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To Be The Best: The top 100 boxers in the history of The Ring rankings (90-81)

Roman Gonzalez made Nicaraguan boxing history on September 10, 2016, when he defeated Carlos Cuadras to win a major world title in a fourth weight class via hard-fought unanimous decision. Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images
04
Feb

The second installment of author/historian Cliff Rold’s epic evaluation of The Ring’s 97-year-old divisional rankings and the 100 standout fighters who faced the best of their respective eras – Nos. 90-81 – includes three active boxers, which means it’s very possible they can make significant moves up (or down) this particular list in 2022.

For the time being, the dynamic trio are rubbing elbows with one of the greatest (and fiercest) heavyweight champs of all time, a shooting pound-for-pound star from the 1980s, a wily ring wizard from Scotland, one of Mexico’s most skilled and accomplished champions, one of Puerto Rico’s most talented but underrated standouts, and two recent inductees to the International Boxing Hall of Fame – one was the consummate technician, the other was the ultimate warrior.

An interesting note about this group is that it includes fighters whose professional careers totaled 40, 37 and 32 bouts. Two of the active fighters currently have fewer than 22 pro bouts (one has 21, the other has 18); but both are three-division champs. It’s a reminder that quality is just as important as quantity.

Speaking of reminders, please read the introduction to this series, which was originally published in the February 2022 Collector’s Issue of The Ring. (Try to understand the criteria before you flame the comment section or take to social media, folks.)

Click here to read the Author’s Note on the series and to review Nos. 100-91.

***

#90 – Vasyl Lomachenko 

Career Record: 16-2 (11 KO)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Featherweight (August 2014)

Last Ring Ranking: To Be Determined

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 9-1 (6 KO)

Overall Score Rank: 67

Peak Score Rank: 84

Win Total Rank: 165

Ring Magazine Championships: Lightweight (2018-20)

Vasyl Lomachenko was The Ring’s 2017 Fighter of the Year. Photo by Matt Tucker

An Olympic Gold medalist at featherweight in 2008 and lightweight in 2012, and a professional titlist in three weight classes, Ukraine’s Lomachenko is currently seeking a chance to regain the lightweight crown. Lomachenko skipped the standard professional development period, challenging for a belt in his second pro start and winning one in his third. Lomachenko rose to number one at featherweight in the April 2016 issue and stayed until entering Jr. lightweight at third in the November issue after beating Roman Martinez for the WBO belt. He rose to number one at Jr. lightweight in the April 2017 issue and remained until winning The Ring’s lightweight belt from Jorge Linares.

Missing Quality: Lomachenko entered this top 100 after his win over Richard Commey. Orlando Salido was ranked when he handed Lomachenko his first defeat but Lomachenko had not entered the top ten yet, leaving the loss outside the scope of the study. Current featherweight titlist Gary Russell wasn’t yet ranked when Lomachenko defeated him for the vacant WBO featherweight belt and Nicholas Walters, a former featherweight titlist, had slipped out of the rankings for inactivity prior to his Jr. lightweight loss to Lomachenko. Including his loss to Salido, Lomachenko has faced Ring-ranked opponents in 11 of 18 widely recognized starts (not including bouts contested in the World Series of Boxing), a staggering 61% of Lomachenko’s career to date.     

Scoring Results: 

Roman Martinez KO 5 – (5+) – 130 – 09/16

Jason Sosa RTD 9 – (10) – 130 – 11/17

Guillermo Rigondeaux RTD 6 – (1–) – 122 – 03/18

Jorge Linares TKO 10* – (C) – 135 – 07/18

Jose Pedraza UD 12 – (3) – 135 – 02/19

Anthony Crolla KO 4 – (4) – 135 – 06/19

Luke Campbell UD 12 – (2) – 135 – 11/19

Teofimo Lopez L 12* – (1) – 135 – 01/21

Masayoshi Nakatani TKO9 – (9) – 135 – 09/21

Richard Commey UD12 – (4) – 135 – 02/22

 

#89 – Juan Manuel Marquez

Career Record: 56-7-1 (40 KO)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Featherweight (September 1996)

Last Ring Ranking: #6 Welterweight (August 2015)

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

Overall Score Rank: 72

Peak Score Rank: 98

Win Total Rank: 144

Ring Magazine Championships: Lightweight (2008-12)

Juan Maneul Marquez was The Ring’s 2012 Fighter of the Year. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

