Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (4) Head-to-head toplists by trick questions

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YOU CAN ASSEMBLE rankings (toplists)

1) based on real-world-achievements ("world titles won", "KO'ratio", "Quality of opposition defeated", …)

2) or based on in-ring performances ("Wow, this speed", "Wow, this power", …)

But there is another method to rank boxers, which I call the "psychological approach" and which combines both approaches in a neat manner.

 

The Mafia and the offer you cannot refuse

Imagine you owe the Mafia money, quite a sum… and you cannot pay.

So one day they catch you, tie and gag you, cut off one of your fingers and make the following offer: Continue Reading

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

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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 Continue Reading

Hardest hitters of boxing: KO stats of Tyson, Klitschko, Foreman, Shavers and other knockout artists

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HERE ARE THE HARDEST PUNCHERS and knockout artists of all time. From Mike Tyson to Wladimir Klitschko. From Earnie Shavers to George Foreman.

I populated only boxers with at least a 75% KO'ratio and at least 35 wins (I had to draw a line somewhere, because as soon as you go below 75% and below 35 it results in hundreds of boxers).

For comparison purposes I also added less power punching (but famous) boxers like Primo Carnera, Sugar Ray Robinson and heavyweight featherfists[?] like Muhammad Ali, Evan Fields and Joe Frazier.

Long article, I know, but if you are seriously interested in objective/non-discriminatory knockout statistics then this here is a must.

You should read the Definitions page for terms like "fair", "bum", "unique", "aside", "median", "superheavyweight"; "KO'ratios" and "Total KOs" are based in KOs within 12 rounds unless otherwise stated.

You may also want to read Boxing eras (4) Golden Age of Heavyweight -OR- Is the Klitschko era the first heavyweight era in history? where I compare the KO'ratios of world heavyweight champions of all eras.

Note: Since the Klitschkos are still boxing their KO data will change in the future. The tables on this page have been compiled after Wladimir Klitschko's fight against Sam Peter (2010) and after Vitali Klitschko's fight against Shannon Briggs (2010).

 

Heavyweight "KO'ratios" and "Fair KO'ratios"

KO'ratios are some of the simplest statistics to compile: Take the KO'wins and divide them by the total fights

However, the problem is the small print: Continue Reading

Heavyweight Boxing Rankings (3) TOP 10 by boxing experts -OR- Grandpa's champions

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I HAVE NOT only problems with toplists compiled by boxing fans, but also (actually especially!) with heavyweight toplists compiled by experts. Because so called "experts" influence the rankings of boxing fans a lot, yet they turn out to be even more worthless, because they usually suffer from, what I call

  • "Nostalgia delusion"
  • "The-grass-was-greener-when-I-was-young illness"
  • "Good-old-times syndrome"
  • "Retreat into a fantasy past"
  • "Plugged into the Clay Matrix"

I took some famous boxing trainers (e.g. Emanuel Steward) to scrutinize their toplists, views and approaches:

Continue Reading

Joe Frazier vs Klitschko -OR- is Chris Byrd a better puncher than Earnie Shavers?

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FRAZIER! This name is supposed to strike fear into the hearts of boxing fans and teleport them into a never-ending state of terror.

"Frazier!" (you have to pronounce it like televangelists pronounce "jeEEE-Zess").

Only 2 winopponents of Ali are really famous: Frazier is one of them (with ·George Foreman being the other). Frazier even beat Muhammad Ali once thus he is very special to nostalgists ("Ali's nemesis").

When ·Samuel Peter fought against ·Wladimir Klitschko (2nd fight) he tried to "bob and weave" (= bounce the head like a ping pong ball on a wavy water surface) which reminded a lot of people of Joe Frazier who masterfully used this "head pong technique" in the fights against Ali.

"Samuel Peter was primarily fighting from a bob-and-weave style which he had never fought in before. In the first fight with Wladimir, he was more of an upright-walking-him-down type of guy where Wladimir was just moving and hitting him easily with his head up. This time he came out with more of a Joe Frazier style of fighting with his head bobbing and weaving and throwing a lot of powerful left hooks and very seldom throwing right hands."

