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To Be The Best: The top 100 boxers in the history of The Ring Rankings (30-21)

Marvelous Marvin Hagler rides on the shoulders of his handlers, Goody and Pat Petronelli after his iconic victory over Thomas Hearns. Photo / Ring archive / Getty Images
11
Feb

If you’re new to this on-going series, please read:

The Introduction. (Seriously, if you’re posting questions like “What does the asterisk next to some results mean?” in the comment section, you really need to read this.)

The Author’s Note.

***

We’re down to the final 30 of Cliff Rold’s unique evaluation of The Ring’s 97-year-old divisional ratings and the 100 fighters who faced the best of their respective weight classes and eras during their time in the Bible of Boxing’s rankings.

Who are the incredible prize fighters who comprise this group of hall of famers who wound up just outside and just inside the top 25? Some are household names, others are forgotten greats who every self-defined hardcore fan should be familiar with (or at least willing to learn more about).

The 30-21 group includes two all-time top-five middleweight icons, a two-division (middleweight and light heavyweight) great, two often-overlooked light heavyweight maestros, two hardnosed-but-underrated lightweight champs, one of the greatest (but forgotten) southpaws ever, a Central American legend, and the most popular and accomplished non-heavyweight of the 1990s.

***

#30 – Dick Tiger 

Career: 60-19-3 (27 KOs, 2 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Middleweight (November 1959)

Last Ring Ranking: #10 Light Heavyweight (August 1971)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 17-7-1 (5 KOs, 1 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 29 

Peak Score Rank: 37

Win Total Rank: 52

Ring Magazine Championships: Middleweight (1962-63, 65-66), Light Heavyweight (1966-68)

Dick Tiger was Ring’s 1962 Fighter of the Year. Photo from The Ring archive

Nigeria’s Tiger was tough, durable, and among the most entertaining fighters of the 1960s. Turned professional in 1952, Tiger learned on the job and gradually turned heads on both sides of the Atlantic on the way to three world championships. Tiger was number two contender in the top ten behind Fullmer from the March-November 1962 issues. Over three fights, Tiger came out ahead in their series, 2-0-1, and became only the second man to stop Fullmer after Sugar Ray Robinson.

Fullmer wasn’t the only notable rival for Tiger. Tiger faced Joey Giardello four times, each winning two and trading the middleweight title in their last two contests. Tiger twice got the best of stalwart contender Gene Armstrong and light heavyweight Jose Torres, but lost twice to Emile Griffith.

Missing Quality: The WBA’s multiple title situations have earned ridicule for a generation but The Ring had a similar problem for a short period of time. Tiger’s first win over Fullmer gained recognition from The Ring as world champion with a catch. Ring already recognized Paul Pender as king of the class. From the January-June 1963 issues, Ring recognized both men as champion. Tiger had some other notable contests outside the scope of the study. Ellsworth “Spider” Webb was ranked sixth at middleweight when he defeated Tiger in 1958 and Yolande Pompey was ranked seventh at light heavyweight when Tiger defeated him the same year. Rory Calhoun was also between rankings in the middleweight top ten in a win and draw versus Tiger just months before Tiger entered the top ten for the first time.

Scoring Results: 

Gene Armstrong W 10 – (10) – 160 – 10/59

Joey Giardello UD 10 – (4) – 160 – 11/59

Joey Giardello L 10 – (5) – 160 – 12/59

Holly Mims MD 10 – (8) – 160 – 02/60

Wilf Greaves L 15 – (UR) – 160 – 07/60

Gene Armstrong TKO 9 – (9) – 160 – 03/61

Hank Casey SD 10 – (7) – 160 – 06/61

Florentino Fernández TKO 5 – (4) – 160 – 02/62

Henry Hank UD 10 – (5) – 160 – 05/62

Gene Fullmer UD 15* – (1) – 160 – 12/62

Gene Fullmer D 15 – (1) – 160 – 04/63

Gene Fullmer RTD7 – (1) – 160 – 09/63

Joey Giardello L 15* – (1) – 160 – 01/64

Jose Gonzalez TKO 6 – (8) – 160 – 09/64

Joey Archer L 10 – (2) – 160 – 12/64

Rubin Carter UD 10 – (3) – 160 – 06/65

Joey Giardello UD 15* – (C) – 160 – 12/65

Emile Griffith L 15* – (C-) – 147 – 06/66

Jose Torres UD 15* – (C+) – 175 – 02/67

Jose Torres SD 15 – (1) – 175 – 07/67

Roger Rouse TKO 12 – (2) – 175 – 12/67

Bob Foster KO by 4* – (1) – 175 – 07/68

Nino Benvenuti UD 10 – (C-) – 160 – 07/69

Andy Kendall UD 10 – (7) – 175 – 12/69

Emile Griffith L 10 – (1-) – 160 – 09/70

 

#29 – Harold Johnson 

Career Record: 76-11 (31 KOs, 5 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #9 Light Heavyweight (May 1949)

