Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (2) A common sense formula -OR- Ratio*Quality

Everybody agrees that a top fighter is someone who beats convincingly other top fighters.

Thus if you want to "statistificate" a boxer's quality then it would look like this:

  • The more convincingly he beats his opponents the topper he is
  • And the more top opponents he beats the topper he is
  • And the topper his opponents are the topper he is
  • And his opponents are as top as they themselves "beat convincingly top opponents"

We don't need to use subjective categories like "skillset", "talent", "heart", "footwork", "instinct", "how he can take a punch", "combinations" or "fluidity" etc… because such features will MANIFEST AS RESULTS. If they don't manifest then the boxer lacked these features or he lacked something else or they weren't important in the first place.

 

Please note: This article is part of a multi-part series:

 

Converted into a formula it reads something like this:

KO'Ratio*WinFightRatio*QualityOfOpposition

(where the QualityOfOpposition is itself defined by
the opposition's own "KO'Ratio*WinFightRatio*QualityOfOpposition")

This formula (when applied to the record of ten thousands of boxers) gives you the Who's Who of boxing at the top places:

The KO'ratio represents attacking skills (and of course how convincingly you beat your opposition).

The Win/Fight-Ratio represents defensive skills.

And the QualityOfOpposition shows whether your wins were meaningful or not (= mentionworthy result or bums[?]).

In other words:

  • This formula rewards boxers who win more dominantly than other boxers (hence the KO'ratio in the formula)
  • This formula rewards boxers who have less losses on their record (hence the WinFightRatio in the formula)
  • This formula rewards boxers who have better opponents on their record (hence the QualityOfOpposition)

Let me repeat: This simple formula gives you the Who's Who of boxing. From Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis to Rocky Marciano and Mike Tyson.

However: This formula DOES NOT deliver a P4P or R4R toplist because heavyweights have a higher KO'Ratio thus they would be naturally over-represented.

This formula is also DOES NOT deliver a H2H toplist, because heavyweight fighters get heavier and heavier from generation to generation (as opposed to lower weights that have a maximum weight) and wins of ancient fighters (Cassius Clay) against even more ancient opponents (·Zora Folley) are not representative of their chances against modern opponents.

Butterfly Ali with a KO'ratio of 27% (in fights with both opponents 215+ lbs) and Frazier with a KO'ratio of 25% would be of course be some of the featherfistiest featherfists modern heavyweights have ever faced. Chris Byrd posed a much higher punch threat than Ali ever would as I wrote at Joe Frazier vs Klitschko -OR- is Chris Byrd a better puncher than Earnie Shavers?.

Now, why do I tell you all this?

For 2 reasons:

  1. Because I know already the responses of AliFans:
    "Haha, Ali was a featherfist? Tell that to Zora Folley" (KO7)
    which is EXACTLY the point I tried to make at Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (1) pound for pound, head to head, record for record:
    I analyze the FULL RECORD (as exemplified by the Byrd-Ali-KO'ratio comparison) while the typical toplist compiler singles out example fights ("Muhammad Ali is a hard puncher as seen by the KO of Zora Folley whereas Chris Byrd is a featherfist as seen by his non-KO of Evander Holyfield").
  2. I tell you this to clarify the difference between the [email protected] toplist (for example based on the formula above) and a good H2H toplist.

    A good H2H toplist (= based on real-world facts) would consider all kinds of comparative statistics (e.g. "KO'Ratio in real heavyweight fights", "Performance against unbeaten opponents", etc) not only a simple formula.

 

 

An easier formula: KO wins in world title fights

Now, I understand that you cannot apply this formula if you don't have a special software and a complete database (like me)

So here is a simplified version:

KO wins in world championships

This is basically the layman's version of the formula above where "KO'wins" stands simplifyingly for "attacking skills" and where "world championships" stand simplifyingly for QualityOfOpposition.