Emanuel Steward (Klitschko's trainer) about the Klitschko vs Peter II

Now, the new style failed against Klitschko (Sam Peter received his first ever and most brutal canvas-KO) but nevertheless the fight ignited talks about how successful Frazier's ponging would have been against Wladimir. And AliFans came to the (non-surprising) conclusion that Continue Reading

Muhammad Ali Quotes -OR- Cassius Clay's megalomania

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MUHAMMAD ALI IS ONE OF THE most outspoken and famous racists of all time ("The white man of America is the devil… No good in him, no justice. He's gonna be destroyed. His rule is over. He is _THE_ devil.. We don't believe that, we KNOW it!"). Muhammad Ali is definitely the greatest racist to ever box.

Ali's hate against whites (and against mixing of races) has been the topic at Muhammad Ali – The most famous racist to ever box -OR- Criticizing Ali is racism thus in this article here I want to concentrate on a theory whether there is an even darker side of Ali than his racism. Continue Reading

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

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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 Continue Reading

Wladimir Klitschko's glass chin -OR- Hahaha, Corrie Sanders was a golfer

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WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO IN HIS CAREER has suffered 3 losses.

These RoCoLa losses (against ROss Puritty, COrrie Sanders, LAmon Brewster) are used by haters as THE ultimate proof of Wladimir's bum'ness or as a reason why a status as an "All-Time-Great" has to be DENIED.

Since these 3 losses were KO losses (= Klitschko was KO'ed) haters use them as a proof of the terrible quality of the Klitschko chin (= he cannot take punches).

 

The final analysis on Wladimir Klitschko's glass chin

Before we analyze Wladimir Klitschko's "porcelain chin" let me make some general remarks that apply to any boxer:

  1. Deducting something from 3 losses (of approximately 60 fights) is actually ridiculous. It's equally ridiculous to deduct something from 3 wins (of proximately 60 losses).
  2. Having 50+ real heavyweight fights 200×2 and losing ONLY 3 times is a PROOF (and not a counter-proof) of the quality of Wladimir Klitschko (see tables below). Especially since it's actually ultraheavyweight fights 215×2. Already expect the next generations of boxers getting KO'ed more often since the punches get harder and harder.
  3. Of the 78 heavyweight world champions to date NOBODY had as many fights 200×2 and less losses than Wladimir Klitschko.
  4. Being TKO'ed by hard punchers or by KO'artists (Corrie Sanders has a KO'ratio of 67% and Lamon Brewster has a KO'ratio of 73%) is a very weak argument for a weak chin.

Additionally let me point out the following: Continue Reading

Wladimir Klitschko sucks because he KOs his opponents

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WELCOME TO THE BLACK & WHITE WORLD OF KLITSCHKO HATERS.

Welcome to The top reasons why Wladimir Klitschko sucks!

Let's start with the first example where Klitschko haters turn a positive feature into something negative:

 

"Wladimir Klitschko sucks because he KOs his opponents"

Seriously, some claim that Wladimir Klitschko's opponents are bums as is apparent by the fact that he can KO them so easily.

Why else could he KO them? His opponents are bums because they couldn't even survive 12 rounds. And would they be any good then he couldn't KO them.

"Wlad's opponents are all bums compared to Ali's opponents. These fighters can't even stand on their own feet for 12 rounds . . . how hard is that to realize that?"

(original quote)

Therefore featherfisted Muhammad Ali (the champ with one of the lowest real[?] heavyweight KO'ratios of all time) must have fought the best opponents who ever lived because he struggled so much against them.

This is one of the most idiotic excuses by Klitschko haters and shows what is wrong with their rants:

If Wladimir KOs them they were bums.

If he fails to KO them he failed to KO bums.

If he loses to them he lost to bums.

An impossible no-win situation.

On a side note: A major reason why Ali is considered a better boxer than ·George Foreman is exactly because of this attitude: "Ali struggled so much yet he won in the end" (= huge win for Ali), while "Foreman knocks guys out in a few rounds" (= mediocre win).

