another big untalented oaf), Georges Carpentier (a hopelessly outsized Light Heavyweight), and finally lost the title to another blown up Light Heavyweight, who he could barely lay a glove on for 20 rounds.  Let us not forget the forgettable fight with Tommy Gibbons, where the only thing Dempsey could destroy was the town it was held in.  He also drew the color line during his title reign, which may have saved him for a tough fight against Harry Wills.  Again, I am not dismissing him entirely, he is a legit all-time great.  They way he tore through fighters on the way to the title is impressive.  However, he should not even be in the top 20 all-time, let alone near number 5 or so, where he is usually found.
A legit hall of famer, three-division champion, and revered icon of Mexico .  These are all truisms about Julio Cesar Chavez.  And it is also true, that it will lead to a ridiculous amount of revisionist history.  Let's not forget that he padded his record with tune-ups throughout his career, often struggled with fighters lesser than he, and won several fights under dubious circumstances.  There is perhaps no fighter besides Muhammad Ali, who is more beloved than Chavez.  The difference is that Ali deserves much of that love.  Ali was not just a great fighter.  He is, in most categories, a great man.  Chavez was a great fighter, but a very normal man... whose real accomplishments are many.  However, when his fans start listing them, about half of them are erroneous, if one is truly being honest.  Criteria numbers 1, 3, 5, and 6 are top shelf for Chavez in my list.  Numbers 2 and 4 are not there, though.  And his record against the best opposition is not very good, if the fights had been scored fairly.  He deserves to be in the top 100 lists... maybe even top 50.  He usually ends up near number 15 or so, though, and that is far too high.
You may notice I feel that all of these fighters rank higher because of factors out of anyone's control, which have nothing to do with boxing.  If we are talking about fame, those things can be added in.  However, if we are talking about sheer ability, they must be discounted.  Marciano's Italian blood, Chavez's Mexican heritage, and Dempsey's Roaring 20's iconic image all certainly help them to be remembered as far better than they really were.  It's ok to love them for those reasons.  It is not ok to rank them higher than better fighters for those reasons.
Record is also a factor.  49-0, and 81-0 might look impressive, but how many stiffs and lousy decisions were in there?  Buck Smith and Marty Jakubowski had a ton of wins, too.  They are nowhere near this list.  Clearly, record is not the only factor in determining greatness.  You must look behind it.   POUND PER POUND PART 1

Chris Strait

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Ferguson1947  - Boxing Legends |
No Doubt about it, These are boxing's greatest fighters of all time. I wonder if any of our current boxing champions will will ever make it to their statue?
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