“Dinamita” will always be remembered best for the right hand that ended his four-fight rivalry with Manny Pacquiao. A titlist in four weight classes, partially unified at featherweight and lightweight, Mexico’s Marquez spent almost twenty years in the rankings from featherweight to welterweight. Marquez was ranked for almost three years when he got his first crack at a title, losing to WBA titlist Freddie Norwood in 1999, finally breaking through to win the IBF belt from Manuel Medina in 2003. Marquez would sit as Ring’s number one contender for over three years between 2003-06 and was ranked the same at Jr. lightweight after a loss to Pacquiao for Ring’s vacant Jr. lightweight championship. After a reign as lightweight champion, Marquez would briefly achieve a number one ranking at welterweight after his win over Pacquiao.

Missing Quality: Marquez didn’t defeat a Ring-ranked opponent until nearly seven years after his entry into the top ten at featherweight. Marquez still defeated several good fighters who had been ranked at some point at or near featherweight like Julio Gamboa, Julio Gervacio, and Alfred Kotey. Marquez also defeated Agapito Sanchez and Robbie Peden, both of whom would go on to be ranked and win belts in other divisions. Rocky Juarez was a regular at featherweight or Jr. lightweight for years, ranked before and after his loss to Marquez in 2007 but unranked by The Ring when they faced off.

Scoring Results: 

Freddie Norwood L 12 – (2) – 126 – 12/99

Manuel Medina TKO 7 – (3) – 126 – 05/03

Derrick Gainer TD 7 – (2) – 126 – 02/03

Manny Pacquiao D 12 – (C) – 126 – 09/04

Orlando Salido UD 12 – (7+) – 130 – 12/04

Victor Polo UD 12 – (5) – 126 – Summer/05

Chris John L 12 – (8) – 126 – 06/06

Marco Antonio Barrera UD 12 – (2+) – 130 – 06/07

Manny Pacquiao L 12* – (1) – 130 – 06/08

Joel Casamayor TKO 11* – (C+) – 135 – 11/08

Juan Diaz TKO 9 – (3) – 135 – 04/09

Floyd Mayweather L 12 – (UR++) – 147 – 11/09

Michael Katsidis TKO 9 – (3) – 135 – 02/11

Manny Pacquiao L 12 – (1++) – 147 – 01/12

Manny Pacquiao KO 6 – (1+) – 147 – 02/13

Timothy Bradley L 12 – (4) – 147 – 12/13

Mike Alvarado UD 12 – (5-) – 140 – 07/14

 

#88 – Ken Buchanan 

Career Record: 61-8 (27 KO, 1 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Lightweight (November 1967)

Last Ring Ranking: #4 Lightweight (September 1975)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 11-3 (4 KO, 1 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 86

Peak Score Rank: 105

Win Total Rank: 120

Ring Magazine Championships: Lightweight (1970-72)

Illustration of Ken Buchanan on the December 1971 cover. Photo: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images

Scotland’s Buchanan beat contenders ranked from Jr. lightweight to welterweight while spending nearly eight years in the rankings. Buchanan was ranked seventh when he defeated Ismael Laguna for the lightweight crown. He would defend twice before being stopped on what appeared a foul versus Roberto Duran. Buchanan never won another title but handed the great Carlos Ortiz his lone stoppage loss while staying in the rankings for several years.

Missing Quality: Buchanan’s second win over Frankie Otero was initially missed and improved him enough in all three scoring categories to improve his placement. Buchanan handed Rene Roque a loss in 1967; Roque would enter the top ten the following year. In 1973, Buchanan handed future champion Jim Watt an early defeat. Watt would enter the top ten in 1974.

Scoring Results: 

Maurice Cullen KO 11 – (10) – 135 – 04/68

Frankie Narvaez W 10 – (5) – 135 – 03/69

Miguel Velazquez L 15 – (UR) – 135 – 04/70

Ismael Laguna SD 15* – (C) – 135 – 11/70

Donato Paduano UD 10 – (3++) – 147 – 02/71

Ruben Navarro UD 15 – (1-) – 130 – 03/71

Carlos Hernandez TKO 8 – (3) – 135 – 07/71

Ismael Laguna UD 15 – (2) – 135 – 11/71

Al Ford W 10 – (4) – 135 – 05/72

Roberto Duran TKO by 13* – (3) – 135 – 08/72

Carlos Ortiz RTD 6 – (9+) – 140 – 11/72

Frankie Otero UD 10 – (6-) – 130 – 07/73

Frankie Otero TKO6 – (10-) – 130 – 12/73

Guts Ishimatsu L 15 – (4) – 135 – 04/75

 

