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50 Greatest Light Heavyweights

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Post by hazharrison Tue 30 Jun 2015, 5:47 pm

http://www.thesweetscience.com/news/articles/21066-the-fifty-greatest-light-heavyweights-of-all-time-part-five-nos-10-1

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Post by TRUSSMAN66 Tue 30 Jun 2015, 6:28 pm

Bob Foster makes the stupid mistake of being born later in the century...

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Post by 88Chris05 Tue 30 Jun 2015, 9:01 pm

As a fighter I love Saad to bits, but he's not a top ten Light-Heavy, even if he is a bit underrated in some quarters. I'm not sure I'd rank him above Galindez in that great era between Foster and Spinks, for instance, and he was cut down emphatically twice by Qawi as well, who isn't a top tenner for me either. Harold Johnson is a better bet for that tenth spot, in my opinion.

Oh, and on the subject of Foster, as Truss alludes to he's a bit too low here. Can't really have him outside the top five.

Greb is tricky to rate at 175. He seldom weighed any more than Super-Middleweight in modern currency but he actually beat more Light-Heavyweight champions than he did Middleweight ones. Bloody good champions too in the shape of Loughran, who Greb dominated albeit Loughran was still a young pup as well as McTigue, Levinsky and Dillon. Not to mention trouncing Tunney and giving him he'll in further fights, of course. On record he's a definite top ten Light-Heavy along with being one of the top two Middleweights ever, but his lack of size and a championship at 175 are curve balls, as is the fact that he'd probably find himself getting a bit of a hiding from some of the other guys listed below despite his achievements within his own era. I can't really leave out someone who beat those kind of names though, almost as a matter of principle! Safe to say that #3 is too high for him, mind you.

1) Charles 2) Moore 3) Spinks 4) Tunney 5) Foster 6) Jones Jr 7) Loughran 8) JH Lewis 9) Harold Johnson 10) Greb
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Post by hazharrison Wed 01 Jul 2015, 7:08 am

I think the fact Foster didn't face another fighter in this top 50 may have been telling.

I think Jones at six is a bit generous. That's the problem with these things - people tend to look more favourably on their favourites.

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Post by 88Chris05 Wed 01 Jul 2015, 9:42 am

I just can't envisage any scenario where Foster could be as low as #8 Haz, regardless of whether or not he beat any of the other guys listed in this top fifty (not seen the rest of the list). Holyfield beat more lineal Heavyweight champions than anyone and probably more truly 'great' Heavies than anyone outside of Ali with his wins over Foreman, Holmes, Bowe and Tyson if you go purely on names, but he's not making anyone's top two at Heavyweight any time soon.

There aren't too many world title holders on Foster's resume but that's largely because he had the two belts at 175 under lock and key from 1968 to 1974 (apart from that brief period where he'd been stripped by the WBA, giving Rondon had his moment before Bob annihilated him), and there was no Super-Middleweight or Cruiserweight either side of the division for the likes of Fourie, Finnegan, Quarry etc to escape to. The sheer level of dominance he had during his peak years along with this huge frame and dimensions, not to mention the fact that he was also just about the hardest hitter in the division's history, has to bump him up a few places for me as well as I just can't see more than five guys who could conceivably start favourite against him.

I wouldn't say Jones is one my favourites, Haz, I just think he was an unbelievable talent who competes well with any Light-Heavyweight in history and beats a lot of them. A fighter doesn't have to be one of your favourites for you to rate them highly.

And if I'm going to rate Foster at #5, it doesn't make sense to have Jones too far behind. Both of them fought in eras where Light-Heavy was a good enough division without it being a particularly great one, but both were utterly dominant against their challengers for half a dozen years or so. Just a couple of differences which keep Roy behind: first off, Foster fought absolutely every worthwhile contender going, whereas Jones missed Michalczewski. Now in general I wouldn't care about Roy not fighting Dariusz, because Michalczewski just wasn't anywhere near the same class and gets an inflated reputation due to his status as Jones' supposed boogeyman, impressive fighter though he was. But if you're comparing Bob and Roy side by side you have to be a bit pernickety given the fine margins separating great fighters.

Secondly, both suddenly started to look a little old at a similar age (of course, Foster had endured a more physically demanding and gruelling career), but when Foster struggled and started to look faded against Ahumada, he saw the signs and quickly vacated the titles and retired, albeit he launched a comeback later with reduced expectations. When Jones struggled against Tarver first time out, he opted to take an instant rematch and got pancaked, parting with his title in more ignominious circumstances than Foster.