Last Ring Ranking: #10 Light Heavyweight (February 1968)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 24-10 (6 KOs, 4 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 44

Peak Score Rank: 52

Win Total Rank: 20

Ring Magazine Championships: Light Heavyweight (1962-63) 

Harold Johnson (left) scored victories over fellow hall of famers Archie Moore (right), who he fought five times; Ezzard Charles and Jimmy Bivins. Photo / The Ring Magazine via Getty Images

Timing is everything. For Pennsylvania’s Johnson, timing meant spending much of his stellar light heavyweight run a step behind Archie Moore. Their rivalry, won 3-1 by Moore, was only one piece of Johnson’s career. Johnson moved in and out of the top ten over his first couple years in the rankings but remained continuously from the September 1951-July 1956 issues, including an uninterrupted stretch as top contender from the November 1953-54 issues. Johnson spent a few months in the heavyweight top ten as well, reaching number four in the July 1957 issue, but it was a short stay.

Johnson would be ranked no lower than third from the August 1957-June 1962 issues. The NBA withdrew recognition of Moore and Johnson won their honors with his 1961 victory over Jesse Bowdry. The following year, Johnson broke through with a win over Doug Jones to garner universal recognition and added Ring’s then-vacant crown. Johnson would defend only once and never received another crack at the title after losing to Willie Pastrano.

Missing Quality: Only one of Johnson’s wins over Henry Hall came with Hall in the top ten. Johnson was a formidable heavyweight in his time when he ventured up the scale. A 1949 win over Arturo Godoy, who had slipped from the ratings halfway through the previous year, was notable. Heavyweight Nino Valdes was a staple of the top ten for much of the 1950’s but had yet to crack the top ten for the first time when Johnson defeated him in 1952. Heavyweight Wayne Bethea would be ranked intermittently between 1957 and 1963, but was not ranked on the eve of a 1957 loss to Johnson.

Scoring Results: 

Archie Moore L 10 – (1) – 175 – 06/49

Henry Hall UD 10 – (7) – 175 – 08/49

Jimmy Bivins UD 10 – (5+) – Hvy – 12/49

Bert Lytell MD 10 – (5) – 175 – 01/50

Jersey Joe Walcott KO by 3 – (4+) – Hvy – 03/50

Archie Moore L 10 – (1) – 175 – 11/51

Archie Moore UD 10 – (1) – 175 – 01/52

Archie Moore L 10 – (2) – 175 – 03/52

Clarence Henry SD 10 – (3+) – Hvy – 04/52

Bob Satterfield L 10 – (UR) – 175 – 09/52

Bob Satterfield KO 2 – (4) – 175 – 11/52

Jimmy Slade UD 10 – (7) – 175 – 02/53

Ezzard Charles SD 10 – (2+) – Hvy – 10/53

Jimmy Slade SD 10 – (5) – 175 – 03/54
Paul Andrews MD 10 – (10) – 175 – 04/54

Archie Moore TKO by 14 – (C) – 175 – 09/54

Oakland Billy Smith KO by 2 – (5) – 175 – 11/54

Marty Marshall UD 10 – (6) – 175 – 02/55

Paul Andrews KO 6 – (2) – 175 – 03/56

Julio Mederos TKO by 2 – (UR+) – Hvy – 06/55

Bob Satterfield UD 10 – (6) – Hvy – 04/57

Clarence Hinnant KO 1 – (7-) – 175 – 07/57

Sonny Ray TKO 10 – (8) – 175 – 12/59

Jesse Bowdry TKO 9 – (6) – 03/61

Von Clay TKO 2 – (7) – 175 – 06/61

Eddie Machen W 10 – (2+) – Hvy – 08/61

Eddie Cotton SD 15 – (6) – 175 – 10/61

Doug Jones UD 15* – (3) – 175 – 06/62

Gustav Scholz UD 15 – (5) – 175 – 08/62

Willie Pastrano L 15* – (6) – 175 – 07/63

Henry Hank UD 10 – (5) – 175 – 01/64

Johnny Persol L 10 – (UR) – 175 – 03/66

Herschel Jacobs UD 10 – (9) – 175 – 06/67

Lothar Stengel UD 10 – (6) – 175 – 03/68

 

#28 – Billy Conn 

Career Record: 63-11-1 (15 KOs, 3 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #5 Middleweight (June 1937)

Last Ring Ranking: #2 Heavyweight (February 1947)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 17-5 (1 KO, 2 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 27

Peak Score Rank: 33

Win Total Rank: 51

Ring Magazine Championships: Light Heavyweight (1939-41)

An illustration of Billy Conn on the cover of the December 1939 issue of The Ring. Conn was Ring’s 1940 Fighter of the Year.

Best remembered for one of the great near misses in boxing annals, Conn was an exceptional boxer who faced many of the best of his time across three weight classes. Conn reached the number two contender spot at middleweight in the January 1938 issue before growing out of the division. Conn rose to number one contender at light heavyweight in the September 1939 issue and remained there until winning the title. After a 4-0 run in light heavyweight title fights, Conn moved up to heavyweight.