#87 – Naoya Inoue

Career Record: 21-0 (18 KO)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Jr. Flyweight (December 2013)

Last Ring Ranking: To Be Determined

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 9-0 (7 KO)

Overall Score Rank: 62

Peak Score Rank: 82

Win Total Rank: 164

Ring Magazine Championships: Bantamweight (2019-Present)

Naoya Inoue won The Ring bantamweight championship in the semifinal of the World Boxing Super Series and defended it in the tournament final, the 2019 Fight of the Year vs. Nonito Donaire. Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Japan’s “Monster” is currently in his prime and still writing his story. So far, it’s a hell of a tale. Inoue broke into the top ten at Jr. flyweight after just his fourth fight with a win over future unified titlist Ryoichi Taguchi. Inoue won the WBC belt from Adrian Hernandez, defending once and peaking at number four, before jumping two weight classes to stop Omar Narvaez for a WBO belt in Inoue’s eighth pro start. It was Narvaez’s only knockout loss in more than fifty fights. Inoue would be ranked number one at Jr. bantamweight from there until his exit from the class. Inoue rose to number one at bantamweight in the January 2019 issue and currently reigns as champion with five top-5 wins already under his belt.

Missing Quality: There’s nothing notable yet for Inoue in this category but some readers may consider significant Inoue’s lack of fights with some of the big names around flyweight and Jr. bantamweight during his time lower on the scale. It will be interesting to revisit where Inoue stands when his career is finished.

Scoring Results: 

Ryoichi Taguchi UD 10 – (8) – 108 – 11/13

Adrian Hernandez TKO 6 – (4) – 108 – 06/14

Omar Narvaez KO 2 – (1++) – 115 – 03/15

Kohei Kono TKO 6 – (8) – 115 – 03/17

Jamie McDonnell TKO 1 – (2) – 118 – 08/18

Juan Carlos Payano KO 1 – (5) – 118 – 12/18

Emanuel Rodriguez KO 2* – (3) – 118 – 07/19

Nonito Donaire UD 12 – (3) – 118 – 01/20

Jason Moloney KO 7 – (5) – 118 – 01/21

 

#86 – Erik Morales

Career Record: 52-9 (36 KO, 3 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #9 Jr. Featherweight (December 1995)

Last Ring Ranking: #6 Jr. Welterweight (January 2013)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 10-9 (2 KO, 3 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 98 

Peak Score Rank: 63

Win Total Rank: 135

Ring Magazine Championships: None (See Missing Quality)

Erik Morales and arch rival Marco Antonio Barrera combined for The Ring’s 2000 and 2004 Fights of the Year. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Mexico’s “El Terrible” was one of the most exciting and accomplished fighters of his time with titles in three weight classes. The first title came at the expense of WBC titlist Daniel Zaragoza at Jr. featherweight with Morales later rising to number one in the August 1999 issue. Morales would slip behind Marco Antonio Barrera after their first fight due to debate about the scoring, then moved to featherweight where he would rank no higher than two until assuming the number one contender spot behind Barrera after another debated outcome to fill Ring’s vacant featherweight crown. Morales was ranked number one at Jr. lightweight when he lost the third contest to Barrera. Morales posted a career best win in his next fight over Manny Pacquiao, then lost four straight before a layoff and gritty comeback where Morales cracked the top ten at Jr. welterweight.

Missing Quality: Several Morales opponents had or would go on to be ranked by The Ring, some even winning belts. Among them were Angel Chacon, Injin Chi, and Pablo Cesar Cano while Guty Espadas Jr. had fallen out of the rankings prior to a rematch loss to Morales. Morales could have been Ring’s Jr. featherweight champion with slightly different timing. The championship policy reinstatement was still a couple years away before the first Barrera fight. They were ranked 1-2 in the division.

