Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (1) pound for pound, head to head, record for record

RANKINGS CAN KILL.

Recently a boxing fan was murdered for the wrong answer to the question "Would Mike Tyson win against Wladimir Klitschko?"

And indeed, compiling toplists leads nearly instantly to heated debates.

After years I have found _THE_ very reason that makes rankings so difficult:

It's because the question
"Who is the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time?"
forgets to define beforehand

  1. "great"
  2. "est" (= how to place a boxer one position up or down)
  3. "heavyweight"
  4. "boxer"
  5. "all time"

The definitions for these words ONLY SEEM OBVIOUS but they are not trivial and they are the very ROOT of nearly all problems.

Even with the same set of boxers you will get completely different rankings just by slightly changing definitions ("What is heavyweight?") or by slightly adjusting the value of an achievement ("How much is a KO worth?")

So welcome to the art and science of toplisting, ranking and compiling.

 

 

Types of boxing ranking lists and heavyweight ranking methods

There are several types of rankings:

 

(1) Top boxers by career achievements

These rankings are called R4R rankings ("record for record").

They rank boxers by their real world records ("Who has the most KOs in world championship fights?")

 

(2) Top boxers by performance

These rankings do not consider the weight division but assess a boxer's performance regardless of his weight ("Weight aside – Who is the most impressive boxer of all time?")

These rankings are called P4P ("pound for pound", "equalweight division")

They are based on subjective opinion ("Wow! What speed! What balance! And did you see this uppercut?")

 

(3) Top boxers by chances to win; Fantasy match-ups; Same-ring-same-night

These toplists try to answer the question "Would Joe Louis beat Muhammad Ali?"

In other words: "We know that Joe Louis had a top career with a lot of world championship wins. But would he actually stand a chance against a modern heavyweight?"

This toplist comes in two flavors:

  1. Z4Z / ZZTop (zenith for zenith = prime for prime)
    Comparing the best versions of the fighters at the zenith (prime) of their careers ("70ies Foreman vs 90ies Evander Holyfield")
  2. H2H / TTT ("head to head", "toe to toe")
    Comparing any version of a boxer
    "Prime Evan Fields vs Shot Mike Tyson"
    including completely impossible match-ups like
    "Mike Tyson before prison vs Mike Tyson after prison"

 

(4) Top boxers by impact; American rankings; Rankings by fame

These rankings consider out-of-the-ring achievements and are called F4F / USA ("fame for fame").

They are based on a boxer's influence on boxing ("Joe Louis is greater than Muhammad Ali because of what he did for blacks")

 

 

The above ranking types are utterly and completely independent of each other.

Yet all of them are called "boxing rankings" or "the top 100 boxers", thus it's extremely important that you specify the compilation rules BEFORE the quarrel starts.

In fact the "top 10 performing boxers" (ranking method #2) may be a complete different set of boxers than the "top 10 boxers by achievement" (ranking method #1) or "top 10 boxers by their chances against Mike Tyson" (ranking method #4).

·Manny Pacquiao could be #1 top boxer by performance P4P, yet everybody knows he wouldn't survive 1 round against Mike Tyson.

And ·Oscar De La Hoya (24 world championship wins) would be ahead of ·George Foreman (5 world championship wins) on the achievement toplist R4R, yet one jab of George Foreman (ranking method #3) would end the fight.

 

Even with the same set of boxers
you will get completely different boxing rankings
just by changing the ranking type.

-and-

Since boxing fans usually don't specify the ranking type
nearly all rankings lead to disagreements or to quarrel.

 

 

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

 

 

The huge difference between Pound for Pound (P4P) and Head to Head (H2H) rankings

Let's check an example:

"The ranking of the most powerful military forces"

A head-to-head H2H ranking would result in the strongest force (e.g. USA, China, France, Israel and other nuclear powers) being always at the top.

The same ranking ("Most powerful military forces") as a P4P ranking would have guys like Julius Caesar at the top because had he hypothetically been in the same "weight class" as George W. Bush (= the same weapons) he would win as proven by Caesar's extraordinary war record.

You could call such P4P rankings "overall-toplists" or "if-everyone-had-the-same-size-and-weapons-toplists".

Let's take Genghis Khan:

Genghis Khan would be at the top of a P4P rankings because he

  • perfected a new type of attack (full speed horse archery)
  • invented instant soup (as a lightweight supply for his soldiers on a mission)
  • invented the hamburger (hence the name "Steak Tartare", Tartar = Russian name for Mongols)
  • developed the Mongolian language
  • united formerly hostile peoples
  • established a mail system (postal-relay horse stations)
  • brought code of laws to large parts of the world
  • conquered 70% of the then-known world (including all of China)

Modern country leaders have invented/influenced far less, yet 1 lame bomb could have wiped Khan's Mongol Empire off the map.

In other words: The same people who are #1 on the P4P ranking could be #99 on the H2H ranking.

Thus the problem with H2H rankings is that they are basically time sorted rankings and if you wanted to compile a "H2H USA Military Ranking" then
at #1 would be the current US president and
at #2 the prior president and
at #3 the president before him
because weapons get stronger and stronger.

 

 

Head to Head rankings: Of aliens, time travel and the Lorentz contraction

Muhammad Ali En"Earthlings!! Choose the strongest boxer who ever lived! We will teleport him through space and time to fight against the strongest of our race"

That is in short what H2H rankings are about: To find the #1 who has the best chances to win against any other on that toplist, and against aliens, too, of course.

H2H rankings can be as fact-based as you like ("The guys with the highest KO'ratio should be at the top") or as fantasy-inspired as you like ("Foreman (1970s) should rank above Foreman (1990s)", "Wladimir Klitschko left-hand-only ranks above Larry Holmes right-hand-only", "Manny Pacquiao ranks above Michael Jackson").

The main point remains that H2H is pure speculation until someone invents a time machine.

And:

  • Would it be a time machine back into the past (= Lennox Lewis has to train with the methods of Joe Louis)
  • or would it be a time machine into the future (= Joe Louis can get modern nutrition and training methods)
  • or would it be a time machine into as-is'ness (= Joe-Louis-as-is fights Lennox-Lewis-as-is)

 

 

"Modern heavyweights are taller because of modern nutrition"

Another problem is that some people who mention fantasy fights like "Lewis vs Louis" quietly apply the following logic:

  • Lennox Lewis (6'5") is a big man for our times
  • Joe Louis (6'2") is a big man for his times (1930ies)
  • If we bring Joe Louis in a time machine to fight against Lennox then Joe Louis will grow to what-they-call-now "Big"
  • And if we transport Lennox Lewis back through time then Lennox will shrink

Thus they basically convert a H2H ranking into a P4P ranking. You will find this shrink logic ("time machine = washing machine") pretty often, thus when someone mentions time machines always point out that the Klitschkos, Lennoxes and Valuevs will not shrink and that Foremans will not grow magically.