Conn posted a winning streak against heavyweights but didn’t enter the heavyweight top ten until the eve of his first fight with Joe Louis in the August 1941 issue due to his status as champion at light heavyweight. Rated number two, Conn would lose a lead on the cards in the thirteenth. Conn would leave for service in World War II following a points nod over middleweight champion Tony Zale and never recaptured his previous form again.

Missing Quality: Prior to cracking the top ten at middleweight, Conn had a win over unranked future welterweight champion Fritzie Zivic. Ray Actis moved in and out of the top ten at light heavyweight from 1935-38, but had fallen out of the ratings for good just months before losing to Conn. Similarly, Gus Dorazio could be found in the heavyweight top ten for various stretches from 1939-44, but was unranked when Conn defeated him in 1939.

Scoring Results: 

Babe Risko UD 10 – (6) – 160 – 05/37

Oscar Rankins SD 10 – (6) – 160 – 07/37

Teddy Yarosz SD 12 – (1) – 160 – 08/37

Young Corbett III L 10 – (10) – 160 – 10/37

Teddy Yarosz SD 15 – (3) – 160 – 11/37

Young Corbett III UD 10 – (2) – 160 – 12/37

Solly Krieger L 12 – (UR) – 160 – 02/38

Erich Seelig MD 10 – (8-) – 160 – 06/38

Teddy Yarosz L 12 – (UR) – 175 – 09/38

Solly Krieger UD 12 – (1-) – 160 – 01/39

Fred Apostoli UD 10 – (1-) – 160 – 02/39

Fred Apostoli UD 15 – (1-) – 160 – 03/39

Solly Krieger UD 12 – (1-) – 160 – 06/39

Melio Bettina UD 15* – (1) – 175 – 08/39

Melio Bettina UD 15 – (2) – 175 – 11/39

Gus Lesnevich UD 15 – (3) – 175 – 01/40

Gus Lesnevich UD 15 – (1) – 175 – 07/40

Bob Pastor KO 13 – (1+) – Hvy – 10/40

Lee Savold UD 12 – (4+) – Hvy – 01/41

Joe Louis KO by 13 – (C) – Hvy – 08/41

Tony Zale UD 12 – (C–) – 160 – 04/42

Joe Louis KO by 8 – (C) – 160 – 08/46

 

#27 – Carlos Monzon

Career Record: 87-3-9, 1 No Contest (59 KOs) 

First Ring Ranking: #10 Middleweight (November 1968)

Last Ring Ranking: Middleweight Champion (October 1977)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 15-0-1 (10 KOs)

Overall Score Rank: 15

Peak Score Rank: 21

Win Total Rank: 70

Ring Magazine Championships: Middleweight (1970-77)

Carlos Monzon shared Ring’s 1972 Fighter of the Year honors with Muhammad Ali. Photo by AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Argentina’s “Escopeta” reigned as middleweight champion for almost seven years with a potent jab, masterful timing, iron chin, and battering power. Monzon was a professional for over five years and sixty professional starts when he entered The Ring’s top ten for the first time. He rose as high as seventh for a couple of issues but fell out of the top ten and was unranked when he secured a shot at Nino Benvenuti’s title in 1970. Monzon would never be ranked as anything but champion again.

All fifteen of Monzon’s wins against the Ring rankings came in championship fights. His fourteen consecutive defenses set records for the Ring and lineal crowns. In those defenses, Monzon defeated three number one contenders, four number two contenders, and reigning welterweight champion Jose Napoles. In total, eleven of Monzon’s fourteen defenses would come against men ranked at no lower than fourth at middleweight. The WBC stripped their recognition after the Napoles fight; Monzon regained their strap in the first of two wins over Rodrigo Valdez. Against the two men to hold the middleweight title before him (Griffith, Benvenuti) and Monzon’s immediate successor (Valdez), Monzon was 6-0.

Missing Quality: Monzon’s lone blemish in his years in the Ring rankings was the draw against Carlos Salinas. Monzon and Salinas squared off four times with Monzon winning their other three fights, two by knockout. Prior to either man entering the rankings for the first time, Monzon was also held to a draw by Bennie Briscoe in 1967 at famed Luna Park in Buenos Aires. Briscoe would be the first man to last the distance in a title fight against Monzon more than five years later.