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Post by TRUSSMAN66 Wed 01 Jul 2015, 10:13 am

hazharrison wrote:I think the fact Foster didn't face another fighter in this top 50 may have been telling.

I think Jones at six is a bit generous. That's the problem with these things - people tend to look more favourably on their favourites.

Louis gets top marks for longevity in these lists.............Foster gets the middle finger..

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Post by captain carrantuohil Wed 01 Jul 2015, 10:40 am

Like Chris, I have Foster at 5; his dominance, like that of his contemporary Monzon at middleweight allows for little argument, I believe, despite the fact that there wasn't the extraordinary plethora of riches at 175 in Bob's time that Charles and Moore had to battle through.

Likewise with Jones - I'm again in line with Chris in making him number 6, using similar logic to that employed with Foster. The problems come with men like Greb and Langford. If we're going to rate Greb as a light-heavy, then he deserves an enormously high ranking. I used to muck about with him at 175, placing him at 11 and saying to myself that he would have been much higher if he hadn't been basically a middleweight good enough to beat all-time great light-heavies. It wasn't very sound thinking, in retrospect. Colonial Lion (much missed on these boards) solved the riddle by simply ranking Greb as a middle and using the caveat that if one chose to rank Greb at all at 175, it couldn't be much lower than at 5 or 6. I've shamelessly copied his example.

Langford is almost impossible to rate in each individual division for similar reasons, albeit that he figures at 7 or 8 in my all-time p for p list. However, it may be that 175 is the best place  for him to figure in a divisional sense - again, if one does, he must be a top-tenner and I'm inclined to find space for him in this fabulous weight class. The other man whose absence slightly perturbs me is Conn. Terrific record at 175 and I think that his consistency at the weight might give him the call over someone like Saad.

Possibly therefore, I would go for something like: 1) Charles 2) Moore 3) Tunney 4) Spinks 5) Foster 6) Jones Jr 7) Loughran 8) JH Lewis 9) Langford 10) Conn, with Greb omitted for the above reasons and Johnson the next cab off the rank, very close to Conn.

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Post by hazharrison Wed 01 Jul 2015, 12:30 pm

88Chris05 wrote:I just can't envisage any scenario where Foster could be as low as #8 Haz, regardless of whether or not he beat any of the other guys listed in this top fifty (not seen the rest of the list). Holyfield beat more lineal Heavyweight champions than anyone and probably more truly 'great' Heavies than anyone outside of Ali with his wins over Foreman, Holmes, Bowe and Tyson if you go purely on names, but he's not making anyone's top two at Heavyweight any time soon.

There aren't too many world title holders on Foster's resume but that's largely because he had the two belts at 175 under lock and key from 1968 to 1974 (apart from that brief period where he'd been stripped by the WBA, giving Rondon had his moment before Bob annihilated him), and there was no Super-Middleweight or Cruiserweight either side of the division for the likes of Fourie, Finnegan, Quarry etc to escape to. The sheer level of dominance he had during his peak years along with this huge frame and dimensions, not to mention the fact that he was also just about the hardest hitter in the division's history, has to bump him up a few places for me as well as I just can't see more than five guys who could conceivably start favourite against him.

I wouldn't say Jones is one my favourites, Haz, I just think he was an unbelievable talent who competes well with any Light-Heavyweight in history and beats a lot of them. A fighter doesn't have to be one of your favourites for you to rate them highly.

And if I'm going to rate Foster at #5, it doesn't make sense to have Jones too far behind. Both of them fought in eras where Light-Heavy was a good enough division without it being a particularly great one, but both were utterly dominant against their challengers for half a dozen years or so. Just a couple of differences which keep Roy behind: first off, Foster fought absolutely every worthwhile contender going, whereas Jones missed Michalczewski. Now in general I wouldn't care about Roy not fighting Dariusz, because Michalczewski just wasn't anywhere near the same class and gets an inflated reputation due to his status as Jones' supposed boogeyman, impressive fighter though he was. But if you're comparing Bob and Roy side by side you have to be a bit pernickety given the fine margins separating great fighters.

Secondly, both suddenly started to look a little old at a similar age (of course, Foster had endured a more physically demanding and gruelling career), but when Foster struggled and started to look faded against Ahumada, he saw the signs and quickly vacated the titles and retired, albeit he launched a comeback later with reduced expectations. When Jones struggled against Tarver first time out, he opted to take an instant rematch and got pancaked, parting with his title in more ignominious circumstances than Foster.

