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To Be The Best: The top 100 boxers in the history of The Ring Rankings (100-91)

Hall of famers James Toney (right) and Mike McCallum are Nos. 92 and 93 on this very special list of greats. Photo / THE RING archives
02
Feb

The following “Author’s Note” was penned on January 21, 2022. It references the cover story to the February 2022 issue of The Ring, which celebrated the magazine’s 100 years of publication. 

As the title – “To Be the Best” – suggests, the feature looked back at 100 men who personified that phrase by facing the best opposition of their respective weight classes and eras. However, there was only room to present the detailed accomplishments of the top 25 fighters rated according to Cliff Rold’s criteria which was based on their records vs. fellow Ring-rated opposition dating back to 1925, when the magazine began posting divisional rankings. 

Over the next several days, RingTV.com will present Rold’s list in its entirety, beginning with Nos. 100-91, counting down by sets of 10 to the top 10 rated fighters. 

Click here to read the introduction to the rankings feature that was published in the February 2022 issue. Click here to purchase a copy of the Collector’s Issue from the Ring Shop.

***

It has been two months since the initial publication of the 100th anniversary edition of The Ring and with it the first quarter of a study of Ring’s rankings since their launch in the February 1925 issue. A product of lengthy and extensive research, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and to anyone who has been waiting for the finished results, or anyone reading for the first time now, thank you for taking the time.

Anything that ends in a list that ranks fighters across eras is going to be open to debate, and the approach used to generate this list is no different. The hope was to present the results in a way that gives something for everyone to sink their teeth into with the centerpiece being the identification of the rankings of the opponents of individual fighters, for the years when they were in the rankings of The Ring. 

As noted in the introduction piece in the anniversary issue, a study of this size will inevitably miss something along the way, but every effort was made to ensure complete and accurate results for this top 100. That effort has continued since initial publication, revising and updating the findings for new results since November 2021 and seeking to correct any omissions or errors found since the study was first submitted.

The result for readers is still a list of 100 fighters, featuring the same names (minus two), in a slightly different order than found in the print issue of the magazine. It’s not a reflection of a change of opinion about anyone’s placement.

The math changed.

Given the method used to process the findings of the study, ranking fighters in three categories based on their official in-ring results, every change can have a butterfly effect. Sometimes, fighters were separated by fractions of points in the total or peak points categories so single wins and losses were impactful in the scoring. Thought was given to leaving the results as they were for this online edition but it wouldn’t have followed the methodology employed and wouldn’t have given readers the best findings possible as they are now.

Explaining some of the changes you will read:

  • Terence Crawford advanced his standing with a win over a ranked Shawn Porter while Vasiliy Lomachenko entered the top 100 with his latest win over a ranked Richard Commey. A missing win in the initial tabulation for former lightweight champion Ken Buchanan was also identified and incorporated, pushing Buchanan into the top 100. The entry of Lomachenko and Buchanan bumped Fidel LaBarba and Lou Brouillard out of the top 100. Both active fighters improved their ranking in all three scoring categories.
  • All-time great Henry Armstrong held featherweight, lightweight and welterweight titles simultaneously. (Getty Images)

    An additional win was identified for Henry Armstrong, forcing a flipping of position between Armstrong and Pernell Whitaker. This one came down to fine print. Armstrong defeated Al “Bummy” Davis on June 15, 1944. Davis was ranked fifth at welterweight in the July 1944 issue but not at all in the following issue. The rankings of the August 1944 issue of The Ring carried an “as of” date of June 10. Davis was not ranked in the August issue and the result of the fight was reported in the September issue, so it was not recorded as a ranked win. However, in editing the remainder of the study, the Armstrong knockout of Davis was also found in the results of the August 1944 issue. While lag time for results of a week or so was common in the era for fights contested outside the U.S., it wasn’t common for fights contested in the States. The “as of” date for the rankings in the August 1944 issue was likely incorrect and the results were amended accordingly.

  • Corrections to the initial findings of Peter Kane, Benny Lynch, and Jake LaMotta changed the position of each. Kane and LaMotta were each missing a result. Lynch was credited with one too many. Lynch’s change has the more dramatic outcome because of the way the results were grouped. All fighters who finished in the top 100 of each scoring category were included in the first grouping. The change to Lynch pushed him out of the top 100 for wins against ranked opponents, leaving Jack Sharkey as the cut off for group one.

Some other small corrections have been made to results and summaries but they didn’t change the final results. Among them Sugar Ray Robinson’s draw versus Henry Brimm was omitted in the initial findings and is added here and the ranking for Henry Cooper prior to his rematch with Muhammad Ali is updated (it was off by one issue; credit to historian Henry Hascup).

As an additional clarification based on a question from a reader, the totals assigned to the “Record vs. Ring-rated opponents” correspond to the scoring results section for each fighter. Losses and draws to unranked fighters are part of that total and it doesn’t reflect results against ranked opponents outside the scope of the study.

An alphabetical addendum will also be posted on RingTV.com, with the scoring results for anyone who finished in the top 100 of one of the scoring categories but didn’t make the final 100 along with a couple additional names in Sandy Saddler and George Foreman.

