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· Registered
22,444 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hardest division to rate for me. So many good boxers and not much between a lot of them:

1. Ezzard Charles
2. Archie Moore
3. Jimmy Bivins
4. Maxie Rosenbloom
5. Tommy Loughran
6. Harold Johnson
7. Billy Conn
8. Bob Foster
9. John Henry Lewis
10. Joey Maxim

Hard as hell to rank, you still have guys like Tommy Gibbons, Jose Torres, Gs Lesnovich, Battling Levinsky, Lloyd Marshall, Young Stribling, Matthew saad Muhammad, Eddie Mustaffa Mohammad who all wouldn't look out of place in their.

You have guys who have passed through such as Harry Greb, Gene Tunney, Philly jack O Brien, Bob Fitz etc

And modern guys such as Mike Spinks, virgil Hill etc

Really tough. I change mine all the time.

· Registered
3,168 Posts
Hell of a division to try and rank. I'll give it a go tomorrow night, I'll probably omit the "passing through" guys as not having done enough in that division but will probably find room for Spinks somewhere. At whose expense is the difficult question though....

· Registered
6,403 Posts
Yeah, bastard division for me too.

I'd have:

1) Charles
2) Moore
3) Bivins
4) Tunney
5) Loughran
6) Conn
7) Rosenbloom
8) Bob Foster
9) Spinks
10) Johnson

Hard, and I'm not happy with it beyond the top 5. Maxim has to be on there. So does Gibbons. Really tempted to put Fitzsimmons in there too.

There just isn't enough room in the top 10 for 10 fighters

· The Bobsledinator
32,790 Posts
1. Ezzard Charles
2. Archie Moore
3. Gene Tunney
4. Tommy Loughran
5. Harry Greb
6. Mike Spinks
7. Sam Langford
8. Billy Conn
9. Roy Jones jr.
10. Bob Foster

quick list but hey it will do, I used to have a bona fide list back in the ESB days, this is different but that's my style yo

· Diamond Dog
8,341 Posts
01 - Ezzard Charles
02 - Archie Moore
03 - Harry Greb
04 - Gene Tunney
05 - Billy Conn
06 - Mike Spinks
07 - Tommy Loughran
08 - Bob Foster
09 - Tommy Gibbons
10 - Jimmy Bivins

Greb is a lock. His LHW resume is utterly sick and destroys his MW resume.

· Diamond Dog
8,341 Posts
Allentown Joe Gans, Rosenbloom, Tunney, Delaney, Slattery, Loughran, Flowers, Bogash, Kid Norfolk, Shade, both Smiths, Tommy Gibbons, Battling Levinsky, McTigue, Mehan, Madden, Miske.

Possibly the best resume in the division's history. You could argue him #1.

· Registered
22,444 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
yeah looking at that I think id defo put Greb higher up. I had a quick recap but his weight changing is ridiculous, he's up and down all over the place and I missed a few big fights off due to it. great resume at a few weights

· Registered
22,444 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think Bivins is defo a top five though, he beat Ezzard, Archie, Lee Q Murray, Melio Bettina, Lloyd Marshall, Tami Mauriello, Anton Christofiordis, Lee Savold, Bob Pastor, Joey maxim, Gis lesnovich, Billy Soose and Teddy Yarosz at the weight and thats pretty much everybody of his era.

· Diamond Dog
8,341 Posts
I think Bivins is defo a top five though, he beat Ezzard, Archie, Lee Q Murray, Melio Bettina, Lloyd Marshall, Tami Mauriello, Anton Christofiordis, Lee Savold, Bob Pastor, Joey maxim, Gis lesnovich, Billy Soose and Teddy Yarosz at the weight and thats pretty much everybody of his era.
He's a beast...but most of these wins happened above 175, didn't they? To my knowledge, he never even fought Moore as a LHW, and was about 190 when he beat him whilst Moore wasn't even a fully-fledged LHW yet. Furthermore, as Moore caught him in weight he started to knock him about a bit. Pastor never weighed in as a LHW, nor Murray nor Savold I don't think. He has some good wins for sure, but I wouldn't count any of these as being over LHW's, but rather fights that took place in the HW division. Similarly, although a guy like Maxim is best known as a light-heavy, that fight took place with both guys over the LHW limit and at a time when Bivins hadn't weighed in as a LHW for a number of years.

These things do matter, I think.

· Registered
22,444 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He's a beast...but most of these wins happened above 175, didn't they? To my knowledge, he never even fought Moore as a LHW, and was about 190 when he beat him whilst Moore wasn't even a fully-fledged LHW yet. Furthermore, as Moore caught him in weight he started to knock him about a bit. Pastor never weighed in as a LHW, nor Murray nor Savold I don't think. He has some good wins for sure, but I wouldn't count any of these as being over LHW's, but rather fights that took place in the HW division. Similarly, although a guy like Maxim is best known as a light-heavy, that fight took place with both guys over the LHW limit and at a time when Bivins hadn't weighed in as a LHW for a number of years.

These things do matter, I think.
Its a fair point. I think they didn't want to come in on the limit sometimes as he was denied a shot at the title for weighing in on the limit and beating the champ Lesnovich at the time and because of that they refused to fight him again. Due to that he sort of fought in between trying to move up the rankings in both divisions in hope that someone would give him a shot.

But thats far eniugh though, i can see your reasoning and wouldn't argue against it.

· Diamond Dog
8,341 Posts
Tell you what else, it's why he gets low-balled across the divisions. Beating a 170lb pre-prime Archie Moore doesn't count for much at HW, but would at he kind of gets fucked divisionally. But I think you can rank him high p4p. I'd be wary of any LHW that has him top 5 or any HW list that has him top 20, BUT, you can rank him p4p top 40 without drawing a blink from me. Strange how these things can work, isn't it?

· Anon.
1,562 Posts
Here's a list compiled by Cliff Rold of BoxingScene & member of the independent Trans National Boxing Ratings Panel. The list was published in 2009

The Top 25 Light Heavyweights of All-Time - 11 to 25
Posted by: Cliff Rold on 11/5/2009 .