Scoring Results: 

Carlos Salinas D 10 – (UR) – 160 – 06/69

Nino Benvenuti TKO 12* – (C) – 160 – 12/70

Nino Benvenuti TKO 3 – (2) – 160 – 06/71

Emile Griffith TKO 14 – (1) – 160 – 11/71

Denny Moyer TKO 5 – (4) – 160 – 04/72

Jean Claude Bouttier RTD 12 – (1) – 160 – 08/72

Tom Bogs TKO 5 – (7) – 160 – 10/72

Bennie Briscoe UD 15 – (6) – 160 – 12/72

Emile Griffith UD 15 – (3) – 160 – 07/73

Jean Claude Bouttier UD 15 – (2) – 160 – 11/73

Jose Napoles RTD 6 – (C-) – 147 – 03/74

Tony Mundine KO 7 – (2) – 160 – 11-12/74

Tony Licata TKO 10 – (3) – 160 – 08/75

Gratien Tonna KO 5 – (2) – 160 – 02/76

Rodrigo Valdez UD 15 – (1) – 160 – 08/76

Rodrigo Valdez UD 15 – (2) – 160 – 09/77

 

#26 – Oscar De La Hoya

Career Record: 39-6 (30 KOs, 2 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #8 Jr. Lightweight (September 1993)

Last Ring Ranking: #3 Jr. Middleweight (February 2009)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 17-6 (10 KOs, 2 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 26

Peak Score Rank: 29

Win Total Rank: 50

Ring Magazine Championships: Jr. Middleweight (2002-03)

Oscar De La Hoya was Ring’s 1995 Fighter of the Year.

From the time he won a gold medal for the United States at the 1992 Olympics, the Los Angeles “Golden Boy” looked like a star. De La Hoya would become the sport’s biggest non-heavyweight star for more than a decade. With belts in six weight classes, De La Hoya faced most of the biggest names of his time, ending the championship years of Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker before passing the torch to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

Across his years in the rankings, De La Hoya defeated two division leaders and three men ranked number two in their class while rising to number one at lightweight from the September 1995-May 1996 issues; at jr. welterweight October 1996-July 1997 issues); welterweight twice (August 1997-Holiday 1999 and July-October 2000); and, jr. middleweight continuously from the November 2001 issue until earning recognition as champion against Fernando Vargas. All of De La Hoya’s six official losses came to reigning Ring champions or opponents ranked in the top five.

Missing Quality: De La Hoya narrowly missed another top ten win when he knocked out Derrell Coley. Coley was unranked in the issue prior to the fight but entered the top ten immediately afterwards. De La Hoya also had wins over then-unranked former title holders Jorge Paez, Arturo Gatti, Yori Boy Campas, Ricardo Mayorga, and Steve Forbes through the years. Ring policy in the 1990s denied De La Hoya two additional Ring championships. Chavez likely would have won the crown at Jr. welterweight with his win over Meldrick Taylor and been in his second reign in 1996. Whitaker would also have been Ring champion in a straight line to Donald Curry. In addition, De La Hoya might have been Jr. middleweight champion sooner. When Terry Norris faced Paul Vaden in 1995, they were rated 1-2 in the class. Had Norris-Vaden crowned a Ring champion, Javier Castillejo would have been the direct successor in 2001.

Scoring Results: 

Jimmi Bredahl RTD 10 – (7) – 130 – 06/94

John John Molina UD 12 – (1-) – 130 – 05/95

Rafael Ruelas TKO 2 – (2) – 135 – 08/95

Gernaro Hernandez RTD 6 – (2-) – 130 – Winter/95

Jesse James Leija RTD 2 – (5-) – 130 – 03/96

Julio Cesar Chavez TKO 4 – (3) – 140 – 09/96

Miguel Angel Gonzalez UD 12 – (5) – 140 – 04/97

Pernell Whitaker UD 12 – (1+) – 147 – 07/97

Hector Camacho UD 12 – (7+) – 154 – 12/97

Wilfredo Rivera TKO 8 – (8) – 147 – 02/98

Patrick Charpentier TKO 3 – (7) – 147 – 09/98

Julio Cesar Chavez RTD 8 – (9) – 147 – Holiday/98

Ike Quartey SD 12 – (3) – 147 – 05/99

Oba Carr TKO 11 – (7) – 147 – 09/99

Felix Trinidad L 12 – (2) – 147 – Holiday/99

Shane Mosley L 12 – (3) – 147 – 10/00

Javier Castillejo UD 12 – (4+) – 154 – 10/01

Fernando Vargas TKO 11* – (2) – 154 – 12/02

Shane Mosley L 12 – (5) – 154 – 12/03

Felix Sturm UD 12 – (7+) – 160 – V1/04

Bernard Hopkins KO by 9 – (C) – 160 – 12/04

Floyd Mayweather L 12 – (C-) – 147 – 07/07

Manny Pacquiao RTD by 8 – (2—) – 135 – 02/09

 

#25 – Sammy Angott

Career Record: 94-29-8 (22 KOs, 1 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #5 Lightweight (July 1938)

Last Ring Ranking: #7 Welterweight (April 1946)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 22-11-5 (2 KOs)

Overall Score Rank: 38

Peak Score Rank: 23

Win Total Rank: 28

Ring Magazine Championships: Lightweight (1941-42)

Sammy Angott, a lightweight standout during the 1940s, was the first pro fighter to defeat the great Willie Pep.

