The Ten Greatest Cruiserweights: Does Anyone Really Care?


25.11.05 – By Jim Amato: The cruiserweight division was born on March 31, 1980. In its twenty five year existence it has failed to really capture the boxing fans imagination. The heavyweights of today are monsters and if the cruiserweight division was not really needed at it’s inception. It’s needed now. Marvin Camel became a footnote in history when he outpointed Mate Parlov over fifteen ( Yes, fifteen, the true championship limit ) rounds on that March day in 1980. Since that time, only a handful of fighters have stirred public interst in this mostly ignored weight class.

Picking the top three boxers at cruiserweight over the last twenty five years was pretty easy. Number # 1 is, without a doubt, Evander Holyfield. He first won a piece of the crown during his classic encounter with Dwight Qawi. This was truly a great fight. Evander would later stop Qawi in a rematch while proceeding to clean out the division. He beat Rickey Parkey and Carlos DeLeon to unify the titles. He also found time to halt the respected former titleholder Ossie Ocasio.

Number # 2 is Qawi. I feel only Holyfield would have been able to handle him when he was champion of this class. After his second loss to Holyfield he began to fade.

Number # 3 would be Carlos DeLeon. Carlos was very agile for a big man and was a clever boxer. He won the crown on four diferrent occasions, beating Camel, S.T.Gordon, who had scored a previous upset knockout over Carlos Deleon. He beat Bernard Benton for his third title and finally Sammy Reeson to reclaim the title after Holyfield moved up to heavyweight.

Rounding out the next seven choices was a little more difficult. Here goes:

4. James Toney

5. Ossie Ocasio

6. Nate Miller

7. Orlin Norris

8. Alfonso Ratliff

9. Juan Carlos Gomez

10. Jean Marc Mormeck

Honorable mentions to: Vassily Jirov, Bernard Benton and LeeRoy Murphy. Youngstown, Ohio’s Jeff Lampkin falls into the “What could have been” category.

Mr. Mormeck has the potential to stir up some serious interest but first he has to get by a rugged test in his bout with O’Neil Bell. We’ll soon see.