Sorry, but

There is no shrinking in the H2H time machine!

and Prime George Foreman (median weight 217lbs) would still be
the BOTTOM-3 of LIGHTEST opponents Vitali Klitschko has ever faced.

-and-

If you argue with "steroids" then please know that synthetic steroids  have been used since the 1950s as a performance enhancing drug in professional sport.

-and-

If you argue with "ancient boxers would have better nutrition" then also argue with "ancient boxers would have more addictive computer games and softer beds" and hence maybe wouldn't have taken up boxing in the first place.

 

My approach is the following:

I compare the real boxers to the real boxers.

As close to facts as possible.

Adding an additional layer of speculation like

  • "Joe Louis would have twice as much muscles nowadays with modern nutrition"
  • "Had Lennox Lewis grown up in slums he had more heart…"
  • "Mike Tyson would be taller nowadays"

makes head-to-head comparisons even more speculative and less valuable.

Additionally those who claim that "Muhammad Ali could beat Lennox Lewis" do so, too, based on the real Ali and the real Lennox and not on some additional assumptions.

I base my opinion of FACTS, and when Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling were 198 lbs vs 192 lbs at fight night, then this is all that counts.

It's completely irrelevant whether Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling could hypothetically weigh 252 lbs had they boxed nowadays. They weighed 190+ lbs and no theories about modern training methods change this fact.

Additionally it's utter speculation that Joe Louis (who was KO'ed by a 192-lbs-er) would get a harder chin by drinking modern milk shakes. And it's speculation whether a taller Mike Tyson would stay equally fast.

 

 

Fairweather H2H rankings

Another complication is that for some people H2H means "On a good day Mike Tyson beats ANYONE in the world" whereas "Even on a good day Joe Frazier doesn't beat everyone thus he should be listed below Mike Tyson" therefore Mike Tyson should always be above Joe Frazier.

For others H2H means "Who wins most of the times?" –> "9 out of 10 times Lennox Lewis beats Mike Tyson".

 

 

Pound for Pound Rankings are for Oscar De La Hoppers

The main reason for boxing fans to compile P4P rankings is that sub-cruiser weight classes are only a few lbs apart. In other words: Boxers in these weight classes can hop freely up and down:
·Oscar De La Hoya has won titles in 5 weight classes (super featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight, middleweight) and when you approach comparisons too strictly you could only compare De La Hoya's welterweight performance to the welterweight performance of another boxer. Hence P4P rankings have been invented to compare the "overall boxing performance" to other boxers who also hop.

Thus a P4P ranking is something like "Weight aside… Who has the better skill set?" or "A toplist consisting of same-resized and same-weighted boxers who can keep all their typical attributes". In other words it's an "Overall+Standarized Oscar De La Hoya" vs an "Overall+Standarized Archie Moore" fighting in the same weight class:

 

 

The problems with P4P rankings

Now, such P4P rankings make sense in lower divisions because

  • in lower weight divisions the bodies are already somewhat standardized (due to the weight limit restrictions)
  • lower weight limits are only a few lbs apart

but make no sense for heavyweight because

  • genuine heavyweights don't move up and down weight classes
  • can often win by body assets alone (weight) (as opposed to lower weight classes where the winner has usually a better SKILL set)

Let's take ·George Foreman:
George Foreman did not win because of superior footwork or out-of-the-world ability to feint. Let's get real here: He won because of his raw power, his relentless marching forward and by outweighing 80% (Foreman I) and 100% (Foreman II) of his opponents. Foreman could win against De La Hoya H2H within half a round.

But P4P (= if you shrink Foreman to a size of De La Hoya and steal all of Foreman's muscles) making Foreman the same imaginary weight as De La Hoya then of course De La Hoya would be a better boxer because of better speed, footwork, reaction etc.

The case against putting heavyweights on P4P rankings gets even stronger when you consider that Mike Tyson was actually smaller (5'10") than Oscar De La Hoya (5'10.5") and standardizing him by shrinking his muscles would be a ridiculous P4P adventure.

There is definitely truth in the sayings "P4P was invented to make straw weights feel better about themselves" and "P4P is a ranking of boxers with little muscles" and "P4P is a ranking of boxers who would lose against heavyweights".

Heavyweights don't belong on P4P-lists
and
Sub-Heavyweights don't belong on heavyweight lists

 

 

The problems with R4R (Record for Record) rankings

Comparing records of different weight classes ("Weight aside… Who has the better record?") is difficult.

A comparison basically translates into "Who won more world championships?" and "Who has the better Win/Fight Ratio?" because (except for "titles won" and "win/fight ratio") there is not much more that you can compare because heavies would nearly always lead in the "KO'ratio"-category and sub-heavies would nearly always lead in the "not-being-KO'ed"-category and probably also in the "number of fights"-category.

The same applies to an R4R military ranking. Yes, we can compare objective real-world achievements ("number of battles won", "square-miles conquered", "length of reign") but we also know that Julius Caesar and Khan would always win in the "square-miles conquered" category because nowadays there's not much possibility anymore to conquer 30% of the known world or 40% of the unknown world.

Such overall records (= mixed records that include fights of all weight divisions) prove beneficial if you want to find out the "general worthiness" of a fighter

  • …whether a fighter is a winner or loser (Win/Fight Ratio)
  • …what his weaknesses are (chin, stamina etc)
  • …what the overall quality of a fighter's opponents is (their Win/Fight Ratio)

But except for this "general worthiness" you CAN NOT compare DIRECTLY records of sub-heavies to "superheavyweights" like Lennox Lewis, just as you can't compare directly Ghingis Khan to Barrack Obama.

 

 

What means "boxer"?

Since we are talking about "Rankings of boxers" it would be nice to actually include only boxers, wouldn't it?

But boxers of the past were bare-knuckle boxers (= without gloves) and even bona fide boxers like Rocky Marciano had thinner gloves than allowed now. Yet such bare-knuckle sportsmen like ·John L Sullivan ("Boston Strong Boy") are placed pretty high on toplists despite of their incomparable sport.

Aside from this gloves issue other rules of boxing changed, too.

Bouts could go 20 rounds (or more).

There was no neutral corner rule (= as soon as a boxer was on his feet the other could punch again).

There were newspaper decisions: When Sam Langford boxed it was FORBIDDEN to officially score a fight in favor of a BLACK boxer. Thus you had hundreds of "newspaper decisions"  where journalists would score the fight (instead of proper judge/referee decisions):

"New York Times, New York Tribune, and Boston Globe account scored it a draw; AP scored for McVea, giving Langford just 2 rounds."

Newspaper scoring for the fight ·Sam Langford vs ·Sam McVea (1915)
Boxrec.com

Assessing records based on such newspaper descriptions is of course not comparable to today's scoring.