Over time, these results will continue to change. There are, after all, several active fighters on the list. Every time Canelo Alvarez, Naoya Inoue, or Roman Gonzalez pick up a big win or loss, they will move up or down accordingly. Other new names will enter with the passage of time. This is a project intended to be kept up for as long as Ring continues to issue rankings and there is thought to publishing all of the findings of the study, in an expanded format, later on.

For now, thank you again for taking the time to read and thank you to the editors at The Ring for their support of this project. This has been a pleasure to put together.

Results are now current as of January 21, 2022.

***

Scoring results key: Most of the fighters listed in the Scoring Results section were in The Ring’s ratings at the time the examined ranked fighters of this feature faced them. The number in parentheses after the name and result is the ranking of the opponent at the time of their bout, followed by the opponent’s weight class (denoted by the division’s weight limit) and the cover date for the issue with the opponent’s ranking just before his bout with the examined fighter.

The first example from the Sugar Ray Robinson section:

Sammy Angott UD10 – (1) – 135 – 09/41

Opponent’s name and fight result – (Ring ranking at the time of the bout) – weight class – cover date 

In other words, Angott was The Ring’s No. 1-rated lightweight, as of the September 1941 issue, when Robinson beat him by unanimous decision in a lightweight bout.

A plus symbol “+” next to an opponent’s ranking means he was ranked in the weight class above the fighter being examined. Two “+” signs mean the examined fighter faced an opponent two weight classes heavier (based on the divisions The Ring ranked at the time).

Example:

Jake LaMotta UD10 – (10+) – 160 – 11/42

So, LaMotta was The Ring’s No. 10-rated middleweight as of the November 1942 issue when Robinson, who was rated at welterweight, faced him in a middleweight bout and won by unanimous decision.

A minus symbol “-” next to an opponent’s ranking denotes the opponent was ranked below the weight class of the fighter being examined in that issue.

An asterisk “*” is used to note a Ring championship title change or a vacancy being filled.

Results placed between brackets [ ] denote fights that were covered in the same issue (an interesting detail that shows how often some of the earlier fighters were in action). Fights in italics denote results using rankings taken from KO Magazine.

Note: With some fighters of the more-distant past, there is often disagreement about their final records. We have used BoxRec.com as our source.

 

#100 – Gus Lesnevich 

Career Record: 61-14-5 (23 KO, 5 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #6 Light Heavyweight (November 1936)

Last Ring Ranking: #2 Light Heavyweight (July 1949)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 17-13-3 (8 KO, 5 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 196

Peak Score Rank: 200

Win Total Rank: 55

Ring Magazine Championships: Light Heavyweight (1941-48)

Gus Lesnevich, Ring Magazine’s 1947 Fighter of the Year.

Lesnevich battled out of New Jersey, staying in the light heavyweight rankings for all but two issues from his debut in the top ten until exiting for the heavyweight ranks in 1949. It took over five years to climb to number one in the February 1940 issue, a spot he held for almost a year before sliding as low as four. Lesnevich recaptured the top spot the issue before assuming the mantle left vacant in The Ring by Billy Conn’s move to heavyweight. Lesnevich was out of action for almost four years between 1942-46 for service in World War II but would return to defend the title a few times before losing it to Freddie Mills. Lesnevich retired after a losing crack at the NBA heavyweight title versus Ezzard Charles.

Missing Quality: Lesnevich posted wins in 1936 and 37 over Young Stuhley. Stuhley was unranked before either contest but had been ranked at middleweight earlier in 1936 and occasionally since 1932. Lesnevich also posted a win in 1937 over Atilio Sabatino; Sabatino would go on to be ranked for chunks of time at middleweight between 1938 and 1940. A 1938 win over Lou Brouillard missed credit by a single issue.

Scoring Results: 