Scoring Results: 

Hector Acero Sanchez UD 12 – (8) – 122 – 09/96

Daniel Zaragoza KO 11 – (2) – 122 – 12/97

Junior Jones TKO 4 – (4) – 122 – 12/98

Wayne McCullough UD 12 – (5) – 122 – 01/00

Marco Antonio Barrera SD 12 – (2) – 122 – 06/00

Guty Espadas Jr. UD 12 – (5) – 126 – 06/01

Marco Antonio Barrera L12* – (1) – 126 – 11/02

Paulie Ayala UD 12 – (C-) – 122 – 03/03

Jesus Chavez UD 12 – (2) – 130 – 06/04

Carlos Hernández UD 12 – (5) – 130 – Fall/04

Marco Antonio Barrera L 12 – (2-) – 126 – W/05

Manny Pacquiao UD 12 – (C-) – 126 – V4/05

Zahir Raheem L 12 – (UR+) – 135 – F/05

Manny Pacquiao TKO by 10 – (3) – 130 – 05/06

Manny Pacquiao KO by 3 – (1) – 130 – 02/07

David Diaz L 12 – (3+) – 135 – 11/07

Marcos Maidana L 12 – (3) – 140 – 06/11

Danny Garcia L 12 – (7) – 140 – 06/12

Danny Garcia KO by 4 – (C) – 140 – 01/13

 

#85 – Andre Ward 

Career Record: 32-0 (16 KO) 

First Ring Ranking: #9 Light Heavyweight (August 2009)

Last Ring Ranking: Light Heavyweight Champion (December 2017)

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

Overall Score Rank: 56

Peak Score Rank: 75

Win Total Rank: 163

Ring Magazine Championships: Super Middleweight (2011-15), Light Heavyweight (2017)

Andre Ward was The Ring’s 2011 Fighter of the Year.

The last male to win an Olympic Gold Medal for the United States, “S.O.G.” parlayed his 2004 honors into a condensed but prolific professional career. Ward won the “Super Six” super middleweight tournament to unify the WBC and WBA belts while capturing championship acclaim from The Ring in the final versus Carl Froch. Ward rose to number one after his defeat of Mikkel Kessler, slipped behind Lucian Bute for almost a year, and then was number one or champion for the rest of his tenure in the class. Ward later added all but the WBC belt at light heavyweight, winning Ring’s honors again in the rematch with Sergey Kovalev.

Missing Quality: Ward fought only twice over the course of 3½ years in the heart of his prime due to contract disputes, easily leaving room to wonder how much higher he might have finished here with more in those years. Edison Miranda was unranked when Ward beat him but had been ranked at super middleweight and middleweight previously. Prior to the Kovalev wins, Ward defeated Sullivan Barrera who would go on to be ranked at light heavyweight for a lengthy stretch from 2016-19.

Scoring Results: 

Mikkel Kessler TD 11 – (1) – 168 – 01/10

Allan Green UD 12 – (8) – 168 – 08/10

Sakio Bika UD 12 – (6) – 168 – 02/11

Arthur Abraham UD 12 – (9) – 168 – 07/11

Carl Froch UD 12* – (2) – 168 – 02/12

Chad Dawson TKO 10 – (C+) – 175 – 11/12

Edwin Rodriguez UD 12 – (7) – 168 – 01/14

Sergey Kovalev UD 12 – (1) – 175 – 01/17

Sergey Kovalev TKO 8* – (2) – 175 – 08/17

 

#84 – Roman Gonzalez 

Career Record: 50-3 (41 KO, 1 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #6 Strawweight (March 2008)

Last Ring Ranking: To Be Determined

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 10-3 (7 KO, 1 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 65

Peak Score Rank: 81

Win Total Rank: 141

Ring Magazine Championships: Flyweight (2014-16)

Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez was No. 1 in The Ring’s Pound-for-Pound rankings from 2015-2017.

“Chocolatito” continues today as arguably Nicaragua’s greatest fighter since Alexis Arguello, winning belts in all four weight classes where he has competed. Gonzalez cracked the top ten at strawweight, and then briefly at Jr. flyweight, before assuming number one at strawweight after his knockout of Yutaka Niida. Gonzalez would remain atop 105 lbs. until moving to Jr. flyweight in 2010, ultimately earning a number one ranking from the August 2012-January 2014 editions. Gonzalez entered the flyweight rankings at number one the next issue on the road to winning the title from Akira Yaegashi. Gonzalez’s highest ranking at Jr. bantamweight to date has been number two, held currently and previously after his win over Carlos Cuadras.

