July 4, 2008.
Fifty years ago in 1958 Nat Fleischer, founder of Ring magazine, published for the first his all time divisional boxing ratings. In celebration of the 50 years that have since past I offer my all time divisional ratings. In Nat's original ratings he rated men in only one division. In 2005 I participated in the IBRO (International Boxing Research Organization) all time poll where we decided to avoid debates over what division a multi-division champion should be rated in by having the voters rate boxers in each division they were eligible. In my personal ratings I have rated boxers only at their best weight. I prefer to rate fighters at their absolute peak. For instance, men like Gene Tunney and Ezzard Charles are considered at light-heavyweight, while Bob Fitzsimmons is rated at middleweight and Ray Robinson at welterweight and not in other divisions. There have been 50 more years of boxing history since Nat Fleischer offered his ratings. Some historians will not give credit to modern fighters. Some younger fans do not give credit to the greats of the past. Certainly anyone can argue the order of the rating’s of fighters since such a subject is purely subjective. My researched ratings are both fair and balanced. Here is Cox’s Corner’s all time boxing ratings.
(Just Missed: Rocky Marciano, Jim Jeffries)
Why Jeffries has dropped in my rankings: While I do not question his athleticism, strength, or endurance there are 3 reasons for dropping him from my list. 1) He only won 15 pro fights. 2) Lack of good quality film in which to make a realistic assessment 3) His punching power is over rated based on his record. The claim that Jeff hit as hard as Foreman or Liston seems nonsensical based on fighters like Sharkey and Choynski going the distance with him, and more importantly an overall lack of early round knockouts. Jeff wore down his opposition he did not, in general, overpower them early.
Note: Jones is my controversial pick but he was the fighter of the decade for the 90’s.
Note: My top 5 is irrefutable, order debatable.
Note: Floyd Mayweather’s career does not give him a top 10 spot. Rodriguez, for example, had a better career than Floyd beating Emile Griffith, Benny Paret, Hurricane Carter, Curtis Cokes, Georgie Benton and Bennie Briscoe. I cannot in all honesty put Mayweather in the top 10 welterweights based on a career of hand picked opponents and having never unified a major title. Also I am far from convinced that Floyd would beat any of my top 10 welterweights.
Note: My top 3 lightweights all make my top 10 greatest fighters ever.
Note: Pacquiao breaks the top 10.
All Time Pound 4 Pound
Note: Willie Pep and Bob Fitzsimmons fall just short of the top 10. It’s simple I think Ray Leonard could beat you in more ways than could Pep who was a pure boxer or Fitz who relied more on his punch.