Thus (with all these different rules) you'd actually have a case claiming that this wasn't even a "boxing bout" or at least "not a boxing bout as we know it today".

Yet, these sportsmen (e.g. Sam Langford) of whom only rare black and white footage exist (if at all) may be placed in a boxing toplist above household names like Mike Tyson.

 

 

What means "great"? -OR- Should CRIMINALS like Joe Louis be excluded from rankings?

Back to Genghis Khan and his hamburgers:

You could say, "Well, Genghis Khan invented the hamburger but that's not REALLY relevant to his military achievements. We should not consider this achievement when we position Khan on the toplist".

You think this is obvious? Well, that's EXACTLY the issue that people (mainly Americans) may have with "Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling":

Is Schmeling just another opponent (192lbs, 55-9) in just another world championship? Or is Schmeling's importance outside of the ring important? Does it matter that Schmeling was representing Nazi-Germany ("proxy war") and all the weight of politics weighed heavily on the shoulders of Joe Louis as Manny Steward claims?

The same applies to negative "achievements" outside of the ring: Should Mike Tyson be kicked out of toplists because he is a rapist? Should Clay/Ali be kicked out because he is a racist ("Cu Clux Clay")? Maybe you want to exclude Sonny Liston (gas station robbery) but want to leave Joe Louis (since it's "just" tax evasion)? Maybe you should exclude wife-beater Muhammad Ali? But maybe you want to leave Joe Frazier because his wife-beating arrest was "only" after his career?

The reality is that achievements outside of the ring SHOULD NOT play a role but that they DO play a role: Most rankings are BASED ON FAME F4F or the PERCEIVED MAGNITUDE of victories (e.g. Louis vs Schmeling):

  • "Boxer X belongs in the Top10 because he is the first who…/the youngest who…"
  • "Boxer X belongs in the Top10 because he did what was deemed impossible"
  • "Boxer X belongs in the Top10 because he brought the title back to England"
  • "Boxer X doesn't belong in the Top10 because he ducked Boxer Y"
  • "Boxer X belongs in the Top10 just for cuteness alone"
  • "Boxer X belongs in the Top10 because he won 10 world championships"

For some eye-opening examples of how Americans compile toplists read Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (3) TOP 10 by boxing experts -OR- Grandpa's champions

Actually even the last statement ("Number of world championships won") is using an outside-of-the-ring-achievement because "world championship" is merely a NAME / TAG for a fight. It has nothing to do with the fight itself:

When a boxing organization calls a fight "world championship" it's mainly an orientation point for the audience or a PR stunt to raise ticket prices.

That's the main reason why there are so many world championships, so many weight divisions and so many boxing organizations: Because 300+ world championships (17 weight classes * 20 world boxing governing bodies) generate more money than just 8 world championships.

Other than that "world championship" has hardly any value. Would you like to watch a fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis? I guess you would. Would you still like to watch the fight even when I told you it wouldn't be promoted as "world championship fight"? Of course you would.

The same applies when boxing promoters call the fight "The Battle of Britain" (David Haye vs Audley Harrison), "The fight of the century" (David Tua vs Shane Cameron) or "The fight of the Millenium" (Oscar de la Hoya vs Felix Trinidad). It's just a funky name for a fight. Leon Spinks stays bummy (26-17 career record) whether you call his fight against Muhammad Ali "Fight of the Year" or not.

A side effect of labeling the fight "championship" is that a challenger is sometimes expected to fight CLEARLY better than the champ to win the title ("He has to come and tear the belt out of the champ's hands", "To win it he has to force it"). Thus you may have different scoring standards for championships and non-championships. And different scoring standards for "a champ who defends" and "a non-champ who beats the champ". That is sometimes exemplified when it's mentioned that "Evander Holyfield is X times heavyweight champion", which only  means that he has lost/retired X minus 1 times, but for fans it sounds better to be X times a champ than to be 1 time the champ and defend it X times.

A side effect of a fight NOT being labeled world championship is that it nearly vanishes from the view of the audience. This is the main reason why ·Brian Nielsen is nearly a nobody although he has a decent record.

 

 

Comparing Destroyah-weight to Megazord-weight -OR- What means "heavyweight"?

Another example for a tag is the term "heavyweight".

While the weight itself is a fact (e.g. 174 lbs) the term "heavyweight" is merely a tag as would be "ExtraSuperWeight" or "HyperUltraWeight".

This is one of the MAJOR differences between how I compile heavyweight rankings and how others compile heavyweight rankings.

I go by facts (=weight) while the others consider fights like 163 vs 172Philadelphia Jack O'Brien vs ·Tommy Burns) a "heavyweight" fight because it has been TAGGED "heavyweight" at a certain point in the past.

For me such fights are not heavyweight and must be excluded from consideration for a heavyweight toplist. They can only be considered for a general assessment of a fighter (P4P, R4R) but not for a heavyweight compilation. Just as you wouldn't consider light-heavyweight fights for a welterweight toplist.

A heavyweight toplist
which honors sub-heavyweight fights
is not a heavyweight toplist
but a P4P or R2R toplist

But this is a whole long topic for it itself, read at Boxing eras (1) The best heavyweight era of all time -OR- Is Roy Jones Jr. a better cruiser than Rocky Marciano?

 

 

How much is a KO worth?

You HAVE TO consider KO'ratio in your rankings because if you don't then you back featherfists and punish heavy hitters. However the problem lies in the VALUE of a KO.

Is a KO'win twice as much worth as an UDwin?

Thrice as much?

1.5 times as much?

By adjusting this KO'KO ("KO KO'efficient") you can alter the ranking A LOT. You can bring power punchers like Rocky Marciano to the top or to the bottom just by changing the worth of a KO.

Thus there is only 1 solution to this problem: You need to take the whole KO'ratio (i.e. not fight-by-fight) and multiply it with the value of the the whole record itself. Additionally you may also compare the KO'ratios themselves as I did at Hardest hitters of boxing: KO stats of Tyson, Klitschko, Foreman, Shavers and other knockout artists.

 

 

The boxing bout, the result and the opinion

When compiling a ranking you also should clarify whether OPINION matters or not:

  • "Boxer X belongs in the Top10 because he toys with his opponents"
  • "Boxer X belongs in the Top10 because (although he lost) he is a warrior"
  • "Boxer X doesn't belong in the Top10 because he fights so dirty/boring/out of shape"
  • "Boxer X doesn't belong in the Top10 because the only important fights he won he actually lost in my view. The judges must have been blind"

The first is an opinion about the bout (or about the performance).
The second is a typical American thingy (Heart > Result, Chin > Fists).
The third is an opinion about the boxer himself or his style.
The fourth is an opinion about the result (revisionism).