Missing Quality: Gonzalez defeated two future unified titlists before they cracked the top ten. In 2012, Gonzalez defeated Juan Fracisco Estrada. Estrada could have been ranked at the time at Jr. bantamweight based on a 2011 knockout win of Juan Carlos Sanchez; Sanchez entered the rankings ahead of Estrada a few months later. The Estrada win kicked off one of the great four-man rivalries ever, later adding Cuadras and Srisaket Sor Rungvisai to complete their pairing. In 2013, Gonzalez stopped Francisco Rodriguez Jr. Rodriguez would go on to partially unify strawweight and is currently ranked at Jr. bantamweight.

Scoring Results: 

Eriberto Gejon KO 1 – (6) – 105 – 02/08

Yutaka Niida TKO 4 – (1) – 105 – 11/08

Katsunari Takayama UD 12 – (6) – 105 – 09/09

Ramon Garcia KO 4 – (8) – 108 – 07/12

Akira Yaegashi TKO 9* – (C) – 112 – 11/14

Edgar Sosa TKO 2 – (4) – 112 – 08/15

Brian Viloria TKO 9 – (3) – 112 – 01/16

McWilliams Arroyo UD 12 – (8) – 112 – 07/16

Carlos Cuadras UD 12 – (2+) – 115 – 12/16

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai L 12 – (4) – 115 – 05/17

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai KO by 4 – (2) – 115 – 12/17

Khalid Yafai TKO 9 – (4) – 115 – 05/20

Juan Francisco Estrada L 12 – (C) – 115 – 06/21

 

#83 – Esteban De Jesus 

Career Record: 57-5 (32 KO, 3 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Lightweight (June 1972)

Last Ring Ranking: #3 Jr. Welterweight (September 1980)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 10-4 (4 KO, 3 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 64

Peak Score Rank: 80

Win Total Rank: 140

Ring Magazine Championships: None

Puerto Rico’s “Vita” was the first man to defeat Roberto Duran in the opening chapter of one of the great trilogies of the 1970s. De Jesus had already risen to third by the time he defeated Duran in a non-title affair and then held the number one contender spot until the rematch loss for the title. De Jesus would then rise to number one at Jr. welterweight on the way to a loss to champion Antonio Cervantes. De Jesus would return to lightweight in 1976, defeating Guts Ishimatsu for the WBC lightweight belt, again sitting as number one contender until losing the Duran rubber match.

Missing Quality: In 1971, De Jesus defeated a young Leonel Hernandez. Hernandez would ply his trade and enter the ratings almost a decade later prior to a title shot at Jr. lightweight. De Jesus posted wins in 1972 over unranked Raimundo Dias and Josue Marquez. Dias had been ranked earlier in the year while Marquez would be ranked for a significant part of 1977 and 78 later on.

Roberto Duran UD 10 – (C) – 135 – 01/73

Ray Lampkin UD 12 – (4) – 135 – 04/73

Johnny Gant UD 10 – (9+) – 140 – 06/73

Ray Lampkin UD 12 – (6) – 135 – 08/73

Alfonso Frazer KO 10 – (2+) – 140 – 03/74

Roberto Duran KO by 11 – (C) – 135 – 05/74

Antonio Cervantes L 15 – (C) – 140 – 07/75

Guts Ishimatsu UD 15 – (1-) – 135 – 07/76

Hector Medina KO 7 – (5) – 135 – 11/76

Buzzsaw Yamabe TKO 6 – (10) – 135 – 04/77

Vicente Mijares KO 11 – (3) – 135 – 08/77

Roberto Duran TKO by 12 – (C) – 135 – 03/78

Edwin Viruet SD10 – (5-) – 135 – 12/78

Saoul Mamby TKO by 13 – (1) – 140 – 08/80

 

#82 – Joe Frazier 

Career Record: 32-4-1 (27 KO, 3 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #6 Heavyweight (February 1967)

Last Ring Ranking: #5 – Heavyweight (September 1976)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 10-4 (7 KO, 3 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 68

Peak Score Rank: 77

Win Total Rank: 139

Ring Magazine Championships: Heavyweight (1970-73)

Joe Frazier (pictured after scoring arguably the most iconic knockdown in boxing history) was The Ring’s 1967, 1970 and 1971 Fighter of the Year. Photo: Ring Magazine / GettyImages

Philadelphia’s “Smokin” Joe provided a foil to the most storied fighter of all time and delivered a thundering left hook to tell a story all his own. Following a Gold Medal at the 1964 Olympics, Frazier made a quick ascent as a professional. Frazier rose to number one just months after entering the top ten. In the wake of Muhammad Ali’s exile from the sport, Frazier won recognition from New York as heavyweight champion with his win over Buster Mathis. Frazier stayed number one until unifying with WBA titlist Jimmy Ellis to assume the full throne. From the May 1967 issue until his final exit in 1976, Frazier was never ranked lower than fifth by Ring.

