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10: Your favorite fighters to watch

01
Mar

A weekly boxing list compiled by Michael Rosenthal. This week: Your favorite fighters to watch.

A lot of our readers were surprised that I didn’t include Arturo Gatti in the Top 10 (plus five more) list of my favorite fighters to watch.

I did enjoy watching Gatti fight. Who didn’t? He engaged in warfare every time he stepped into the ring. However, as I explained to several readers, I always saw Gatti as a glorified club fighter. I appreciated his courage but was never impressed with his ability.

By comparison, look at Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales. Their series rivaled that of Gatti and Mickey Ward but the skill level was so much higher. I, for one, appreciate that when I’m watching a fight.

That said, in retrospect, I think I would’ve put Gatti in my Top 15 if I had to do it again. All your emails rekindled memories of the myriad thrills he brought boxing fans over his long and entertaining career.

He might not have been the best boxer but he sure captivated us.

Now here are your lists. I would pay to see every last one of these fighters do their thing in the ring, which means you know your stuff.

Matthew
Asheville, NC

I'm 26, so I'm composing my list of the fighters who've been active since I became a fan in the mid-1990s.

1. Manny Pacquiao: Insanely gifted and always looks like he is having fun.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez: A master surgeon.
3. Roy Jones Jr. : One of a few fighters who frequently made me say, “How the hell did he do that?”
4. Rafael Marquez/Israel Vazquez: They will be linked in my mind forever.
5. Eric Morales: Pure fighter.
6. Felix Trinidad: BOOM!
7. Evander Holyfield: Iron will.
8. Shane Mosley: Blistering hand speed and power.
9. Marco Antonio Barrera: Tough as nails and skills most would kill for.
10. Arturo Gatti: Showed up to fight, even when he needed to box.

***

Juan
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

I started watching – and loving – boxing when I was around 8 years old (I'm 38 now) living in Venezuela. My first favorite fighter was Salvador S├ínchez, but since I haven't seen many of his fights and it has been a long while, I don't include him here. This list is made with fighters who I saw fighting LIVE since 1978. Since I lived 10 years in Puerto Rico – precisely during the peak of Tito’s career – that could be one reason Tito is so high on my list. But his fights in the island were something else, believe me. Here's the list.

1. Sugar Ray Leonard
2. Felix “Tito” Trinidad
3. Thomas Heans
4. Mike Tyson
5. Arturo Gatti
6. Erik Morales
7. Manny Pacquiao
8. Diego “Chico” Corrales
9. “Sugar” Shane Mosley
10. Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini

***

Andrew
Sandy, Utah, USA

1. Mike Tyson: I was always waiting for his big punch to come and end the fight.
2. Sugar Ray Robinson: Such style and grace with great power.
3. Roberto Duran: He was so scary.
4. Manny Pacquiao: Always comes to fight.
5. Arturo Gatti: Face first approach always made him interesting.
6. Erik Morales: Possibly had the greatest heart ever.
7. Muhammad Ali: Was one of the greatest.
8. Kelly Pavlik: Wears down almost all of his opponents.
9. Evander Holyfield: Just keeps on coming.
10. Roy Jones JR: Had it all in his prime – speed power, skill and the ability to taunt his opponents.

***

Robert
Halifax, Mass.

1. Arturo Gatti: Participant in four RING magazine fights of the year. Enough said.
2. Sugar Ray Leonard: Unlike Oscar, knew how to rise to the occasion.
3. Mathew Saad Muhammad: Took a licking and kept on ticking..
4. Thomas Hearns: Either a brutal knockout by his hands, or a chance to see “The Tommy Walk.”
5. Evander Holyfield: Before he became delusional, the best example of will over skill in heavyweight history.
6. Micky Ward: Separated at birth from Arturo Gatti.
7. George Foreman: Put old George's head on young George's body and you have the most devastating fighter ever.
8. Ray Mancini: Great heart, great story, average skills made him a compelling figure.
9. Muhammad Ali: Could be tedious in the ring at times, but his ability to find greatness when it counted backed up his boasting.
10. Mike Tyson: Overrated by many, his short-lived reign of terror in the late 80s pumped much-needed electricity into boxing.