A hand injury brought an abrupt end to his short lightweight reign, but Sammy Angott competed with the best in that division and welterweight for nearly a decade. Angott would be ranked No. 1 or 2 from the November 1939 to January 1942 issues prior to winning the lightweight title, including an uninterrupted stay as the top contender from the July 1940 to September 1941 issues. When Angott secured his shot at Lew Jenkins for the lightweight title, he already had 14 wins against opposition ranked at featherweight or lightweight, including two wins over top-ranked Davey Day in a three-fight series; the second win over Day was for the NBA crown.

Angott would defeat No. 1-ranked Bob Montgomery twice in non-title fights and defend once against Allie Stolz before giving up the title to heal. He returned to action in 1943 and handed Willie Pep his first loss as a professional. It would be Pep’s only defeat in his first 136 fights.

Through the remainder of his career, Angott would add only three more wins against ranked foes, but among those three was an impressive stoppage of future lightweight champion Ike Williams, avenging two previous losses. Competing as a welterweight, Angott peaked with a No. 3 ranking in the October 1944 issue. He was stopped only once in his career, by Beau Jack, just months after Angott exited the rankings for the final time.

Missing Quality: Two notable wins and a draw against ranked opposition fell outside the scope of this study. Just prior to entering the top 10 at lightweight for the first time, Angott snared a victory over the fourth-ranked featherweight, Jackie Wilson, in early 1938. A year after exiting the rankings for the last time, Angott scored a points victory over future NBA welterweight titlist Johnny Bratton in May 1947. Bratton entered the fight ranked fifth at lightweight in the July 1947 issue. Finally, Angott held contender Sonny Boy West to a draw in January 1950; West was ranked fourth at lightweight in the February 1950 issue and would go on to defeat Angott by decision twice later in the year. The second of those decisions came in Angott’s final fight.

Scoring Results: 

Wesley Ramey UD 10 – (3) – 135 – 06/38

Irving Eldridge W 10 – (9) – 135 – 07/38

[Leo Rodak L 10 – (2-) – 126

Leo Rodak TKO 1 – (2-) – 126 – 09/38]

[Wesley Ramey UD 10 – (8) – 135

Leo Rodak UD 10 – (2-) – 126 – 11/38]

[Norment Quarles W 10 – (10) – 135

Freddy Miller UD 10 – (4-) – 126 – 01/39]

Aldo Spoldi W 10 – (4) – 135 – 05/39

Davey Day SD 10 – (1) – 135 – 11/39

Davey Day L 12 – (2) – 135 – 01/40

Pete Lello D 10 – (5) – 135 – 03/40

Davey Day W 15 – (1) – 135 – 06/40

Baby Arizmendi D 10 – (UR) – 135 – 08/40

Fritzie Zivic L 10 – (5+) – 147 – 10/40

George Latka D 10 – (7) – 135 – 12/40

Bob Montgomery MD 10 – (7) – 135 – 01/41

Dave Castilloux W 12 – (4) – 135 – 06/41

Lenny Mancini MD 10 – (8) – 135 – 07/41

Harry Hurst MD 10 – (10) – 135 – 08/41

Sugar Ray Robinson L 10 – (3) – 135 – 09/41

Lew Jenkins UD 15* – (C) – 135 – 01/42

Bob Montgomery UD 12 – (1) – 135 – 04/42

Allie Stolz SD 15 – (6) – 135 – 06/42

Bob Montgomery SD 12 – (1) – 135 – 08/42

Sugar Ray Robinson L 10 – (1+) – 147 – 09/42

Willie Pep UD 10 – (C-) – 126 – 05/43

Henry Armstrong L 10 – (2+) – 147 – 07/43

Slugger White UD 15 – (3) – 135 – 12/43

Bobby Ruffin SD 10 – (4) – 135 – 02/44

Beau Jack D 10 – (1) – 135 – 03/44

Juan Zurita L 15 – (9) – 135 – 04/44

Ike Williams L 10 – (5-) – 135 – 07/44

Ike Williams L 10 – (5-) – 135 – 10/44

Jimmy McDaniels L 10 – (9) – 147 – 12/44

Gene Burton D 10 – (UR) – 147 – 10/45

Ike Williams TKO 6 – (3-) – 135 – 11/45

Sugar Ray Robinson L 10 – (1) – 147 – 04/46

 

#24 – Young Corbett III

Career Record: 122-12-20 (32 KOs, 4 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #6 Jr. Welterweight (April 1928)

Last Ring Ranking: #2 Middleweight (January 1939)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: (18-5-2, 5 KOs, 2 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 20

Peak Score Rank: 25

Win Total Rank: 42

Ring Magazine Championships: Welterweight (1933)

Young Corbett III scored victories over fellow hall of famers Mickey Walker, Billy Conn, Jackie Fields and Fred Apostoli.

Perhaps the most surprising outcome of the study, this crafty southpaw was born in Italy, made his home in Central California and is best remembered for his worst defeat but competed with the best of the welterweight and middleweight divisions throughout the 1930s. Corbett scored two wins over reigning welterweight champions (in non-title fights) against Jackie Fields and Young Jack Thompson before getting a crack at the division’s top honors, ending the second reign of Fields. The reign was short, with Corbett stunned in the first round by Jimmy McLarnin in his first defense.

