Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


The best of all time A to Z: Greb


This is the seventh in a 26-part series in which endeavors to name the best boxers of all time based on last name – A to Z. We’ll post one letter each day for 26 days. Our criteria in making the selections were fairly simple: Accomplishments in the ring, with heavy emphasis on strength of opposition, as well as impact on the sport. This wasn’t easy, as our first installment — the letter “A” (Armstrong vs. Ali) — demonstrates. However, we’re confident that our choices are arguably the best. We also are including five more fighters for each letter to indicate others that were considered. Also, noted author and boxing historian Bert Sugar — who provided input — tells us where he ranks our choices among the greatest fighters pound-for-pound and gives us a thought on each selection. And, finally, we’d love to get your thoughts on the project. Here goes ÔǪ today’s letter: “G.”

Lifespan: 1894-1926
Hometown: Pittsburgh
Record: 260-20-17 (48 KOs) (including 182 newspaper decisions)
Active: 1913-26
Weight classes: Welterweight to heavyweight
Titles: World middleweight, Ameircan light heavyweight
Sugar’s ranking: No. 5
The thought process: Greb’s name is spoken with reverence among boxing historians. Where do we start? He was called the “Pittsburgh Windmall,” an apt moniker for a fighter who threw hard, fast punches from every angle nonstop. That in itself is impressive because he reportedly drank and chased women with a lot more passion than he trained. He also had no moral qualms about fighting dirty. The idea was to win – by whatever means. And his list of victims reads like a Who’s Who in Boxing History, including Gene Tunney, Mickey Walker, Tommy Gibbons, Mike Gibbons, Tommy Loughran and Tiger Flowers. He had more fights against Hall of Famers than most boxers have fights. In his most-famous victory, he gave Tunney, a naturally bigger man, a terrible beating and his only career loss before the future heavyweight champ defeated him in four subsequent meetings. Greb was stopped only twice in almost 300 fights, once early in his career and once when he broke him arm in the fight. Greb left the world too early, at 32. He had surgery to repair damage to his nose and respiratory tract and never woke up from the anesthesia. Doctors discovered something remarkable at that time: He was blind in one eye during much of his career. Amazing.
Five more (alphabetical order): Joe Gans, Kid Gavilan, Mike Gibbons, Tommy Gibbons and Emile Griffith.
Sugar quote: “Harry Greb had more fights than Jim Corbett, Jim Jeffries, Gene Tunney, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali combined.”

A: Armstrong:

B: Burley:

C: Charles:

D: Duran:

E: Elorde:

F: Foreman: