Boxing

All Time Welterweight Survey: Mayweather Misses the Cut

by Geoffrey Ciani This is the fourth in a series of surveys I have been conducting. In the first survey, we peered into the opinions of long-time boxing fans to make a definitive list of the top ten heavyweights of all time. Although this is a very subjective topic that is skewed by personal bias, differences of opinion, and the absence of a universally agreed upon criteria to judge past fighters, we can still establish some degree of consensus. While contemplating my own list of top heavyweight pugilists, I decided gathering the input of others might help display a more accurate portrayal of what a 'true' top 10 list should look like. Since then I have had similar surveys involving the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions.

In this survey, which included many of the same individuals from the previous three, I polled 43 long-time boxing fans (myself included). My question was simple. I had each person in the survey provide me with a chronological list of who he or she (there was one ‘she’ in the survey—my esteemed colleague from On the Ropes, the exquisite Miss Jenna J) considered to be the ten best welterweights in boxing history.

Ties were not allowed, just a straight-forward list from one to ten.. I then used a weighted scoring system to assign points to fighters based on where they appeared on each individual's list. First place votes received 25 points. Second place votes were worth 15 points, third place votes were worth 12, and fourth and fifth place votes were worth 10 and 8 points respectively. After that, the point differential was constant, with sixth place votes getting 5 points, seventh place votes getting 4, eighth getting 3, ninth place 2, and tenth place 1.

Survey Results

After all of the lists were tabulated with the aforementioned scoring system a total of thirty-five different welterweight boxers received mention. Here is a list of the results. (First place votes are indicated in parenthesis).

1. 1049 Sugar Ray Robinson (41)
2. 524 Sugar Ray Leonard
3. 322 Henry Armstrong
4. 301 Jose Napoles
5. 275 Kid Gavilan
6. 207 Emile Griffith
7. 174 Tommy Hearns
8. 129 Luis Rodriguez
9. 111 Barbados Joe Walcott
10. 87 Mickey Walker
11. 66 Roberto Duran
12. 53 Carmen Basillo
13. 47 Charles Burley
14. 42 Jack Britton
15. 39 Tommy Ryan (1)
16. 26 Sam Langford (1)
17. 25 Pernell Whitaker
18. 24 Don Curry
19. 21 Jimmy Mclarnin
20. 19 [tie] Felix Trinidad
20. 19 [tie] Barney Ross
22. 15 Peter Jackson
23. 12 Ted Kid Lewis
24. 11 Oscar De La Hoya
25. 10 [tie] Jack Dempsey
25. 10 [tie] Pipino Cuevas
27. 8 Miguel Cotto
28. 7 Sugar Shane Mosley
29. 5 [tie] Wilfred Benitez
29. 5 [tie] Carlos Palomino
31. 4 Marlon Sterling
32. 3 Aaron Davis
33. 2 [tie] Isufu Quartey
33. 2 [tie] Jose Lopez
35. 1 Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Here is the distribution of votes.
TOTAL LISTS MADE - NAME - (1st-2nd-3rd-4-5-6-7-8-9-10)

43 Sugar Ray Robinson (41 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0)
42 Sugar Ray Leonard (0 22 8 6 4 0 0 2 0 0)
35 Henry Armstrong (0 10 6 2 3 7 3 2 1 1)
41 Jose Napoles (0 1 7 10 4 10 2 1 3 3)
36 Kid Gavilan (0 2 6 9 4 4 5 1 3 2)
37 Emile Griffith (0 1 1 3 8 5 8 7 4 0)
29 Tommy Hearns (0 1 4 1 6 4 3 2 7 1)
23 Luis Rodriguez (0 0 3 4 0 3 3 7 2 1)
20 Barbados Joe Walcott (0 3 2 1 1 0 0 3 5 5)
15 Mickey Walker (0 1 1 1 4 0 2 0 4 2)
9 Roberto Duran (0 1 0 1 3 1 3 0 0 0)
15 Carmen Basillo (0 0 0 1 1 2 3 1 3 4)
13 Charles Burley (0 0 1 0 1 0 2 4 2 3)
11 Jack Britton (0 0 1 0 0 2 2 3 0 3)
3 Tommy Ryan (1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0)
2 Sam Langford (1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)
7 Pernell Whitaker (0 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 2 0)
7 Don Curry (0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 2 2)
5 Jimmy Mclarnin (0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1)
8 Felix Trinidad (0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 1 3)
4 Barney Ross (0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1)
1 Peter Jackson (0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0)
5 Ted Kid Lewis (0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 4)
4 Oscar De La Hoya (0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1)
1 Jack Dempsey (0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0)
1 Pipino Cuevas (0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0)
1 Miguel Cotto (0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0)
3 Sugar Shane Mosley (0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1)
1 Wilfred Benitez (0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0)
2 Carlos Palomino (0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1)
1 Marlon Sterling (0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0)
1 Aaron Davis (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0)
2 Isufu Quartey (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2)
1 Jose Lopez (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0)
1 Floyd Mayweather Jr. (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)

Was there a consensus?

We still have not had a unanimous consensus in any survey, but this was the closest we have come to reaching one. Sugar Ray Robinson received 41 out of 43 first place votes. That is over 95%. Prior to this survey, Ezzard Charles had received the highest percentage of first place votes, with over 63%. Robinson was dominant in this survey. The two rogue voters who did not choose Robinson as the top dog both had him slated as the third best welterweight of all-time. Those votes inexplicably went to Tommy Ryan and Sam Langford, neither of whom finished anywhere near the overall top ten as far as this survey goes.