People _DO_ rate boxers and fights by perceived performance…

  • "What a bore"
  • "I smell a fix"
  • "He was lucky"
  • "I definitely believe he juices"
  • "Highway robbery"
  • "He is grossly overweight. What a disgrace!"
  • "The incompetent referee shouldn't have stopped the fight"

…thus again if you compile a toplist make clear whether you only accept the final official score or whether you allow "revisionistic adjustments". In my view you HAVE TO STICK to the official scores and simply assume that if an official score was blatantly wrong then the appropriate parties should have investigated and revised it there and then. If an official score is not blatantly wrong (but you simply disagree with the judges) then don't blame-shift it on the judges but instead blame the fighter to not have fought more dominantly/conclusively.

 

 

Outsourcing your eyes -OR- All boxing experts say…

A variation of "Rating by Opinion" is "Rating by someone else's opinion". Typical examples would be

  • "He is a Hall-of-Famer"
  • "He beat a Hall-of-Famer"
  • "Experts of that era took notice of his punch"
  • "He is considered one of the …est boxers of all time"
  • "Most experts agree that…"

In my view this is even worse than merely "opinionating" a ranking. This is outsourcing your eyes.

 

 

The perfect Muhammad Clay

There is an additional problem with subjective opinion which especially applies to Z2Z rankings (prime for prime):

Often the best performances of several fights magically melt into 1 performance: Suddenly fast (but chinny) Cassius Clay and harder-chinned (but zero-reflexes) Muhammad Ali melt into some "Muhammad Clay idealization" with fast hands and hard chin and whatever not.

"Ali is the real Neo"
(original quote)

(Neo = fictional figure with super powers from the Matrix movies Trilogy)

With such a perfect features it really easy to climb up the toplists as "The All-Goodies-Ali".

The opposite example is Wladimir Klitschko whose KO'losses (= negative features) get blown out of proportion: "He doesn't belong on a toplist because the next loss is just one punch away"

 

 

Useless boxing statistics

Quite often boxing fans will mention a "bombastic statistic" (= a good sounding but rather worthless stat) as an argument why to place a boxer higher ("After all he was the youngest heavyweight champion until then!").

This is a topic for itself at Useless boxing statistics -OR- Evan Fields is the greatest world champion

 

 

"A farce! A joke! A slap in the face of boxing fans"

Another version of revisionistic opinions is declaring belts to "paper belts". Or declaring that the factual belt holder is not "the true" belt holder.

Here is an example of "Perceived belt vs Actual belt":

  1. 2007 ·Ruslan Chagaev beats ·Nikolay Valuev and becomes WBA champ
  2. 2008 Chagaev suffers an Achilles tendon tear, has to pause and vacates the belt (and becomes "WBA Champion in recess")
  3. While Chagaev is hospitalized and heals his injury Nikolai Valuev wins back the vacated WBA belt
  4. 2009 the WBA orders the champ (Valuev) and the champ in recess (Chagaev) to fight for the title (in Finland)
  5. Days before the this fight medical authorities (in Finland) declare Chagaev unfit (supposedly due to some Hepatitis B antibodies) and Valuev refuses to fight him although Chagaev was able to get medical clearance (in Germany)
  6. WBA declares Valuev the rightful WBA champion and Chagaev is now belt-less (and not the "Champ in Recess" anymore)

Thus you suddenly have the following situation:

  1. Valuev is the official WBA champ although no fight took place
  2. Chagaev, who is unbeaten (= never lost his belt in a fight) and who already has beaten Valuev (2007) is beltless

Then the following happens:

  1. 1 week after the "Finland fiasco" Wladimir Klitschko jumps in as a replacement for Valuev and challenges Chagaev
  2. The RING magazine declares Chagaev the strongest man after the Klitschkos
  3. The RING magazine gives Klitschko the RING magazine belt for beating Chagaev

 

In other words:

Fans consider the decision to strip Chagaev of the "Champ"-status a political decision by the WBA, therefore Wladimir Klitschko beat the "true WBA champ" (Chagaev) (as "confirmed" by the RING magazine) and Valuev holds a "paper belt" ("WBA plastic trinket") and the "WBA is a joke" and "the WBA champion is just a temporary strap holder" (all original quotes).

 

Why do I mention this whole story?

Because championship achievements can be an important factor when positioning someone on a toplist ("3 time world champion", "most consecutive wins in title fights", "Championship fight of the year", "Lineal champion") and if you decide to demote a "championship" to "chumpionship" it may influence the ranking a lot.

And although the frustration (with the WBA) is understandable, you can not redeclare championships as you see fit. Especially not since belt vacations (e.g. due to injuries) and medical-clearance-problems are special cases and always demand a certain degree of political (controversial) decisions which in the end will always remain doubtful or contested.

If you ignore official decisions then you could equally claim that Chagaev didn't win the WBA belt from Valuev because actually ·Larry Donald took it from Valuev (2005) ("Corrupt judges") and then ·Alexander Povetkin took it from Larry Donald. Thus Povetkin is the real champion.

Moreover you can not state on one hand that belts are important ("Wladimir is the true WBA champ") and on the other hand that the WBA is not important ("wacky WBA").

Moreover the WBA is the OLDEST (1920ies) of all boxing organizations. If you start to declare the WBA a joke then you strip Muhamed Ali of 3 of his world championship wins and you downgrade greats such as Gene Tunney, Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano to boxers who never won a world title. And if you argue "Well, back in those days the WBA was an honorable organization, but now it's run by schmocks" then you know you are on the path of never-ending revisionisms.

Official rulings are more important
than the rulings of the
ABF (armchair boxing federation = the critics)

 

 

How to assess a boxer's losses?

Losses cause huge problems when compiling a boxing ranking. This is a topic in itself, see Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (5) Losses and avenged losses.

 

 

Bums on heavyweight rankings

Bums (see Definitions) are another important topic. When people compile toplists they tend to intuitively exclude bums from comparisons between 2 toplevel fighters.That's basically the difference between record (= all fights) and resume (= no bums, only fights worth mentioning)

And I agree.

Let me tell you why you MUST kick off bums off the record (either off the record of the boxer or off the record of his opponents):

1) The return of the Bummy

When you add up all the wins and losses (= including wins against bums) then even the bummiest bums would add up slowly but steadily. The final result could be that ATG #1 would have a better record than ATG #2 maybe only because of beating 2 or 3 more meaningless bums. That would be a ridiculous result.