For any new boxing fan, the time is not long before a fellow fan points out a magic number which grows more mythologized with time: eight. As in boxing's original eight weight classes. The number represents in the mind of many a time when the sport was compressed into fields which couldn't help but be talented, couldn't help but draw crowds, because there were so few places on the scale to go. They were divisions marked by single champions ever challenged by a depth of contenders today's seventeen weight classes rarely know.

Reflection and research reveals this was not always the case, but it was true often enough to bestow a mystique on boxing's 'original eight weight classes' which carries through to the modern day. As good as they can be, as great as some of their competitors have been and still are, weight classes prefixed by a "Jr." designation will always be seen some as bastard spawn which took something away from the game no matter what they added.

Even with classes taking up space in between the old markers, the eight continue to provide memories and spilled blood today. Over the course of this series, homage is paid to boxing's original eight by identifying the best of their lot through the years.

Light Heavyweight

This Saturday night, arguably the two premiere Light Heavyweights in the world, Chad Dawson and Glen Johnson, will square off for the second time. Their first turn around the bend was a doozy.

This is a division which has never been short on doozies. Skipping ahead from Lightweight in this series to coincide with the weekend action, Light Heavyweight has always been an interesting place on the scale. The biggest money usually lurked one class below or above and the best Light Heavyweights have often tested the larger waters. Set at 175 pounds since the National Sporting Club established the line in 1909, the division's gloved era can trace its world title even farther to a 1903 battle between Jack Root and Charles "Kid" McCoy.

As noted in previous editions of this series, the only rule in "The Eight"' is no one currently active in the division was considered…with one notable exception made this time around. Given the richness and depth of history at Light Heavyweight, it is only fitting that the best of today finish their runs to earn placement with the very best. The reason for the exception will be evident when it comes up in numbers 11-25.

The Top Twenty-Five

25) Virgil Hill (1984-2007): North Dakota's "Quicksilver" followed a Silver Medal at Middleweight as part of the legendary 1984 U.S. Olympic squad with two lengthy title reigns at mark of 50-7, 23 KO…WBA titlist 1987-91, 10 defenses; 1992-97, 10 defenses; IBF titlist and lineal World champion 1996-97…turned pro in 1984, at Madison Square Garden, Hill used his quick hands and educated left jab to win his first 18 bouts, earning a shot at WBA titlist Leslie Stewart and scoring a fourth round stoppage…decisioned former IBF titlist Bobby Czyz over the course of his first reign before dropping the strap to the great Tommy Hearns in Hearns last great performance…Hill rebounded with a pair of wins before facing former Olympic teammate Frank Tate for the then-vacant WBA belt in September 1992, wining on points…the second reign would be more impressive than the first with wins over future Cruiserweight titlist Adolpho Washington and future Light Heavyweight titlists Fabrice Tiozzo and Lou De Valle…in his defining win, Hill would travel to Germany and unseat undefeated IBF titlist Henry Maske via spirited split decision…by virtue of his previous win over then-reigning WBA titlist Tiozzo, Hill earned the right to call himself, finally, the true Light Heavyweight champion…it would be a short lived celebration as he would lose his next bout to WBO titlist Dariusz Michalczewski by decision followed by a non-title fourth-round knockout loss to Roy Jones in his next bout…Hill would later go on to a pair of title reigns at Cruiserweight…decisive losses to arguably the three best men he faced at 175 hinder Hill but the Maske fight, and his lengthy title runs, deserve their accolades…Hill has not yet become eligible for a vote to the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF).

24) Dwight Muhammad Qawi (1978-98): Born Dwight Braxton, the "Camden Buzzsaw" began to learn his craft while incarcerated and, with no amateur career, built a lasting legacy in the sport with a take no prisoners mark of 41-11-1, 25 KO…WBC titlist 1981-83, 3 defenses…drawing in his debut, and losing his third fight would be the only setbacks for Qawi in a first 16 bouts which featured a stoppage of former titlist Mike Rossman and a win versus then still-incarcerated fellow Rahway State prison alum James Scott (in the prison)…in his next bout, in December 1981, Qawi would end the thrill ride which was the reign of Matthew Saad Muhammad to win his first title…Qawi followed the tenth round stoppage of Muhammad with three defenses, including a stoppage of Muhammad in six of their rematch, before a unification showdown with WBA titlist Michael Spinks…the more experienced Spinks soundly outboxed Qawi over fifteen to be crowned undisputed Light Heavyweight…Qawi would move up the scale and briefly hold the WBA belt at Cruiserweight, losing what remains that division's greatest fight in 1986 to a young Evander Holyfield…Qawi was elected to the IBHOF in 2004.

23) Willie Pastrano (1951-65): The New Orleans slickster began his career as a 15-year old Featherweight and toiled methodically for almost twelve years to make good on a shot at the top of the world…career mark of 63-13-8, 14 KO…World Champion 1963-65, two defenses...breakthrough win at Light Heavyweight came in a 1955 decision over former champion Joey Maxim and he would alternate between Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight for years…drew with an aging Archie Moore in 1962…finally snared a title shot against veteran champion Harold Johnson in June 1963, leaving with a competitive 15-round split decision in Las Vegas…he would defend twice, avenging a non-title loss to Gregorio Peralta and stopping former Middleweight champ Terry Downes in 1964…in his final fight, Pastrano was stopped in nine by Jose Torres…Pastrano on his best day could beat almost anyone but also had a penchant for losses at lousy times throughout his career…Pastrano was voted to the IBHOF in 2001.

22) Paul Berlenbach (1923-33): An Olympic Middleweight qualifier in 1920, sometimes errantly cited as a Gold Medalist though he missed Antwerp, New York's "Astoria Assassin" turned to pugilism after a short run in amateur pugilism…career mark of 39-8-3, 33 KO, 1 no decision, 1 no contest…World champion 1925-26, 3 defenses…the big punching Berlenbach was matched tough from early on, stopped in only his 11th fight by future champion Jack Delaney…drew with Hall of Famer Young Stribling in 1924 and stopped former champion Battling Siki in ten the following year to set up a title shot…two years after winning the AAU Heavyweight wrestling title, Berlenbach defeated Mike McTigue in May 1925 on points for Boxing's Light Heavyweight crown…lost one of seven fights over the next year, a non-title points loss to Johnny Risko, but successfully defended against the Hall of Fame trio of Delaney, Stribling, and Jimmy Slattery…dropped the title to Delaney in July 1926 and slid away from his prime as quick as he got there with additional losses to McTigue, Delaney and Mickey Walker by the end of 1927…while his peak was short, Berlenbach packed a lot into a short run…Berlenbach was voted to the IBHOF in 2001.