Ray Actis W 10 – (5) – 175 – 10/36

Carmen Barth W 10 – (5) – 175 – 11/36

Marty Simmons D 10 – (UR) – 175 – 12/36

Freddie Steele TKO by 2 – (1-) – 160 – 01/37

Young Corbett III TKO by 5 – (UR-) – 160 – 05/37

Johnny Romero KO 7 – (6) – 175 – 07/37

Allen Matthews D 10 – (UR) – 175 – 11/37

Joey Parks D 10 – (UR) – 175 – 02/38

Ben Brown UD 10 – (6-) – 160 03/38

Ron Richards L 15 – (6-) – 160 – 12/38

Ambrose Palmer W 12 – (8) – 175 – 01/39

Dave Clark KO 1 – (9) – 175 – 08/39

Billy Conn L 15 – (1) – 175 – 01/40

Dave Clark UD 10 – (5) – 175 – 02/40

Billy Conn L 15 – (C) – 175 – 07/40

Al Delaney L 10 – (UR+) – Hvy – 01/41

Anton Christoforidis UD 15 – (3) – 175 – 07/41

Tami Mauriello SD 15* – (4) – 175 – 10/41

Tami Mauriello UD 15 – (4) – 175 – 12/41

Bob Pastor L 10 – (3+) – Hvy – 03/42

Jimmy Bivins L 10 – (3) – 175 – 04/42

Joe Kahut KO 1 – (5) – 175 – 02/46

Lee Oma TKO by 5 – (3+) – Hvy – 04/46

Freddie Mills TKO 10 – (2) – 175 – 06/46

Bruce Woodcock KO by 8 – (6+) – Hvy – 11/46

Billy Fox TKO 10 – (1) – 175 – 04/47

Melio Bettina KO 1 – (5+) – Hvy – 07/47

Tami Mauriello UD 10 – (6+) – Hvy – 09/47

Tami Mauriello TKO 7 – (6+) – Hvy – 12/47

Billy Fox KO 1 – (2) – 175 – 04/48

Freddie Mills L 15* – (2) – 175 – 09/48

Joey Maxim L 15 – (5+) – Hvy – 07/49

Ezzard Charles RTD by 7 – (1+) – Hvy – 09/49

 

#99 – Jose Torres 

Career Record: 41-3-1 (29 KO, 1 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #9 Middleweight (March 1964)

Last Ring Ranking: #7 Light Heavyweight (January 1969)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 7-2 (4 KO)

Overall Score Rank: 73 

Peak Score Rank: 95

Win Total Rank: 225

Ring Magazine Championships: Light Heavyweight (1965-66)

The shortest resume to make the top 100, the lack of volume for Puerto Rico’s “Chegui” was offset by a collection of highly rated wins and no bad losses while in the rankings. A 1956 silver medalist at light middleweight for the United States, Torres fought most of his first six years at middleweight, peaking at a number six ranking. Torres entered ranked sixth at light heavyweight when he unseated Willie Pastrano. He stood as number one contender after his first loss to Dick Tiger but slipped from the post after the rematch and fought only twice more in his career.

Missing Quality: Torres was matched tough on his way up, going to a draw with unranked future welterweight champion Benny Paret and suffering his only knockout loss to unranked veteran Florentino Fernandez in 1963. Fernandez had been ranked at welterweight and then middleweight between 1959 and 1962.

Scoring Results: 

Jose Gonzalez UD 10 – (8) – 160 – 02/64

Bobo Olson KO 1 – (3+) – 175 – 01/65

Willie Pastrano TKO 9* – (C) – 175 – 05/65

Wayne Thornton UD 15 – (1) – 175 – 07/66

Eddie Cotton UD 15 – (4) – 175 – 09/66

Chic Calderwood KO 2 – (1) – 175 – 11/66

Dick Tiger L 15* – (2-) – 160 – 02/67

Dick Tiger L 15 – (C) – 160 – 07/67

Bob Dunlop TKO 6 – (2) – 175 – 05/68

 

#98 – John Henry Lewis 

Career: 100-11-5 (56 KO, 1 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #4 Light Heavyweight (January 1933)

Last Ring Ranking: World Light Heavyweight Champion (January 1940)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 16-9-4 (4 KO, 1 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 139

Peak Score Rank: 193

Win Total Rank: 63

Ring Magazine Championships: Light Heavyweight (1935-39)

The first African-American light heavyweight king, Lewis rose to number one for the first time with a non-title victory of Maxie Rosenbloom, avenging a loss in the first of their five fights. Lewis would move up and down the rankings for a few years, as high as number one and never lower than seventh, and was ranked third when he unseated Bob Olin for the title. He would remain recognized as Ring’s champion until his retirement following the only knockout loss of his career to heavyweight champion Joe Louis.

Missing Quality: Prior to entering the top ten, Lewis posted a win over tenth ranked Yale Okun in April 1932 but didn’t earn a ranking for the win. Lewis also defeated future, but then unranked, heavyweight champion Jim Braddock that year in the first of their two contests. Late in Lewis’s career, Lewis would stop Elmer Ray well before Ray cracked the top ten at heavyweight. The big punching Ray turned pro in 1933 and would spend most of the second half of the 1940s as a heavyweight contender.

Scoring Results: 

[Lou Scozza UD 10 – (6) – 175

Maxie Rosenbloom L 10 – (C) – 175 – 12/32]

Fred Lenhart D 10 – (UR) – 175 – 07/33

Maxie Rosenbloom W 10 – (C) – 175 – 08/33

Maxie Rosenbloom W 10 – (C) – 175 – 09/33

Young Firpo D 10 – (UR) – 175 – 10/34

Don Barry D 10 – (UR+) – Hvy – 11/34

Jim Braddock L 10 – (UR+) – Hvy – 12/34

Tony Shucco UD 10 – (2) – 175 – 02/35

Bob Olin W 10 – (C) – 175 – 06/35

[Maxie Rosenbloom L 10 – (2) – 175

Abe Feldman L 10 – (UR+) – Hvy – 09/35]

Bob Olin UD 15* – (C) – 175 – 12/35

Maxie Rosenbloom L 10 – (3) – 175 – 01/36

Emilio Martinez L 10 – (UR) – 175 – 03/36

[Jock McAvoy UD 15 – (1) – 175

George Nichols D 10 – (UR) – 175 – 05/36]