He appears to have placed most emphasis on quality of opposition - possibly where both men fall down. I'd have to mark Jones further down than Foster in that regard (which he has to be fair). Jones's light heavy competition wasn't great. Some of that was down to the fact no-one wanted to fight him (I remember McCallum stepping up when Roy couldn't find an opponent), the rest down to Jones being a bit of a prima donna at the negotiating table (and refusing to travel).

Jones was something of a reluctant warrior as a light heavy. The plight of McClellan affected Jones profoundly. I always wondered whether there was something behind that. He was a freak of nature - did he feel he might cause similar damage to someone down at 168 (where he often looked other-worldly?) Or was there more to that ripped fuel fiasco than we know (for now at least)?

Perhaps we scrutinise fighters like Jones because we know him better than the others after living through his career? There's that I guess.

If I were to rate Jones, I'd give him a shot with any light heavy in history (he'd be unlikely to start as underdog against anyone) but, as id the case when rating Hearns in an all-time sense, you have to go with a guy's record. Who did he fight, who did he beat and how did he do it.


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Post by 88Chris05 Wed 01 Jul 2015, 2:22 pm

I don't really think Foster's opposition was particularly better than Jones' at 175, Haz. Very narrow edge to Foster at best. As I said, I'd put it more down to the fact that, unlike Jones, he didn't have somebody else who he never beat modelling themselves as a world champion throughout his reign and the fact that he bowed out (at least initially) as champion with an unbeaten record in Light-Heavy title fights before the new kids on the block such as Conteh and Galindez took advantage of his decline and chucked him off his throne, again unlike Jones.

I'd make Foster's win over Tiger better than Jones' over McCallum due to Tiger still being the champion at 175 (albeit he weighed in as a Super-Middle) and because of the stunning nature of the knockout, whereas Jones went through the motions a bit against McCallum, but both Tiger and McCallum were about to hit forty at the time and were never natural Light-Heavies. Neither of them had much left at that point. Tiger's was better, but they're wins of a largely similar ilk.

Outside of that, Cotton (long in the tooth when Foster beat him), Hank, Rondon, Finnegan, Fourie etc don't read markedly better than Griffin, Hill, Reggie Johnson, Tarver (Roy did gut it out to win a deserved decision in their first fight, don't forget), Harding etc, for me. I think you'd have to nitpick and examine each man to the extreme if you wanted to present a case that the first group represents a clear better quality than the second, or vice versa.

On the other points, Jones definitely carried a few opponents to the final bell / for way too long after flooring them multiple times (Johnson, Hall, Gonzalez etc) when he could have stepped on the gas, got a bit nastier and finished the job in more style, but as you say he referenced the McClellan thing a few times when defending himself against this, saying he had no desire to see an opponent rendered totally unconscious or suffering any long-lasting effects after the fight. He claimed that, watching the Pazienza fight back afterwards (which wasn't long after McClellan-Benn at all), he actually frightened himself on film and realised that he could have potentially hurt Pazienza badly, which altered his approach.

Normally I don't pay too much attention to fighters explaining away subdued / average performances on the basis of fighting to the level of their opponent, not wanting to hurt them too much etc, but when you see the difference in Jones attitude and approach from the first Griffin fight to the rematch, you start thinking that's one case where you could definitely believe it. Quite a few fans and writers hoped that the back-to-back blowouts of Griffin and Hill was the dawning of a new, more clinical and unforgiving Jones, but it didn't last.
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Post by Atila Wed 01 Jul 2015, 4:33 pm

TRUSSMAN66 wrote:
hazharrison wrote:I think the fact Foster didn't face another fighter in this top 50 may have been telling.

I think Jones at six is a bit generous. That's the problem with these things - people tend to look more favourably on their favourites.

Louis gets top marks for longevity in these lists.............Foster gets the middle finger..
Louis also gets top marks because he beat six heavyweight champions. It may not mean much these days as people like to pick holes in the records of Schmeling, Braddock, Walcott, Baer, Sharkey and Carnera but back then, it meant a lot.

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Post by Rowley Thu 02 Jul 2015, 1:22 pm

As a couple of our more esteemed members have offered up lists, both of which exclude him feel it falls to me to make the case for Jimmy Bivins’ inclusion for the top ten. Most of us on here have Charles and Moore as one and two, a view I totally echo I should say. The first argument for Jimmy’s inclusion is he holds wins over both of those guys, have not put too much thought into this statement but are there any other guys in other divisions with wins over the consensus top two in the division who finds himself outside the top ten? I would have to suspect not.
 