This formula is far from perfect because even in world championship fights there can be bums (Joe Frazier vs ·Manuel Ramos 25-29, Ali vs ·Brian London 37-20 etc). Another problem is that this formula neglects good fighters who never won a world championship (because for example the current champ was so dominant = "The Ron Lyle Experience"). But as an easy to check formula it gives you a good first overview:

So here are the stats for achievements in world championships (WBC, IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO):

nameWorld title record (200×2)of which are KO'wins (within 12 rounds)of which are consecutive KO'winsNon-bummy world title record (200×2)of which are non-bummy KO'winsKO'ratio in non-bummy world titlesSumRecord of non-bummy WinOpponents (KO or not, at bout, aside)
·Vitali Klitschko
11-2
9
5
10-2
8
66%
355-20
·Lennox Lewis
15-2
10
3
15-2
10
58%
518-26
·Wladimir Klitschko
16-2
14
5
15-2
13
76%
472-29
·Muhammad Ali
19-2
9
2
13-2
6
40%
538-45
·Mike Tyson
12-4
10
6
9-4
8
61%
302-16
·Riddick Bowe
5-1
4
2
4-1
3
60%
127-3
·George Foreman
4-3
3
1
4-3
3
42%
115-3
·Joe Louis
8-0
5
3
7-0
4
66%
330-60
·Rocky Marciano
0-0
0
0
0-0
0
-
0-0
·Joe Frazier
6-2
4
2
4-2
2
33%
119-8
·Nikolay Valuev
6-2
3
3
6-2
3
37%
220-32
·Evander Holyfield
10-7
4
1
9-7
3
17%
381-16
·Larry Holmes
20-5
13
8
13-5
7
38%
383-29
·Samuel Peter
3-2
2
1
3-2
2
40%
96-18
·Sonny Liston
0-2
0
0
0-2
0
0%
0-0
·Ray Mercer
2-1
2
2
2-1
2
66%
55-0
·Chris Byrd
5-2
1
1
5-2
1
12%
142-12
·Sam Langford
0-0
0
0
0-0
0
-
0-0

Fistic Statistic [#1293.TitRec200x2] World Championships Record

See Definitions
Please note that I use the "record-at-bout" (instead of "record-of-whole-career") because nowadays opponents are still boxing.

Each column features an attribute that might be used to position fighters on a toplist. It's interesting to see that sorting each column can change the ranking a lot. One of the most astonishing results is that Joe Louis is so good and George Foreman so bad.

And it comes as no surprise that the American fairytale of a "golden age" (Ali's era) or "bad era" (Klitschkos' era) can not be objectively substantiated.

 

Wait! That table DISCRIMINATES against modern heavies!

Please note that in the above table the last column is the "SumRecord" and not the "heavyweight SumRecord".

This is BAD.

That's the reason why you have such good records (of the opponents of Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman): Because these SumRecord (of the opponents) include masses of sub-heavyweight fights.

Example:
In the fight against Zora Folley Muhammad Ali is credited with Folley's record of 74-7 althought Folley up to that point had only 13% heavyweight fights. Thus Muhammad Ali has an unfair advantage over modern heavyweights who will hardly ever face anyone with a record of 74-7 (Zora Folley) or even 184-22 (Archie Moore ).

Let me restate:
Since we want to have a toplist that is a pure heavyweight toplist we have to exclude sub-heavyweight fights from the opponents' records just as we would exclude middleweight fights for a featherweight toplist.

 

 

A real heavyweight toplist

Thus let us check again the records, but this time excluding the sub-200-lbs fights of the opposition:

nameWorld Title wins against non-bummy Opponents (200×2)Median record of non-bummy WinOpponent's (at bout, aside, only their 200×2 fights)SumRecord of these WinOpponents (only their 200×2 fights)KOs against these WinOpponents (within 12 rounds)Fair KO'ratio against these opponents
·Vitali Klitschko1031-1301-20866% (8of12)
·Lennox Lewis1530-1443-261058% (10of17)
·Wladimir Klitschko1528-2440-291376% (13of17)
·Muhammad Ali1316-1228-25640% (6of15)
·Mike Tyson927-1233-15861% (8of13)
·Riddick Bowe418-089-3360% (3of5)
·George Foreman414-057-2342% (3of7)
·Joe Louis723-4148-25466% (4of6)
·Joe Frazier413-047-2233% (2of6)
·Nikolay Valuev626-4165-28337% (3of8)
·Evander Holyfield932-1291-14317% (3of17)
·Larry Holmes1318-2260-26738% (7of18)
·Chris Byrd523-3122-12112% (1of8)

Fistic Statistic [#1293.2] TitRec200x2Nonbum200x2

(And still it's astonishing how good Joe Louis is).

