There is no possibility that this ranking is indisputable. Boxing like no other human activity was always left to the discretion of third parties.
Once the duel between the fighters was completed, the final decision of the jurors was always required.
That is, if there was no knockout or a contingency of manifest physical inferiority in any of the protagonists, no result escaped the appreciation of others to know which of both would be the winner.
It is estimated that 74% of the judgments corresponded to justice criteria, 14% were controversial or discussed and 12%remaining was recorded in history on suspicion of intent.
By the way, the biggest “robberies” favored local boxers and come from the times before television.
No other individual or collective sport transformed into a spectacle of high competition ceases to have a result, a brand or a measurement that legitimizes the winner and therefore must turn it into what it deserves throughout its campaign.
By the way, in most of these sports, there were substantial modifications of rules, surfaces, tactical, technical, food and even clothing concepts that maximized yields in both individual and collective sports.
They have been transformed into athletic bio types and any comparison in timelines would be impossible. This is not the case with boxing.
There have been very few changes in the final object of their dispute: one against one, same rules of the last century, the ring measures 6 × 6, its floor is canvas and is on a buffer filter, the same volume of the gloves according to the categories, three minutes per round with one rest.
The casualties of 15 to 12 rounds in the world title dispute, the insertion of more intermediate categories and the advance in 24 hours of weighing were positive changes for the boxers. But although the training methods and the nutritional concept have changed, the boxers, unlike other athletes, are comparable.
After 55 years of writing, narrating, commenting, interpreting and commenting on boxing, the author of this note also managed to dialogue, interview and share with eight of the ten great champions mentioned here. Except for Joe Louis and Ray Sugar Robinson, the others at different times were actors of notes or reports generously given to the chronicler.
Before columns the Top 10, let’s say the boxer is not just the expression of his art about the ring. So is its signifier. And we will see in the course of the note certain glimpses in each one that marked it as great.
Probably, and because of the subjectivity that any opinion entails, it can be argued that someone of the same generation hit harder than Fulano or endured more than Mangano. Fine nuances of equilibrium that could have been inclined by B or C, instead of A, will also be admitted.
All that is valid. But what we had in mind was the sum of the factors that end up making the whole of a great. And this also includes knowing how to achieve glory, face twilight and when it seemed that decrepitude led him to the inevitable agony, reinventing himself, resurfacing and becoming champion again.
The numbers that are detailed for any click to reliable advisory sources are the unquestionable part of the story, but they are not the story. And that is what we will go through
1- MUHAMMAD ALI
He was the greatest because he imposed a harmonious dynamic style. His legs would not have been able to offer the prodigy of such speed without a determined brain order. Cassius knew in advance the reaction of his adversaries and chose the moments and areas where he would try his offense.
His blows were precise and his austere discharges. He did not throw randomly and distinguished the physiognomy of his rival by avoiding wasting energy on test strokes or approach. He was stronger in the brain than his rivals and that is why he dominated them over the ring.
He had a left jab of enormous precision and after firing it he used to surprise his rivals as he backed away. This allowed him to always have the distance. He went out to either side with a ballet stride and returned with a new left-handed jab.
Sonny Liston, who won the world title by KOT ( 25-2-1964 ), hoped that another would always come after a jab. But Clay surprised him and went to his side for the second hand, a right cross. In the rematch (25-5-1965) it was noticed more clearly because Muhammad put knockout in the first round.
He always gave everything about the ring. The three fights against Joe Frazier were dramatic and devastating. They stuck to exhaustion and both paid a high cost of health.
On the other hand, when he regained the world crown against George Foreman in Zaire, he taught a lesson doing the opposite of what the world imagined: he proposed the attack, the friction fight, the skin contact action until the physical George Foreman was diminished and mentally. It was an impressive and unforgettable knockout in the eighth round.
Muhammad was a paradigm in the history of world boxing. His sporting and civil personality exceeded the humble boy from Louisville, Kentucky, who was robbed of the bicycle and learned to box to defend it. He was the first athlete to refuse military enlistment to go to the Vietnam War, he converted to Muslim and never stopped expressing what he felt.
But apart from these known facts, we can say that we saw three Muhammad Ali. A classic that solved against classic rivals like Floyd Patterson, Jimmy Ellis or Ringo Bonavena.
Another that was hitting blow by blow choosing more the fighter than the boxer as in the three fights against Joe Frazier and a third that put intelligence, tactical courage and physical delivery as when he regained the world crown against George Foreman.
2- SUGAR RAY ROBINSON
It’s about the man who invented a style. It was actually called Walker-Smith and was born in Ailey, Georgia, on May 3, 1921.