The counter to these two wins is that Jimmy was to go on to drop a few losses to them post this. However to this I would argue Greb did likewise with Tunney but we have seen the Tunney win put forward as an argument for Harry’s inclusion and from what I have read Ezzard’s loss to Bivins was every bit as dominant as Harry’s win over Gene, albeit not as brutal a spectacle. Add into that wins over Marshall, Maxi, Bettina and Christofolidis and for me Jimmy has more than enough in his ledger to warrant a place in the top ten. Have said this before but Jimmy’s run of results and level of opposition during the early 40’s stands favourable comparison with any run any fighter can boast.

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Post by TRUSSMAN66 Thu 02 Jul 2015, 1:33 pm

Atila wrote:
TRUSSMAN66 wrote:
hazharrison wrote:I think the fact Foster didn't face another fighter in this top 50 may have been telling.

I think Jones at six is a bit generous. That's the problem with these things - people tend to look more favourably on their favourites.

Louis gets top marks for longevity in these lists.............Foster gets the middle finger..
Louis also gets top marks because he beat six heavyweight champions. It may not mean much these days as people like to pick holes in the records of Schmeling, Braddock, Walcott, Baer, Sharkey and Carnera but back then, it meant a lot.

Tyson beat 9 If you want to include Botha.............which I won't..

Tucker, Spinks, Smith, Holmes, Bruno, Seldon, Thomas, Tubbs,................Including "five reigning ones...."

He isn't in many top 10 lists....and those fighters were better than Jack Sharkey, Braddock and Primo..


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Post by 88Chris05 Thu 02 Jul 2015, 1:42 pm

Rowley, on a different day I could easily have Bivins at 9 or 10, and I have done in previous lists - I think he's right on the cusp. If I took the captain's approach and just decided to leave Greb out and consider him only at Middle, then Bivins would be the one who'd have got his place as I'd put him ahead of Conn, personally.

You've made a good case for him to be a clear top tenner rather than a borderline one, though.
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Post by hazharrison Thu 02 Jul 2015, 2:01 pm

Rowley wrote:As a couple of our more esteemed members have offered up lists, both of which exclude him feel it falls to me to make the case for Jimmy Bivins’ inclusion for the top ten. Most of us on here have Charles and Moore as one and two, a view I totally echo I should say. The first argument for Jimmy’s inclusion is he holds wins over both of those guys, have not put too much thought into this statement but are there any other guys in other divisions with wins over the consensus top two in the division who finds himself outside the top ten? I would have to suspect not.
 
The counter to these two wins is that Jimmy was to go on to drop a few losses to them post this. However to this I would argue Greb did likewise with Tunney but we have seen the Tunney win put forward as an argument for Harry’s inclusion and from what I have read Ezzard’s loss to Bivins was every bit as dominant as Harry’s win over Gene, albeit not as brutal a spectacle. Add into that wins over Marshall, Maxi, Bettina and Christofolidis and for me Jimmy has more than enough in his ledger to warrant a place in the top ten. Have said this before but Jimmy’s run of results and level of opposition during the early 40’s stands favourable comparison with any run any fighter can boast.

He's number nine on the original list posted. Dropped Charles seven times? Wow. Wins over Lesnevich and Soose also.

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Post by hazharrison Thu 02 Jul 2015, 2:02 pm

TRUSSMAN66 wrote:
Atila wrote:
TRUSSMAN66 wrote:
hazharrison wrote:I think the fact Foster didn't face another fighter in this top 50 may have been telling.

I think Jones at six is a bit generous. That's the problem with these things - people tend to look more favourably on their favourites.

Louis gets top marks for longevity in these lists.............Foster gets the middle finger..
Louis also gets top marks because he beat six heavyweight champions. It may not mean much these days as people like to pick holes in the records of Schmeling, Braddock, Walcott, Baer, Sharkey and Carnera but back then, it meant a lot.

Tyson beat 9 If you want to include Botha.............which I won't..

Tucker, Spinks, Smith, Holmes, Bruno, Seldon, Thomas, Tubbs,................Including "five reigning ones...."

He isn't in many top 10 lists....and those fighters were better than Jack Sharkey, Braddock and Primo..

Only two of whom were champions - Spinks and Holmes.

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Post by captain carrantuohil Thu 02 Jul 2015, 2:25 pm

You're right Jeff, completely so. Bad oversight on my part and Bivins is in at 10, with Conn joining Johnson just outside the top line. Such an extraordinary division.

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