(Side note: This rather small table above consists of analysis of 7500+ unique boxers and 140'000+ unique fights)

Reading example:
Joe Louis had 7 world championship fights which were real[?] heavyweight (= both Louis + his opponent were at least 200 lbs) against non-bummy[?] opponents (= his opponents had a non-bummy CAREER record): Buddy Baer (2x), Abe Simon (2x), Tony Galento, Lou Nova and Arturo Godoy. His opponents had the median[?] record of 23-4 at the time of the bout, that means 23 wins and 4 losses in real heavyweight fights. Their records don't include losses or wins against Joe Louis himself (= "aside"). When you sum up the records of these 7 opponents then you get the SumRecord of 148-25. Joe Louis scored 4 KOs. His overall KO'ratio is 4 of 7 (57%) but since we use "Fair KO'ratio" we exclude 1 win by DQ and thus his Fair KO'ratio is 4 of 6 (66%).

Let me clarify again:

This is a REAL HEAVYWEIGHT table (all opponents 200+) based on world championship fights. It does not include any deviations such as cruiserweight fights (175-200), lightheavyweight fights, CakaH-weight fights, welterweight fights etc.

  • For example it excludes the WIN against ·Henry Cooper from Ali's record because Cooper was 188 lbs at the time of the bout.
  • And it excludes the LOSS against Max Schmeling from Joe Louis' record because Schmeling was 192 lbs at the time of the bout.
  • And it includes Ali's wins against Sonny Liston (because both Liston and Ali were 200+) but values Liston only as 13-0 because that's Sonny Liston's real[?] heavyweight record at the time of the bout (of which 10 opponents were bums, but that's another story and only important if you want the quality analysis to go three levels deep).

If you want a toplist that includes cruiser opponents (e.g. the aforementioned Henry Cooper) then you can leave Henry Cooper on Ali's record, of course, but then your toplist turns from a heavyweight-toplist to an overall-P4P-toplist or overall-R4R-toplist and then you should include ALL cruisers, ALL lightheavyweights and ALL flyweights and their opponents, too.

 

 

A superheavyweight toplist

Since we de facto live in a superheavyweight era (approximately 90% of Wladimir Klitschko's opponents are 215 lbs or above) let's have some fun by checking the same stats but this time by excluding alls sub-215 fights from the records of the boxers and the records of their opponents.

nameWorld Title wins against non-bummy Opponents (215×2)Median record of non-bummy WinOpponent's (at bout, aside, only their 215×2 fights)SumRecord of these WinOpponents (only their 215×2 fights)KOs against these WinOpponents (within 12 rounds)Fair KO'ratio against these opponents
·Vitali Klitschko1025-1226-19872% (8of11)
·Lennox Lewis1416-1250-191062% (10of16)
·Wladimir Klitschko1222-2273-231178% (11of14)
·Muhammad Ali53-020-0240% (2of5)
·Mike Tyson89-185-13758% (7of12)
·Riddick Bowe217-134-2266% (2of3)
·George Foreman25-011-0125% (1of4)
·Joe Louis00-00-00-
·Joe Frazier00-00-000% (0of1)
·Nikolay Valuev519-3113-15342% (3of7)
·Evander Holyfield525-1106-3112% (1of8)
·Larry Holmes23-16-300% (0of5)
·Chris Byrd00-00-00-

Fistic Statistic [#1293.3] TitRec215x2Nonbum

As you can see: Larry Holmes and Ali play in a different superheavyweight league (215+) than Lennox or Klitschko or Mike Tyson. In terms of superheavyweight world championships (215+) Wladimir Klitschko has approximately a 10x better superheavyweight record because Ali was involved in less superheavyweight fights AND his opponents were involved in less superheavyweight fights, too.

