View Full Version : Billion $ point contest- Nat Fleischer's All-Time Top 10 list


Terry A
06-17-2011, 05:02 PM
Mr. Nat Fleischer was a very important figure in boxing history. As founder of "The Ring" magazine, he's often credited or cited as a preeminent boxing historian. I say, there's a difference between being the founder of an outstanding publication and a boxing historian.

Arthur Mercante is a great referee. Is he also a great boxing historian?

My point being that just because you may excel at one area in the fight sport does NOT make you a boxing historian.

Here's a list of Nat's All-Time Top 10 list that was published in 1972, the year he died. Keep in mind that any fighter who fought up to 1972 would be eligible for inclusion in his ratings.

What are some of your opinions of his rankings? See anybody missing?

Heavyweights:
1 - Jack Johnson
2 - James J. Jeffries
3 - Bob Fitzsimmons
4 - Jack Dempsey
5 - James J. Corbett
6 - Joe Louis
7 - Sam Langford
8 - Gene Tunney
9 - Max Schmeling
10- Rocky Marciano

Light Heavyweights:
1 - Kid McCoy
2 - Philadelphia Jack O'Brian
3 - Jack Dillon
4 - Tommy Loughran
5 - Jack Root
6 - Battling Levensky
7 - Georges Carpentier
8 - Tom Gibbons
9 - Jack Delaney
10- Paul Berlenbach

Middleweights:
1 - Stanley Ketchell
2 - Tommy Ryan
3 - Harry Greb
4 - Mickey Walker
5 - Ray Robinson
6 - Frank Klaus
7 - Billy Papke
8 - Les Darcy
9 - Mike Gibbons
10- Jeff Smith

Welterweights:
1 - Joe Walcott
2 - Mysterious Billy Smith
3 - Jack Britton
4 - Ted Kid Lewis
5 - Dixie Kid
6 - Harry Lewis
7 - Willie Lewis
8 - Henry Armstrong
9 - Barney Ross
10- Jimmy McLarnin

Lightweights:
1 - Joe Gans
2 - Benny Leonard
3 - Owen Moran
4 - Freddy Welsh
5 - Battling Nelson
6 - George Kid Lavigne
7 - Tony Canzoneri
8 - Willie Ritchie
9 - Lew Tendler
10- Ad Wolgast

Featherweights:
1 - Terry McGovern
2 - Jim Driscoll
3 - Abe Attell
4 - Willie Pep
5 - Johnny Dundee
6 - Young Griffo
7 - Johnny Kilbane
8 - Kid Chocolate
9 - George K.O. Chaney
10- Louis Kid Kaplan

Bantamweights:
1 - George Dixon
2 - Pete Herman
3 - Kid Williams
4 - Eder Jofre
5 - Joe Lynch
6 - Bud Taylor
7 - Johnny Coulon
8 - Frankie Burns
9 - Eddie Campi
10- Panama Al Brown

Flyweight:
1 - Jimmy Wilde
2 - Pancho Villa
3 - Frankie Genaro
4 - Fidel La Barba
5 - Benny Lynch
6 - Elky Clark
7 - Johnny Buff
8 - Midget Wolgast
9 - Peter Kane
10- Pascual Perez

(From the 1972 edition of The Ring Record Book and Boxing Encyclopedia)

New England
06-17-2011, 05:25 PM
wild lists lol!

if i remember correctly he said bonavena was the most powerful man he ever saw

IronDanHamza
06-17-2011, 05:51 PM
I disagree with alot of his lists especially having Joe Louis ridiculously low. in his Heavyweight list

An interesting point is his Middleweight ranking of Stanley Ketchel.

Scott and Poet pointed out a good point in another thread that he seems to have become underrated in recent years.

Maybe Nat's list supports that theory?

Some of his listings aren't all bad but some are just outrageous.

He has Wilde ranked at #1 at Flyweight something I agree with and I understand his ranking of Gans, for example.