Tony Shucco TKO 8 – (4) – 175 – 08/36

Al Gainer W 12 – (1) – 175 – 09/36

George Nichols W 10 – (8) – 175 – 10/36

Red Burman TKO 2 – (6+) – Hvy – 11/36

Al Ettore L 10 – (9+) – Hvy – 02/37

Al Ettore MD 15 – (7+) – Hvy – 03/37

Al Ettore UD 15 – (6+) – Hvy – 08/37

Isidoro Gastanaga L 10 – (UR+) – Hvy – 11/37

Isidoro Gastanaga TKO 9 – (8+) – Hvy – 01/38

Fred Lenhart KO 3 – (8) – 175 – 04/38

Al Gainer UD 15 – (1) – 175 – 12/38

Joe Louis KO by 1- (C+) – Hvy – 03/39

 

#97 – Joe Calzaghe 

Career Record: 46-0 (32 KO)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Super Middleweight (January 1997)

Last Ring Ranking: World Light Heavyweight Champion (April 2009)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 9-0 (2 KO)

Overall Score Rank: 74

Peak Score Rank: 100

Win Total Rank: 168

Ring Magazine Championships: Super Middleweight (2006-08), Light Heavyweight (2008-09)

Joe Calzaghe won Ring Magazine championships at super middleweight and light heavyweight.

The inexhaustible Welshman tied the record for defenses of a title at super middleweight with Germany’s Sven Ottke. Calzaghe defended the WBO belt he won versus Chris Eubank 21 times. Calzaghe captured every major sanctioning body belt (if not all at the same time), and earned recognition as champion from The Ring over the course of a decade. Calzaghe rose to number one for the first time in the September 1999 issue and fell no lower than fourth until holding the number one spot from the November 2003 issue until being crowned champion after his win over Jeff Lacy. After defeating an undefeated Mikkel Kessler in a unification match to complete his tenure at super middleweight, Calzaghe rose to light heavyweight and defeated Bernard Hopkins for Ring’s light heavyweight honors.

Missing Quality: Richie Woodhall fell out of the top ten just a few months before a loss to Calzaghe in 2000 but had been a titlist in the class just two fights prior. Mario Veit was unranked prior to two title challenges of Calzaghe but would crack the top ten briefly in 2007. Sakio Bika was unranked prior to a loss to Calzaghe in 2006 but Bika would be ranked continuously for a long stretch between 2007 and 2014.

Scoring Results: 

Chris Eubank UD 12 – (9) – 168 – 01/98

Robin Reid SD 12 – (7) – 168 – 05/99

Charles Brewer UD 12 – (5) – 168 – 08/02

Byron Mitchell TKO 2 – (6) – 168 – 10/03

Jeff Lacy UD 12* – (3) – 168 – 06/06

Peter Manfredo TKO 3 – (10) – 168 – 07/07

Mikkel Kessler UD 12 – (1) – 168 – 02/08

Bernard Hopkins SD 12* – (C+) – 175 – 07/08

Roy Jones Jr. UD 12 – (6) – 175 – 01/09

 

#96 – Wilfred Benitez

Career Record: 53-8-1 (31 KO, 4 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: World Jr. Welterweight Champion (May 1976)

Last Ring Ranking: #8 Middleweight (April 1986)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 12-5-1 (5 KO, 3 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 145

Peak Score Rank: 85

Win Total Rank: 105

Ring Magazine Championships: Jr. Welterweight (1976-79), Welterweight (1979)

Wilfredo Benitez on the April 1982 cover of The Ring Magazine. (Photo: Ring/Getty Images)

Puerto Rico’s “El Radar” was a prodigious talent, capturing the Jr. welterweight crown at just seventeen years old before engaging in a four-way rivalry with Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran at welterweight and Jr. middleweight. Benitez was unranked when he defeated Antonio Cervantes for his first title, spending his entire tenure in The Ring’s rankings at Jr. welterweight as champion. Benitez then captured the welterweight crown from Carlos Palomino before losing in his first defense to Sugar Ray Leonard. Benitez would earn a number one ranking at Jr. middleweight after stopping Maurice Hope for the WBC belt, Benitez’s last championship. Benitez would be ranked number one or two at Jr. middleweight well into 1984.

Missing Quality: Benitez can often be treated like his era’s equivalent of the fifth Beatle. It would be more fair if his place was debated more like versions of Van Halen. Replace Marvin Hagler with Benitez and one still has a four-man, nine-fight series which included a near flawless masterpiece of skill in Benitez’s lopsided decision over Duran. Six of the nine fights in the Benitez version took place before Duran-Hagler added the Marvelous one to the mix. Benitez deserves remembrance as the fifth king.