21) Dariusz Michalczewski (1991-2005): Following an excellent amateur mark of 133-15-2, Poland's "Tiger" used a phone pole jab, powerful right, and crowd pleasing style to build a strong mark in class…career mark of 48-2, 38 KO…WBO titlist 1994-2003, 23 defenses; WBA/IBF titlist 1997; Lineal World champion 1997-2003, 14 defenses…Michalczewski won his first major title with a decision over Leeonzer Barber in September 1994 and made eight defenses, along with a one off WBO Cruiserweight title win, before a shot at the WBA and IBF belts and the lineal crown against Virgil Hill in June 1997…Michalczewski won a commanding decision over twelve…notably stopped former titlist Montell Griffin in four and avenged a controversial 1996 disqualification win over Graciano Rocchigiani in 2000 by decision…was 48-0 before suffering a first loss at age 35 to Julio Gonzalez in October 2003…stopped for the only time in his final bout in 2005 against Fabrice Tiozzo…suffers for sometimes poor opposition and the lack of a fight with the man who dominated the division in parallel to him, Roy Jones…gets credit for setting the overall consecutive title defense mark in the division as well as tying the consecutive lineal defense mark set by Bob Foster. Note: In a previous article , Michalczewski was errantly given credit for topping Foster's mark at 15. The correction is noted here.

20) Joey Maxim (1941-58): Born Giuseppe Antonio Berardinelli, Cleveland's Maxim, behind tremendous defense and a chin which could be dented only once in over 100 bouts, fought one of the toughest slates of foes ever seen in the sport…career mark of 82-29-4, 21 KO…World Champion 1950-52, 2 defenses…on his way up the ranks, avenged his only knockout loss (by first round KO in 1943) in his very next fight with a decision over Curtis Sheppard…lost to the outstanding Lloyd Marshall in 1994 but won the first of three contests with future Heavyweight king Jersey Joe Walcott in 1946…between 1948-49, defeated the rugged Bob Satterfield, avenged an early loss to Hall of Famer Jimmy Bivins, decisioned former World champion Gus Lesnevich while losing close in the third of five career fights with Ezzard Charles...crossed the pond to London in January 1950, scoring a rare stoppage in ten to win the title from Freddie Mills…fell short in a shot at then-Heavyweight champion Charles in 1951 but picked up his most notable win the following year, outlasting the great Sugar Ray Robinson to defend the title in a legendarily humid, outdoor Bronx battle; it was the only stoppage loss of Robinson's career…lost the title in his following bout to Archie Moore, their first of three contests…upset a young Floyd Patterson in 1954 before beginning a final slide of eight losses in his final ten bouts…Maxim may have been seen as even greater in a less loaded era as eleven of his first 16 losses came to Hall of Fame greats Walcott, Moore, Charles and Bivins and two others came in his first twelve bouts…Maxim was voted to the IBHOF in 1994.

19) Bob Fitzsimmons (1885-1914): "Ruby Robert" was a pioneer of the gloved era, the first three division world champion with Middleweight and Heavyweight title reigns before the Light Heavyweight division was born…was the third Light Heavyweight champion, besting George Gardner in 20 at 40 years of age in November 1903…Fitzsimmons was stopped in 13 by Jack O'Brien in December 1905 to end his days as a champion…considering Fitzsimmons regularly weighed between 160 and 175 lbs. at a peak which included wins over Hall of Fame Heavyweights Tom Sharkey and James Corbett, he merits inclusion here even if his official peak body of work was limited in class…Fitzsimmons was an inaugural member of the IBHOF in 1990.

18) Philadelphia Jack O'Brien (1896-1912): The self promoting, big punching Pennsylvanian might have been born too early, missing the eras of television and radio where his bluster might have made him an even bigger star than he mark of 100-6-16, 51 KO, 57 no decisions…World Champion 1905…contested a who's who of the scale on his way to the title with news wins and losses against World champions from Welter to Heavy including Marvin Hart, Dixie Kid, and "Barbados" Joe Walcott and Hall of Famer Joe Choynski…ended the title days of the great Bob Fitzsimmons, stopping him in 13 in December 1905 for the Light Heavyweight crown…drew and lost in 20 round challenges for the Heavyweight crown versus Tommy Burns in 1906 and 07…also went the six round distance with then-champion Jack Johnson in 1909…suffered knockout losses to the great Stanley Ketchell and Sam Langford in the final nine bouts of his career…O'Brien was elected to the IBHOF in 1994.

17) Matthew Saad Muhammad (1974-92): Born in Philadelphia as Matthew Franklin, Muhammad stands out as one of the most exciting fighters in the history of mark of 39-16-3, 29 KO…WBC titlist 1979-81, 8 defenses…lost three of his first eighteen bouts, including losses future champs Eddie Mustapha Muhammad (Light Heavy) and Marvin Camel (Cruiser) before a nine fight win streak which included an epic 12th round knockout win over future titlist and former Olympian Marvin Johnson in 1977…culminated win streak with a second stoppage of Johnson, in eight, for the WBC belt in April 1979 in an all-time classic…first two defenses, by decision and stoppage, came over former titlist John Conteh…two fights later, rallied in the 1980 Fight of the Year to stop Yaqui Lopez in 14…made four more defenses before running out of room to war and suffering a round ten knockout to Qawi…lost the 1982 rematch and eleven of his last 19…Muhammad was elected to the IBHOF in 1998.

16) Harold Johnson (1946-71): Sticking with Philly, the ultimate warrior gives way to the cerebral brilliance of a man whose greatness was overshadowed by the ever slightly better Archie Moore…career mark of 76-11, 32 KO…NBA titlist 1961-62, 2 defenses; World Champion 62-63, 1 defense…won his first 24 bouts before losing to begin a five fight rivalry with Moore…Johnson won only the third of the series and had Moore down in the tenth of a 1954 title shot before suffering a 14th round stoppage…it would be his first and only shot until the early 1960s…before, after, and around the Moore rivalry, Johnson posted wins over Jimmy Bivins, Ezzard Charles, and Bob Satterfield…finally won the vacant World title with a decision over slick Doug Jones…lost the crown on a split decision to Pastrano and never contested for the title again…Johnson was elected to the IBHOF in 1993.