 

2) Bummification of statistics

Bums taint the picture. All statistics that you can deduct from a record ("KO'ratio", "Wins against heavier-than-self opponents", etc) get pretty meaningless since

  • leaving bums on the record INCREASES artificially some favorable statistics, e.g. "KO'ratio" (= you look better than an ATG who chose to not line up 20 bums and KO them)
  • and DECREASES artificially some favorable statistics, e.g. "median opponent record" (= you look worse than you actually are)

George Foreman (59 real[?] heavyweight wins) would have always an advantage over Lennox Lewis (only 39 real heavyweight wins) if we keep bums on the record. As soon as we delete bums it turns out that Foreman had 18 non-bum wins and Lennox 21. In other words: Lennox chose to mostly fight good opposition while Foreman chose to fight good opposition AND to make some small money by fighting filler-bums (e.g. ·Manoel De Almeida 5-17). Since we are compiling a toplist (= comparing top guys) we have to assume that EACH of these top guys would have won against such bums (aside from occasional flukes). Thus we have to assume that Lennox would have won against De Almeida, too, but simply chose to not waste his (and our) time.

It should not matter how long your record is but how long your resume is.
It should not matter how many fights you had but how many meaningful wins.

 

3) Former cruisers have an advantage over genuine heavies

There is a less obvious reason why you must exclude bums. If you compare the 200+ lbs records of 2 boxers (= excluding their fights below 200 lbs) then most of the bums of former cruisers have been already excluded. Because most of bums happen at the beginning of the career (= in the case of former cruisers it's the sub-200-beginning of the career) thus they have been already excluded by excluding sub-200 fights. Thus the 200+ records of former cruisers look far superior (= less bummy) than the 200+ records of natural heavies.

Therefore…

I go by the following rule: Delete bums off the record and compare the remaining record.

Here is a short overview of some fighters (that randomly crossed my mind as I wrote this) to show you how including and excluding bums can MASSIVELY alter the record:

namecareer record including bumswithout bumswithout bums and without doubles
·Vitali Klitschko41-219-219-2
·Lennox Lewis41-221-221-2
·Wladimir Klitschko55-329-227-2
·Mike Tyson50-621-619-5
·Muhammad Ali56-532-425-4
·Riddick Bowe43-115-112-1
·George Foreman76-520-418-4
·Joe Louis66-330-324-3
·Rocky Marciano49-012-010-0
·Joe Frazier32-413-410-2
·Nikolay Valuev50-218-217-2
·Evander Holyfield43-1028-1025-9
·Larry Holmes69-623-622-5
·Shannon Briggs51-613-413-4
·Samuel Peter34-410-49-3
·Sonny Liston50-411-38-2
·Ray Mercer36-710-610-6
·Floyd Patterson55-814-711-5
·Chris Byrd41-513-513-4
·Buster Mathis30-44-44-4
·Ken Norton42-79-79-6
·Archie Moore185-2342-1829-15
·George Chuvalo73-188-158-13
·Sugar Ray Robinson173-1951-1338-10
·Earnie Shavers74-148-88-7
·Eric Esch77-84-24-2
·Jimmy Young34-1912-1111-11
·Chuck Wepner35-144-93-9
·Sam Langford203-4732-2613-8
·Chauncy Welliver44-51-31-3
·LaMar Clark44-30-20-2

Fistic Statistic [#488.BumVSNonbumRecord] How excluding bums changes the record

You can see that Eric Esch, LaMar Clark and Chauncy Welliver (who have fantastic overall records) are mainly bum beaters. We all knew it of course, but I wanted to show that is _IS_ "statistifyable" and moreover I wanted to counter the typical reproach "If you just go by statistics then Eric Esch is the best heavyweight who ever lived".

You can also see that fame starts at approximately 10+ non-bum wins. ATG-ness starts at approximately 20+ non-bum wins.

 

 

A real heavyweight ranking without bums -OR- What means "heavyweight"?

Please note that the records above include sub-200 fights thus heavyweights (200+) are discriminated against because heavyweights have less fights in their careers. For a heavyweight-only comparison you should use the following table:

namecareer record including bums (200×2)without bumswithout bums and without doubles
·Vitali Klitschko41-219-219-2
·Lennox Lewis39-221-221-2
·Wladimir Klitschko55-329-227-2
·Mike Tyson45-621-619-5
·Muhammad Ali28-421-416-4
·Riddick Bowe42-115-112-1
·George Foreman59-518-417-4
·Joe Louis11-07-05-0
·Rocky Marciano0-00-00-0
·Joe Frazier13-48-46-2
·Nikolay Valuev48-218-217-2
·Evander Holyfield25-1022-1020-9
·Larry Holmes60-522-521-5
·Shannon Briggs49-613-413-4
·Samuel Peter34-410-49-3
·Sonny Liston24-24-23-1
·Ray Mercer34-710-610-6
·Floyd Patterson0-00-00-0
·Chris Byrd36-413-413-3
·Buster Mathis24-33-33-3
·Ken Norton30-69-69-5
·Archie Moore3-00-00-0
·George Chuvalo42-137-127-10
·Sugar Ray Robinson0-00-00-0
·Earnie Shavers40-137-77-6
·Eric Esch72-84-24-2
·Jimmy Young21-1210-79-7
·Chuck Wepner22-114-93-9
·Sam Langford2-11-11-1
·Chauncy Welliver41-51-31-3
·LaMar Clark0-00-00-0

Fistic Statistic [#488.BumVSNonbumRecord200x2] How excluding bums changes the record (200×2)

Now it turns out that Sonny Liston was mainly a heavyweight bum beater like Eric Esch, whereas Mohammad Ali, Foreman and Ken Norton are a different breed of boxers.

However, that table STILL discriminates against modern heavies because heavyweight nowadays starts de facto at approximately 215+. Thus let's check now the 215×2 stats:

namecareer record including bums (215×2)without bumswithout bums and without doubles
·Vitali Klitschko39-119-119-1
·Lennox Lewis34-220-220-2
·Wladimir Klitschko47-325-224-2
·Mike Tyson33-619-617-5
·Muhammad Ali10-19-18-1
·Riddick Bowe32-112-110-1
·George Foreman33-314-314-3
·Joe Louis0-00-00-0
·Rocky Marciano0-00-00-0
·Joe Frazier1-20-20-2
·Nikolay Valuev39-216-215-2
·Evander Holyfield11-410-49-4
·Larry Holmes21-35-35-3
·Shannon Briggs34-612-412-4
·Samuel Peter32-410-49-3
·Sonny Liston4-01-01-0
·Ray Mercer20-68-58-5
·Floyd Patterson0-00-00-0
·Chris Byrd13-02-02-0
·Buster Mathis11-22-22-2
·Ken Norton5-22-22-2
·Archie Moore0-00-00-0
·George Chuvalo11-11-11-1
·Sugar Ray Robinson0-00-00-0
·Earnie Shavers4-11-01-0
·Eric Esch54-82-22-2
·Jimmy Young2-30-30-3
·Chuck Wepner6-72-62-6
·Sam Langford0-00-00-0
·Chauncy Welliver34-41-31-3
·LaMar Clark0-00-00-0