Scoring Results: 

Antonio Cervantes SD 15* – (C) – 140 – 04/76

Tony Petronelli TKO 3 – (9) – 140 – 12/76

Harold Weston D 10 – (UR+) – 147 – 03/77

Guerrero Chavez TKO 15 – (10+) – 147 – 09/77

Bruce Curry SD 10 – (10) – 140 – 01/78

Bruce Curry MD 10 – (10+) – 147 – 03/78

Randy Shields RTD 6 – (3+) – 147 – 10/78

Carlos Palomino SD 15* – (C+) – 147 – 03/79

Harold Weston UD 15 – (8) – 147 – 05/79

Ray Leonard TKO by 15* – (1) – 147 – 01/80

Tony Chiaverini TKO 8 – (3+) – 154 – 09/80

Pete Ranzany UD 10 – (6) – 147 – 02/81

Maurice Hope KO 12 – (1) – 154 – 07/81

Roberto Duran UD 15 – (7) – 154 – 02/82

Thomas Hearns L 15* – (2) – 154 – 01/83

Mustafa Hamsho L 12 – (1) – 160 – 08/83

Davey Moore TKO by 2 – (10) – 154 – 08/84

Matthew Hilton KO by 9 – (10-) – 154 – 04/86

 

#95 – Lou Salica 

Career Record: 62-17-12 (13 KO, 1 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Bantamweight (July 1934)

Last Ring Ranking: #3 – Bantamweight (February 1945)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 21-16-11 (5 KO, 1 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 194

Peak Score Rank: 110

Win Total Rank: 30

Ring Magazine Championships: Bantamweight (1941-42)

The Brooklyn bantamweight spent more than a decade in or near the top ten after winning bronze at the 1932 Olympics. Salica achieved his first number one rating at bantamweight in the September 1935 issue and he would stay up and down in the top five for most of the next five years. His 1935 win over Sixto Escobar earned Salica the NBA’s bantamweight crown and Salica regained the honors in 1940 with a win over Georgie Pace. A 1939 win over Tony Olivera had already earned Salica recognition in New York and The Ring added to his accolades following the Lou Transparenti win in 1941.

Missing Quality: Prior to cracking the top ten, Salica took a loss to Midget Wolgast but also picked up solid wins over Antal Kocsis and Pete DeGrasse among others in 1933. Kocsis had been ranked previously at flyweight and bantamweight, the latter as late as 1932. DeGrasse, before and after the loss to Salica, could occasionally be found near the bottom of the featherweight top ten. Salica posted a win over unranked future bantamweight champion Manuel Ortiz in 1939.

Scoring Results: 

Midget Wolgast D 8 – (1-) – 112 – 06/34

Joe Tei Ken W 10 – (7) – 118 – 09/34

Young Tommy W 10 – (4) – 118 – 10/34

Speedy Dado L 10 – (UR) – 118 – 11/34

Indian Quintana UD 10 – (7) – 118 – 02/35

Midget Wolgast W 10 – (1-) – 112 – 06/35

Pablo Dano W 10 – (1) – 118 – 08/35

Jerry Mazza D 8 – (UR+) – 126 – 09/35

Sixto Escobar MD 15 – (1) – 118 – 10/35

Sixto Escobar L 15 – (2) – 118 – 01/36

Henry Hook D 10 – (9) – 118 – 04/36

[Tuffy Piepont KO 6 – (5-) – 112

Small Montana W 10 – (2-) – 112

Henry Hook W 10 – (4) – 118 – 05/36]

Tony Marino L 10 – (UR) – 118 – 07/36

Jack Sharkey Jr. D 8 – (UR+) – 126 – 08/36

[Nicky Jerome L 8 – (UR+) – 126

Nicky Jerome L 8 – (UR+) – 126 – 11/36]

Joe Mendiola W 10 – (7) – 118 – 01/37

Bobby Leyvas D 10 – (9) – 118 – 03/37

Sixto Escobar L 10 – (C) – 118 – 04/37

Bobby Leyvas TKO 1 – (6) – 118 – 06/37

Bobby Leyvas D 10 – (UR) – 118 – 08/37

Tony Dupre D 8 – (UR+) – 126 – 03/39

Little Dado D 10 – (1-) – 112 – 04/39

Little Pancho W 10 – (5) – 118 – 07/39

Little Dado L 10 – (1-) – 112 – 08/39

Jackie Jurich KO 9 – (4-) – 112 – 10/39

Little Dado D 10 – (1-) – 112 – 12/39

Tony Olivera W 10 – (1) – 118 – 01/40

Tony Olivera L 10 – (5) – 118 – 02/40

George Pace D 15 – (3) – 118 – 04/40

Jackie Callura D 10 – (UR+) – 126 – 05/40

George Pace UD 15 – (1) – 118 – 11/40

Tommy Forte L 10 – (UR) – 118 – 12/40

Small Montana TKO 3 – (6-) – 112 – 01/41

Tommy Forte MD 15 – (1) – 118 – 03/41

Lou Transparenti L 10 – (9) – 118 – 04/41

Lou Transparenti UD 15* – (5) – 118 – 06/41

Tommy Forte UD 15 – (3) – 118 – 08/41

Rush Dalma L 10 (2) – 118 – 11/41

David Kui Kong Young L 10 – (4) -118 – 12/41

Carlos Chavez L 10 – (UR+) – 126 – 06/42

Kenny Lindsay UD 10 – (10) – 118 – 07/42

Manuel Ortiz L 12* – (3) – 118 – 10/42

Manuel Ortiz TKO by 11 – (C) – 118 – 04/43

Larry Torpey TKO 7 – (7-) – 112 – 03/44

Harry Jeffra L 10 – (4+) – 126 – 05/44

 