Sugar Ray Leonard finished a commanding second place. Nearly 70% of the participants listed him as a top three fighter and 93% pegged him as a top five. Henry Armstrong, Jose Napoles, and Kid Gavilan finished third, fourth, and fifth respectively, with each pugilist finishing in the top five in approximately one out of every two lists submitted. Finishing sixth and seventh was Emile Griffith and Tommy Hearns, each landing a top five spot on about 30% of the lists. Capping off the top ten was Luis Rodriguez, Barbados Joe Walcott, and Mickey Walker. Those three each finished in the top five on 16.3% of the lists of those surveyed.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Floyd Mayweather Junior is often criticized for his lack of competition in recent years since he decided to make the jump to welterweight. As a welterweight, Mayweather holds victories over Shambra Micthell, Zab Judah, Carlos Baldomir, Ricky Hatton, and Juan Manuel Marquez. All in all, his welterweight resume is pretty mediocre. Mitchell was nothing special in the division and had only had one fight there before facing Floyd. Hatton also had just one fight at that weight and that was against Luis Collazo in a fight that proved Hatton had no business fighting as a welterweight. Juan Manuel Marquez was far too small for the division, as well.

That leaves Baldomir and Judah as the only genuine welterweights he ever faced. Judah was an underachiever who, despite being a former undisputed champion, was very inconsistent as evidenced by his loss to the unheralded Baldomir, who in turn became the linear champ at the weight. Although Baldomir may have technically been “the man” when Floyd beat him, few observers considered him a serious threat to Floyd and he was not widely viewed as the best welterweight at the time. While it might be true that welterweight was not Floyd’s best division, it is important to note that he has been in the division for awhile. Since he is still considered the pound for pound king, one would think he should have faced a legitimate welterweight threat by now, such as Shane Mosley or Miguel Cotto.

Mayweather’s reluctance to face the best opposition available may hurt his overall legacy. The same can be said of Roy Jones Junior, who finished outside the top ten in the light heavyweight survey. Mayweather received votes on just one list out of 43, and that was a tenth place vote. Like Jones, Mayweather has all the talent in the world. In fact, he is even more talented, because unlike Jones who primarily relied on reflexes and raw athleticism, Mayweather is actually an outstanding boxer with textbook skills in all areas of the fight game. If he wants to cash in at the gates, he can continue fighting inferior opposition, but if he wants to secure a legacy in the annals of boxing history, he needs to step it up. Fortunately for him, he still has time to prove his greatness.

How does my list compare?

In the heavyweight and light heavyweight surveys nine of the ten boxers from my list appeared in the official results. In the middleweight survey, I was down to eight of ten, which is exactly where I am on this one. Two names from my list differ from that of the official results. Carmen Basillo and Charles Burley were both on my list, while the official results had Barbados Joe Walcott and Mickey Walker there in their place.

1. Sugar Ray Robinson
2. Sugar Ray Leonard
3. Jose Napoles
4. Tommy Hearns
5. Emile Griffith
6. Kid Gavilan
7. Carmen Basilio
8. Luis Rodirguez
9. Henry Armstrong
10. Charles Burley

More Raw Data:

Here is a quick snap-shot at how the votes broke down amongst the top ten:

1. Sugar Ray Robinson
Total Lists: 43 (100%)
First Place: 41 (95.4%)
Top Three: 43 (100%)
Top Five: 43 (100%)
Average Points: 24.4

2. Sugar Ray Leonard
Total Lists: 42 (97.7%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 30 (69.8%)
Top Five: 40 (93%)
Average Points: 12.2

3. Henry Armstrong
Total Lists: 35 (81.4%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 16 (37.2%)
Top Five: 21 (48.8%)
Average Points: 7.5

4. Jose Napoles
Total Lists: 41 (95.4%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 8 (18.6%)
Top Five: 22 (51.1%)
Average Points: 7.0

5. Kid Gavilan
Total Lists: 36 (83.7%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 8 (18.6%)
Top Five: 21 (48.8%)
Average Points: 6.4

6. Emile Griffith
Total Lists: 37 (86.1%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 2 (4.7%)
Top Five: 13 (30.2%)
Average Points: 4.8

7. Tommy Hearns
Total Lists: 29 (67.4%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 5 (11.6%)
Top Five: 12 (27.9%)
Average Points: 4.1

8. Luis Rodriguez
Total Lists: 23 (53.5%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 3 (7%)
Top Five: 7 (16.3%)
Average Points: 3.0

9. Barbados Joe Walcott
Total Lists: 20 (46.5%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 5 (11.6%)
Top Five: 7 (16.3%)
Average Points: 2.6

10. Mickey Walker
Total Lists: 15 (34.9%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 2 (4.7%)
Top Five: 7 (16.3%)
Average Points: 2.0

Next up, the lightweight division!

Going forward, I will continue conducting surveys for all of the original eight weight classes along with a separate list for the best pound-for-pound fighters of all-time. Next up will be the lightweight division.

Past Surveys:

In case you missed the previous surveys:

CLICK HERE to review the results from the heavyweight survey.

CLICK HERE to review the results from the light heavyweight survey.

CLICK HERE to review the results from the middleweight survey.

***

To contact Ciani:
ciani@eastsideboxing.com

To read more by Ciani please visit The Mushroom Mag:
http//www.eatthemushroom.com/mag

To hear more from Ciani, be sure to tune in every Monday at 6pm ET to listen to On the Ropes—the #1 boxing radio program on Blogtalk Radio:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/On-The-Ropes

Article posted on 30.10.2009



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