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Up the classes - who did it best?

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  • Up the classes - who did it best?

    The concept of pound for pound competitiveness has been around for about 60 years, and the Ring has maintained P4P rankings since 1990. This is a nice way to deal in the hypothetical: how would a fighter fare against other top-level boxers if weight class was magically taken out of the equation?

    It's no surprise all-time greats such as Ray Robinson, Harry Greb and Henry Armstrong are often at or near the top of all-time P4P rankings. However, these greats are also famous for having smashed the hypothetical and literally moved up in weight, or simply taken on bigger men, with brutal efficiency.

    Most recently, Vasily Lomachenko has created a lot of buzz by winning belts in 3 divisions at a record rate, but the weight covered is not so spectacular as some past greats.

    In the modern era, we've seen Manny Pacquiao move up more than anyone's share of divisions, and Roy Jones Jr go up and come back down, with varying degrees of success.

    I'd make a case for at least two of the Kings of the late '70s to 1980s. Roberto Durán had already cemented his legacy at lightweight when he proceeded to move up, defeat Ray Leonard, and give Marvelous Marvin Hagler a good run for his money right up at 160 LB. While this list is one of the few where Hagler has no place, let's remember how he was dominating the middleweight division for years, and sometimes considered virtually unbeatable.

    The other of those Kings who moved up a similar amount of weight over his career, and did a great job of it, was Thomas Hearns. He's often remembered for the signature fight against the aforementioned Hagler, those furious few rounds where both fighters traded damage and displayed far more subtle skill than is usually mentioned.

    Hearns was a lanky, rangy young man, who famously worked with Emmanuel Steward to channel his power and develop his skill. Had he managed to remain around the welterweight class, Hearns would have been special, doling out arrays of jabs, controlling head and body with the lead hand, showing a decent inside game, and playing chop-chop with that brutal right hand. The remarkable thing is the Hitman kept his power, enough to give pause all the way up to light heavyweight, where he fought a patient and hard fight against hall-of-famer Virgil Hill.

    I open it to you: who did the best job of moving up and why?

  • #2
    Good post/thread SL.

    I will give it some thought and return with my response to your question.

    But for now Duran, Greb, Floyd, Pac, and possibly a few others were all very, very, good at moving up through the weight classes




    • SuperLight
      SuperLight commented
      Editing a comment
      Knew I could count on you. Look forward to seeing your thoughts.

  • #3
    Michael Spinks (Holmes) and Roy Jones (Ruiz) fighting an opponent 50 pounds bigger than anyone else they ever fought doesn't get the acclaim it should.


    • #4
      Very strong post indeed. When I saw the headline, two fighters jumped quickly to mind -- Bob Fitzsimmons and Roy Jones Jr.


      • #5
        Henry Armstrong


        • #6

          Originally posted by SuperLight

          Knew I could count on you. Look forward to seeing your thoughts.

          Pacquaio is probably the fighter whom will be recognized as being able to successfully move up the most weight divisions.

          It’s hard to deny him a place on the top 10 list; s or no PEDs.

          He is certainly in my top 5 list.

          But that list has some small criteria nuances in it due to the fact that some fighters competed in more weights than Pacquaio, but not as successfully.

          So how do you rate them?

          For instance, Carpenteir competed in all weight divisions (flyweight to heavyweight).

          Pacquaio didn’t.

          But Pacquaio was more successful.

          Mickey Walker and Sam Langford were incredible throughout many different weights too.

          I want to say Harry Greb is probably my number 1.

          As he did (not so much moving up; but fighting) different weight classes different to most other fighters.

          Back in his day moving up 1 weight class was probably equal to 2 or 4 weight classes now.

          Greb didn’t so much as move up a weight class - like most other fighters that will be mentioned here in this excellent thread SL started - he simply stayed where he was and fought them all by giving away weight.

          Greb bashed/beat most heavyweights he fought, whilst still campaigning in the middle weights.

          Some of the heavyweights Greb didn’t fight were not interested in fighting him; and would not accept the challenge.

          Think about that.

          I don’t think there was another fighter like Greb.

          I’ll add more later.