Corbett was far from done after the loss, going 8-3 against opponents ranked from welterweight to light heavyweight before exiting the rankings for the last time after a rematch loss to Fred Apostoli. Some of the biggest-name wins on Corbett’s record may have benefited from timing; Mickey Walker and Maxie Rosenbloom were past their peaks and Billy Conn was still on the way up. Regardless, all were rated in the top five of their divisions when Corbett got the better of them.

Missing Quality: Prior to entering the Ring rankings for the first time, Corbett had a win and draw against four-fight rival Young Jack Thompson. Corbett also had two wins in 1932 over a young Ceferino Garcia. Garcia fell out of the welterweight top 10 one issue prior to the eve of the first fight with Corbett and wouldn’t return to the top 10 again until the end of 1933. Joe Glick moved in and out of the junior welterweight rankings and could have been ranked when Corbett defeated him in late 1932, but the magazine withdrew recognition of the division two issues before their fight.

Scoring Results: 

Young Jack Thompson W 10 – (2) – 140 – 03/28

Nick Testo KO 5 – (5) – 147 – 09/28

[Sgt. Sammy Baker W 12 – (3) – 147

Sgt. Sammy Baker L 12 – (3) – 147 – 10/28]

Pete Meyers D 10 – (UR) – 147 – 02/29

Bucky Lawless KO 1 – (2) – 147 – 09/29

Jackie Fields W 10 – (C) – 147 – 03/30

Andy DiVodi KO 6 – (10) – 147 – 06/30

Young Jack Thompson W 10 – (C) – 147 – 08/30

Sammy Jackson W 10 – (9) – 147 – 11/30

Paulie Walker D 10 – (9) – 147 – 02/31

Paulie Walker W 10 – (2) – 147 – 03/31

Jackie Fields W 10* – (C) – 147 – 03/33

Jimmy McLarnin TKO by 1* – (2) – 147 – 06/33

Young Terry KO 3 – (4) – 160 – 06/34

Mickey Walker W 10 – (5+) – 175 – 09/34

Bep Van Klaveren W 10 – (2-) – 147 – 03/35

Bep Van Klaveren W 10 – (1-) – 147 – 04/35

Lou Brouillard L 10 – (3) – 160 – 08/35

Gus Lesnevich TKO 5 – (4+) – 175 – 05/37

Billy Conn W 10 – (3) – 160 – 10/37

Billy Conn L 10 – (3) – 160 – 12/37

Fred Apostoli W 10 – (1) – 160 – 04/38

Glen Lee W 10 – (4) – 160 – 09/38

Fred Apostoli TKO by 8 – (3) – 160 – 01/39

 

#23 – Marvelous Marvin Hagler

Career Record: 62-3-2 (52 KOs)

First Ring Ranking: #9 Middleweight (September 1977)

Last Ring Ranking: #5 Middleweight (September 1988)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 16-1-1 (13 KOs)

Overall Score Rank: 13

Peak Score Rank: 14

Win Total Rank: 58

Ring Magazine Championships: Middleweight (1980-87)

Marvelous Marvin Hagler blesses the cover of the March 1984 issue of The Ring. Hagler was Ring’s 1983 Fighter of the Year and 1985 co-Fighter of the Year. His battles with Thomas Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard were Ring’s 1985 and 1987 Fights of the Year.

The dominant middleweight of the 1980s took the hard road through most of the 1970s, developing his craft against an assortment of veterans and other up-and-coming middleweights before breaking through to contention. He was the No. 1 contender in the pages of The Ring for all but one issue (July ’78) from the February 1978 to November 1980 editions. It took two tries, 53 total fights, a controversial draw against the reigning champion and four wins over ranked middleweights for Hagler to capture the crown. Once Hagler had the title, he held on to it for the better part of a decade.

As champion, 11 of Hagler’s middleweight defenses came against ranked opposition, 10 ranked at 160 pounds. The outlier, junior middleweight titlist Roberto Duran, was also the only man to last the distance in that stretch. Four of Hagler’s failed challengers would go on to win sanctioning body titles from junior middleweight to light heavyweight after Hagler bested them. Over the course of his years in the rankings, Hagler defeated The Ring’s No. 1-ranked contender six times. All of those wins came inside the distance.

Missing Quality: The lone unranked challenger in Hagler’s reign was Caveman Lee in 1982. Lee entered riding an eight-fight knockout streak. There are worse outliers. Hagler had several wins over opponents who were regularly ranked but just didn’t happen to be when Hagler faced them. Sugar Ray Seales moved in and out of the junior middleweight or middleweight top 10 from 1976 to 1982; Hagler had a win and a draw against Seales in 1974 and knocked him out in 1979. Hagler’s first two losses, to Willie Monroe and Bobby Watts, were both avenged by knockout but only after both had fallen out of the middleweight top 10.