Since he was a minor and could not start as a boxer, he took the ID of an older fellow named Robinson and whom they called Ray. And it stayed that way forever.
The enormous virtue of this phenomenon was to have modified the posture and the movements of the boxer. Until his advent – debuted in 1940 – the pugilistic style was of the English school. It consisted of a vertical line of attack and recoil similar to fencing. Ray to whom Sugar was to add precisely because of the “sweetness” of his movements, he let go of his arms.
He showed that vulnerable areas can be covered without a rigid guard. Only concentration, speed, and sight are required to cover the high zone. Sugar may also incorporate the waist to the movements of defense, which avoided income and vertical setbacks that often left both feet in the same line without an angle of sustenance and with the consequent loss of balance.
Robinson was world champion of the medium and medium. In 1399 rounds during the 25 years spanning 1940 to 1965, he faced the best and fought all over the world. His proposal for technical change was so immense that he was hired from countries that were looking for a model of formative reformulation.
He was hired to fight in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, and Canada; which were countries that wanted to modify the British formation of their fighters. Sugar Ray also inaugurated Las Vegas as an experimental boxing place at the Hacienda Hotel after the Mafia landed for the exploitation of the game at the beginning of the 1950s.
His figure was so immense that the press had no choice but to talk and write a lot about his rivals. And that is how human stories of enormous cinematic value were discovered. Two of his defeated were treated by the cinema in a transcendent way.
The first film was starring Paul Newman and Pier Angeli and was titled ” The Stigma of the Stream. ” That film, directed by Robert Wise in 1956 showed the life and dreams of Rocky Graciano, a fearsome fighter whom Robinson knocked out in the fifth round.
Another of Sugar Ray’s illustrious rivals who was taken to the movies wasJack La Motta with whom Robinson faced six times in memorable battles. The movie called ” Wild Bull” was directed by Martin Scorsese (1980) and won an Academy Award to Robert De Niro, who played Jack La Motta.
This man caused the technical revolution of boxing . Especially in the movements of semicircular transfer in reverse and the games of blows in an ascending way quickly and accurately. His legs – average 1.80 – were long and thin, and Sugar Ray used them as a middle-distance entry. But his style would become a mirror of many generations, especially in gyms and clubs in Latin America wherefrom it the management of the left hand was revalued.
He fought until he was 44 years old. He won 173 fights, drew 6 and lost 19, of which 10 were consecutive. He had retired in 1952 and returned in 1954. He earned about four million dollars but died on April 12 at age 68 in Culver City, California, with the post.
If boxing fans could enjoy boxers like Cassius Clay, Sugar Ray Leonard and so many hundreds of other stylists around the world, it’s because there was a creator from that school and his name was Ray Sugar Robinson.
3- JOE LOUIS
He was a prodigious heavyweight champion because of the speed of his body downloads. His attack looked slow in displacements until he managed to get close to download and offer to change blows. They called him ” The Detroit Bomber” and managed to win 52 fights by knockout of the 70 made.
He was the first heavyweight of the time – from 1937 to 1950 – who set out to make long-term fights without despairing to find the knockout. And although it measured 1.88, its weight did not exceed 91 kilos against the more than 100 of most of its rivals. He defended his crown 28 times.
He won 27 and lost only one against who would be his successor, Ezzard Charles. This third place in the Top 10 of all time admits debate only against Rocky Marciano (Rocco Francis Marchegiano) who without the technical conditions of Joe Louis made 49 fights, achieved 43 Kot’s, retired undefeated and defended his crown 12 times. But clearly, Joe was a better boxer.
4- JULIO CÉSAR CHÁVEZ
A true boxing phenomenon. He made 37 fights for world championships, an unprecedented event in the universal history of boxing. He was champion of three categories: Super Pluma, Liviano and Welter. A “monster” in the middle distance fight. No one hit him like the body of his adversaries.
He made 115 fights and just lost the undefeated at number 91 to the “Surgeon” Randall. He had an overwhelming style, great courage and enormous power of assimilation because in most of the fighting he proposed and obtained permanent blow changes. Chavez was the champion who took the most risks in each of his fights.
5- ARCHIE MOORE
He was world champion of the medium-heavy. But he had no choice but to deal almost always with heavyweights, since 79,178 kilos, were too much for the medium and too little for the full. Hard and visible boxer. It was valid for 28 years and holds the record for knockouts achieved: 145 in 219 fights.
By the way, he “tested” a Cassius Clay young man who beat him and “killed” himself against Rocky Marciano, who he knocked down until he deformed his head with his blows, without avoiding defeat by KO in round 9 of a memorable fight. in 1955. It could be said that there was no heavy medium like ” The Old Mongoose ” who was world champion from 1952 to 1961.