 

Let me clarify again:

If you think that the toplist is biased because it's "designed to make Ali look bad" then let me tell you that it's vice versa:
SO FAR the toplists have been EXTREMELY BIASED to make ancient fighters (Ali) look good:

Imagine we would start with the above result and then would try to find a way how to make Ali look good. It would go like this:

  • "Damn, Ali looks too bad compared to modern heavies. What can we do?"
  • "Hey, let's add Ali's cruiser opponents to his record, e.g. Floyd Patterson (188 lbs). Let's not mention that no one would allow Wladimir Klitschko to fight such a light opponent. Let's merely laugh at Klitschko: 'Haha, he has nobody like Patterson on his record!'"
  • "And let's add also all the cruiser bums Ali has faced, e.g. Leon Spinks (26-17)"
  • "Hmm, Ali fought the cruiser Archie Moore (191 lbs) who had a real heavyweight record 2-0 at bout. That sounds too bad. We have to increase Moore's "heavyweight importance" by adding all of Moore's sub-200 opponents. Yeah, 184-22 at bout sounds much better"
  • "What do we do about Sonny Liston? Up to the fight with Cassius Clay, Liston fought ONLY bums and former cruisers. Liston's median[?] opponent up to that point was 195 lbs. Liston's ONLY claim to fame is his win against Cleveland Williams (a former cruiser) and Floyd Patterson (a former middleweight). Hmm, let's simply point out Liston's freakish reach (but, sssh!, don't tell anyone that it includes finger length)"
  • "What? Earnie Shavers, one of the supposedly heaviest hitters of all time, has only a real heavyweight KO'ratio of 66%? That's worse than Calvin Brock (an opponent of Wladimir Klitschko)! And Shavers' median KO'victim is only 200 lbs (= cruiser) while Brock's is 223 lbs! We should cover it up as much as we can by stating that Ali himself confirmed how hard Shavers hit"
  • "Oh, my god! We forgot Joe Frazier! How can we ever cover up that Frazier was a handicapped featherfisted dwarf? He is smaller than Chris Byrd (5'11" vs 6'0"), is lighter (204 lbs vs 213 lbs), has shorter reach than Byrd (73" vs 74"), is featherfistier than Byrd (44% vs 46% in real heavyweight fights) and… is blind on his left eye! Frazier's median KO'victim is 197 lbs, Byrd's is 227 lbs (30 lbs heavier). And whereas Byrd survived some of the hardest punchers of all time (both Klitschko brothers and David Tua) Frazier was put to sleep by Foreman in round 2.
    I guess, it's too hard to cover up Frazier. Let's merely state that Frazier is a Hall-of-Famer and Wlad, muahaha, has never beaten a Hall-of-Famer! Moreover let's confuse Klitschko fans by stating our favorite fantasies:
  • "And we have to never ever mention the word 'cruiser'! Or someone might get the idea to compare nowadays cruisers to the golden-age-cruisers like Jerry Quarry (median weight 195 lbs), LaMar Clark (183 lbs) or Floyd Patterson (182 lbs)."
  • "And we have to always, always, always remind everyone of the terrible, dire, rotten heavyweight era that we live in. So that nobody ever doubts the 'golden age' where a half-blind (Frazier) could be world champion by winning against a 35-30 cruiser bum (Frazier vs ·Terry Daniels, 195 lbs, WBA+WBC heavyweight world title 1972)".

 

 

End words

Analyzing only world championship fights is not a perfect approach. Because it neglects fights against good opposition outside of world championships. However, it gives you a first contact with OBJECTIVE heavyweight rankings.

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.6/5 (9 votes cast)
Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (2) A common sense formula -OR- Ratio*Quality, 3.6 out of 5 based on 9 ratings
Did you find this information useful? Then please donate...

Comments (1)

  • Tommo says:
    flag
    [ip2username: Bole Ligu]
    #7718 Tommo (2014-11-30th)

    Every member of the OTNB (Old Time Nut Bag) community MUST be forced to read this article!

    Well done!

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

  • Write a comment

    :wink: :twisted: :roll: :oops: :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :evil: :cry: :arrow: :?: :-| :-x :-o :-P :-D :-? :-) :( :!: 8-O 8-)
    Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Cookies