Classic Columns: Bay State Adopts The Ring Ratings
Nat Fleischer was a leading voice in boxing journalism since he founded THE RING magazine in 1922. Photo / THE RING
Note: THE RING is debuting a new feature today, Classic Columns, in which columns written by magazine founder Nat Fleischer and other RING writers over the past 86 years will be posted weekly. Today's column, about THE RING's proud tradition of rating fighters, is from June 1965.
In its 44-year history, THE RING never held a prouder position than it does now.
For the first time the ratings of a boxing magazine have been invoked, to the betterment of the fistic situation, and the benefit of the world heavyweight championship picture.
That the Massachusetts Commission has given preference and precedence to the heavyweight ratings of THE RING, and snided those of the comic World Boxing Association, is not to be wondered at.
In a press conference held in Boston by the Massachusetts Commission, of which Herman Greenberg is chairman, he derogated the rankings of the WBA. He announced that in determining a challenger for the winner of the (Cassius) Clay-(Sonny) Liston fight, scheduled in the Hub for May 25, THE RING’s listing and not that of the WBA would determine the pairing.
“Clay or Liston will fight whoever is next in line in THE RING ratings,” Greenberg said. “We no longer are associated with the WBA and owe no allegiance to it. We feel that the ratings of THE RING are more widely accepted and respected, so we will go by what that old and honored publication says when it comes time for the May 25 winner to sign, within 90 days, to defend the title.”
This means that the May 25 winner will be able to pick the challenger from among the top four in THE RING ratings.
At the time Greenberg made this announcement THE RING ratings were: World champion: Cassius Clay. Contenders: 1) Sonny Liston, 2) Floyd Patterson, 3) Ernie Terrell, 4) George Chuvalo.
This listing, dictated by justice and honesty in thinking for the good and welfare of boxing, presages a Clay-Patterson fight if Cassius again defeats Liston.
If Liston loses and chooses to continue in competition, a fight with Chuvalo would appear to be a probability.
The Massachusetts Commission’s action fires another deadly shot into the WBA corpus.
The association never had it so bad. It never before sank to the low level in public esteem and recognition which it now occupies.
The Terrell-Eddie Machen fiasco in Chicago added to the many other factors that have made the WBA lose face and respect. It governs nothing, it settles nothing, and now it cannot even make its ratings count for a Confederate shin plaster.
THE RING takes great pride in its ratings. That feeling of satisfaction has been strengthened by the mandate of the Massachusetts Commission.
The action in Boston means that not only are the ratings of this magazine to gain precedence over any other rankings in world boxing, but that the Massachusetts Commission recognizes the devotion, dedication, and honesty of purpose which actuate THE RING’s decisions and actions.
I want to thank Herman Greenberg and his associates and assure them that they never will have cause or reason to rule their stand in favor of THE RING.