6- SUGAR RAY LEONARD
An exponent of Olympic training, like his paradigm Cassius Clay, who like him won the gold medal ( Montreal ´76 ). In those Games as soon as I saw him fight. I had the feeling that we were facing a huge project that came to vindicate the pugilism of style.
The Olympic boxing of the United States team actually stimulated the ” return to the sources” of orthodox boxing to confront the tanks of the mechanical training offered by the Soviet Union and its other representatives from Eastern Europe and Cuba.
In those Games the most notable member was Leonard. Who later, already as a professional, offered us the art of his displacements, his defense in movement, his ascending discharges and that determination to plant himself to change blows if necessary.
His fights against ” Hand of Stone” Duran, Tommy Hearns, and Marvin Hagler are part of the classics that can not fail to be seen when you want to enjoy intelligent boxing masters, handsome, aesthetic, of different styles and with a high athletic level. The best of them was Leonard. Which makes it one of the top ten in history.
7- CARLOS MONZÓN
It was clearly an extraordinary champion. His boxing was not easily visible. He did not fight for the spectators but he felt the rigor of three determining elements in his attitude: a) concentration and patience; b) mastery of the distance and c) degradation of the resistance of its rivals until generating the auction opportunities.
In six years – 1970 to 1976 – he obtained the world title ( KO to Nino Benvenuti ) and defended it 14 times against the best of the time, among whom were Emile Griffith, Jean Claude Bouttier, Benny Briscoe, Butter Naples or Rodrigo Valdez.
He was the best world champion in Argentina and the only one that would have beat any of Ray Sugar Robinson’s illustrious medium down. Moreover, they would have been extraordinary Monzon fights against Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Durán or Mayweather.
In the hypothesis, any of them could have won. Under the same projection, any of them could well have lost, especially the bloodiest, Hagler, Hearns and Duran Stone Hand. It would have been very hard on Leonard and very intricate and repeated against Mayweather.
8- ALEXIS ARGUELLO
Nicaraguan. He was world champion of three categories: Feather (1974 to 1977); Super feather (1978 to 1980) and Liviano (1981 to 1983). He made 90 fights. Of these, 82 were wins ( 65 by knockout ) and suffered 8 losses. It measured 1.78- Very high for his category – and his campaign spanned from 1974 to 1983.
Few boxers made their straight punches split with such precision and speed. Alexis also knew how to take risks in areas of definition and caused such circumstances. It was of clear and pendular movements. He had a huge domain to finish off.
It was the best that Latin America gave and its memorable fights are remembered as when he beat Alfredo “El Salsero” Staircase by KO in the 13th, Ruben “Chucho” Castillo in the 11th, Royal Kobayashi in the 5th and Rigoberto Riasco in the 2nd. This great champion, also known as “The Knight of the Ring ” or” El Flaco Explosivo ” was mayor of Managua in 2008 as a representative of the Sandinista National Liberation Front and appeared dead at home in unclear circumstances. The official version indicated suicide. The family doubts …
9- FLOYD MAYWEATHER
An undisputed class fighter. Little generous. Great athlete. Probably the closest to the reader’s knowledge as his retirement occurred last year. And although he will return for a show with the “King of UFC”, Conor Mc Gregor. On August 26 it is known that this will be far from his true art.
Floyd was a huge champion and he had a time of easy accessibility to clearly inferior rivals. Unlike other world champions, Floyd’s challengers had to be sought and offered a lot of money. As he turned out to be the contractor of his rivals in his double status as champion and promoter with obligations already signed with the MGM and the pay per view.
This does not take away recognition of its exceptional technical conditions. It was a quasi-impregnable defender who dosed his counterattacks taking the least possible risk. At the end of his last twelve fights, we always had the feeling that Mayweather could have offered something else. In that aspect, he was behind the other greats.
10- ROBERTO “STONE HAND” DURAN
It is not just a boxer. Roberto “Mano de Piedra” Duran is a world. He fought 33 years, between 1968 and 2001. He was world champion of the following categories: Liviano (against Ken Buchanan in 1972), Medium Medium (before Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980), Medium Junior (before Davey Moore in 1983) and Medium ( before Iron Barkley in 1989). All the titles he won, he lost. And he went from being ” National Hero of Panama” (after imposing himself in Montreal against Leonard for points) to “National Shame ” (after giving up fighting against Sugar himself in 1980, after the eighth round, when he voluntarily retired from the ring ).
He fought for glory and for subsistence. He was a star and Partenaire. While she had the motivation, training, and dreams, she was a real beast about the ring. No ranking will fail to recognize him as the fighter who reinvented himself. The one who transformed the agony into apotheosis.