***

Stephen
Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

1. Roy Jones Jr.: He was pure magic in his prime!
2. Sugar Ray Leonard: So, so good and so, so, well … sweet (ha, ha).
3. Muhammad Ali: The legend!
4. Manny Pacquaio: When has he had a boring fight?
5. Israel Vasquez / Rafael Marquez: These guys are just brilliant and warriors of the highest degree!
6. Roberto Duran: A true warrior!
7. “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather: He gets a bad rep for being boring, but his technique is just beyond comparison.
8. Bernard “Bhop” Hopkins: Another technical master.
9. De La Hoya: Nothing beats the lead up to an Oscar De la Hoya fight.
10. “The Hitman” Thomas Hearns: Always wondering when his opponent was going to get decked!

***

Laurence
Singapore

1. Arturo Gatti: Blood? Check. Guts? Check. Never-say-die attitude? Check. Excitement? I miss watching him.
2. Micky Ward: All of the above.
3. Erik Morales: Pure warrior in heart, mind and soul.
4. Jorge Barrios: A fight fan's dream. No boring moment when he is in the ring.
5. Michael Katsidis: Many people, including me, think he is Gatti's second coming.
6. Manny Pacquiao: I really can’t recall any fight that includes him that was boring.
7. Jorge Arce: Violent, proud and trash-talking little man. I love him.
8. John Duddy: His fight last month with Matt Vanda was disappointing. I hope he does not totally stray from his old style.
9. Israel Vasquez Two brutal and violent trilogies against the best super bantams of his time… with him winning both.
10. Carlos Hernandez: Infighter extraordinaire.

***

Lorenzo
Phoenix, Ariz.

I am of Mexican descent and was introduced to boxing at a pretty young age. I would categorize myself as coming into the boxing world on the very tail end of the modern golden age of boxing, the 1980s, so I do remember Sugar Ray Leonard's last few fights. I left him off the list as he and some of the other great boxers of his era were my foundation/introduction to boxing, but I didn’t make a conscientious decision to watch them since I was kid at that point in time.

1. Mike Tyson: He was Michael Jordan before Jordan became the iconic figure he is. He was the real life Superman. I still am beyond bitter about his loss to Buster Douglas. Even after his prime, he found a way to make you watch him fight no matter how out of this world he was.
2. Julio Cesar Chavez: Being of Mexican descent, next to Jesus and the Virgin Mary stood JCC. Every fight of his was a guarantee phone booth fight with plenty of blood.
3. Michael Carbajal: Being from the same city as “Little Hands of Stone,” he was my favorite athlete for some time. Regardless of his weight class, he always made entertaining fights.
4. Roy Jones Jr: Speed, power, athleticism with a Southern twist, he was one of the very few boxers that would actually left you in awe.
5. Oscar De La Hoya: The Golden Boy had the Midus touch. Win or lose, all his fights were blockbuster events.
6. Sugar Shane Mosley: Regardless of how good he could box, SSM never turned down a chance to fight toe to toe.
7. Evander Holyfield: As skilled as he was, that isn't what he is remembered for; the heart he displayed within the ropes was always admirable.
8. Diego Corrales: I miss him every day. He was a fighter's fighter. RIP Chico.
9. Manny Pacquiao: Growing up on a steady diet of Mexican fighters, Pacquiao not only fit the mold of the “Mexican” mindset, but has that “Bruce Lee” aura about him.
10. Felix Trinidad: Tito made me wish I was Puerto Rican; that's how exciting it was to see his fights and his people cheer and root him on.