 

Scoring Results: 

Mike Colbert KO 12 – (1) – 160 – 01/78

Bennie Briscoe UD 10 – (5) – 160 – 10/78

Vito Antuofermo D 15 – (C) – 160 – 01/80

Loucif Hamani KO 2 – (6) – 160 – 04/80

Marcus Geraldo UD 10 – (6) – 160 – 07/80

Alan Minter TKO 3* – (C) – 160 – 11/80

Fulgencio Obelmejias TKO 8 – (4) – 160 – 03/81

Vito Antuofermo RTD 4 – (4) – 160 – 08/81

Mustafa Hamsho TKO 11 – (1) – 160 – 11/81

Fulgencio Obelmejias TKO 5 – (6) – 160 – 12/82

Tony Sibson TKO 6 – (2) – 160 – 03/83

Wilford Scypion KO 4 – (1) – 160 – 06/83

Roberto Duran UD 15 – (2-) – 154 – 12/83

Juan Roldan TKO 10 – (5) – 160 – 05/84

Mustafa Hamsho TKO 3 – (1) – 160 – 12/84

Thomas Hearns TKO 3 – (1/C-) – 160/154 – 06/85

John Mugabi KO 11 – (1) – 160 – 04/86

Sugar Ray Leonard L 12* – (UR) – 160 – 07/87

 

#22 – Alexis Arguello

Career Record: (77-8, 62 KOs, 4 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #10 Featherweight (March 1974)

Last Ring Ranking: #4 Jr. Welterweight (June 1986)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 21-4 (19 KOs, 2 KOBY) 

Overall Score Rank: 23 

Peak Score Rank: 28

Win Total Rank: 29

Ring Magazine Championships: Featherweight (1975-77), Lightweight (1981-83)

Alexis Arguello was a three-division champ who scored victories over fellow hall of famers Ruben Olivares and Bobby Chacon.

Nicaragua’s “El Flaco Explosivo” used uncommon height, reach and power through title runs in three weight classes, missing out on a title in a fourth in one of boxing’s enduring classics. Arguello learned on the job, falling short in his first title shot against the excellent Ernesto Marcel before breaking through for the WBA featherweight crown with a knockout of Ruben Olivares. He earned recognition from The Ring as featherweight champion in the September 1975 issue when Olivares knocked out Bobby Chacon for the WBC strap. Arguello had three defenses of the WBA title prior to that and one more as The Ring’s champion before moving up in weight.

Arguello captured the WBC belt at junior lightweight in 1978 (the Ring champion was WBA titlist Sammy Serrano) and then added the Ring and WBC honors at lightweight in 1981. Arguello’s first 10 wins versus ranked opposition were by knockout, as were 10 of his last 11. Arguello never beat a No. 1-ranked contender in any division. Chacon was rated ahead of him prior to losing to Olivares in 1975, and Arguello was The Ring’s No. 1 contender throughout his reign at junior lightweight. Arguello did defeat three fighters ranked No. 2 in their weight class at the time. During the years he was ranked by The Ring, none of Arguello’s four losses came against an unranked opponent.

Missing Quality: Arguello avenged one of those four losses, to Vilomar Fernandez. Prior to his rematch loss to Aaron Pryor, he also had a knockout of Claude Noel in 1983. Neither was ranked at the time, but Noel was just three fights removed from a brief reign with the WBA lightweight belt. Arguello’s finish in this study benefited from at least one debatable decision in 1980, to future lightweight titlist Jose Luis Ramirez. Arguello attempted a brief return in the 1990s, going 1-1 and never returning to the rankings.

Scoring Results: 

Jose Legra TKO 1 – (8) – 126 – 02/74

Ernesto Marcel L 15 – (2) – 126 – 04/74

Art Hafey KO 5 – (4) – 126 – 07/74

Ruben Olivares KO 13 – (2) – 126 – 01/75

Leonel Hernandez TKO 8 – (3) – 126 – 05/75

Rigoberto Riasco TKO 2 – (7) – 126 – 08/75

Royal Kobayashi KO 5 – (3) – 126 – 12/75

Ezequiel Sanchez TKO 4 – (7+) – 130 – 09/77

Enrique Solis KO 5 – (9+) – 135 – 02/78

Alfredo Escalera TKO 13 – (2) – 130 – 03/78

Diego Alcala KO 1 – (8) – 130 – 08/78

Vilomar Fernandez L 10 – (9+) – 135 – 09/78

Arturo Leon UD 15 – (5) – 130 – 01/79

Alfredo Escalera TKO 13 – (4) – 130 – 04/79

Rafael Limon TKO 11 – (3) – 130 – 09/79

Bobby Chacon RTD 7 – (3) – 130 – 01/80

Ruben Castillo TKO 11 – (2-) – 126 – 03/80

Rolando Navarrete RTD 4 – (9-) – 126 – 06/80

Jim Watt UD 15* – (C) – 135 – 08/81

Ray Mancini TKO 14 – (10) – 135 – 11/81

Roberto Elizondo KO 7 – (8) – 135 – 12/81

Andy Ganigan KO 5 – (3) – 135 – 07/82

Aaron Pryor TKO by 14 – (C) – 140 – 12/82

Aaron Pryor KO by 10 – (C) – 140 – 10/83

Billy Costello TKO 4 – (3) – 140 – 04/86

 