#94 – Carmen Basilio

Career Record: 56-16-7 (27 KO, 2 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #8 Welterweight (June 1953)

Last Ring Ranking: #8 Middleweight (June 1960)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 9-4-3 (4 KO, 1 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 78

Peak Score Rank: 89

Win Total Rank: 166

Ring Magazine Championships: Welterweight (1955-56, 56-57), Middleweight (1957-58)

Carmen Basilio, between rounds of his fight-of-the-year rematch with Sugar Ray Robinson, is the epitome of the blood-and-guts warrior.

New York’s “Upstate Onion Farmer” won three world titles as arguably the most exciting fighter of his time, competing in five consecutive Ring Magazine fight’s of the year from 1955-59. Basilio was ranked fourth when he unsuccessfully challenged Kid Gavilan for the welterweight title. Following the loss, he was ranked first or second in every issue until defeating DeMarco for his first of two welterweight crowns. Basilio defeated Sugar Ray Robinson in a battle of champions to move up and capture the middleweight crown but fell short in two attempts at Gene Fullmer to regain the NBA title and closed his career with a loss to Ring’s middleweight champion Paul Pender.

Missing Quality: Basilio took a hard road to contention, picking up some losses along the way including decision defeats to a ranked Chuck Davey and Bill Graham. Basilio also had wins over former lightweight champions Lew Jenkins and Ike Williams after both had left contention. Basilio’s defeats in the second Fullmer fight, and versus Pender, came after Basilio’s final Ring ranking and didn’t work against him here. Basilio also had a win that didn’t count toward him versus then-10th ranked welterweight Don Jordan in 1961. Basilio also beat Gaspar Ortega in 1961 between stretches in the top ten at welterweight for Ortega.

Scoring Results: 

Billy Graham UD 12 – (2) – 147 – 07/53

Billy Graham D 12 – (5) – 147 – 09/53

Kid Gavilan L 15 – (C) – 147 – 11/53

Pierre Langlois D 10 – (UR+) – 160 – 01/54

Italo Scortichini D 10 – (UR) – 147 – 02/54

Pierre Langlois UD 10 – (10+) – 160 – 06/54

Al Andrews UD 10 – (8) – 147 – 08/54

Tony DeMarco TKO 12* – (C) – 147 – 07/55

Gil Turner MD 10 – (8+) – 160 – 10/55

Tony DeMarco TKO 12 – (1) – 147 – 01/56

Johnny Saxton L 15* – (2) – 147 – 04/56

Johnny Saxton TKO 9* – (C) – 147 – 10/56

Johnny Saxton TKO 2 – (1) – 147 – 04/57

Sugar Ray Robinson SD 15* – (C+) – 160 – 10/57

Sugar Ray Robinson L 15 – (1) – 160 – 04/58

Gene Fullmer TKO by 14 – (2) – 160 – 10/59

 

#93 – Mike McCallum 

Career Record: 49-5-1 (36 KO)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Jr. Middleweight (August 1982)

Last Ring Ranking: #9 Light Heavyweight (May 1997)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 10-5-1 (6 KO)

Overall Score Rank: 92

Peak Score Rank: 93

Win Total Rank: 143

Ring Magazine Championships: None

Mike McCallum, three-division champion.

After representing Jamaica at the 1976 Olympics, the “Body Snatcher” would win titles at Jr. middleweight, middleweight, and light heavyweight. McCallum is in the conversation for the greatest Jr. middleweight in the division’s history. McCallum won the vacant WBA belt versus Sean Mannion in 1984, rose to number one in Ring’s rankings in the September 1984 edition, and stayed there almost a year. A move to middleweight started with a loss to Sumbu Kalambay, McCallum’s first, but McCallum rebounded to win the vacant WBA belt against Herol Graham. McCallum was forced to vacate prior to a planned unification with IBF titlist James Toney. McCallum was ranked number one at middleweight prior to the Toney rematch and again at light heavyweight prior to losing the WBC title to Fabrice Tiozzo.

Missing Quality: Mannion was unranked when McCallum defeated him and never achieved a ranking in The Ring. Randall Yonker had previously been ranked at both super middleweight and light heavyweight but was unranked when McCallum defeated him in 1994. The Yonker fight was for an interim WBC belt and set up McCallum’s shot at Jeff Harding to win the title outright.