15) Jack Dillon (1908-23): Frankfurt, Indiana's was small for the division in height and weight, regularly weighting in below the Middleweight limit, and yet held his own with some of the best Heavyweights of the day…career mark of 94-7-14, 64 KO, 129 no decisions, 1 no contest…World Champion 1914-16, 4 defenses…Dillon emerged as the strongest candidate for a crown languishing since O'Brien had vacated in 1905 with wins between 1912-14 over Hugo Kelly, Bob Moha, and Battling Levinsky….Levinsky would be arguably his great rival in the division, officially losing only in their ninth and final meeting which also marked the end of his reign as champion…with a look and demeanor which made for easy comparisons with Heavyweight Jack Dempsey, Dillon would face many of the same men in Heavyweight contenders like Billy Miske and Fireman Jim Flynn along with Middleweight champs like George Chip, Frank Klaus, and Al McCoy…Dillon was elected to the IBHOF in 1995.

14) John Henry Lewis (1931-39): In less than a decade, the Los Angeles-born Lewis would emerge as a dominant force with skill and enough power to make any man mark of 103-8-6, 60 KO…World Champion 1935-39, 5 defenses…amazingly, Lewis fought with impaired and degenerating vision in his left eye throughout his title reign…exactly when Lewis began his career can be a subject of debate with some historical records showing bouts as early as 1928…in 1932, Lewis bested perennial contender Lou Scozza and future heavy king Jim Braddock while suffering a points loss to Maxie Rosenbloom…Lewis avenged the loss twice in a 1933 campaign where he went 6-0-1…suffered a revenge defeat to Braddock in 1934 and lost two straight, to Rosenbloom and Abe Feldman in 1935, prior to his first title shot…In October 1935, won a unanimous decision over champion Bob Olin, promptly followed with a non-title loss in his fifth bout against Rosenbloom…stopped Tiger Jack Fox in a 1936 non-title contest and bested the excellent Brit Jock McAvoy on points to defend the title…added another notable Brit, Len Harvey, before the year was out…stopped Olin in eight of a title rematch the following year…rapidly blinding, Lewis was granted a Heavyweight title shot against Joe Louis in his final bout in 1939, stopped in the opening frame; he would attempt to continue but was not licensed…Lewis was elected to the IBHOF in 1994.

13) Jack Delaney (1919-32): Born in Canada, "Bright Eyes" used a learned right hand to became a popular attraction fighting out of New England…career mark of 77-10-2, 44 KO…World Champion 1926-27, 1 Defense…standing almost 6-foot tall, Delaney turned pro as a 19-year old Middleweight and stayed near 160 even as he began to tackle the best Light Heavyweights…topped a pair of future champs, Tommy Loughran on points and Paul Berlenbach by knockout, in early 1923…over a six month period beginning in October 1924, stopped Middleweight great Tiger Flowers twice but lost two decisions to Jimmy Slattery…a draw with Loughran came two bouts before his first title shot, a points loss to Berlenbach in December 1925…March wins over Mike McTigue, by stoppage, and Maxie Rosenbloom set up a third fight with Berlenbach and Delaney left as the champion, on points over 15, in July 1926…Delaney would defend only once, abdicating the throne and finishing with a mediocre run at Heavyweight, though he would stop Berlenbach again in 1927…Delaney's run as champion was short but his record against many of the best of his time was impressive…Delaney was elected to the IBHOF in 1996.

12) Roy Jones Jr. (1989-Present): Pensacola's Jones hinted at his future dominance at the 1988 Olympics, robbed into settling for a Silver Medal but named the first Val Barker Award winner for best overall fighter…career mark to date of 54-5, 40 KO... WBC titlist, 1996-97; 1997-98, 1 Defense; WBC/WBA 1998-99, 3 Defenses; WBC/WBA/IBF 1999-2002, 5 Defenses; Ring/WBC/WBA/IBF 2002-03, 2 Defenses; Ring 2003, 1 Defense; Ring/WBC 2003-04…needless to say, Jones held a lot of belts, in a lot of permutations, at 175 lbs. after previous title reigns at Middle and Super Middleweight…while the talent pool of his peak years wasn't deep, Jones dominated most of the best in class with wins over eight men who had or would hold a major title, among them Mike McCallum, Julio Gonzalez, and Clinton Woods...his most impressive wins came over the other three he defeated…Jones avenged a stiff 1997 challenge from Montell Griffin, which ended with a Jones disqualification, by first round knockout to regain the WBC belt he won from McCallum the year before…the Griffin win was followed by a fourth round knockout of Hill on a memorable body shot…unified the WBA and IBF titles with decisions over Lou Del Valle in 1998 and Reggie Johnson in 1999…posted a last great victory with a gutsy late stand to retain his Ring belt against Antonio Tarver in 2003 one fight after winning the WBA Heavyweight belt from John Ruiz…the Tarver win would be followed by consecutive knockout losses to Tarver and Glen Johnson at age 35…Jones has since lost a Ring title try against Joe Calzaghe in 2008…Jones loses a bit in not having faced the next best fighter through most of his reign (Michalczewski) but gets credit for the ease with which he dominated what he did face for most of seven years…the only active Light Heavyweight on the list, it would have been silly to leave him off. Jones at 40 continues as a shell of his former self, past the point where he can hurt his standing and unlikely to add to it.