#21 – Carlos Ortiz 

Career Record: 61-7-1 (30 KOs, 1 KOBY)

First Ring Ranking: #8 Lightweight (July 1958)

Last Ring Ranking: #9 Jr. Welterweight (November 1972)

Record vs. Ring-rated Opponents: 20-7-1 (9 KOs, 1 KOBY)

Overall Score Rank: 21 

Peak Score Rank: 26

Win Total Rank: 33

Ring Magazine Championships: Lightweight (1962-65, 65-68)

During two lightweight title reigns from 1962-1968, Carlos Ortiz defeated fellow hall of famers Joe Brown, Flash Elorde, Ismael Laguna and Sugar Ramos.

Hailing from Puerto Rico, Ortiz was the dominant lightweight of the 1960s with nine title defenses across two title reigns. A talented, strong boxer with an excellent chin, Ortiz was ranked no lower than second in the top 10 from the January 1959 to July 1962 editions and was 7-4 against opposition ranked at lightweight and welterweight when he ended the almost six-year reign of Joe Brown in April 1962. From his second loss to Duilio Loi at junior welterweight in 1961 until losing his first lightweight title to Ismael Laguna in 1965, Ortiz went 12-0 with six wins against ranked opponents in title and non-title affairs.

Ortiz regained the title from Laguna in his next fight and went 5-0-1 in the following six before losing the crown to Carlos Teo Cruz. From the Laguna rematch win to the Cruz defeat, Ortiz faced only one unranked opponent and won a rubber match with Laguna.

Ortiz defeated three No. 1 contenders and was 4-0 against reigning world champions, including two stoppages of junior lightweight champion Flash Elorde. Ortiz successfully defended the lightweight title against Elorde in each of his lightweight title reigns. Ortiz launched a comeback in 1971 and won nine in a row before suffering the lone stoppage loss of his career to former lightweight champion Ken Buchanan.

Missing Quality: The Ring didn’t resume recognition of the junior welterweight division until 1962 but the division was reborn competitively a few years earlier. Ortiz’s 1959 win over Kenny Lane filled the long vacant title and Ortiz retained it twice before losing it to Loi. As Ring didn’t recognize junior welterweight yet in 1960, it counts here as a loss to a rated welterweight. Ortiz’s win over Loi is uncredited with Loi unranked for that fight. History rightly recalls Ortiz as a three-time, two-division world champion.

Scoring Results: 

Joey Lopes UD 10 – (4) – 135 – 06/58

Johnny Busso L 10 – (10) – 135 – 08/58

Johnny Busso UD 10 – (5) – 135 – 11/58

Dave Charnley W 10 – (3) – 135 – 12/58

Kenny Lane L 10 – (1) – 135 – 02/59

Kenny Lane TKO 2 – (1) – 135 – 07/59

Battling Torres KO 10 – (4) – 135 – 03/60

Duilio Loi L 15 – (8+) – 147 – 10/60

Duilio Loi L 15 – (6+) – 147 – 06/61

Douglas Vaillant UD 10 – (3) – 135 – 10/61

Paolo Rosi UD 10 – (8) – 135 – 12/61

Joe Brown UD 15* – (C) – 135 – 06/62

Art Persley UD 10 – (7) – 135 – 09/62

Kazuo Takayama UD 10 – (4-) – 126 – 12/62

Teruo Kosaka KO 5 – (6) – 135 – 01/63

Douglas Vaillant TKO 13 – (3) – 135 – 05/63

Flash Elorde TKO 14 – (C-) – 130 – 03/64

Kenny Lane UD 15 – (1) – 135 – 05/64

Ismael Laguna L 15* – (3) – 135 – 06/65

Ismael Laguna UD 15* – (C) – 135 – 01/66

Nicolino Locche D 10 – (2) – 135 – 05/66

Johnny Bizzarro TKO 12 – (4-) – 130 – 08/66

Sugar Ramos TKO 5 – (9) – 135 – 12/66

Flash Elorde KO 14 – (C-) – 130 – 01/67

Sugar Ramos TKO 4 – (9) – 135 – 08/67

Ismael Laguna UD 15 – (1) – 135 – 10/67

Carlos Teo Cruz L 15* – (1) – 135 – 08/68

Ken Buchanan RTD by 6 – (2-) – 135 – 11/72

***

Click here to read 100-91.

Click here to read 90-81.

Click here to read 80-71.

Click here to read 70-61.

Click here to read 60-51.

Click here to read 50-41.

Click here to read 40-31.

***

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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