Scoring Results: 

Ayub Kalule RTD 7 – (6) – 154 – 12/82

David Braxton TKO 8 – (6) – 154 – 09/85

Julian Jackson TKO 2 – (6) – 154 – 10/86

Milton McCrory TKO 10 – (7) – 154 – KO 08/87 

Donald Curry KO 5 – (4) – 154 – KO 11/87 

Sumbu Kalambay L 12 – (4+) – 160 – 06/88

Herol Graham SD 12 – (6) – 160 – 05/89

Steve Collins UD 12 – (8) – 160 – 05/90

Michael Watson KO 11 – (6) – 160 – 07/90

Sumbu Kalambay SD 12 – (3) – 160 – 07/91

James Toney D 12 – (2) – 160 – 03/92

James Toney L 12 – (2) – 160 – 12/92

Jeff Harding UD 12 – (6) – 175 – 11/94

Fabrice Tiozzo L 12 – (6) – 175 – 10/95

Roy Jones Jr. L 12 – (1-) – 168 – 02/97

James Toney L 12 – (5) – 175 – 05/97

 

#92 – James Toney 

Career Record: 77-10-3, 2 No Contest (47 KO)

First Ring Ranking: #7 Middleweight (May 1991)

Last Ring Ranking: #9 Heavyweight (September 2007)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 10-6-2, 1 No Contest (5 KO)

Overall Score Rank: 95

Peak Score Rank: 91

Win Total Rank: 142

Ring Magazine Championships: None (See Missing Quality)

James Toney downs 1996 Olympic champ Vassily Jirov to win the IBF cruiserweight title in 2003, the year he earned his second Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year award.

Michigan’s “Lights Out” won titles in three weight classes and lost a heavyweight belt to a PED test while vacillating between moments of brilliance and inconsistency often attributed to conditioning. Toney was ranked seventh when he shocked Michael Nunn for the IBF belt less than three years into his career. Toney would briefly rise to number one after a draw in the first of three fights with Mike McCallum, only to fall to number two after a controversial win over Dave Tiberi. Toney was ranked number one at super middleweight from his IBF title win over Barkley through the loss to Roy Jones Jr., fell out of the light heavyweight rankings in 1997 after a loss to Drake Thadzi, and then returned to the cruiserweight top ten in 1999. Toney’s cruiserweight run culminated with a number one ranking after defeating Vasily Jirov for the IBF belt. Toney achieved and held a number three ranking at heavyweight for two different stretches, forfeiting the WBA belt he initially won against John Ruiz and getting a draw in a challenge of WBC titlist Hasim Rahman.

Missing Quality: On the way to Nunn, Toney defeated a Merqui Sosa who would later be ranked at super middleweight and light heavyweight. Had The Ring continued to recognize champions in 1991, Toney’s win over Nunn would have made him The Ring middleweight champion dating to their recognition of Sumbu Kalambay. The result in the Tiberi fight resulted in calls for a Congressional investigation and could have affected Toney’s placement as a loss to an unranked opponent. Toney had wins over former titlists like Steve Little and Adolpho Washington after they exited the rankings and suffered four losses after his final exit from the rankings. Toney was never stopped in more than 90 professional starts.

Scoring Results: 

Michael Nunn TKO 11 – (1) – 160 – 08/91

Reggie Johnson SD 12 – (10) – 160 – 10/91

Mike McCallum D 12 – (1) – 160 – 03/92

Mike McCallum MD 12 – (3) – 160 – 12/92

Iran Barkley RTD 9 – (2+) – 168 – 05/93

Tony Thornton UD 12 – (8) – 168 – 02/94

Tim Littles TKO 4 – (5) – 168 – 06/94

Charles Williams KO 12 – (4+) – 175 – 11/94

Roy Jones Jr. L 12 – (1-) – 160 – 02/95

Montell Griffin L 12 – (10) – 175 – 06/95

Montell Griffin L 12 – (3) – 175 – 03/97

Mike McCallum UD 12 – (9) – 175 – 05/97

Drake Thadzi L 12 – (UR) – 175 – 08/97

Vassily Jirov UD 12 – (1) – 190 – 08/03

Evander Holyfield TKO 9 – (5+) – Hvy – 01/04

John Ruiz NC 12 – (2) – Hvy – Summer/05

Hasim Rahman D 12 – (2) – Hvy – 06/06

Sam Peter L 12 – (8) – Hvy – 12/06

Sam Peter L 12 – (3) – Hvy – 04/07

 

#91 – Antonio Tarver

Career Record: 31-6-1 (22 KO)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Light Heavyweight (November 1998)

Last Ring Ranking: #5 Cruiserweight (December 2012)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 9-6-1, 1 No Contest (4 KO)

Overall Score Rank: 71

Peak Score Rank: 90

Win Total Rank: 167

Ring Magazine Championships: Light Heavyweight (2004, 05-06)

Y’all musta forgot… Antonio Tarver shocked the boxing world in May 2004.

A 1995 world amateur champion and 1996 Olympian, the “Magic Man” rebounded from his first loss to Eric Harding with wins over ranked opponents in four of his next five starts. The stretch included revenge versus Harding, capturing the vacant WBC and IBF belts versus Montell Griffin, and Tarver moving to number one contender en route to the first of three fights with Roy Jones Jr. Tarver’s close loss there set up a memorable knockout win in the rematch. Tarver was inconsistent from there, but managed impressive performances to recapture the Ring crown after losing it to Glen Johnson and won another IBF belt later against Clinton Woods.

