Monday, February 26, 2018  |


Ranking THE RING’s 31 middleweight champions


Over the past 84 years, THE RING Magazine has crowned 31 champions at middleweight. Some have been more successful than others in terms of opposition faced and longevity. Some have had single standout victories. Six fighters have won our middleweight championship more than once.

Who was the best? Keep reading.

In this feature, our editorial staff ranks all of our 160-pound champs – from Marcel Thil, the first RING Magazine middleweight titleholder in 1933, to current beltholder Canelo Alvarez, who will defend it against Gennady Golovkin on September 16 – in an exercise we hope will spur debate.

Only one thing is definitive: The day after Canelo faces GGG in the only superfight of 2017, this list will require an immediate reshuffle.

Note: The years the champions held the RING title are included here.

Sugar Ray Robinson

1. SUGAR RAY ROBINSON (1951, 1951-52, 1955-57, 1957, 1958-60)

The original “Sugar Man’s” five-way rivalry with Jake LaMotta, Gene Fullmer, Carmen Basilio and Bobo Olson rubberstamped an unmatched legacy at 160 pounds. What’s more astonishing is that the five-time middleweight champion peaked at welterweight. For many, the perfect fighter.

2. CARLOS MONZON (1970-77)

The legendary Argentine pressure-puncher is a popular choice for being the greatest middleweight of all time. He won the championship with a 12th-round stoppage of the superb Nino Benvenuti and made 14 successful defenses, nine of which came by knockout.

3. MARVIN HAGLER (1980-87)

This steel-headed southpaw sorcerer decimated an era of middleweights. “The Marvelous One” never shied away from a war but his boxing skills were also superb. Hagler’s sensational third-round stoppage of Thomas Hearns in 1985 set the benchmark for middleweight superfights.

4. BERNARD HOPKINS (2001-05)

“The Executioner” was 36 years old when he schooled Felix Trinidad to secure superstar status. Smart, freakishly dedicated and a golden era throwback, this old-school Philadelphia general posted an incredible 19 successful defenses of his IBF title (among others) – a division record.

5. MARCEL CERDAN (1948-1949)

He stopped Tony Zale to win the title in the RING Fight of the Year. The brilliant Cerdan would suffer a shoulder injury in a knockout loss to Jake LaMotta and, just weeks out from a rematch, was tragically killed in an airplane crash.

6. DICK TIGER (1963, 1965-66)

Perennially mistreated by management, Tiger still attained Hall of Fame status. The savvy Nigerian won the championship by defeating Gene Fullmer during a memorable trilogy. He was outpointed by Joey Giardello but avenged that defeat before losing controversially to Emile Griffith.

7. FREDDIE STEELE (1937-1938)

THE RING would recognize Steele as champion after Marcel Thil vacated the title. A solid competitor, hard-hitter and part-time actor, Steele was then shockingly upset by Fred Apostoli in a non-title bout. He refused to defend against Apostoli and was stripped.

Freddie Steele

8. JAKE LAMOTTA (1949-51)

A deal with the mob, a controversial world title win over Marcel Cerdan, a last-minute victory over Laurent Dauthuille – in a fight he was losing – and a St. Valentine’s Day Massacre defeat to Sugar Ray Robinson. No wonder his life became a movie.

9. TONY ZALE (1941-47, 1948)

“Man of Steel” was an apt nickname for one of the most chilling middleweight punchers of all time. Zale outpointed Georgie Abrams to reign supreme but it’s the unforgettable trilogy with Rocky Graziano for which he’s best remembered.

10. NINO BENVENUTI (1967, 1968-70)

A former lineal junior middleweight champion, the great Benvenuti won his first 65 contests. At 160 pounds, the highly skilled Italian won two of three fights against fellow legend Emile Griffith. He made four successful defenses of his titles before being succeeded by Carlos Monzon.

Emile Griffith

11. EMILE GRIFFITH (1966-67, 1967-68)

The great three-time welterweight champion spotted middleweight king Dick Tiger 9½ pounds but remarkably became the first fighter to floor the talented Nigerian. Griffith won a hotly contested decision but made up for it with two action-packed reigns at 160 pounds.

