View Full Version : Fighters who won their first world title at a weight class that wasn't their best


KnockoutTheFat
05-30-2009, 05:58 PM
Ezzard Charles a top 5 LHW of all-time (some say the #1 LHW of all-time) didn't even win nonetheless get a title shot at his best weight class and instead moved up to HW to win the title there. Who else springs to mind?

CCobra
05-31-2009, 01:11 PM
You could say that many of todays fighters fall into this category. For example Manny Pacquiao won his first championship in the Flyweight category but most will feel he's peeked at the higher weight classes. Many of todays 'multi weight world champions' all started in weight divisions that aren't considered their best but picked up alphabet titles. Perhaps the best example would be, like you've already stated, Ezzard Charles.

Obama
06-01-2009, 11:03 PM
You could say that many of todays fighters fall into this category. For example Manny Pacquiao won his first championship in the Flyweight category but most will feel he's peeked at the higher weight classes. Many of todays 'multi weight world champions' all started in weight divisions that aren't considered their best but picked up alphabet titles. Perhaps the best example would be, like you've already stated, Ezzard Charles.

This is true with a lot of multidivisional guys, but not the greatest ones.

Duran
Whitaker
Leonard
Hearns
Chavez
Mayweather
etc

All at their best in the weight class they won their first title.

Thread Stealer
06-02-2009, 01:05 AM
Henry Armstrong won his first world title @ 126, made the most defenses of his WW title, and did his best work weighing around 135.

Oscar De La Hoya's first title was @ 130 but green there and only fought twice @ 130. He was better at 135 and 140. If you want, you can argue he was actually at his best @ 147 after getting all that experience but simply facing better opposition.

The consensus is that Alexis Arguello's peak weight class was 130, after he had won the title @ 126 from Rockabye Ruben.

BennyST
06-03-2009, 08:20 AM
This is true with a lot of multidivisional guys, but not the greatest ones.

Duran
Whitaker
Leonard
Hearns
Chavez
Mayweather
etc

All at their best in the weight class they won their first title.

The only one you could argue there would be Hearns. Many feel that his best work was done as a JMW. He was often slightly drained as a WW and his stamina was not as good as it was during his JMW reign.

I think his best weight was at 154. He still had incredible speed and power along with his natural size advantage, but the weight he didn't have to cut to make 147 helped his stamina also.

Actually, thinking about Chavez also. His best weight may have been 140 too. A great lightweight but probably had his best run as a 140 pound fighter and peaked there also.

I think the modern method caters to this greatly though. Everyone wants to win titles in lots of weight divisions and the way things are now it actually helps a fighter to do this without too much trouble. A young fighter will often cut a lot of weight with the pre-day weigh ins enabling them to get to weights that aren't really their best weight. When they then hit their peak years around the mid-late twenties/early thirties then the weight becomes harder to cut and the natural weight they are suited to is where they often end up fighting and doing their best work.

The amount of weight divisions also factors into the equation here too. If you were a Flyweight (112) back in days gone by and were going to jump a weight division it would be quite a difference moving up to face someone who would not only be six pounds heavier at bantam (118), but with same day weigh ins they would also be quite a bit larger naturally not having the advantage of cutting weight down to a smaller division. Whereas today you need only move up a few pounds to another division and it doesn't start being overly noticeable until you hit SFW where a jump up becomes five pounds or JWW where a jump up to WW becomes seven.

Often guys around BW will be quite tall (5,6" or so), or at least taller than FlyW's by a decent amount and being able to cut weight with pre fight-day weigh ins allows them to get to a weight in which they can be a lot taller and naturally bigger and end up out-weighing their opponent by significant amounts. They can then move up to FW/LW etc and still be a similar size to the bigger guys.

Check out the Darchinyan/Donaire fight for a recent example. Donaire could end up moving up to FW/SFW without too much trouble at all. Him being young and still able to cut that weight allows him to get down to flyweight and literally tower over his opponents and over his career will also allow him to traverse multiple weight classes up to around LW even if his skills and power enable him to. He would still be similar in size to many LW's as he has a huge reach and is incredibly tall for someone who can make flyweight.

This kind of thing is the future of where boxing lies I think. Champions will no longer stick to one division and rule it for ten years and be considered brilliant. The way things are people will start asking "He wasn't that good. He only ever stayed in one division his whole career. If he was really good he would have moved from lightweight to cruiserweight." Instead fighters will jump various weight classes or start out as low as humanly possible therefore enabling them to cross over numerous divisions fighting whichever champion would be easiest while giving them another title in another weight division supposedly making them comparable to the greatest ever.

Armstrong and Ross' achievements will then be looked upon as quite normal, with very few realising what they actually needed to do to win those titles. It would now be equivalent to someone beating the best champ in each division while jumping the 'extra divisions. Beating Chris John, Juan Manuel Marquez and then Mosley or Cotto would be unheard of, because you didn't have the option of fighting a lesser champ or the bigger name guy who isn't as good. One champ only. No doubt they would have gone through the other divisions as well, which would then give them five divisional titles with the best fighter being beaten in each weight class.

Anyway.....topic for another time.