Fistic Statistic [#488.BumVSNonbumRecord215x2] How excluding bums changes the record (215×2)

 

 

A real superheavyweight ranking without bums

The above table STILL discriminates against modern heavies because approximately 50% of modern heavyweights are above 230 lbs. Thus if you call Muhammad Ali a "heavyweight" (with only 50% of his fights being 200×2) then modern heavyweights are de facto "230er heavies". Let's check the stats when the limit is raised to 230 lbs and let's call this new division… think… think… Cannonweight.

nameCannonweight career record including bums (230×2)without bumswithout bums and without doubles
·Vitali Klitschko22-112-112-1
·Lennox Lewis15-211-211-2
·Wladimir Klitschko22-013-012-0
·Mike Tyson1-31-31-3
·Muhammad Ali0-00-00-0
·Riddick Bowe8-04-03-0
·George Foreman6-03-03-0
·Joe Louis0-00-00-0
·Rocky Marciano0-00-00-0
·Joe Frazier0-00-00-0
·Nikolay Valuev29-012-011-0
·Evander Holyfield0-00-00-0
·Larry Holmes10-21-21-2
·Shannon Briggs16-27-27-2
·Samuel Peter21-36-35-2
·Sonny Liston0-00-00-0
·Ray Mercer5-44-34-3
·Floyd Patterson0-00-00-0
·Chris Byrd0-00-00-0
·Buster Mathis5-01-01-0
·Ken Norton0-00-00-0
·Archie Moore0-00-00-0
·George Chuvalo1-00-00-0
·Sugar Ray Robinson0-00-00-0
·Earnie Shavers0-00-00-0
·Eric Esch34-71-21-2
·Jimmy Young0-00-00-0
·Chuck Wepner0-00-00-0
·Sam Langford0-00-00-0
·Chauncy Welliver24-31-21-2
·LaMar Clark0-00-00-0

Fistic Statistic [#488.BumVSNonbumRecord230x2] How excluding bums changes the record (230×2)

There you finally have it: Would "Cannonweight" become reality then Muhammad Ali would play no role anymore but instead R4R Ali would even be beaten by… Chauncy Welliver. On the other hand Lennox and the Klitschkos are so superior, that their records will survive even such a dramatic change (from 200 to 230) for the next decades to come.

 

 

What means "of all time"?

A huge problem is the definition of "all time" or "ever" ("Who is the best boxer of all time?", "Who is the greatest heavyweight ever?")

Does it include boxers who currently still box?

Think about it: Usually people seriously compare past-time boxers with concluded careers to boxers who are still active (= who can still pile up huge wins or huge losses) or who can retire and then comeback.

Even worse: Boxers who are still active fight against opponents who are ALSO still active (duh!)

Thus the VALUE of a win or of a loss cannot be properly assessed, because the value of the opponent is not assessable.

A typical statement is "Joe Louis is > Current Boxer because whom has Current Boxer beaten?" or "Ali has beaten X hall of famers while Current Boxer has beaten none" which is OBVIOUS since your opponents have to be retired for several years before even they can be considered for the Hall-of-Fame (not that the Hall of Fame mattered much anyway).

Thus before you start toplists you have to specify whether to include active boxers.

 

 

All-Time Rankings vs Current Rankings

Another important aspect is whether the rankings are current rankings (= based on the recent fights) or all-time rankings.

Typical for current rankings is that opponents one has lost to recently are ABOVE oneself. In other words: For current rankings recent losses count a lot, whereas for all-time rankings they might be ignored.

 

 

The Prime, The Fame and The Record
-OR-
Rankings by Signature Fights (Important! Please read this!)

Aside from excluding cruiserfights (or below) from heavyweight toplists (see above) the following is _THE_

  • BIGGEST
  • HUGEST
  • MOSTEST

difference between how I do things and how the typical toplist-compiler does things.

I consider the WHOLE record

  • all fights
  • all wins
  • all losses
  • all draws
  • all fights, wins, losses, draws (= career-record) of opponents (instead of at at-bout-record)

(and the only wins I ignore are wins against bums, see above)

while the typical toplist-compiler only considers

  • famous fights (signature bouts, example fights)
  • and/or performance during the prime (= when the boxer was best)
  • at-bout-record of opponents (instead of whole career)
  • fights that prove his point (while neglecting other fights)

 

Thus the typical (= not-mine) approach is

  • "Wow, what a boxer during his prime! He beat X, Y and Z"
  • "Oh, well, that loss. Yeah. But he was already shot then"
  • "Oh, well, that loss. That was before his prime"
  • "He beat Muhammad Ali!!", "He beat Joe Louis!!!"
  • "George Foreman lost to Ali thus Foreman can never be above Ali in the toplist"

while my approach is

  • How many wins/losses/draws in his whole career?
  • What is the whole-career dominance (KO > UD > MD > SD > D)?
  • What is the Quality of Opposition?
  • No scorecard revisionism ("That ruling was a highway robbery! I refuse to count it a draw")
  • A loss does not devalue the rest of your career and does not make you less than the fighter you have lost to (e.g. Foreman vs Ali)

I don't pick out single fights and let them overshadow the whole career like AliFans do for example with Jimmy Young (to upvalue Young) or like Wladimir-Klitschko-haters do with Corrie Sanders (to downvalue Klitschko).

Additionally the typical approach (= not mine) is even worse than you think because how significant a fight has been is only knowable when you have been there yourself, otherwise it's just hearsay. Thus typical rankings are hearsay rankings and that's why they always have the same guys at top and middle positions.

The whole toplist-business gets even more ridiculous when you consider that NOBODY has watched all the fights of all boxer whom he puts on a toplist. Just check a a typical TOP #30 toplist (Boxing eras (1) The best heavyweight era of all time -OR- Is Roy Jones Jr. a better cruiser than Rocky Marciano?) which consists 30 fighters and their 2400+ fights. Not only that it would be a brain drain to watch all of this (mostly black and white) footage, a complete footage of all these fights doesn't even exist.

And since you would not only have to watch the fights of the fighters (that you place on your toplist) but also all the fights of their opponents (to assess the worthiness of their opponents and the worthiness of the era) it gets exponentially impossible:

  • Muhammad Ali
  • +his opponents (Norton, Frazier, Archie Moore, …) (= 50 different boxers)
  • +his opponents' opponents (= 1329 additional boxers)
  • comprise a total of 1300+ different boxers and 2600+ different fights
  • (Joe Louis +opponents +opponents' opponents comprise 1800+ boxers and 4100+ fights)

Everybody who talks about "the golden 1970ies" should check how much he has actually seen of that age…

  • …to make the bold claim that it was "golden" and
  • …to make the bold claim that he is able to compile a ranking of the best heavyweight boxers who ever lived

Thus typical rankings are

  • hearsay-rankings
  • rankings-by-perceived-significance
  • fame-name-acclaim rankings
  • let-me-copy-it-from-experts-rankings

 

 

The Ratings of Boxrec.com

Look at the All-Time-HEAVYWEIGHT Rankings of Boxrec.com

Just to give you 1 example of how a ranking can go wrong:
They ridiculously list Jimmy Bivins (86-25) at #4 and value him approximately 200% as much as Mike Tyson (#20). Now please do me a favour and check the record of ·Jimmy Bivins and explain in your own words why Bivins is a 2x better as a heavyweight than Tyson and is 16 positions higher than Tyson. This is ridiculous and just 1 example of how their (hypercomplicated) formula fails.