Then he has Armstrong criminally low at WW considering who is above him.

By all means, Lewis and Britton are ATG's but at #3 and #4? No chance.

NChristo
06-17-2011, 06:00 PM
Disagree with most of them , obviously, but I quite like his Bantam list, order could do with a change and I don't get how Manuel Ortiz isn't in there, his Flyweight list seems reasonable as well.

Rest of the lists ?, god knows what was going through the mans head.

IronDanHamza
06-17-2011, 06:23 PM
Disagree with most of them , obviously, but I quite like his Bantam list, order could do with a change and I don't get how Manuel Ortiz isn't in there, his Flyweight list seems reasonable as well.

Rest of the lists ?, god knows what was going through the mans head.

I also noticed that.

Manuel Ortiz is one of my favourite fighters and my favourite Bantamweight.

I feel he is underrated even today let alone on this.

I'm also over the moon with the inclusion of Freddie Welsh in his Lightweight list, but #4? Good lord.

Scott9945
06-17-2011, 09:38 PM
Fleischer made those ratings well before 1972 and never bothered (or felt the need I suppose) to update them. Some of them seem bizzare, but one thing about Fleischer is that he actually saw almost all of these guys fight in person. You can't accuse him of using Boxrec or Youtube as his sources.

Terry A
06-17-2011, 09:45 PM
Ezzard Charles & Archie Moore & Gene Tunney & Bob Foster are missing from the 175 lb list. That's way beyond ludicrous! How is that even possible?

His heavyweight ratings are just as bad as his light heavyweight rankings. Ali is no where to be found. James J. Corbett over Joe Louis? Over Sonny Liston, who's also no where to be found. Joe Frazier was unbeaten in 1972, fresh off a W15 over Ali. Not even on his list. James J. Corbett over a 1971-1972 Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali???

Bob Fitzsimmons over Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Liston, Marciano & Ali???

Tommy Ryan over Harry Greb, Mickey Walker & Ray Robinson???

As Iron Dan pointed out.....Henry Armstrong at #8 welterweight???

He was a great publisher. He would have starved & slept in the streets f he bet according to his own lists.

But because of his affiliation with "The Ring", lots of people think he's a boxing genius.

IronDanHamza
06-18-2011, 08:01 AM
Ezzard Charles & Archie Moore & Gene Tunney & Bob Foster are missing from the 175 lb list. That's way beyond ludicrous! How is that even possible?

His heavyweight ratings are just as bad as his light heavyweight rankings. Ali is no where to be found. James J. Corbett over Joe Louis? Over Sonny Liston, who's also no where to be found. Joe Frazier was unbeaten in 1972, fresh off a W15 over Ali. Not even on his list. James J. Corbett over a 1971-1972 Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali???

Bob Fitzsimmons over Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Liston, Marciano & Ali???

Tommy Ryan over Harry Greb, Mickey Walker & Ray Robinson???

As Iron Dan pointed out.....Henry Armstrong at #8 welterweight???

He was a great publisher. He would have starved & slept in the streets f he bet according to his own lists.

But because of his affiliation with "The Ring", lots of people think he's a boxing genius.

I don't think he has Tunney ranked at LHW because he is only ranking a fighter in 1 division and he has him at HW.

I think that's the case considering he doesn't have Robinson at WW or Armstrong at LW for example.

How he doesn't have Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore or Bob Foster (or Harold Johnson :D ) in his LHW I just do not know. I mean, I don't know what he's thinking there.

Considering Charles has one of the all time resumes IMO how he is't including in a single list is simply preposterous in my view.

The majority of his rankings are pretty wacky, to say the least.

Great John L
06-18-2011, 11:00 AM
I'm only gonna comment on his heavyweight list because that often gets the most controversy. Granted we don't have much footage of the older fighters, we know for sure the skills of Dempsey, Louis, Marciano, would smash Fitzsimmons, who wasn't a real heavyweight, and Corbett, who may have been rather scientific for his time, but still lacking reliable film. Jeffries was viewed as the top guy because he twice beat Corbett and Fitzsimmons, who were the best fighters around at the time, but pale to some of the more recent fighters. I doubt Jeffries could handle the Heavyweights like Frazier, Louis, Ali, or Tyson.