12. JOEY GIARDELLO (1963-65)

After a patchy start to his professional career and mob intervention blocking his path to a title shot, Giardello finally broke through. He upset Dick Tiger to win the championship and defended successfully against Rubin “Hurricane” Carter before Tiger claimed revenge.

13. GENE FULLMER (1957)

He fought the fight of his life to outpoint Sugar Ray Robinson for the championship but, just four months later, Robinson took revenge, knocking Fullmer cold with a single left hook. The Utah native took on the best middleweights of his generation.

14. BOBO OLSON (1953-55)

When Ray Robinson retired, Olson picked up the vacant title by outpointing Randy Turpin. Short on finesse but game as they come, the Hawaiian puncher successfully defended three times against quality opposition. Robinson then returned to action and stopped Olson in two rounds.

15. RANDY TURPIN (1951)

When Turpin faced Sugar Ray Robinson for the title, the legendary American’s record was 128-1-2 and he hadn’t lost in eight years. Turpin’s subsequent victory remains arguably the greatest upset ever on U.K. soil. The elusive Englishman was stopped in a direct rematch.

16. CARMEN BASILIO (1957-58)

Following two championship reigns at welterweight, the teak-tough Basilio moved up to middleweight for the ultimate challenge. His upset victory over Sugar Ray Robinson was the performance of a lifetime and he gave his rival absolute hell in a rematch defeat.

17. MARCEL THIL (1932-37)

THE RING’s first middleweight champion and, along with Marcel Cerdan, one of France’s finest. Thil had defeated Gorilla Jones and Len Harvey when he was awarded the title. He held the title for five years, lost to Fred Apostoli in a non-title bout and then vacated.

18. ROCKY GRAZIANO (1947-48)

A fierce and charismatic knockout artist who won the title by avenging a previous defeat to the great Tony Zale. Graziano was hammered inside three rounds of their rubber match but his toughness and determination are legendary.


He only made a cameo appearance at middleweight but it was an Oscar-winning performance. Leonard’s 1987 upset of Marvin Hagler is arguably the finest comeback in boxing history. Like his namesake, Sugar Ray Robinson, Leonard was at his best at welterweight.

Sumbu Kalambay

20. SUMBU KALAMBAY (1988-90)

A wonderful technician, Kalambay had already defeated Iran Barkley, Mike McCallum and Robbie Sims in title fights when he was awarded the RING middleweight championship. His victory over the then-unbeaten McCallum was a near-perfect display of boxing skill.

21. PAUL PENDER (1960-61, 1962-63)

The determined battler defeated a fading Sugar Ray Robinson by a controversial decision to win the title but earned a clear victory in a rematch. He lost his belt to Terry Downes, regained it against Downes nine months later and then retired.

22. TERRY DOWNES (1961-1962)

The tough-as-nails Englishman avenged a stoppage defeat to Paul Pender to win the middleweight championship but lost it immediately in the rubber match. He would have one more big win, against an aging Sugar Ray Robinson, before moving up to light heavyweight.

Vito Antuofermo

23. HUGO CORRO (1978-1979)

A slippery technician who fought in the shadow of countryman and world title predecessor Carlos Monzon. Corro had his moment in the sun when he outpointed Rodrigo Valdez for the title before making two successful defenses in his native Argentina.

24. RODRIGO VALDEZ (1977-78)

The Colombian boxer-puncher would lose two championship fights to Carlos Monzon. Following Monzon’s retirement, Valdez captured the vacant undisputed title with a decision win over Philadelphia bomber Bennie Briscoe before being outpointed by Hugo Corro.

25. SERGIO MARTINEZ (2010-2014)

This superb Argentine southpaw sliced up Kelly Pavlik to become champion and then staple-gunned Paul Williams to the canvas with one volcanic left hand to establish middleweight dominance. “Maravilla” was an incredible athlete with lightning reflexes and adept defensive skills.

26. KELLY PAVLIK (2007-10)

The gutsy and hard-hitting 160-pounder from Youngstown, Ohio, got off the canvas to knock out Jermain Taylor in a modern classic. A lack of discipline probably led to a shorter-than-expected title reign but, at his best, Pavlik was an exciting and durable warrior.