  • What the heck, Boxrec? #1
    KO'wins equals UDwins? And KO'ratios (= how dangerous a fighter is) play absolutely no role?
  • What the heck, Boxrec? #2
    You get rewarded with a certain % of your opponents record AT BOUT? Thus beating Mike Tyson in his second fight (= Mike Tyson with a record of 1-0) is like beating any other 1-0 guy?
  • What the heck, Boxrec? #3
    Bouts below 200 lbs count as heavyweight (159 vs 150 = Bivins vs Flowers)?
  • What the heck, Boxrec? #4
    Bouts against non-heavyweight opponents reward you with a % of their non-heavyweight record?
    Bivins win against Archie Moore (186 lbs vs 168 lbs) adds a whopping "72-9"-value to Bivins heavyweight record although Archie Moore at bout (72-9) had fought only opponents as low as 140+ lbs (median[?] opponent weight 160 lbs)
  • What the heck, Boxrec? #5
    "The All Time Rating for a boxer is the sum of 33% of the sum of annual rank points he gets for his annual ratings – and 33% of the sum of annual rank points of best defeated opponents – and 14% of his career top rating… the value of 200 annual points for the top boxer is reduced, if the annual rating of #10 in the division cluster is less than 100"
    Whaaaa? And why in the world do you split up a fighters career in years? And what are these arbitrary percentages?

And I am afraid that they will never really change it. Because (watch out!) Muhammad Ali might lose his top position.

 

·Herbie Hide|22.5 yro|4.40 years|22.56 yro|4.40 years
·Muhammad Ali|22.1 yro|3.32 years|22.11 yro|3.32 years
·George Foreman|24.0 yro|3.57 years|24.03 yro|3.57 years
·Jack Dempsey|24.0 yro|4.88 years|-|-
·James J Jeffries|24.1 yro|3.61 years|26.58 yro|6.04 years
·John Tate|24.7 yro|2.45 years|24.73 yro|2.45 years
·Leon Spinks|24.5 yro|1.08 years|-|-
·Michael Dokes|24.3 yro|6.15 years|24.33 yro|6.15 years
·Michael Moorer|24.5 yro|4.19 years|24.51 yro|4.19 years
·Tommy Burns|24.6 yro|4.09 years|-|-
·Tommy Morrison|24.4 yro|4.57 years|24.43 yro|4.57 years
·Wladimir Klitschko|24.5 yro|3.90 years|24.55 yro|3.9 years
·Joe Louis|23.3 yro|3.15 years|24.93 yro|4.78 years
·Floyd Patterson|21.9 yro|4.21 years|-|-
·Mike Tyson|20.3 yro|1.71 years|20.39 yro|1.71 years
·David Haye|29.0 yro|6.91 years|29.07 yro|6.91 years
·Evander Holyfield|28.0 yro|5.94 years|28.02 yro|5.94 years
·Hasim Rahman|28.4 yro|6.38 years|28.46 yro|6.38 years
·Joe Frazier|26.8 yro|5.25 years|27.16 yro|5.56 years
·Larry Holmes|28.6 yro|5.21 years|28.6 yro|5.21 years
·Lennox Lewis|27.6 yro|3.86 years|27.68 yro|3.86 years
·Nikolay Valuev|32.3 yro|12.17 years|32.32 yro|12.1 years
·Riddick Bowe|25.2 yro|3.68 years|25.26 yro|3.68 years
·Rocky Marciano|29.0 yro|5.51 years|-|-
·Sonny Liston|30.3 yro|9.06 years|-|-
·Vitali Klitschko|27.9 yro|2.61 years|27.94 yro|2.61 years
·Ernie Terrell|25.9 yro|7.80 years|26.57 yro|8.46 years
·Frank Bruno|33.7 yro|13.46 years|33.79 yro|13.4 years
·John Ruiz|29.1 yro|8.53 years|29.17 yro|8.53 years
·Shannon Briggs|34.9 yro|14.28 years|34.92 yro|14.2 years
·Trevor Berbick|31.6 yro|9.48 years|31.64 yro|9.48 years
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 3.3/5 (10 votes cast)
Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (1) pound for pound, head to head, record for record, 3.3 out of 5 based on 10 ratings
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Comments (17)

  • Honza says:
    flag
    [ip2username: Rypo Lezi]
    #242 Honza (2011-05-04th)

    Go f*ck yourself with that Ali hate you moron! Chinny Clay you say? Say that to him and he will kick your ass even now

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    • Admin says:
      flag
      [ip2username: Suva Mywo]
      #243 Admin (2011-05-04th)

      Ali hate? Where did I hate Ali in this article?

      And yes, Clay was chinny: Was floored by Sonny Banks (191 lbs), Henry Cooper (185 lbs, actually 180 lbs since Cooper was wearing lead in his shoes to make him heavier at weigh-in) and by [post=1094 text="featherfist Frazier"]. These were REAL knockdowns, not some slips or out-of-position situations.

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      • Tommo says:
        flag
        [ip2username: Puga Lyxo]
        #5670 Tommo (2013-03-26th)

        LOL Chinny Clay lol. You really know how to win the hearts of boxing enthusiasts don't you admin!! =P

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      • chris says:
        flag
        [ip2username: Vasy Poxe]
        #7157 chris (2014-05-17th)

        You are very inaccurate with your posts.

        Your definition of a bum is not accurate.

        Marciano fought 12/200+, 4/215+, 2/230+, & fought 15-20 total opponents who have been ranked contenders.

        Moore went 23-1-1 aganist 200+ opponents; only losing to ALI.

        Louis fought 5/230+ & 3/250+ opponents.

        Liston fought 20-25 top-10 ranked contenders.

        Ali was young and cocky: he recovered fast aganist Banks. He got in 3-5 seconds aganist Cooper who was known for his left-hook.

        Frazier had average power in his right but a great left hook.

        Size does not equal chin or power Marciano, Louis, Dempsey, Moore, Greb, Walker, etc…feasted on larger opponents.

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        • Tommo says:
          flag
          [ip2username: Xydo Kedi]
          #7645 Tommo (2014-10-26th)

          The definition of bum was clearly defined.

          By his definition the fighters you listed were not bums, he never said they were. The opponents they manufactured these record against WERE bums.

          You also made mention of Liston fighting many top ranked contenders. Since they were bums that were ranked as such, this is clear evidence of a very weak era!

          "I" however WILL tell you that they were all bums.

          None of those guys would have any real relevance at modern HWtoday, whatsoever!

          Fact!

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  • Honza says:
    flag
    [ip2username: Bibu Mary]
    #3808 Honza (2012-03-06th)

    Muhammad Ali might lose his top position.
    That is just one example of your constant bashing Muhammad Ali. And you are calling Joe Frazier one eyed dwarf when actually Marciano Tyson are both smaller than Joe. I would love to see if you ever write something positive about Muhammad and Joe.

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  • VVmmvvmm says:
    flag
    [ip2username: Kyvo Kewi]
    #5346 VVmmvvmm (2012-11-30th)

    These words show clearly: Valuev is the best heavyweight fighter ever.
    And Robert Pershing Wadlow(He was 272cm tall and died soon.) was the most talented heavyweight
    fighter ever. I think the boxing is an overrated, ridicolous thing.
    I think Valuev lives with acromegaly and he had knee problem but he is the number one.
    My favourite sport is the olympic weightlifting because this is a power sport and not a height based suckfest like boxing.

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    • Tommo says:
      flag
      [ip2username: Puga Lyxo]
      #5669 Tommo (2013-03-26th)

      Not all HW boxers rely on just their size buddy, and certainly not their height. Watch Valuev Haye. He lost to someone a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter. Boxing is the greatest sport.

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  • flavione says:
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    [ip2username: Mezi Xula]
    #6497 flavione (2013-09-01st)

    jesus christ if i ever saw more nonsense in my life. Ok here's my formula to calculate how you CANT be in TOP 10 Heavyweights of all time : First criteria: The M letter in your name makes you loose 3 ranks for each M present in your name: Muhammad= 3x M ->rank 9. Converting to another religion and not having 234,7343 lbs make you loose all your ranks, so Ali you arr the worst HW of all time. Observation: Wladimir is counter balanced by the W letter and the fact that i say so.

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  • Joe says:
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    [ip2username: Luza Tymo]
    #6499 Joe (2013-09-02nd)

    Ali was dropped 3-4 times in his career by big hitters. He was never knocked out but put down by good punches he got up and won the fights. Stats don't say everything. You can't really blame fighters for not fighting REAL heavyweights when during there period they were hw's. I personally think your being very 'unfair' towards previous hw's based on modern rule

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    • Tommo says:
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      [ip2username: Xydo Kedi]
      #7646 Tommo (2014-10-26th)

      Muhammad Ali was knocked down multiple times throughout his career by featherfist cruiser bums.

      Ali was chinny. No 2 ways about it!

      Any puncher today or in the 90's or even 80's would have knocked him pretty much straight out!

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  • Tommo says:
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    [ip2username: Loze Xivu]
    #6503 Tommo (2013-09-09th)

    I think there is no dispute there Joe. The HW's of Louis's era, of Ali's era or any era were the HW's of the era and the champions fought the best there was relative to the era. But a champ is not a champ so to speak when you try to claim that someone like what is normally regarded as a "prime" Ali who has arms thinner than my wife's is pitted against someone like Lennox Lewis of the 2nd Rahman fight for instance. He could not possibly survive against that calibre of opponent. Muhammad's opposition were good opponents for Muhammad. But they would be tomato cans for Lennox Lewis.

    There is controversy when considering small evolutionary spans like this but when nostalgic guys claim that these guys of the 60's or 70's could "thrash" Wladimir and/or his opponents. It's just nonsense.

    Consider Chris Arreola's recent fight with Mitchell. Mitchell was chinny, no chinny HW can possibly make it today, the punches are so hard. Ken Norton was atleast as chinny as Mitchell. Thing is, Arreola is not even considered a top tier boxer, just a crude slugger who only just managed to take his career and training a little seriously and he annihilated Mitchell like everyone expected as if he was nothing. Yet the 70's counterpart Norton, who also played football first and was a walking KO actually became HW champ and beat Ali and was regarded as a top contender. Times change, boxers get stronger!

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    • chris says:
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      [ip2username: Jagy Gole]
      #7158 chris (2014-05-17th)

      Ali, Liston, Foreman, Frazier, Holmes, etc…would all be multi belt holders today.

      Ali had speed, stamina, durability, footwork, over Lewis.

      Wlad is chinny.

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  • Dan says:
    flag
    [ip2username: Dary Mose]
    #6885 Dan (2013-12-31st)

    This is a great blog. I constantly get bashed on forums for my suggestions that Ali was an overrated fighter and that the Klitschko brothers are vastly underrated. Not only that, but the entire 1970s era is so beyond overrated that it makes me want to scream. Chuck Wepner put Ali down and gave him a heck of a fight. Chuck freaking Wepner. The guy was so bad that he had TWO DRAWS with Everett Copeland…2 draws with a guy who ended up 4-17-3 and he was somehow able to give Ali 15 rounds of hell but Vitali would get KOd by Ali? Really? What do these Alitards (that's another one…) smoke to make them have such ridiculous opinions?

    And the Earnie Shavers thing is just ludicrous. People actually claim he's the hardest hitting fighter ever despite the fact that he never knocked anyone decent out, and the fact that more than 20 men lasted till the final bell against him. What a joke.

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    • chris says:
      flag
      [ip2username: Tuxa Xyno]
      #7155 chris (2014-05-16th)

      1. Ali was way past prime.

      2. Wepner was a multi rated top 10 contender.

      3. He arguably stepped on Alis foot.

      4. He lost nearly every round/if not all.

      5. Shavers kayoed a few decent opponents. He lacked speed, chin, skill, stamina, etc….but had great 1 punch power. He nearly sparked out Holmes and Ali.

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  • George Collins says:
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    [ip2username: Zeji Guma]
    #7137 George Collins (2014-05-03rd)

    Dan, its a race thing.

    The current HW champ isn't black so blacks harken back to their vision of the Golden Age of boxing when the HW champ was a black man.

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  • chris says:
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    [ip2username: Wuba Byko]
    #7154 chris (2014-05-16th)

    @Admin

    Most fighters of the past drained weight to go longer rounds.

    Prime Foreman was 220+. He walked around at 250+.

    Louis was 200 in his prime walking at 230.

    Marciano was 185 in great shape walked at 210. 230ish after retirement.

    Frazier was 195-205 in shape walked at 220ish.

    Carnera was 260ish and ripped walked at 300+.

    Jefferies 220 solid walked at 250+/even 300+ in retirement.

    Willard 230 fit farmboy.

    Some like Johnson/Walcott/Dempsey etc…were underfed during the beginning but were still in shape at 200.

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