The Surgeon
06-18-2011, 11:22 AM
Wow....... Some of that was pretty shocking

Terrible lists.

But because of who he is some guys will quote his opinions to u in debates as if because it came from him they were out and out facts

The mans name carries alot of weight and u have to respect the fact that he actually saw all these guys fight but to me magazines are his strong point - lists are Not!

Greatest1942
06-20-2011, 07:21 AM
Ezzard Charles & Archie Moore & Gene Tunney & Bob Foster are missing from the 175 lb list. That's way beyond ludicrous! How is that even possible?

His heavyweight ratings are just as bad as his light heavyweight rankings. Ali is no where to be found. James J. Corbett over Joe Louis? Over Sonny Liston, who's also no where to be found. Joe Frazier was unbeaten in 1972, fresh off a W15 over Ali. Not even on his list. James J. Corbett over a 1971-1972 Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali???

Bob Fitzsimmons over Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Liston, Marciano & Ali???

Tommy Ryan over Harry Greb, Mickey Walker & Ray Robinson???

As Iron Dan pointed out.....Henry Armstrong at #8 welterweight???

He was a great publisher. He would have starved & slept in the streets f he bet according to his own lists.

But because of his affiliation with "The Ring", lots of people think he's a boxing genius.

You are right on most counts, but Nat saw till teh defeat of Ali at the hands of Frazier. Take a time machine and stop at that.Ali does not yet have the Frazier or Foreman victories. How high will you rank him...Ali went to do soem great things after 1971 ..I dont think around 1972 many would have him in top 3 .

BattlingNelson
06-20-2011, 07:48 AM
Fleischer made those ratings well before 1972 and never bothered (or felt the need I suppose) to update them. Some of them seem bizzare, but one thing about Fleischer is that he actually saw almost all of these guys fight in person. You can't accuse him of using Boxrec or Youtube as his sources.
That's the key. Contrary to most other 'historians', Fleischer saw them all from ringside.

It is odd that Ezzard Charles is missing though and generally his LHW rankings seems completely off.

What I take note off as well is how he ranks Gans and Leonard. There's always a debate in regards to who of those (or Duran) who's the greatest LW and Fleischer saw them both and picked the old master. I wonder if Fleischer commented on his picks in general and this pick in particular?

BattlingNelson
06-20-2011, 08:14 AM
A fine article on Fleischer from sportsillustrated can be read here:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1134974/1/index.htm



"I've always stuck to the oldtimers because I saw them," Fleischer says. "They are fellows who were far superior to the boys today. In recent years their equals were Willie Pep, Tony Canzoneri, Lou Ambers, Jimmy McLarnin and fellows like Rocky Marciano on his heavy hitting, not as a boxer. These fellows are more like the oldtimers in that they possessed combinations." In Fleischer's alltime rankings, which list 10 men in each of the eight weight divisions, it is rare to find a man who boxed into the '40s; there are but 11, and only one is rated higher than fifth***8212;Jack Dempsey, who had three bouts in 1940 after an eight-year layoff.




"Feinting today," continues Fleischer, "is absolutely a lost art. The last man to feint well was Benny Leonard. [He retired undefeated in 1925, making a brief comeback in 1931-2.] I don't think the technique of boxing has advanced since 1940. Today they do not go in for the development of science but for the pell-mell mix, trying to batter a man down, score heavy hits at the expense of ring cleverness. I attribute this wholly to TV. The sponsors want an action fighter. The public hisses and boos boxers performing a clever piece of work. I remember the days when you saw a beautiful machine out in the field there and you loved it. Nobody hissed Tommy Loughran! Now the public has been educated to demand ring action of a gory spirit. Any of the clever boys of the past would stand the fighters of today on their ears.

SCtrojansbaby
06-20-2011, 10:07 AM
A fine article on Fleischer from sportsillustrated can be read here:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1134974/1/index.htm

A fine article on Fleischer from sportsillustrated can be read here:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...74/1/index.htm



Quote:
"I've always stuck to the oldtimers because I saw them," Fleischer says. "They are fellows who were far superior to the boys today. In recent years their equals were Willie Pep, Tony Canzoneri, Lou Ambers, Jimmy McLarnin and fellows like Rocky Marciano on his heavy hitting, not as a boxer. These fellows are more like the oldtimers in that they possessed combinations." In Fleischer's alltime rankings, which list 10 men in each of the eight weight divisions, it is rare to find a man who boxed into the '40s; there are but 11, and only one is rated higher than fifth—Jack Dempsey, who had three bouts in 1940 after an eight-year layoff.

Quote:
"Feinting today," continues Fleischer, "is absolutely a lost art. The last man to feint well was Benny Leonard. [He retired undefeated in 1925, making a brief comeback in 1931-2.] I don't think the technique of boxing has advanced since 1940. Today they do not go in for the development of science but for the pell-mell mix, trying to batter a man down, score heavy hits at the expense of ring cleverness. I attribute this wholly to TV. The sponsors want an action fighter. The public hisses and boos boxers performing a clever piece of work. I remember the days when you saw a beautiful machine out in the field there and you loved it. Nobody hissed Tommy Loughran! Now the public has been educated to demand ring action of a gory spirit. Any of the clever boys of the past would stand the fighters of today on their ears.





LOL he sounds like most of the people here who can't speak objectively about fighters from the 90s and 2000s. Its the same older=better logic

BattlingNelson
06-20-2011, 10:21 AM
LOL he sounds like most of the people here who can't speak objectively about fighters from the 90s and 2000s. Its the same older=better logic
You'll probably be like that yourself when you grow up.

SCtrojansbaby
06-20-2011, 10:34 AM
You'll probably be like that yourself when you grow up.

Being a little bias towards the athletes you grew up watching is natural, being bias towards fighter who died before you were born is the older always = better stupidity that runs rampant on these forums

$BloodyNate$
06-20-2011, 11:22 AM
There is no question Sugar Ray Robinson is the greatest welterweight of all time. Can't believe he didn't even make the list.

Ziggy Stardust
06-20-2011, 11:36 AM
Being a little bias towards the athletes you grew up watching is natural, being bias towards fighter who died before you were born is the older always = better stupidity that runs rampant on these forums

As opposed to the newer always = better tripe that you and your ilk put out? You have absolutely no room to talk since your just drinking the KoolAid from the opposite side of the same cup :rolleyes9:

Poet

JAB5239
06-20-2011, 05:40 PM
LOL he sounds like most of the people here who can't speak objectively about fighters from the 90s and 2000s. Its the same older=better logic

You do know he died in 72, right? Can you prove he is wrong on many of the things he says? What exactly makes today's fighters comparable to those who fought more, against better comp, with same day weigh ins, less titles and more professional fighters?

JAB5239
06-20-2011, 05:43 PM
Being a little bias towards the athletes you grew up watching is natural, being bias towards fighter who died before you were born is the older always = better stupidity that runs rampant on these forums

Trust me, you've got the best stupidity going in the history section lately! :fing02:

McGoorty
07-23-2011, 09:21 AM
As opposed to the newer always = better tripe that you and your ilk put out? You have absolutely no room to talk since your just drinking the KoolAid from the opposite side of the same cup :rolleyes9:

Poet
Well said, who are we to argue with Fleischer I would disagree myself for the order of some of them and a notable few I think have to be there but most of the names are there by right. Some people make lists of "" ALL TIME Top 100 fighters P4P " which would seem to suggest a list that represents ALL M.Q.R. boxing history, i.e. you go decade by decade but I've seen so many lists with 93 guys from the last 25 years and grudgingly name the 6 or 7 names they can remember, thinkin,' look at stupid old Granddad look how slow he moves, HOW COULD he be a fighter, you know the dummies only had Black and whi.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, I laugh very hard, can you figure 'em out,.... I wonder how they'd go as Vikings a Thousand years ago,..... It stands to reason that in times gone by, men were very very HARD..... some of these kiddies are already back, on their X-BOX

GJC
07-23-2011, 10:12 AM
That's the key. Contrary to most other 'historians', Fleischer saw them all from ringside.


To a point, but seeing and appreciating are not necessarily the same thing. I've seen the Mona Lisa up close and it did zero for me.
I've seen quite a few journalists and commentators down the years who have been put onto a sport with zero background or knowledge or even love for it, and after a few years become the voice of football/boxing or some such nonsense. Opportunity doesn't always equate to any special knowledge. I would sooner listen to your take/opinion of a fight you've seen on TV Battles than say Bert Sugar's opinion from ringside.
You also have to take into account a journalists opinion of a fighter is no less likely to be non partisan than anyone else's.
Might also be coloured by how helpful a fighter is with interviews etc?

McGoorty
07-23-2011, 10:42 AM
Mr. Nat Fleischer was a very important figure in boxing history. As founder of "The Ring" magazine, he's often credited or cited as a preeminent boxing historian. I say, there's a difference between being the founder of an outstanding publication and a boxing historian.

Arthur Mercante is a great referee. Is he also a great boxing historian?

My point being that just because you may excel at one area in the fight sport does NOT make you a boxing historian.

Here's a list of Nat's All-Time Top 10 list that was published in 1972, the year he died. Keep in mind that any fighter who fought up to 1972 would be eligible for inclusion in his ratings.

What are some of your opinions of his rankings? See anybody missing?

Heavyweights:
1 - Jack Johnson
2 - James J. Jeffries
3 - Bob Fitzsimmons
4 - Jack Dempsey
5 - James J. Corbett
6 - Joe Louis
7 - Sam Langford
8 - Gene Tunney
9 - Max Schmeling
10- Rocky Marciano

Light Heavyweights:
1 - Kid McCoy
2 - Philadelphia Jack O'Brian
3 - Jack Dillon
4 - Tommy Loughran
5 - Jack Root
6 - Battling Levensky
7 - Georges Carpentier
8 - Tom Gibbons
9 - Jack Delaney
10- Paul Berlenbach

Middleweights:
1 - Stanley Ketchell
2 - Tommy Ryan
3 - Harry Greb
4 - Mickey Walker
5 - Ray Robinson
6 - Frank Klaus
7 - Billy Papke
8 - Les Darcy
9 - Mike Gibbons
10- Jeff Smith

Welterweights:
1 - Joe Walcott
2 - Mysterious Billy Smith
3 - Jack Britton
4 - Ted Kid Lewis
5 - Dixie Kid
6 - Harry Lewis
7 - Willie Lewis
8 - Henry Armstrong
9 - Barney Ross
10- Jimmy McLarnin

Lightweights:
1 - Joe Gans
2 - Benny Leonard
3 - Owen Moran
4 - Freddy Welsh
5 - Battling Nelson
6 - George Kid Lavigne
7 - Tony Canzoneri
8 - Willie Ritchie
9 - Lew Tendler
10- Ad Wolgast

Featherweights:
1 - Terry McGovern
2 - Jim Driscoll
3 - Abe Attell
4 - Willie Pep
5 - Johnny Dundee
6 - Young Griffo
7 - Johnny Kilbane
8 - Kid Chocolate
9 - George K.O. Chaney
10- Louis Kid Kaplan

Bantamweights:
1 - George Dixon
2 - Pete Herman
3 - Kid Williams
4 - Eder Jofre
5 - Joe Lynch
6 - Bud Taylor
7 - Johnny Coulon
8 - Frankie Burns
9 - Eddie Campi
10- Panama Al Brown

