What exactly do we mean by the best fighters in the world, “pound-for-pound”? And how do we decide who gets to be on the list?
Back in the earliest days of pugilism, weight divisions as we know them today simply didn’t exist. By the early 20th century, boxing’s traditional eight weight classes began to crystalize, and later in the century these grew to the now seventeen recognized divisions we see today. For a fighter operating within the lower weight divisions though, no matter how far he excels himself beyond his peers, it is the heavyweight champion who nevertheless retains the title of ‘Baddest Man on the Planet’. He is the guy on the street who stands aside for no one; he is the bouncer where the buck stops; he is the true ‘King of the Jungle’. He is, after all, the only boxer who can claim the beating of “any man in the world” – in the literal rather than figurative sense.