Additionally this anti-Klitschko reproach ignores the weight and quality of the opponents Wladimir Klitschko KO'ed:

Of all heavyweight world champs to date (78 world champs)
Wladimir Klitschko (13) and Roy Jones Jr (13) scored the most KOs against previously unKO'ed non-bums[?].
Follow-ups are Larry Holmes (8) and Joe Louis (6).

-and-

Wladimir Klitschko has KO'ed more (13)
previously unKO'ed non-bums in real heavyweight fights 200×2
than Mike Tyson (5), George Foreman (4), Sonny Liston (0) and Rocky Marciano (0) and Joe Louis (0)
COMBINED.

 

"Wladimir Klitschko sucks because he doesn't KO his opponents"

Some complain that, "Yes, he KOs them but it takes him too long":

"Your gladiators [Klitschko brothers] if they so good, why oh why cant they KO these guys inside 3 rounds. See thats whats missing, and thats why Vitali Klitschko and Wladimir Klitschko will always be viewed as average fighters fighting fighters less than that."

"I challenge the Klits to start KO'ing their opponents in UNDER 6 rounds."

"They are damaging their legacies whether they know it or not. If they were KO'ing most guys under 6 rounds they may be World wide ICONS by now. Someone on their teams needs to let them know that the fans want to see FAST KO's at HW. Whoever has the next interview with a Klitschko brother please ask why they don't go for earlier KOs and let them know that that is what the fans want to see."

"Chisora is a bum and I guarantee it will take Wladimir much more than 3 rounds to KO him. Wlad is a crap champ and a boring fighter."

(all original quotes)

In other words: They INVENT standards and then hate Klitschko for not meeting these self-invented standards:

"Wlad is bad because takes him longer than …think…think… THREE rounds to KO bums. And I call them bums because …think…think… they couldn't KO Klitschko"

You could even compare it with the bottle analogy: If the bottle is half-full the haters would complain that it's "half empty". If the bottle is full they would complain that it's "too full". Whatever the Klitschko brothers do they do it wrong.

 

"Wladimir Klitschko sucks because he KOs his opponents slower than Mike Tyson"

Since Wladimir Klitschko is one of the best KO'ers who ever set the foot into the ring, it's very hard to find someone who KOs his opponents FASTER and MORE FREQUENT than Klitschko.

Thus the only comparison Klitschko haters have is… Mike Tyson.

When you analyze Mike Tyson's performance it turns out that

  1. Wladimir Klitschko has a higher KO'ratio than Mike Tyson
  2. Wladimir Klitschko has scored more KOs than Mike Tyson
  3. Wladimir Klitschko KO'ed MORE opponents in world championship fights 200×2 (14) than Mike Tyson (10). In fact Wladimir Klitschko has KO'ed more opponents in world champion fights 200×2 than ANY OTHER world champion to date.
  4. Wladimir Klitschko has a higher KO'ratio in world championship fights (77%) than Mike Tyson (62%). In fact Wladimir Klitschko's world title KO'ratio 200×2 is higher than any other champion's except for Brian Nielsen (5 KOs of 6 fights) (if you consider the IBO title to be a valid title and 6 fights conclusive).
  5. Wladimir Klitschko has KO'ed more never-KO'ed-before opponents (7) in world title fights 200×2 than Mike Tyson (5). A record that Wladimir Klitschko shares with ·Larry Holmes.

Wladimir Klitschko is the world record leader in these HIGHLY MEANINGFUL statistics thus Wladimir haters have a hard time to actually find ANYTHING which could make Wladimir look worse than Tyson.

Aside from the fact that "being worse than Mike Tyson in some statistic" is no reason to declare Wladimir Klitschko a failure (or anyone else for that matter), I will show you how cherry-picked this statistic is:

The statistic where Mike Tyson is better than Wladimir Klitschko is…

"Average KO'round in world title fights"

Wladimir average KO'round is 7 while Mike Tyson's is 2.7.