Missing Quality: A bout with Lateef Kayode result was initially a draw but changed to a No Contest when Tarver tested positive for a banned substance. Tarver posted a win and draw against Johnathon Banks and Steve Cunningham to close his career. Both men were well removed from the rankings but had been ranked at cruiserweight in earlier years, Cunningham as one of the most prominent fighters in that division for the better part of a decade. Tarver never lost to a fighter ranked outside the top five of their weight class.

Scoring Results: 

Eric Harding L 12 – (5) – 175 – 10/00

Chris Johnson KO 10 – (6) – 175 – 11/01

Reggie Johnson SD 12 – (3) – 175 – 05/02

Eric Harding TKO 5 – (2) – 175 – 11/02

Montell Griffin UD 12 – (4) – 175 – 08/03

Roy Jones Jr. L 12 – (C) – 175 – 03/04

Roy Jones TKO 2* – (C) – 175 – 09/04

Glen Johnson L 12* – (1) – 175 – 04/05

Glen Johnson UD 12* – (C) – 175 – 10/05

Roy Jones Jr. UD 12 – (3) – 175 – V6/05

Bernard Hopkins L 12* – (2–) – 160 – 09/06

Clinton Woods UD 12 – (2) – 175 – 07/08

Chad Dawson L 12 – (3) – 175 – 12/08

Chad Dawson L 12 – (2) – 175 – 07/09

Danny Green RTD 9 – (6) – 200 – 09/11

Lateef Kayode NC 12 – (8) – 200 – 08/12

 

Scoring Details:

Scoring for total points and peak points relied on a base 11-point scale (i.e. a champion and the top 10 contenders). 

A win over the champion of one’s weight class, in a title or non-title fight, was worth 11 points, a No. 1 contender was worth 10, etc. 

Losses worked in reverse. A loss to the champion was a one-point deduction sliding to 11 for a loss to the No. 10 contender. 

Losses to unranked opponents drew a universal 12-point deduction. Draws against ranked opponents were worth half a win; draws against unranked opponents were a six-point deduction.

Fighters were then given a ranking in each scoring category: overall total, peak score (the highest point their points for wins and losses reached), and ranked wins.  

Wins and losses to opponents in higher and lower divisions were included. A formula based on body weight percentage differences between divisions of ranked fighters, rather than scale weights of the fighters, was applied. 

For instance, if a No. 2-ranked bantamweight defeated the No. 2-ranked featherweight, 126 was divided by 118 and then multiplied by standard win/loss points, making the win worth 9.61 points to the bantamweight and the loss a deduction of 3.2 points for the featherweight. If the featherweight won, 118 would be divided by 126 with the win worth 8.42 points for the featherweight and the loss meaning a deduction of 2.81 points for the bantamweight. 

The exception was fighters moving up to face heavyweights. There is no specific heavyweight ceiling so the formula divides the weight limit of the smaller fighter’s division against the actual weight of the heavyweight.  

Everyone who finished in the top 100 of preliminary research for those three categories was moved into a final pool of what came out to 150 fighters. Win total ties were broken based on peak score. Their rankings in each category were then averaged into a final score.

To best display the range of data, they were then divided into four groups to settle on the final 100. 

Group one: anyone who finished in the top 100 of all three scoring categories or whose scoring average was higher than those who did. (1-64). 

Group two was anyone else who finished in the top 100 for peak score and ranked wins but not overall points (65-69). 

Group three was derived from fighters who scored in the top 75 of any of the three scoring categories or whose final scoring average was higher than what would otherwise be the bottom ten of the top 100 (70-100).

The final average score was used to order the fighters in each group for those who made the top 100.        

The study tried to respect the varying standards The Ring has used to rank fighters over the last century. For instance, champions haven’t automatically secured the top spot in every era of Ring rankings. Mike McTigue was the light heavyweight champion for the inaugural rankings in 1925 and was rated fourth. 

For the 1925 rankings, and the period when Ring didn’t recognize single champions from 1989 to 2001, only 10 fighters per weight class were ranked. The points scale shifted for those years. The No. 1-ranked fighter became the 11-point win, deduction for an unranked loss was eleven points, and unranked draws were a 5.5-point deduction. 

The 1926 and subsequent annual rankings prior to the introduction of monthly rankings included more than 10 fighters so the first 11 were all factored in.  

The study is primarily based on monthly rankings. However, for a lengthy period of time the February, and later March, issue of the magazine would only feature the annual ratings for the year. Those were treated as that month’s rankings and, if needed, were reordered as champion and top 10 to maintain consistency. 

Rankings from 1925-1928 had no monthly movement. The solution was to include all results from 1924 in evaluating 1925 and then applying six-month increments with spare exception near mid-year dates until the debut of monthly rankings; i.e. results from January-June 1925 used the 1925 annual and the rest of the year used 1926’s.

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