Missing Quality: Frazier likely should have entered the top ten a few months before he did. Frazier’s first win over a then-ninth ranked Oscar Bonvena didn’t lead to Frazier cracking the top ten. Frazier wouldn’t break into the rankings until his win over a then-unranked Eddie Machen in his next contest cited as the validation to enter. Frazier also missed credit for a win over Doug Jones who exited one issue prior to the eve of his contest with Frazier.

Scoring Results: 

George Chuvalo TKO 4 – (4) – Hvy – 09/67

Buster Mathis TKO 11 – (10) – Hvy – 04/68

Manuel Ramos TKO 2 – (4) – Hvy – 08/68

Oscar Bonavena UD 15 – (3) – Hvy – 01/69

Jerry Quarry RTD 7 – (3) – Hvy – 08/69

Jimmy Ellis RTD 4* – (3) – Hvy – 04/70

Bob Foster KO 2 – (C-) – 175 – 01/71

Muhammad Ali UD 15 – (1) – Hvy – 04/71

George Foreman TKO by 2* – (3) – Hvy – 03/73

Joe Bugner W 12 – (10) – Hvy – 08/73

Muhammad Ali L 12 – (1) – Hvy – 03/74

Jerry Quarry TKO 5 – (3) – Hvy – 08/74

Muhammad Ali RTD by 14 – (C) – Hvy – 11/75

George Foreman TKO by 5 – (2) – Hvy – 08/76

 

#81 – Donald Curry

Career Record: 34-6 (25 KO, 5 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #8 Welterweight (May 1982)

Last Ring Ranking: #9 Middleweight (January 1991)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 10-4 (6 KO, 3 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 79

Peak Score Rank: 69

Win Total Rank: 136

Ring Magazine Championships: Welterweight (1985-86)

Donald Curry shared The Ring’s 1985 fighter of the Year award with Marvin Hagler.

The rise of the “Lone Star Cobra” was as impressive as his decline was stunning. Curry rose to number two in the rankings following a win over veteran Adolfo Viruet and remained there behind Milton McCrory until Curry’s second win over Marlon Starling. Curry stayed number one until winning the vacant Ring crown, unifying the division against McCrory. Curry lost his next title fight to a ferocious Lloyd Honeyghan in a big upset. A one punch knockout loss to Mike McCallum in Curry’s first attempt at a Jr. middleweight title followed three fights later. Curry would briefly hold the WBC belt at Jr. middleweight after his stoppage of Gianfranco Rosi.

Missing Quality: Curry was denied a chance at Olympic glory by the US boycott of the 1980 Games. Viruet was no longer ranked when Curry defeated him in 1982 but had been just a few months prior. Curry won the vacant WBA welterweight belt defeating Jun Suk Hwang in 1983. Hwang wouldn’t crack the Ring rankings until 1986. Curry’s second win over Starling made him the inaugural IBF champion at welterweight. A late loss to Terry Norris came after Curry’s final exit from the rankings.

Scoring Results: 

Marlon Starling SD 12 – (4) – 147 – 12/82

Roger Stafford TKO 1 – (5) – 147 – 10/83

Marlon Starling UD 15 – (3) – 147 – 04/84

Elio Diaz RTD 7 – (5) – 147 – 06/84

Nino La Rocca KO 6 – (4) – 147 – 10/84

Colin Jones TKO 4 – (3) – 147 – 02/85

James Green TKO 2 – (10+) – 154 – 05/85

Milton McCrory KO 2* – (2) – 147 – 01/86

Lloyd Honeyghan RTD by 6* – (4) – 147 – 11/86

Mike McCallum KO by 5 – (1) – 154 – KO 11/87 

Lupe Aquino UD 12 – (4) – 154 – KO 04/88 

Gianfranco Rosi RTD 9 – (2) – 154 – KO 10/88 

Rene Jacquot L 12 – (UR) – 154 – KO 05/89

Michael Nunn KO by 10 – (1) – 160 – 01/91

 

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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