27. JERMAIN TAYLOR (2005-07)

The Olympic bronze medalist ended Hopkins’ amazing run with a razor-thin points victory and then repeated the result five months later. Athletically gifted with a superb left jab, Taylor was unable to maintain that form during a brief championship reign.

28. CANELO ALVAREZ (2015-)

In an era of catchweights, Canelo outfought the superb Miguel Cotto at 155 pounds to win the title. The Mexican boxer-puncher has defended once, against Amir Khan, at the same weight and is now preparing for his ultimate test: Gennady Golovkin at 160.

29. MIGUEL COTTO (2014-15)

Three-division world champion targeted middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in a bid to become Puerto Rico’s first four-weight king. Aided by Martinez’s injured knees, Cotto produced a punch-perfect display to claim a 10th-round stoppage.

30. ALAN MINTER (1980)

A tricky southpaw technician, Minter became Britain’s first middleweight champion in 20 years when he outpointed Vito Antuofermo. He repeated the feat by cutting up the former champion in eight rounds but was destroyed by Hagler in his next defense.

31. VITO ANTUOFERMO (1979-80)

The grizzled and super-tough Italian warrior had an up-and-down championship career. He defeated Hugo Corro on points to win the title but was extremely lucky to retain it against Hagler in a controversial draw. Antuofermo was outpointed by Minter in his next defense.



The RING championship policy was abandoned when the magazine came under new ownership in 1990 and was reinstated in 2002. During that period, some of the best 160-pounders of that era were at or near their peaks. Here is our ranking of the fighters who were unable to fight for our middleweight championship because of bad timing.

Photo by THE RING

1. Roy Jones Jr.

2. James Toney

3. Mike McCallum

4. Michael Nunn

5. Chris Eubank

6. Nigel Benn

7. Gerald McClellan

8. John David Jackson

9. Jorge Castro

10. Reggie Johnson

Five more (in alphabetical order): Steve Collins, Herol Graham, Keith Holmes, Julian Jackson and Michael Watson

Tom Gray is a U.K. Correspondent / Editor for THE RING and a member of the RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

*  *  *


Canelo Alvarez: The different one

Gennady Golovkin: The quiet man

Separate Paths: Do fighters with extensive amateur backgrounds (like Gennady Golovkin) have an advantage over those who don’t (like Canelo Alvarez)?

Ranking THE RING’s 31 middleweight champions

This article first appeared in the November 2017 of THE RING Magazine. THE RING, boxing’s foremost publication since 1922, contains in-depth features and commentary from some of the sport’s top writers. You can get the digital edition of the magazine as part of our new Ringside Ticket package by subscribing here.

Can you name the middleweight champs in our collage? Answers are below.

Top row: Marcel Cerdan, Ray Robinson, Carlos Monzon, Marvin Hagler, Freddie Steele, Bernard Hopkins, Jake LaMotta, Dick Tiger

Second row: Emile Griffith, Tony Zale, Randy Turpin, Nino Benvenuti, Ray Leonard, Joey Giardello, Sumbu Kalambay, Bobo Olson

Third row: Carmen Basilio, Sergio Martinez, Gene Fullmer, Marcel Thil, Vito Antuofermo, Paul Pender, Kelly Pavlik, Rodrigo Valdez

Bottom row: Jermain Taylor, Rocky Graziano, Miguel Cotto, Hugo Corro, Alan Minter, Canelo Alvarez, Terry Downes


  • ronny rath

    Where is GGG?

    • wrecksracer

      Canelo won the Ring title from Cotto. GGG hasn’t had the opportunity to fight for it.

    • Frank-dogg

      You and I missed read the title of the article “Ranking THE RING’s 31 Middleweight Champions”. GGG Doesn’t hold The Ring Championship belt as of right now. Will hold it at the end of September 16. 🤙😎

  • wrecksracer

    Freddie Steele seems a bit high on this list

    • Dee Money

      Ahh man, I love watching Freddie Steele videos and I think he’s about where he should be. I know he gets downgraded some for not venturing off the west coast but he was an animal. He was 120-2 before his manager died and he broke his sternum, with some decent wins.

      • ceylon mooney

        whats the best fredddie steele vids to watch?

        • Dee Money

          I like the KO of Vince Dundee, he absolutely measures him and throws some bombs.

