Who was the greatest ever 168 pound, or super-middleweight, champion? Most fans may say Roy Jones Junior, others Andre Ward. While others still may say Joe Calzaghe deserves the distinction, or maybe Sugar Ray Leonard. Well, the WBC has just listed its ten greatest super-middleweight champions: the Top-10 finest 168 pounders to have worn the illustrious green belt.
Like with all lists of this kind, no way will everyone be happy, but here is the WBC Top-10:
1: Sugar Ray Leonard
2: Joe Calzaghe
3: Nigel Benn
4: Andre Ward
5: Markus Beyer
6: Carl Froch
7: Mikkel Kessler
8: Robin Reid
9: Danny Green
10: Eric Lucas
Well, what do you make of that? Fans are almost certain to complain over the way Nigel Benn is ranked above Andre Ward, or the way Joe Calzaghe and Sugar Ray are ranked above the unbeaten, now retired Ward. Calzaghe, who also called it quits without ever having tasted a loss, maybe, and maybe the great Sugar Ray Leonard should be ranked above Ward. Still, chances are big many fans will not agree with such thinking.
Leonard, unquestionably an all time great welterweight and middleweight, actually only had three fights at super-middleweight; all three of them WBC title fights. Leonard beat Donny Lalonde to claim the newly minted WBC belt at the weight (as well as taking Lalonde’s WBC light-heavyweight title, this 1988 fight being the catch-weight fight of all catch-weight fights!), he then drew with arch-rival Thomas Hearns (in a great fight yes, but one most felt Hearns had clearly won and was robbed of his long sought after revenge) and “Sugar” then decisioned another face from the past in Roberto Duran, who he soundly defeated in his third and final bout at 168.
Is this enough for Leonard to be ranked as THE best ever WBC champion at the weight? Calzaghe boxed a number of big fights at 168, never once losing – his wins over Kessler, Jeff Lacy and Chris Eubank being very special. Ward-Calzaghe would have been one helluva fight, and the debate over which fighter deserves to be ranked higher remains a popular one.
British warrior Benn was a truly courageous fighter and his win over Gerald McClellan and his draw with Eubank (with most people feeling Benn had done enough to have avenged his middleweight loss to Eubank) earn him much praise and fan affection. But is Benn deserving of being rated higher than both Ward and Froch in this particular list?
Again, no list of this kind can possibly please all, but the WBC Top-10 of their super-middleweight champions is sure to anger more than a few fight fans.
(Note, neither Roy Jones nor James Toney, though world champions at 168, actually held the WBC crown at super-middleweight.)