11) Harry Greb (1913-26): More recalled for his greatness at Middleweight, the "Pittsburgh Windmill" was perhaps just as good at Light mark of 105-8-3, 48 KO, 183 no decisions…given his unreal volume of fights, and a lack of fight film, Greb can be hard to assess beyond written accounts and the record he left behind but, oh my, what a record!…often fighting between the Middleweight and Light Heavyweight limits, Greb posted official wins over Light Heavy champs Tommy Loughran and Jimmy Slattery, Hall of Famer Tommy Gibbons…he also posted news wins over past, present and future champs Jack Dillon, Battling Levinsky, Maxie Rosenbloom and Mike McTigue and Hall of Famer Kid Norfolk, along with besting notable Heavyweight contenders like Billy Miske…In arguably his greatest win, in any weight class, Greb became the only man to defeat the great Gene Tunney in a battle for billing as the American Light Heavyweight champ in 1922…Tunney would later avenge the loss officially, twice over, in a five fight series…Had Greb been entirely focused at Light Heavyweight, he might have rated higher and any arguments that he should have anyways are welcome…Greb was an inaugural member of the Hall of Fame in 1990.

· Anon.
1,562 Posts
The Top 25 Light Heavyweights of All-Time - Top Ten
Posted by: Cliff Rold on 11/10/2009 .

10) Billy Conn (1934-48)
Record: 64-12-1, 15 KO
World Champion 1939-41, 3 Defenses
Light Heavyweight Champions/Titlists Faced - 2: (Melio Bettina, Gus Lesnevich)

The "Pittsburgh Kid" was almost the Heavyweight Champion of the World. He was great even before that, a picture of technical greatness whose fast feet and hands dazzled legends from Welterweight to, well, Joe Louis. Eschewing a notable amateur run, Conn turned professional as a sixteen-year old Lightweight and took his lumps while learning his profession, losing his debut and seven of his first fifteen. He wouldn't lose again for 28 fights, dropping a points nod in 1937 to Young Corbett III. Inching into the Light Heavyweight class, Conn would avenge the Corbett loss, split fights with Hall of Famer Teddy Yarosz and future Middleweight champ Solly Kreigel and twice best another future Middleweight champ, Fred Apostoli, finally setting up at July 1939 shot at reigning Light Heavyweight champion Bettina (as recognized in New York; the NBA title was vacant). Conn made good on the shot, winning a commanding decision. Two fights later, he dusted Bettina in the rematch and then won a pair of decisions over future champion Gus Lesnevich, both in defense of the crown in 1939 and 40. Conn vacated the crown, chasing the dollars at Heavyweight while largely still weighing in below the Light Heavyweight line. Longtime contender Bob Pastor suffered a surprising knockout and Lee Savold couldn't solve the master boxer over 12 frames. In June 1941, Conn led through twelve against Louis before round thirteen ended his dreams. The following year, with a Louis rematch hoped for, Conn bested reigning Middleweight king Tony Zale and then World War II came calling. Inactive from 1942-46, Conn was never the same, losing badly to Louis in his first fight back and posting two wins before retiring.

Why He's Here: The legend of the first Louis fight so defines Conn it can sometimes overwhelm an otherwise excellent body of work. Without the war, perhaps Conn drops back down and regains the Light Heavyweight throne. The thought of fights with the likes of a young Ezzard Charles or prime Jimmy Bivins are tantalizing. They did not happen and so, while Conn merits placement in the top ten, one looks and sees most of his best wins coming over notable Middleweights whereas others here have fuller bodies of Light Heavyweight work. Regardless, Conn could know he stood a chance of victory with any Light Heavyweight who ever lived. Conn joined the roster of the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) as a member of the inaugural class of 1990.

9) Maxie Rosenbloom (1923-39)
Record: 210-38-26, 19 KO, 23 no decisions, 2 no contests
World Champion 1930-34, 7 Defenses
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 6: (Jimmy Slattery, Jack Delaney, Bob Godwin, Joe Knight, John Henry Lewis, Bob Olin)

Born in Connecticut and fighting out of New York, "Slapsie" Maxie was one of the great defensive specialists and he had to be because power just wasn't going to cut it. A great chin, dented only twice in almost 300 paid contests, didn't hurt him any either. Given the sheer volume of bouts, it isn't possible in this space to go over all of the highlights. A contender by 1925, Rosenbloom would fall short in his first title try in 1927, losing on points to Slattery. He'd do better the second time around, besting Slattery in June 1930 to begin a lengthy run as champion, albeit not recognized by the NBA immediately. He'd best Slattery in the title rematch one year later and outpoint contender Lou Scozza for universal recognition in 1932. Bob Godwin, Hall of Fame great Mickey Walker, and Knight also failed to wrest the title away. It would be Olin who finally wrested the crown away in November 1934. Though active through the rest of the decade, with much success, Rosenbloom largely competed as a small Heavyweight and would not fight for a title again.

Why He's Here: The above focuses largely on Rosenbloom as champion but there was so much more. Multiple wins, losses, draws, and newspaper verdict bouts throughout his career read as a who's who of his times: Harry Greb, Johnny Wilson, Ted "Kid" Lewis, Young Stribling, Jim Braddock, Tiger Flowers, Tiger Jack Fox. He didn't always win, but Rosenbloom held his own. Living in a time when fighters make taking two tough fights in a row, spread six months apart, a point of pride, Rosenbloom's record just draws a shake of the head. That he also had a quality run as champion only adds to a picture which includes over 200 victories. No one likes to hear from the old timers that 'they don't make 'em like they used to' but Rosenbloom is a point to the senior statesmen. They don't make them like Rosenbloom anymore and probably never will again. Rosenbloom was elected to the IBHOF in 1993.

8) Jimmy Bivins (1940-55)
Record: 86-25-1, 31 KO
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 4: (Anton Christoforidis, Melio Bettina, Gus Lesnevich, Joey Maxim)

Turned pro as a Middleweight, Bivins won his first nineteen including a decision over rated contender Charley Burley in only his 15th pro fight. The first loss came after a win over Christoforidis but Bivins would bounce back with four straight, including a points nod over Hall of Famer Teddy Yarosz. Three losses in five fights followed, including his first stoppage defeat and a points loss to Bettina only for Bivins to post two straight over former Middleweight champ Billy Soose and a non-title nod over reigning Light Heavyweight champ Gus Lesnevich. All of this was before Bivins hit his third year in the ring. A split nod over a young Maxim was still to come in 1942 and, in 1943, Bivins would win nine straight in a banner year. He began with a points verdict over Ezzard Charles (whose name comes up prominently a little later), immediately added Christoforidis for the "Duration" Light Heavyweight title (an honorarium during World War II while many titles were frozen), came off the floor to sop Lloyd Marshall over the summer, and avenged the loss to Bettina just over the Light Heavyweight line. Bivins would rarely fight near the Light Heavyweight limit again, though he would add a knockout victory over the great Archie Moore to his ledger in 1945. Moore, Charles, and Maxim would all figure out Bivins as the 40s dragged on, Bivins best Heavyweight form never quite what it was a division below.