          Not much defense, but not out of control like Stanley Ketchel; I think this fight shows Steele off as being rangy with good movement and dynamite in his fists.

          • ceylon mooney

            sounds cool
            thx for the recommendation

    • shza

      Not being an expert on the old-schoolers and relying entirely on the write-ups, Steele, Giardello, and especially Olson seem super overrated. As in, they seem less credentialed than Sergio Martinez or, momentarily, the winner of Canelo-GGG (aka GGG).

  • Nicholas Linnear

    “In an era of catchweights…”? What the frack? Can you show us somoe examples of other fighters in other divisions fighting at catchweights that would make this an ‘era’? Cotto and Canelo refusing to fight at the full limit of the weight class doesn’t make it an ‘era’. You must mean in an era where Canelo Alvarez never defended against another Middleweight fighter don’t you? How does he rate above any other fighter who has held this title no matter the circumstances? He should be dead last on this list.

    • GT2016


    • nick hapta

      as soon as Canelo gave up the WBC belt, his RING belt should have disappeared with it.

    • Tom Gray

      “Can you show us some examples of other fighters in other divisions fighting at catchweights that would make this an ‘era’?”

      De La Hoya vs. Hopkins
      De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao
      Pacquiao vs. Cotto
      Hopkins vs. Wright
      Taylor vs. Pavlik
      Vargas vs. Mayorga
      Hopkins vs. Pavlik
      Canelo vs. Mayweather
      Mayweather vs. Marquez (abandoned)
      Jones vs. Trinidad

      Nope, can’t think of any. If you want to go back further into other eras; check out Leonard vs. Lalonde, Leonard vs. Hearns II, Leonard vs. Duran III.

      Best you’re glad you asked and that was just off the top of my head

      Canelo is No. 28 on a list of 30. Try and avoid an aneurysm.

      • ceylon mooney

        i dint know pacquiao-cotto was at a catchweight

        • Tom Gray


      • Ready to enlighten

        Your comment about Canelo made my day haha. Very true though but I don’t think it will be true come Saturday night

      • Nicholas Linnear

        Not one of those fights can be considered to be in THIS ERA. Do you even understand the term?

      • Tom Gray

        Nine days later? You’re as slow as turtle…

        I already made an internet sensation out of you and you missed it.

        Catchweights have been around in previous eras, this era and they will be around in future eras. It’s a privilege reserved for A-side fighters and contract weight clauses are more popular now than ever.

        Try and convince yourself that Canelo is the root cause. That’s up to you.

        And in future; if you’re not specific with your comments, then I cannot be held responsible for your misinterpretation of the answers. Quite a few people thought you were talking shit.


  • philoe bedoe

    The list that was left out of the top 31 wasn’t bad either lol………

    • wrecksracer

      Stanley “The Michigan Assassin” Ketchel and Sam Langford would look pretty good on this list, too……but were pre-Ring Title.

      • philoe bedoe

        Two very good omission’s………

  • Chris Gonzalez

    RING needs to get off Canelo’s nuts. I understand that GBP owns RING now but talking about middleweight champs and clearly saying he was the catchweight champ is ridiculous.

    • adam grippo

      Hopefully they will after the GGG fight.

      • ceylon mooney

        are canelos extra special mediumweight and super extra special mediumweight titles on the line also?

    • Tom Gray

      I actually mentioned the catchweight issue to bring attention to it and I’m still getting my ass kicked? It’ll all be a sorted a week today, Chris. One way or the other.

      • Chris Gonzalez

        Not saying Canelo isn’t a great fighter, and same goes for Cotto, but neither ever fought at the 160lb limit. Only reason Martinez agreed to go down to 159 was cause nobody else would fight him. Ever since then the division has been plagued by divas demanding catch weights. Now we’ll finally have a legitimate RING magazine 160lb middleweight champion. And I’m actually betting Canelo will win.

      • Mark Schoeman

        But is it actually new? I mean do we have firm documentation that Robinson and his opponents always fought at 160…because back then it was 148-160 lbs, so maybe he weighed 154 and half his opponents the same? Was there a weight gestapo back then, calling out anybody who did not fight precisely at the weight LIMIT…because that’s all 160 is, the most you can weigh?

