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By Clarence George on May 2, 2013

The wise men will bow down before the throne
And at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns

Who's the greatest strawweight of all time? Don't tell me, I don't want to know. Cruiserweight? Next! The current WBA, but not WBC, heavyweight champ? I'd rather think of the color gray in all of its many permutations.

I don't hold with newfangled notions or practices. I deride boxing gloves that aren't black or burgundy, snort at boxing trunks that aren't black or white, and bitch slap (however metaphorically) trainers and cornermen who dare to presume they can improve on the dietary and workout regimens of Ray Arcel and ****** Bimstein. And I have never fully recovered from the abandonment of the detachable collar and spats.

It's in this spirit of unapologetic curmudgeonliness that I present those who reign supreme over the Sweet Science's original eight weight divisions-our fiercest lords.


Pancho Villa (1919-1925; 78-4-4, 22 KOs)

Following an invitation of boxing promoter Tex Rickard, Pancho Villa came to the U.S. in 1922 and fought 13 bouts that year against the likes of Abe Goldstein and Frankie Genaro, and bested American flyweight champ Johnny Buff. Although Villa lost the title six months later in a rematch with Genaro, he was selected to fight for the vacant Flyweight Championship of the World against former titlist Jimmy Wilde. Villa stopped the game Welshman by seventh-round KO in 1923 and became the first Filipino (indeed, Asian) to win a world title.

Villa was successful in defending his crown against Benny Schwartz in 1923, Frankie Ash in 1924, and Clever Sencio in 1925. He faced Jimmy McLarnin in a non-title bout that same year, on July 4.

On the day of the bout, which he lost on points, Villa had an infected tooth removed, but the poison had already spread. He died on July 14, just shy of his 24th birthday.
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