Flyweight:
1 - Jimmy Wilde
2 - Pancho Villa
3 - Frankie Genaro
4 - Fidel La Barba
5 - Benny Lynch
6 - Elky Clark
7 - Johnny Buff
8 - Midget Wolgast
9 - Peter Kane
10- Pascual Perez

(From the 1972 edition of The Ring Record Book and Boxing Encyclopedia)

HW -- 1. Louis, 2. ALI, 3. Marciano, 4. Dempsey, 5 Jeffries, 6.Tunney, 7.Johnson, 8.Wills, 9. J.Sharkey, 10. Schmeling,........................................ . LHW --1. A. MOORE, 2. Langford, 3. Charles, 4. Fitzsimmons, 5. Loughran, 6. Carpentier, 7. Kid McCoy, 8. Delaney, 9. Conn, 10. Dillon .......................... MW -- 1. L. Darcy, 2. Greb, 3. Ketchell, 4. M. Cerdan, 5. T. Ryan, 6. Zale, 7. Burley, 8. Flowers, 9. Fullmer, 10. Papke, .......:newbie: WW -- 1. Ray Robinson, 2. Joe Wallcott, 3. Walker, 4. Armstrong, 5. M.Billy Smith, 6. J. Britton, 7. T.K.Lewis, 8. Ross, 9. Napoles, 10. Basilio, :boxing: Lightweights,-- not real sure BUT WHERE'S McFarland, the man never lost in all of his 113 fights (lost one Newspaper decision in a ND) and he beats Welsh, Britton several times and Owen Moran several times so Nat must have forgotten him he's top 3 for sure.:newbie::newbie:.//// the rest you can have, if those featherweights were ahead of Pep, we've missed out big if Fleischer is right and we're wrong, I placed them at their best weight except for Tunney, he was HW Champ, like it or not. I had Darcy there because he is far underated, and was, never floored and was freakishly strong " like fighting a gorilla" and because of his vast Potential, I know Darcy was better than Klaus, Gibbons and obviously Smith. I Rate Robinson more of course, but he was greatest at WW. NOTE this is my team, not the team, also I don't think Nat Fleischer had actually ever seen Darcy fight, he'd seen him sparring at best so Nat may have guessed a bit:

jack p
07-17-2014, 06:56 PM
His heavyweight ratings are just as bad as his light heavyweight rankings. Ali is no where to be found. James J. Corbett over Joe Louis? Over Sonny Liston, who's also no where to be found. Joe Frazier was unbeaten in 1972, fresh off a W15 over Ali. Not even on his list. James J. Corbett over a 1971-1972 Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali???

Bob Fitzsimmons over Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Liston, Marciano & Ali???

Heavyweights:
1 - Jack Johnson
2 - James J. Jeffries
3 - Bob Fitzsimmons
4 - Jack Dempsey
5 - James J. Corbett
6 - Joe Louis
7 - Sam Langford
8 - Gene Tunney
9 - Max Schmeling
10- Rocky Marciano


One thing about this list is its the same list he had in his 1959 book
He didn't change nothing between 1959 to 1971-72 when it was republished
If you take this list from 1900-1959 then all he needs to do is put Dempsey Louis Marchiano ahead of Fitz and Corbett...Leaving out Frazier Ali because it was before their eras and leaving Liston out because he wasn't champ yet

Also Tommy Burns around 1930 rated the heavys
1 Jeffries
2 Johnson
3 Fitzimmons
4 Dempsey
5 Corbett
6 Philadelphia Jack o Brian
6 tunney
7 Willard

But sometimes its hard seeing things through other people eyes ..Like people that think Klitschco's the greatest i don't see it

billeau2
07-17-2014, 08:50 PM
You'll probably be like that yourself when you grow up.

Don't insult the guy! he left mom's basement last week and is now all growned up!