Why He's Here: Sometimes the world just gets in the way. Being black in the early 1940s made a climb to the title tough enough, but Cleveland's Bivins also had to contend with the specter of the Third Reich and World War. The non-title win over reigning Light Heavyweight champion Lesnevich in 1942 should have meant a title shot, but the title froze when Lesnevich entered the Coast Guard in 1943, fighting only once that year and not again until 1946. By then, Bivins was gone mostly to Heavyweight…but for most of approximately 1941-43, Bivins was as good as any Light Heavyweight has ever been. Bivins was added to the IBHOF in 1999.

7) Bob Foster (1961-78)
Record: 56-8-1, 46 KO
World Champion 1968-74, 14 Defenses
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 2: (Dick Tiger, Vicente Rondon)

Bob Foster might not have been a killer in the literal sense, but he had the sort of left hook which could make anyone wonder if his opponents were getting up again. An intimidating 6'3, Foster was matched tough from early on and made the better for it even if he had to take some setbacks. Stoppage losses to Doug Jones and Ernie Terrell in his first seventeen bouts weren't pleasant, but it said a lot that he would be matched two such quality veterans while still a professional infant. From 1964 to 68, his only other loss would come on points to Heavyweight contender Zora Folley and in March of the latter year, Foster got a crack at the great Dick Tiger for the World title. In a shot still replayed often today, Foster nuked Tiger in the fourth round, only the second man to stop the African warrior and the first in over a decade. Stripped of the WBA half of his crown in 1970, Foster reunified the titles in 1972 with a second round destruction of Vicente Rondon. Later that year, in his following bout, Foster stopped game former Olympian Chris Finnegan in 14 to garner Fight of the Year honors from Ring Magazine. Through a record setting run of 14 straight defenses, his only losses would come at Heavyweight by stoppage to Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. After a draw versus Jorge Ahumada in 1974, Foster briefly retired and vacated the throne, only to return the following year for seven fights at Heavyweight. Following two stoppage losses in 1978, Foster retired for good.

Why He's Here: Foster may have been the most devastating puncher ever seen at 175. Archie Moore had more knockouts, but it is hard to say he could match Foster's best blows. While Foster's lack of success at Heavyweight is unfortunate, it has nothing to do with how he handled the best of the Light Heavies. His biggest drawback is that the best of the Light Heavies in his time weren't among the best Light Heavies of all time. Like most long reigning champions, Foster's faces the chick-egg argument of whether he was just too good or the era not good enough. It's a little of both but there was enough quality in men like Tiger, Rondon, and Finnegan to insure no argument against Foster's place as a weight class immortal. Foster joined the IBHOF in the inaugural class on 1990.

6) Tommy Loughran (1919-37)
Record: 94-23-9, 17 KO, 45 no decisions, 1 no contest
World Champion 1927-29, 6 Defenses
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 4: (Mike McTigue, Jack Delaney, Georges Carpentier, Jimmy Slattery)

The "Phantom of Philly" was a master boxer in one of the division's brightest eras. Turned professional at 17, Loughran began to test the elite in 1922 with a news win over McTigue. Multiple battles with Harry Greb, Gene Tunney, and exceptional Middleweight Jeff Smith, and more with McTigue, would follow through 1923 as Loughran developed his craft. Over the years, he would lose a decision to Delaney while besting former champion Carpentier and former Middleweight champ Johnny Wilson. Sure, he didn't always win, but he was tough for them all and, by October 1927, Loughran was ready for the biggest step of all. At Madison Square Garden, three fights removed from a points win over Hall of Famer Young Stribling, Loughran took the World title from McTigue over 15. Through 1931, his only losses would come against Heavyweights Jack Sharkey and Ernie Schaff while he posted successful defenses against Slattery, former Middleweight champions Petey Latzo and Mickey Walker, and future Heavyweight king Jimmy Braddock. In 1929, he vacated the crown to pursue the Heavyweights full time and, while he fell short in a title shot against Primo Carnera in 1934, managed wins over Max Baer and Sharkey before he got there.

Why He's Here: Loughran didn't reign as long as Foster but his pool of competition was outstanding and his title reign strong. It may not have been as long as Foster's, but the toughness of the men he defended against is undeniable. In six fights with Greb, he managed only one official win but that's one more than almost anyone else had. His successes at Heavyweight, with little in the way of punching power, speak to the skill level he held. Perhaps the strongest strike against Loughran is the distinct 'color line' drawn through his career but his overall resume trumps that for the most part. Loughran was elected to the IBHOF in 1991.

5) Michael Spinks (1977-88)
Record: 31-1, 21 KO
World Champion 1983-85, 4 Defenses
WBA 1981-83, 6 Defenses; WBA/WBC 1983-85, 4 Defenses
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 6: (Marvin Johnson, Eddie Mustapha Muhammad, Dwight Muhammad Qawi)

91 seconds. If those were all that most remembered of one's career, they'd better be the right 91. For this 1976 U.S. Olympic Middleweight Gold Medalist from St. Louis, they were not and his 1988 shellacking by Mike Tyson is still good for a laugh in the barber shop. Spinks, at Light Heavyweight, was no laughing matter. A reluctant professional, Spinks brought his famed right hand "Jinx" to the paid ranks and by his 14th fight was stopping a serious contender in Yaqui Lopez. Two fights later, a fourth round knockout of fellow former Olympian (1972) and former titlist Marvin Johnson set up his first title shot. In July 1981, Spinks hit the desert in Las Vegas, besting Eddie Mustapha Muhammad over 15 to wrest the WBA belt. Five defenses followed before a much anticipated unification bout with WBC titlist Dwight Muhammad Qawi. Spinks right hand power stymied the aggression of Qawi in March 1983 and he left Atlantic City the undisputed king. After four more defenses, with little in the way of a serious challenge looming, Spinks climbed the scale in September 1985 and became the first reigning Light Heavyweight champ to top the reigning lineal Heavyweight king with a decision over Larry Holmes.