        Not to mention the same day weigh in, which meant most guys came in close to their natural weight….so in reality the modern era could be characterized as the weight cutting era, where in practice, a natural middleweight today keeps opponents honest with catchweights, so if you’re a natural light heavyweight gaming the day-before weigh in system, contracting you to come in under 160, means you can only safely re-hydrate to 175, not the 185 (which makes you a heavyweight in olden times….) that you otherwise would.

        In other words, those bemoaning the catchweights are really crying that guys can’t bypass the sacred weight limits as easily. That the villains are Cotto and Canelo for basically making guys enter the ring closer to the ordained by God (rather than a promoters creation to make more championship belts in order to sell more tickets to more fights…) weigh limits. The victims are those who seek the advantage of being bigger than the contracted to weight, those who disingenuously claim to be middleweights, even though it’s a facade, that they only weigh 160 the day before a fight and have NEVER actually entered the ring as anything other than a light heavyweight or old-time heavyweight

        • Tom Gray

          Weighing less than the division limit is as old as boxing itself. What is “relatively” new is writing catchweights into contracts and inflicting financial penalties. In the eras you’re referring to, fighters didn’t give two shits and neither did the fans. Griffith fought Tiger for the middleweight title at 150.5 pounds. Robinson fought Maxim for the light heavyweight title at 157.5. What came into effect in the 1980s was A-sides becoming divas. Sugar Ray Leonard, who I adore, brought Lalonde, Duran (Fight 3) and Hearns (Fight 2) down to contractually agreed weights that suited to him. That continued with Oscar who brought Hopkins down to 156. Hopkins who met Wright and Pavlik at catchweights. Pacquiao brought Cotto and Margarito down. Cotto with Martinez and Geale. Mayweather with Canelo and so on. Weighing less than the division limit is not new but fighters being divas and looking for every significant edge in a fighter contract is. That protocol has turned fans into divas who complain about anything and everything. And, as you rightly said, the rehydration process is also a massive consideration with fighters throwing on upwards of 15 pounds overnight. I understand why catchweights happen and I can explain it but I still don’t particularly like it.

          • Mark Schoeman

            But don’t you think the day before weigh in is as much a factor as being a diva and is 100% ignored by the catchweight critics?

            If I have the leverage to negate being a natural 155-160 lbs guy having to fight cruiserweights come fight night and instead make them just be light heavyweights, I’d do it. Now if I lack the leverage, then I either fight the guy that weighs 178 on fight night or I don’t…but same holds true for the other guy if I have the leverage. He doesn’t have to come to 155, especially if he knows he really should fight at 168, but kills himself to make 160 for the size advantage and the money is better…but shouldn’t that guy be as, much a villain as the catchweight “diva”?

            Ask yourself this about the guys above who we call “true middleweights”: How many of them are ever middleweight champs with same day weigh ins? Shouldn’t that modern advantage take at least as much s**t as the catchweights?

  • Colin Mc Flurry.

    160lb Legends – all of em.

    Hagler was the best middleweight for me – the true master of destruction at 160lb.

  • ceylon mooney

    yes, in an era of catchweights, we hand the ring championsnip to a fighter whos never fought at middleweight. jesus h malone. dont think cotto ever fought at 160 did he? 159 against martinez?

    you know, cornflake lamana doesnt fight at 160–can he have the ring title, too?

    • Luca Blight

      ‘Middleweight’ is anywhere between 155-160. You learned something new today son.

      • ceylon mooney

        youre wrong, but i think i understand how you feel.

        its true that a fighter who weighs in both above 154 and at or below 160 is considered a middleweight is. for example, if you weight in at 154.5 (which is less than 155), you are a middleweight at the moment of weigh in.


        weight classes are set by limit, not by nickname or weigh-in weight.

        because weight classes are set by limit, you can fight at a weight class even if you weigh in below the range. ray robinson, micky walker and many other fighters fought at a weight class while weighing in below its lower bound.

        how those weight classes are regulated by different commissions and other regulatory entities i dont feel like getting into.


        here are the weight classes in professional boxing:
        105, 108, 112, 115, 118, 122, 126, 130, 135, 140, 147, 154, 160, 168, 175, 200, 200+

        as you may have noticed, 155 is not a weight class, but 160 is.

        also, 155 and 160 are not the same number.

        saul alvarez has fought at a few weight classes and a coupla catchweights, but hes never fought at 160, which in pro boxing is middleweight.

        i hope this was helpful. i explained as clearly as i could.