Five more: Arturo Gatti, Lennox Lewis, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Floyd Mayweather

***

Razzah
Newcastle, UK

1. Sugar Ray leonard: Also my No.1. His combinations were amazing.
2. Mike Tyson: Watch and listen to that huge right hand land.
3. Muhammad Ali: Float Like a … you know it. Just amazing athlete
4. Naseem Hamed: The Prince' power and reflexes were amazing.
5. Israel Vasquez: Amazing chin. And Marquez trilogy provided intense action.
6. Manny Pacquiao: Combinations; in and out like a flash.
7. Amir Khan: Still a question mark, but fast.
8. Shane Mosley: Always carries the power and speed. And he’s a clean fighter.
9. Roy Jones: In his prime, unstoppable … defying rules of boxing.
10. David Haye: Packs a punch. And his six pack at heavyweight makes him stand out.

***

Juan

1. Arturo “Thunder” Gatti: Blood and guts is all you need to say when we you talk Gatti wise- true meaning of a warrior if ever there was one.
2. Eric “El terrible” Morales: Technique and skill, willing to stand toe to toe with those to be labeled tough, everything in his boxing was clean.
3. Manny “Pac-man” Paquiao: Thriller every time, never lets me down. When Manny is in the ring there will be no dancing or makeup, there will be a fight.
4. Miguel Cotto: Outstanding will and determination, good boxing skills, greater his decision to go heads up when he is clearly the better boxer, always out to set a statement in a situation where his punches do all the talking.
5. Juan “Baby bull” Diaz: Not the hardest puncher, yet his explosiveness is impressive; more impressive his determination to out do his opponents with his boxing.
6. Joe Louis “The brown bomber”: In my opinion, the best heavy weight ever, Ali has nothing on Americas hero betrayed. Joe Louis fought, he did not talk as loud as Ali and did not dance around the ring as Ali, but he was Solid, the brown bomber paid the way for too many.
7. Julio Cesar Chavez: Relentless will… no is not an option… the least champ to be talked about, boxing seems to forget him when speaking of boxing greats. Chavez paid the way for every Barrera, Morales, Castillo, Marquez out there… the father of constant pressure and painful body punishment of guts built with an incredible chin of iron.
8. “Sugar” Shane Mosley: Shane always unfaded, great swing in his hook, good power, excellent foot work, impressive hand speed,can take a punch and his will to fight toe to toe admirable unlike Mayweather's will to run around the ring throw a jab,block and run some more. Mayweather falls very short to Mosley.
9. Juan Manuel Marquez: The classic Mexican style of fighting seems never to have an expiring date. Great fighter, great warrior.
10. “The real deal” Evander Holyfield: I will just say this-They don't make them like this anymore

***

Robert,
Moneymore, Northern Ireland

1. Marvin Hagler: Great who was ovelooked until he became champ.
2. Evander Holyfield: Always a warrior.
3. Roberto Duran: Poor Buchanan.
4. Mike Tyson: His rise was unforgetable.
5. Nigel Benn: A true warrior.
6. Tommy Hearns: Skills overlooked.
7. Joe Louis: Economy at its most powerful.
8. Arturo Gatti: Thrills and spills.
9. Muhammad Ali: Poetry in motion.
10. Marco Antonio Barrera: Developed into a great fighter.

***

Josh
Plainville, Mass., USA

1. Mike Tyson: In his youth he was brilliant then after it was more for the theater then fo the fight
2. Roberto Duran: In the 70's as a lightweight he was a wrecking machine.
3. Roy Jones Jr.: The supreme showman.
4. Julio Ceasar Chavez: Another warrior whose fights were always entertaining.
5. Matthew Sadd Muhammad: Bleeding and squinting but always coming forward.
6. Mickey Ward: Not the most skilled but his fights were must see.
7. Oscar De La Hoya: I had the pleasure of being at the Patrick Charpentier fight and the atmosphere was amazing.
8. Aaron Pryor: The hawk was great, plain and simple.
9. Julian Jackson: He could give it but not always take it and that makes for a fun night.
10. Terry Norris: See Julian Jackson synopsis.