Why He's Here: Spinks caught the tail end of arguably the last great Light Heavyweight era of the 20th century and made a case as its best product. While it would have been nice to see battles with Saad Muhammad or Victor Galindez, the timing just wasn't quite right. What he did face was excellent in spots, shoddy in others, but that can be said of many. In the end, he never lost in the class and, unlike so many other Light Heavy kings, was able to finish the deal against the best Heavyweight in the world…and one of the best of all time. It took much less than 91 seconds to check off Spinks name when voters had the chance to vote him into the IBHOF in 1994.

4) Gene Tunney (1915-28)
Record: 61-1-1, 45 KO
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 3: (Battling Levinsky, Tommy Loughran, Georges Carpentier)

Greenwich's "Fighting Marine" wasn't always beloved, but his footwork, jab, and ring science were ahead of their time and the fickle public couldn't keep him out of the winners circle for almost his entire career. A 1922 points verdict over former World Champion Levinsky extended what were become strong contender credentials; his first loss began the proving of his deeper substance. Competitive for the first ten, Tunney was worn down by the more experienced Greb over 15 in May 1922, his first loss in 43 contests. It would be his last and only defeat in over 60. Less than a year later, Tunney would solve Greb in 12 and again over 15 later in the year with a favorable news verdict against Loughran between the loss and wins. A 12th round stop of former champ Carpentier followed in 1924 and in June 1925 Tunney ended the career of Hall of Famer Tommy Gibbons in the 12th, the only knockout loss of Gibbons' career. With no title shot forthcoming and having grown out of Light Heavyweight, Tunney pursued the big dollars of a showdown with Jack Dempsey, lifting the crown in front of over 120,000 in Philadelphia in September 1923. He'd defend twice, including the infamous "Long Count" Dempsey rematch the following year, before retiring as champion. Tunney would never return and was an inaugural member of the IBHOF in 1990.

Why He's Here: Like Loughran, there is a distinct 'color line' in the resume of Tunney, but that doesn't mean a 'quality' line. Tunney fought some damn good fighters, and he beat just about all of them. Literally. That he did not win the World title was a matter of timing and opportunity and less important than the overall body of work. The Dempsey wins, while not a factor in this ranking, nicely iced the cake for one of the all-time greats.

3) Archie Moore (1935-63)
Record: 184-24-10, 130 KO, 1 no contest
World Champion 1952-62, 9 Defenses
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 3: (Harold Johnson, Joey Maxim, Willie Pastrano)

The all-time knockout king hailed from Benoit, Mississippi and brought the southern hospitality of a nice nap to some of the best of any time. Turned pro as a Welterweight, Moore would grow into a Light Heavyweight force by the mid-1940s, traveling from East Coast to West for winning and losing battles against the likes of Charley Burley, Eddie Booker, Lloyd Marshall, Cocoa Kid and Jimmy Bivins. In 1945, he became only the second man to stop Hall of Famer Holman Williams in near 200 bouts and in 1947 avenged an earlier knockout loss to Bivins in nine. In between and around those triumphs, Moore battled the great Ezzard Charles three times but never solving the Cincinnati Cobra. 1949 would bring the first of four wins in five contests with Harold Johnson and on it went…mostly winning, occasionally losing through hard years of struggle for a shot at the crown. It would not come until 1952 when, at the age of 39, Moore secured a chance at Joey Maxim, prevailing on points in 15. From a loss to Johnson in 1951 until 1960, Moore would lose only to Heavyweight champions Rocky Marciano and Floyd Patterson while, after winning the title, twice defending against Maxim, stopping Johnson, and destroying reigning Middleweight king "Bobo" Olson. Already approaching his mid-40s, Moore would have arguably his finest hour in 1958, rising from the floor three times in the first and once in the fourth to stop upstart Yvon Durrelle in a legendary battle. Moore would only sporadically defend the crown from there before finally being stripped and petering out in 1963 with a loss to a young Cassius Clay and final knockout of Mike DiBiase, father of professional wrestling star Ted.

Why He's Here: Someone had to be third and Moore gets the nod in a crowded field at the top of the class. His amazing ability as a finisher, startling longevity, innovative defense and lengthy title reign all receive high marks as does an epic quality of competition. While recent arguments have been made for Bernard Hopkins as boxing's premiere over-40 warrior, Hopkins only does it once, twice at most, per year. Moore had ten fights in 1958 alone. Through the 1950s, no one at Light Heavyweight could touch him and even Marciano had to come off the floor to find victory. The "Old Mongoose" is the stuff fistic legends are made of and was an easy inaugural member of the IBHOG in 1990.

2) Sam Langford (1902-26)
Record: 167-38-37, 117 KO, 48 no decisions, 3 no contests
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 1: (Philadelphia Jack O'Brien)

Like Rosenbloom, Langford's career is so rich as to make a short summary an act of injustice. Unlike Rosenbloom, figuring out which division to rate Langford in can be difficult. Born in Canada, the "Boston ********" belonged pretty much to the whole of the upper half of the scale. Turned pro somewhere between Lightweight and Welterweight at age 19, Langford would best Lightweight immortal Joe Gans over 15 in only his second year and draw with the best Welterweight of the day, Joe Walcott, in 1904. Competing as a Middleweight by 1905, standing only 5'6 ½, Langford began a career of facing much larger men which in 1906 meant lasting the full fifteen with the great Jack Johnson. He avenged a first loss to Hall of Fame Heavyweight Joe Jeanette more than once before the decade was over, stopped former Welterweight champion Dixie Kid twice, and dusted Heavyweight contender Jim Flynn a few times while besting Middleweight great Stanley Ketchell in a six round news verdict bout in 1910. In 1911, he stopped former Light Heavyweight champ Jack O'Brien in five and in 1912, he'd add wins over Hall of Fame Heavyweight Sam McVea. Around 1913, he'd packed on enough pounds to compete as an outright, if still small and portly Heavyweight with continued success for years. Langford was an inaugural member of the IBHOF in 1990.

Why He's Here: As noted, Langford is just hard to do justice but this much is certain: any discussion of the greats at Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, or Heavyweight comes around to him at some point. Langford is one of a small handful of immortals who can dispute claims of Sugar Ray Robinson as the best that ever did it, and Light Heavyweight might have been his best weight class. With official weights tough to come by, a degree of presumption is needed but it's not a reach. That small degree helps to keep Langford out of the top spot but so too does what the man above him got done.

1) Ezzard Charles (1940-59)
Record: 93-25-1, 52 KO
Light Heavyweight Titlists/Champions Faced - 5: (Joey Maxim, Archie Moore, Anton Christoforidis, Gus Lesnevich, Harold Johnson)

After an excellent amateur career, Charles entered the pro ranks as a 19-year old Middleweight, losing only to Ken Overlin and Kid Tunero before beginning to flirt with the Light Heavyweight limit at the end of 1942 after wins over Christoforidis, Charley Burley, and Teddy Yarosz at the lower class. He closed 1942 with a pair of decisions over Joey Maxim but, with impending service in World War II, ended the first phase of his career with a decision and stoppage loss to Jimmy Bivins and Lloyd Marshall in consecutive early-1943 bouts. With only two armed service related bouts in 1944, Charles would return for real in early 1946. Charles would lose only a single controversial decision to Elmer Ray until into 1951. Over that span, before rising to become Heavyweight champion of the world in 1949, Charles wreaked havoc at 175 lbs. Before 1946 was over, he'd top Moore by decision, come off the floor to avenge the Marshall defeat by knockout, and close the year with a unanimous decision over Bivins. Two fights later, in March 1947, Bivins was dusted in four and before the year was out Moore would drop another points nod while Marshall was caved in two frames. 1948 would be another banner year, if marked by tragedy. A January knockout of Moore in eight ended their rivalry but the following month, Sam Baroudi died of injuries sustained in a knockout loss. Many say Charles was never as aggressive again but his skill was such that he kept on winning. Bivins lost again on points and on February 28, 1949, he again outpointed Maxim to set up a shot at the Heavyweight crown left vacant by the retirement of Joe Louis. Finally given a shot at a title after being due for years, Charles defeated Jersey Joe Walcott in their first of four fights. He wasn't done with the Light Heavyweights though, making his first defense against recently deposed Light Heavyweight champion Gus Lesnevich. Lesnevich never granted Charles a shot at his crown and Charles showed why with a seventh round knockout. He would continue on for years as a Heavyweight, too many years for that matter, winning only ten of his final 23 after an epic pair of battles with Rocky Marciano.

He entered the first Walcott bout with 60 wins against five losses and a single draw. Charles was an inaugural member of the IBHOF.

Why He's Here: Charles's Heavyweight work is a likely topic when the best Heavyweights are discussed and can be saved for there. Over the second half of the 1940s, and often before leaving for the service, Charles was a combination of speed, power, skill and killer instinct who faced down one of the most gifted fields the division ever produced. While there are five losses picked up while primarily battling at Middleweight and Light Heavyweight, none came against a fighter who wasn't world class. They're all 'good' losses. The only great Light Heavyweight who bested him and didn't pay for it was Harold Johnson and that loss came years later, just prior to the Marciano bouts, with Charles on the slide. He didn't have Moore's longevity, and was never given the chance to add the World title which would have complimented his time at 175, but at his best Charles didn't need the latter and was simply better than Moore.

And Burley…and Bivins…and Marshall…and Maxim…

…and just about any Light Heavyweight who ever laced gloves.


The results here are compiled in two parts which tweaks the format used for the review of the nine Jr. Divisions conducted earlier this year.

First, a points-based comparison assigns points in part based on:
1. Number of fellow champions faced (total) then divided into a competition score to flatten the field due to the fluctuation in titles recognized.
2. Lineal World Titles
3. Sanctioning Body Titles
4. Title Defenses
5. 2 Points per KO; -2 per KOBY; 1 per UD against fellow titlists
6. Quality Wins (Points Assigned based on opponent accomplishments; i.e. lineal champions can count for 1, a single sanctioning body champion based on their sanctioning body total, discretionary points for established champions from other weight classes)
7. Quality Losses (Losses to champion opponents -1 point; selective non-title losses)
Draws (.5 points)

From this, a baseline is established and the top fifty fighters are identified. Further analysis focuses on the context of wins and losses, the relative dominance displayed in a fighter's prime, and the strength of one's era versus the competition faced, to get to a final top twenty-five.

Note: The websites of the IBHOF, Cyber Boxing Zone, International Boxing Research Organization, and were all heavily consulted in compiling this effort.

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]

· Banned
1,421 Posts
1-Ezzard Charles
2-Archie Moore
3-Harry Greb
4-Tommy Loughran
5-Michael Spinks
6-Jimmy Bivins
7-Billy Conn
8-Harold Johnson
9-Bob Foster
10-Maxie Rosenbloom

· Diamond Dog
8,341 Posts
I think Greb is a top five lock and I think that Langford doesn't belong (though I used to have him). Basically Langford didn't beat many men weighing betweenn 160 and 175 that I can see. I'm ready to be corrected by the right combination of data, but rankings someone with a resume as thin as his in the top 10 seems excessive to me.

· The Antifa Shuffle
7,269 Posts
I think Greb is a top five lock and I think that Langford doesn't belong (though I used to have him). Basically Langford didn't beat many men weighing betweenn 160 and 175 that I can see. I'm ready to be corrected by the right combination of data, but rankings someone with a resume as thin as his in the top 10 seems excessive to me.
He has KO wins over Philly Jack, Kid Norfolk, Gunboat Smith, and Tiger Flowers, which I'd say is a commendable set of LHW-sized scalps. The real problem here is that Langford himself weighed over 175 for those fights, probably around 200 pounds or more for some of them (I'm relying on memory - I don't have access to boxrec right now).

Langford is hard to pin down to a single weight class because he never seemed to fight anyone his own size - he was the bigger man against Gans, Ketchel, probably Walcott, and the others listed above, and the smaller man against Wills, Johnson, etc. I typically rank Langford as a CW, because he spent most of his career campaigning as a HW and was considered in shape around 180-185 pounds. He seemed to be just "passing through" the other weight classes on his way to HW.
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