        • Luca Blight

          ‘ray robinson, micky walker and many other fighters fought at a weight class while weighing in below its lower bound’ – In today’s title fights, if you wanna fight at a specific weight class, you MUST weigh within the limit or else you cannot fight for it. I hope you get this.

          Also, a boxing weight class is not set on a specific/exact weight but in a range. So 155 is considered within the Middleweight division.

          • ceylon mooney

            just reread what i wrote. i addressed your misconceptions thoroughly, including your response immediately above.

          • Luca Blight

            I read it and either you don’t get my point or you’re missing on something.

            Go back to this statement of yours on your first comment –

            ‘ yes, in an era of catchweights, we hand the ring championsnip to a fighter whos never fought at middleweight. jesus h malone. dont think cotto ever fought at 160 did he? 159 against martinez? ‘ – you’re trying to imply that since Cotto has never weighed or fought at 160, he shouldn’t be on the list. That’s wrong. Hence my comments.

          • ceylon mooney

            well, according to the rings own rules for ratings and championships, cotto couldnt have been the ring champ at 160 no matter who he beat cuz he never fought at 160. i may be wrong, but i remember a catchweight there with the martinez fight, like 159 or something. also, i think theyre-ranked him at 154 after he aint fought there in more than the max idle period. i could have that wrong, but i think he was re-ranked after canelo fight and aint fought at 154 in more than the max idle period.

            back to his championships: there is not 159 weight class.

            plus thats the definition of catchweight anyway–a weight limit that itself is between weight classes and not a weight class of its own.

          • Luca Blight

            Everything we’re talking about is pretty easy to understand, either you won’t accept that you’re wrong or you don’t get how it works.

            Like I said, Cotto may not have fought weighing exactly 160 pounds at the weigh-in but the fact that the MIDDLE WEIGHT division is anything above 154 up to 160, and he weighed somewhere between that, means he was eligible to fight for that MIDDLE WEIGHT title. Whether it was a catchweight or not.

            If you still don’t get that, you should get another sport.

          • ceylon mooney

            look, ive been as thorough as i can. ive been as clear as i can. you keep responding with points ive already addressed and answered. i cant help you anymore.

          • Luca Blight

            Wait, what? I was the one helping you understand how it works. LOL

          • shza

            The obvious point is that (1) while it’s fine to weigh in at below the limit, (2) it’s an entirely different thing to dictate that one *must* weigh in at below the limit in order to fight for the title. The latter was Canelo’s move, until next weekend.

          • Luca Blight

            The fact that he is questioning Cotto’s position in the list shows his lack of knowledge. I personally think that Catchweights shouldn’t be allowed in title fights but they do it anyway for money obviously. ‘A side’ fighters tend to demand it to gain an advantage. Usually, guys who are moving up. ‘B side’ fighters tend to accept it due to money reasons too.

    • Tom Gray

      Ceylon, I actually mentioned catchweights to highlight my hatred of them but it’s went down like a lead balloon. It all gets sorted one week today.

      • ceylon mooney

        yeah, i see a few things going on with that:

        1. an absence of a basic understanding of the weight class
        2. the golden rule (he who has the gold makes the rule)
        3. basic fan appreciation
        4. sick of the discussion exceeds dislike for catchweight divadom

        but i caught you man! i aint against catchweights at all, but i cant go along with the fraud of letting guys fight for a belt without fighting for it at a that weight class.

        • Tom Gray

          Yeah, busted!



    • Frank-dogg

      Floyd never fought at middleweight. Get off them TMT nuts.

  • Arjay Cee

    Here is our ranking of the fighters who were unable to fight for our middleweight championship because of bad timing.

    With all due respect, Tom, this simply drains the list of any but sentimental value — sentimental to Ring writers. The list would have been of more use if the fighters from your footnote list (Roy Jones Jr. as a footnote!) had been interspersed throughout and accorded proper ranking.

    That said, I enjoyed your fighter snapshots.