The reason why Wladimir Klitschko's figure seems to be bad is because this statistic is WORTHLESS. In fact, "Average KO'round in world title fights" is so worthless that ATGs like Lennox, Larry Holmes, Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko perform WORSE than no-name titlists like ·Michael Bentt or ·James Smith and there are SEVERAL boxers who are even better than Mike Tyson, e.g. ·Francesco Damiani if you believe this ridiculous stat.

This statistic

  1. neglects the number of fights. If you had just 1 KO'win (1st round) in 1 fight then your KO'ratio is 100% and your average round is 0.5
  2. neglects LOSSES and DECISIONS. Someone with "1 KO'win (in 1st round) and 9 losses" would have a better statistic than someone with "10 KO'wins (all in 2nd round)".
  3. neglects the quality of opposition (for example Klitschko faced more previously unKO'ed opponents than Mike Tyson)
  4. neglects the stance of your opponent (since southpaws are harder to KO than orthodox fighters). Mike Tyson ducked all southpaws of his time thus his KO stats will be better than someone who actively SEEKS difficult opponents (like Wladimir Klitschko)

Thus to OVERCOME the above problems THE ONLY possibility to assess a fighters KO'performance more accurately is to compare the "Average rounds between KOs against non-southpaw opponents".

nameAverage rounds between 2 KOs in world title fights (200×2), excluding southpaws, headbutts fights, WDQs and NCs
·Vitali Klitschko11.0
·Wladimir Klitschko6.9
·Lennox Lewis10.9
·Muhammad Ali22.2
·Mike Tyson8.1
·Riddick Bowe9.2
·Joe Louis8.5
·Larry Holmes20.0

Fistic Statistic [#420.1]

Now this is an OBJECTIVE and MEANINGFUL statistic. Unfortunately for haters it shows that Wladimir Klitschko is a faster KO'er than Mike Tyson.

 

"Waldimir Klitschko sucks because he wins only by out-weighing his opponents"

This lie is discussed at Why the Klitschkos will never be ATGs (All Time Greats).

 

"Wladimir Klitschko sucks because he only wins due to his huge body size"

Complaining about body advantages in a combat sport is really funny.

"Evan Fields only wins because of his hard chin based on his massive neck" and "Mike Tyson only wins because of his muscles" is equally ridiculous (especially considering that Mike Tyson is smaller than Oscar de la Hoya).

What's next? Complaining that "Vitali Klitschko only wins because he TRAINS MORE than his opponent"?

This "outsizing denouncement" is usually brought up by Americans/Britons who utter it for 2 reasons:

  1. They know that by Klitschko's body parameters alone he would pose a massive threat to American ATGs (Evan Fields, Ali, Foreman, …).
    Thus they know whatever supposedly superb features these ATGs had they would be massively out-bodied before the fight even started.
  2. The other reason why they complain about it is because there is no counter-argument.
    What can one say? Both "Wladimir Klitschko would still prevail even when shrunk" and "Wladimir Klitschko would lose when shrunk" are pure speculation. Especially since a mini-Klitschko would have an utterly different speed and balance thus wouldn't even be a Klitschko anymore.

And too stupid to mention: There _IS_ a division for muscular boxers who are approximately equally sized: It's the cruiser division. The whole point of the heavyweight division is to be what-is-called "unlimited": That means there is no upper limit for body weight/shape/size. Thus it is ridiculous to complain about "huge guys" in an unlimited division.

 

"Wladimir Klitschko sucks because he doesn't have all the belts"

There are several variations of this statement including "Mike Tyson unified all the belts, while Wladimir didn't" and "Muhammad Ali was undisputed champ while Wlad isn't"

Let's look at the following numbers:

  • Muhammad Ali had THREE belts (WBA, WBC, RING) for 3+ years.
  • Mike Tyson had THREE belts (WBA, WBC, IBF) for 2+ years
    Mike Tyson had FOUR belts (WBA, WBC, IBF, RING) for 1+ year
  • Lennox Lewis had FOUR belts (WBC, WBA, IBF, IBO) for 0+ years (half a year).
    And FOUR belts for 1 year (WBC, IBF, IBO, RING).
  • Wladimir Klitschko now has THREE belts (WBO, IBF, IBO) for 3+ years.
    And FOUR belts (WBO, IBF, IBO, RING) for 2+ years (until June 2011).
    And FIVE belts (WBO, WBA, IBF, IBO, RING)  for 1+ years (as of October 2012)

Hmm, strange… doesn't look that bad to me.

