COLUMNS

A much better list

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Weekly Citizen Sports Editor Kyle Riviere.

It wasn't that long ago that Floyd Mayweather, Jr. gave boxing fans his top-five list of the best boxers of all time.

If you guessed that he proclaimed himself as the greatest, give yourself a pat on the back.

The list was a bit of a head-scratcher.

It was already absurd enough having him as the top fighter of all time, but other things on the list were a tad askew as well.

He had Pernell Whitaker ranked No. 3. And in an instance of pure insanity, he had Muhammad Ali at No. 5.

I love boxing, but I'm no boxing expert. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see some of these all-time great fighter from the past.

However, I'm making my top-five list right now, and I guarantee you it will be better than the one Floyd concocted.

At No. 5, I'm going with Roberto Duran.

Duran held titles as a lightweight, welterweight, light middleweight and middleweight.

He won 103 fights throughout his career and headed into the first fight with "Sugar" Ray Leonard at 72-1. And yes, I've ranked him ahead of Leonard.

I know he lost to Leonard in the infamous "No Mas" bout and then lost the rubbermatch nine years later when both men were long over the hill.

Duran was out of shape and was devoid of the hunger and killer instinct that fueled him much of his career in the No Mas fight. Already having been paid prior to the opening bell, motivation wasn't there either.

It was a different story for he and Leonard's fight encounter.

Both men were at their absolute best. The result was Duran winning a unanimous decision that was so brutal on Leonard that he said later on that he thought he was going to die during the course of the fight.

At No. 4, I would go with the "Brown Bomber" Joe Louis.

Louis finished his career at 66-3 and set records for longest title reign at 12 years and most successful title defenses with 25.

Most notably, he knocked out Max Schmeling in the first round of the most important boxing match of all time in 1938.

It was a precursor to World War II--America's great champion versus Nazi Germany's symbol of Aryan superiority. Just think Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago and multiply it by 10.

At No. 3, I would go old school once again and choose Henry Armstrong.

Armstrong won 150 fights throughout his career and won titles as a featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.

He had the greatest year of any fighter in history back in 1937. That year, he went an amazing 23-0 with 22 wins by knockout.

That last victory was a knockout win over Petey Sarron to claim the featherweight championship.

At No. 2, I'm going with "Sugar" Ray Robinson.

Robinson won an amazing 173 fights throughout his illustrious career.

By 1951, he was 128-1-2 and he had gone an amazing 91 straight bouts without tasting defeat.

He had legendary battles with the great Jake LaMotta--winning four of their five matchups.

He beat Armstrong (the No. 3 guy on my list), and he also defeated all-time greats Rocky Graziano and Sammy Angott.

At No. 1, I have to go with Ali.

When it comes to Ali, you can't just look at his boxing career; you also have to look at the impact he made on the country as a voice for the black community during the Civil Rights Movement and a voice of opposition during the Vietnam War.

He was also the inventor of trash talk.

When it does come to his in-ring career, you have to give him so much credit because of the brutal competition he faced. He defeated a "who's who" list of all-time great heavyweights.

He is still the only three-time heavyweight champion.

His list of victories includes the names of: Archie Moore, Sonny Liston, Floyd Patterson, Ernie Terrell, Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and George Foreman.

He shocked the world at the age of 21 as he upset the seemingly invincible Liston to capture his first world title.

Ali's rivalry with Frazier was the greatest in boxing history.

Their first match--though Ali lost--is known as the "Fight of the Century." Their third bout (which Ali won) is called the "Thrilla in Manila" and a fight many consider the greatest of all time.

Of course, Ali's legend was cemented in 1974 when at 32, he upset the undefeated (40-0, 37 knockouts) 25-year-old world champion Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle."

Ali used the brilliant strategy he coined as "Rope-A-Dope" to wear out Forearm as he took repeated shots from the overwhelmingly powerful champion.

By the eighth round, Foreman was exhausted, allowing Ali to knock him out and win his second heavyweight championship.