Others: Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, Mike Mcallum, Hector Camacho and Pernell Whitaker.

***

Nathan
Raleigh, N.C.

1. Roberto Duran: Relentless, incredibly competitive, my all-time favorite fighter.
2. Diego Corrales: Great heart, great size and great power for a lightweight.
3. Arturo Gatti: Blood and guts warrior, made fights with no titles bigger, more memorable and more important.
4. James Toney: A wizard in his prime, incredible defense, savvy and infighting skills.
5. Evander Holyfield: A warrior with a huge will to win or die trying.
6. Marco Antonio Barrera: A skilled assassin with so much drive and pride.
7. Mike Tyson: He was a ravenous animal in the ring, his fights were like a trainwreck, you just never knew what was going to happen.
8. Thomas Hearns: Huge pop in that right hand, devastating knockouts.
9. Roy Jones Jr: Had a lot of awfully boring fights, but man, he could do so many things that no one else could dream of.
10. Israel Vasquez: Toughest man in the sport these days, pound for pound (just look at his eyes after the third fight with Marquez).

***

Dave
Detroit, Mich., USA

1. Mike Tyson: Awesome blend of speed and power.
2. Felix Trinidad: Power puncher with accuracy. It was scary what he did to Mayorga
3. James Toney: Master of the sweet science.
4. Manny Pacquiao: Has speed and energy. I have never seen him tired.
5. Fernando Vargas: In his short career took on De La Hoya, Trinidad, Winky, Mayorga, Sugar Shane and Quartey. Lost most of his big fights but they were good fights.
6. Diego Corrales: Dramatic fights, never took a step back.
7. Israel Vazquez: Most exciting fighter in the lower weights.
8. Antonio Margarito: Always in entertaining fights.
9. Thomas Hearns: A Detroit legend.
10. Evander Holyfield: A lot of heart, unbelieveable chin.

***

Matt
Houston, Texas, USA

I just recently got into boxing, about seven years now.

1. Ricky Hatton: Just keeps coming!
2. Juan Diaz: Another fighter who won't quit.
3. Diego Corrales: He was the first fight I watched and he got me hooked.
4. Oscar De La Hoya: Every fight is an event.
5. Kelly Pavlik: Brutal power.
6. Arthur Abraham: Again, brutal power.
7. Emmanuel Augustus: Love his style
8. Vic Darchinyan: Such an unorthodox style.
9. Manny Pacquiao: So fast and bouncy.
10. Arturo Gatti: What a heart!

***

Paul,
Dublin, Ireland

1. Sugar Ray Leonard
2. Roberto Duran
3. Tommy Hearns
4. Julio Cesar Chavez
5. Marvin Hagler
6. Jake la Motta
7. Johnny Tapia
8. Diego Corralles
9. Oscar De La Hoya
10. Michael Gomez

***

Alif
Fresno, Calilf., USA

1. Muhammad Ali: No explanation needed.
2. Sugar Ray Leonard: The sweetest “Sugar” IMO.
3. Felix Trinidad: Two-fisted power and boxing ability.
4. Aaron Pryor : I'm hoping it wasn't the cocaine, but he was all action.
5. Julian Jackson : Another two-fisted bomber with good boxing skills.
6. Julio Cesar Chavez: Probably should be higher on the list.
7. Diego Corrales: A True Warrior. Corrales vs. Castillo I is the
greatest fight ever. RIP.
8. Mike Tyson: In his prime he was as destructive as anything I'd ever seen.
9. Roy Jones Jr.: In his prime, P4P the best I've ever seen.
10. Oscar De La Hoya: Never ran from anyone.

***

Leandro
Buenos Aires, Argentina

1. Muhammad Ali
2. Sugar Ray Leonard
3. Carlos Monz├│n
4. Nicolino Locche
5. Mike Tyson
6. Floyd Mayweather
7. Tommy Hearns
8. Wilfred Benitez
9. Joe Frazier
10. Rocky Marciano

***

Jesse
Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.A.

1. Oscar De La Hoya: The man who saved boxing.
2. Juan Manuel Marquez: In my opinion beat Pacquiao twice.
3. Israel Vasquez: Sluger and Boxer.
4. Miguel Cotto: Cold truth.
5. Mike Tyson: Drama Setter.
6. Salvador Sanchez
7. Muhammad Ali: In my opinion is not the world greatest, due to the fact that he fought in only one weight class.
8. Johnny Tapia
9. Rafael Marquez
10. Bernard Hopkins

***

Jeff
Chelmsford, Mass., USA

1. Mike Tyson: No other fighter consistently had me on the edge of my seat like Mike Tyson. He was absolutely electric, even in defeat.
2. Sugar Ray Leonard: His fights were events, and his style was so fun to watch. It mattered what happened when Ray Leonard fought.
3. Marvin Hagler: You always knew that Marvin was looking to destroy his opponent. The man was a warrior, and his fights were of the highest quality.
4. Micky Ward: Never won a world title but always fought like a world champion. Micky's fights were epic, he was all class and the man looked cut out of granite.
5. Arturo Gatti: He was a human highlight reel and this alone should get him consideration for the IBHOF. His heart and chin were legendary.
6. Muhammad Ali: He was such a showman, and such a great talker, and on top of that he was the finest heavyweight who ever lived.
7. George Foreman: A gentle giant of a man who never stopped trying to put serious hurt on his opponent. Had some really great fights in his comeback.
8. Thomas Hearns: Engaged in some of the best, most exciting fights of all time. Didn't always win, but never stopped trying until he was truly beaten.
9. Evander Holyfield: He was such a warrior and when he threw his epic combinations, it was a sight to behold.
10. Manny Pacquiao: He may be small, but he fights big. He is the modern equivalent of Henry Armstrong, a human windmill.

***

Anis
Paris, France

1. James Toney: For his mastering of the art of defensive boxing and his “old school” style. “Lights Out” is definitely a rare chance to see such an unbelievable and complete boxer with such charisma. Too bad he was a little bit lazy. He was one of the few men in history who had the total package: defense, chin, power, skills, speed, charisma. His war with Vassiliy Jirov is one of my five favorite fights.
2. Sugar Ray Robinson: One word for Robinson: PERFECTION. Most likely the best pound-for-pound fighter in history. He was also a wonderful fighter to watch: balance, accuracy, supernatural speed, power. The man was something to see. I'm jealous to know that some people had the great opportunity to see him fight live.
3. Ricardo Mayorga: Forget about skills, sweet science, defensive skills or head movement. If you want to see a Floyd Mayweather-style masterpiece, don't waste your time with Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga. This man is all about aggression, wild swinging and haymakers. The brawler from Nicaragua always gives the fans more than what they came to see: non-stop action, drama, laughs, charisma, blood and violence. Mayorga is always entertaining, inside or outside the ring. If you are a promoter, call Mayorga; he will hype up the fight and put on an awesome show in the ring.
4. Muhammad Ali: The other greatest of all times. Ali was everything: the best heavyweight of all times, historical figure, athlete of the 20th century and so much more. “Fly like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee” was exactly what Ali did in the ring. He looked so light in the ring and was impossible to hit in his prime. His three battles with Joe Frazier were the most thrilling fights I've ever seen in the heavyweight division.
5. Joan Guzman: When you see him fighting, you know you're here for a hot cocktail of flexibility, speed, technical ability and showmanship. Too bad the talented Dominican doesn't fight that much, he deserves a better career.
6. Evander Holyfield: If there would be a photo next to the definition of the word “warrior”, it would be “The Real Deal” 's one. Evander vs Bowe was a classic, i don't know if i ever saw a boring Holyfield fight,exept the joke against Valuev. Holyfield is a courageous fighter who never back down any challenge and who's never shy to exchange bombs with his opponents.
7. Julio Cesar Chavez: The true Pride of Mexico is one of the greatest punchers of all times and probably the greatest mexican fighter ever. A fantastic puncher who could have been called “Manos de Piedra” if another good latino boxer wouldn't have made some noise in the eighties.
8. Sugar Ray Leonard: Maestro. That was what the second Sugar Ray was, a fantastic artist who declined his boxing repertoire like a jazzman would do, with punch, rythm, originality and excellence. In my point of view, Sugar Ray Leonard is the Ornette Coleman of boxing.
9. Mike Tyson: “Kid Dynamite” was a serial killer back in the days. When you saw him you knew that the kid was gonna crush bones and make teeths fly. The knockout of Berbick was terrific.
10. George Foreman: Big George had an aura of invincibility and looked like a heartless, relentless, and fearless machine. I enjoyed how the biggest puncher in history completely demolished great fighters like Norton and Frazier, like it was nothing. I also love to watch the comeback of Foreman. That's very inspiring to me.