Actually Wladimir Klitschko OUTPERFORMS the other greats like Ali, Tyson and Lennox.

So, why this reproach against Wladimir Klitschko?

It follows a BIZARRE LOGIC which goes like this:

  • In Muhammad Ali's times there were only 2 belts (WBA and WBC).
  • Thus Ali had ALL belts
  • Thus Ali was the unified and undisputed champ

and

  • In Klitschko's times there are 5 belts (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF, IBO)
  • In other words: 1 belt is worth less than 1 belt in Ali's times
  • Thus 4 belts of Klitschko are worth less than 2 belts of Ali
  • hence Klitschko is not undisputed and is a lesser champ than Tyson, Lennox, Ali…

This piece of bizarre logic eludes anyone who is not a Lennox fan or Muhammad Ali fan.

For everyone it should be obvious that winning (and keeping) 5 belts is of course harder than 2 belts.

 

"Wladimir Klitschko sucks because he is boring and fights like a robot!"

This is a topic for itself: Heavyweight boxing died since boring Wladimir Klitschko killed the division -OR- American and British Complainers

 

"Muhammad Ali is a greater boxer than Wladimir Klitschko because failures are virtues and winning is boring!"

Oh, how AliFans love this:

"Muhammad Ali is a greater boxer because he fought 15-round-fights and Klitschko doesn't"

First of all there are no 15-round fights anymore. Therefore by this standard nobody in the future could ever be greater than Muhammad Ali.

Second, going 15 rounds is no virtue. If someone goes 555 rounds then he performs WORSE than someone who goes 55 rounds. Needing 15 rounds instead of 12 is a sign of failure, not of greatness.

 

"Ken Norton broke Muhammad Ali's jaw in round 2, yet Ali went full 12 rounds. I doubt that Klitschko could do that!"

Too stupid to mention it again. But getting your jaw broken is not a virtue. Getting it NOT broken is the virtue.

What AliFans try to do here is to convert a failure (broken jaw) into a virtue ("a remarkable display of courage from Ali").

 

"Joe Frazier was half-blind! What a great fighter!"

Joe Frazier was blind on his left eye his entire career. Yet he became a world champion.

Yes, ·Joe Frazier was brave. I give him that. But for me it's a proof of how BAD Ali's era was if a handicapped could become boxing world champion. For me it's a proof of how bad Ali was since he had so much problems with Frazier.

It's again bizarre black-is-white logic when an obvious failure (= struggling against a handicapped opponent) is converted into a virtue (= "winning against a brave fighter").

 

"Muhammad Ali was completely shot yet he didn't go down against Larry Holmes. Ali is the greatest boxer of all time"

Again, the virtue is to win the fight not to lose every round (and then lose by RTD) when being shot (= old and worn-out).

Additionally "He was shot" is a killer argument as I wrote at Definition: Boxing Prime -OR- The favorite excuse of boxing fans.

 

End words

If you consider struggling a virtue or if competitiveness makes your day then watch Ali's fights.

However, if you want to see a near-perfect display of boxing skills and power then watch the Klitschkos.

And before you dis their opponents: Watch other fights of the opponents, too. You will realize that their opponents are not bums but highly skilled boxers who are merely unfortunate enough to live in the Klitschko era.

Sonny Liston – The Eric Esch of the 1950ies?

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SONNY LISTON COMBINES TWO FEATURES that make him remarkable: He is slow like molasses ("Honey Liston", "Slomo Liston") and he is a cherry-picker (= he fought hand-picked opponents who would nearly guarantee a win). These two features justify a comparison to another cherry-picker: Eric Esch ("Butterbean").

If you ever want to see a heavyweight with a slower performance than Valuev then watch Sonny Liston. His arms (84") look freakishly long and disproportionate. Sometimes he throws them around like foreign bodies (similar to overlong pajama sleeves) and there is always Continue Reading

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