    • Tom Gray

      No disrespect taken pal. I just completed the assignment I was given. Anyone who knows the sport is aware of Jones’ greatness, and the fact that he tops a list which includes Toney, McCallum, Nunn et al is solid evidence that he is far from a footnote. With that being said, he would have been pretty low down on the actual list because he only had two world title fights at the weight.

  • Frank-dogg

    How in heck is Canelo and Cotto on these rankings? Smh


      Because they are Hall of Famers who loss to Floyd. Floyd’s greatness elevated them.

      • Frank-dogg

        Correction: They’re not hall of famers yet. And they’re on these rankings because both fighters beat the man that was holding THE RING MAGAZINE CHAMPIONSHIP BELT. Canelo beat Cotto, which Cotto beat Martinez. Floyd had nothing to do with it. Get off them TMT nuts.

  • Luca Blight

    Tons of low life trolls around in this site too.

  • Colin Mc Flurry.

    Herol Graham & Michael Watson never won a middleweight title.

    • Tom Gray

      See quotation marks, Colin. Really wish Watson and Graham had won a world title. Great fighters, both of them.

      The RING championship policy was abandoned when the magazine came under new ownership in 1990 and was reinstated in 2002. During that period, some of the best 160-pounders of that era were at or near their peaks. Here is our ranking of the fighters who were “unable to fight for our middleweight championship” because of bad timing.

  • Jody Hanna

    No problem with the top three, mine would be the same, but Hopkins at four?
    Not for me. I would have Emille Griffith, Dick Tiger and Zale ahead of him, if we were looking at other middleweight champs before the Ring was dishing out belts, Harry Grebb and Ketchell as well, but I’m a romantic when it comes to boxing, ain’t no school like the old school.


    Max: Hey amigo, you middleweight?

    Cotto: …..

    Max: GGG ringside brotha?

    Cotto: ….


    For me, the last best middleweight champ is Sergio Martinez. Next will be GGG.

  • brian

    Cotto was 35 y/o mascarading as a mw. Canelo beats him and slaughtered chavez jr. So if jr almost beat Sergio in a crazy 12th round, why is it a stretch to consider nelo a top middleweight? No one believes Sergio was compromised in that fight like he was against cotto. Trolls fail to realize Canelo at only 27 has a great future in this division on top of what hes already done.

  • Sidewinder

    Roy Jones Jr. the true G.O.A.T. !!!!

  • Oasis-of-Reason

    I would have 25, 26 and 27 higher, especially Sergio. Also, Steve Collins should have made the top 10 on your LEFT OUT list.

  • Paul Singer

    wow what a crock of shit list !!! your left out list is almost better than your list …lol

  • Simon

    They are kidding leaving Toney out aren’t they?

  • djs280

    Am I missing something, but why is GGG not on this list?

  • Wee Den Broon

    the problem with this list is that the fighters omitted would have drastically reshaped the top 10. any list not including ATGs because they were not Ring Champions, only underlines how many truly great boxers there were before The Ring got to recognising them. Some of the guys i am talking about were top 5 worthy like Greb, Ketchel and Burley …..whilst others like Walker and Flowers deserved top 10 consideration. really what you have produced is a list of boxers minus about 6 ATGs and that is what makes the list look so flat.

  • Ready to enlighten

    I’m i being blind but where are James Toney and GGG? Canelo gets in having never actually fought at the weight but these two can’t? Also I’d have Kelly pavlik nowhere near that list,someone like Felix sturm should be in there ahead of him

    • Dee Money

      Toney is listed in the “Left Out” portion (along with RJJ) as he was a champ during the period of time when Ring did not declare their own champion. GGG has yet to become the Ring champion so not on the list as of this time.

  • Genjuro77

    That list shows you just how irrelevant the Ring Belt has become, this article makes a fool out of your own belt and company. You list Canelo and Cotto, 2 catch weight divas who never fought at the real middleweight limit as “great middleweight champions of the past” but dont list GGG who is THE 160lb champion for many years and actually fought at the belt and holds 3 major belts, yet you rank the guy who dropped his belt because he was scared to face GGG when he was mandatory?

  • Gamaliel Ramos

    Really? Miguel Cotto over Felix Trinidad, who captured the Middleweight title against Joppy in one of the divisions most amazing tournaments? Really?