Five more: Fernando Vargas, Oscar De La Hoya, Pernell Whitaker, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler.

***

Mirus,
Chicago, Ill.

1. Suger Ray Leonard
2. Mike Tyson
3. Arturo Gatti
4. Floyd Mayweather
5. Vitali Klitschko
6. Tomasz Adamek
7. Manny Pacquiao
8. Miguel Cotto
9. Joe Calzaghe
10. David Haye

***

Anthony
Toms River, N.J.

1. Roy Jones: It’s beautiful to watch when he is on, and it feels like you just saw Superman get killed by doomsday when he's off.
2. Aaron Pryor: When he does the point, you know it's “Hawk Time.”
3. Muhammad Ali: Just watching him move  I still can't believe he was a heavyweight.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez: It's like watching a surgeon during an open operation.
5. Bernard Hopkins: If you don't appreciate his style, you can't appreciate genius.
6. Carlos Monzon: Action packed and technical all rolled up into one.
7. Thomas Hearns: Just swinging with bad intentions, you turn ya head when it connects.
8. Mike Tyson: Like watching Icarus fly. You feel the pain seeing him fall to the water and sinking after flying too close to the bad things Cus warned him about.
9. Diego “Chico” Corrales: Never say die, no matter how bad it got (i.e. Floyd Mayweather Jr.).
10. Evander Holyfield: Watched more rematches with him than any other and it was ALWAYS worth it.

***

Anthony
Los Angeles, Calif.

1. Mike Tyson
2. Roy Jones Jr.
3. Floyyd Mayweather Jr.
4. Ricky Hatton
5. James Kirkland
6. Miguel Cotto
7. Andre Berto
8. Manny Pacquiao
9. Wladimir Klitschko
10. “Sugar ” Shane Mosely

***

Jay
Colchester, UK

1. Mike Tyson
2. Tommy Hearns
3. Julian Jackson
4. Terry Norris
5. Arturo Gatti
6. Micky Ward
7. David Haye
8. Edison Miranda
9. Nigel Benn
10. Miguel Cotto

***

Dan
Kent, Great Britain

1. Sugar Ray Leonard: Sweet boxer who came to fight.
2. Muhammed Ali: The Greatest personified.
3. Bernard Hopkins: 'Executioner.'
4. Miguel Cotto: Cold Warrior.
5. Manny Pacquaio: Speed, power, heart, skill anything this guy hasnt got?
6. Marvin Hagler: Tough as nails and never ran from anyone.
7. Diego Corrales: Always remember the epic. with Castillo, sums him up, heart and a punch.
8. Shane Mosley True Professional. Always eager to fight.
9. Oscar De La Hoya Face of modern boxing.
10. Arturo Gatti Blood and guts, no need for any other comment.

Others: Ricky Hatton, Sugar Ray Robinson, Roy Jones, Floyd Mayweather.

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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