“They take the greats from the past and compare us/ I wonder if they’d ever survive in this era?/ In a time where it’s recreation to pull all of your skeletons out the closet like Halloween decorations”
—Drake, “Lords Knows”
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Just thinking about this shit was like going to cop a bag of weed while knowing the boys in blue were watching. Boxing fans are like law enforcers, quick to handcuff and present a charge of audacity with the intent to commit blasphemy.
I was basically put in what felt like the electric chair at a barbershop in Brooklyn, after pissing off the people with scissors and razors in their hands for what you are about to read.
“Ask a writer what he thinks about critics and the answer you get is similar to what you get when you ask a lamppost how he feels about dogs.”
The Sumerians- who some would say were gods, created boxing for relief and it worked its way to Rome. It was popular among the Romans as fighters would fight until death. The Greeks made it an Olympic sport in 688 BC.
It is the most ancient and authentic combat sport in world history.
Since that time, it has evolved over time, to what it is now. What time ultimately does, is give us something beyond what we’ve seen. Muhammad Ali remains an exception to this, and thus, he reigns supreme.
Ali is bigger than Jordan and Ruth.
His bravery on the world stage, both in and out of the ring, is unmatched in all of sports, and he defeated the best era in heavyweight history despite losing three years of his prime.
He must be “The Greatest”.
Sugar Ray Robinson spawned Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard a few generations later.
I called my boy, new pro fighter Brandyn Lynch, on this to get his attention.
(He is the nephew of a famous uncle whose name I won’t mention.)
“That’s a good group… I’m struggling to challenge it. Old school fighters made new fighters great. We’ve taken something from them before,” said Lynch, an avowed fan of Leonard who helped Shawn Porter prepare for WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman.
Certain fighters are just born reincarnated greats from the past. They are designed to surpass them.
Despite all of Robinson’s truly amazing feats, Leonard was a better fighter. The original Sugar Ray was merely 30 years old when he was beaten by Randy Turpin in 1951. At 30, Leonard was embarrassing the great Marvelous Marvin Hagler into retirement in 1987, after commentating for nearly five years on HBO due to a detached retina suffered from his superfight with Thomas Hearns.
From 1982 to 1987, we can only wonder how truly magnificent Sugar Ray would’ve been were he not sidelined the remainder of his 20’s due to that injury. If Randy Turpin could beat Sugar Ray Robinson and give him hell in the rematch, then his upgraded edition in Leonard would beat him.
Sugar Ray Leonard is the greatest welterweight fighter of all-time.
Roberto Duran was a diabolical ring iteration of Che Guevera and Charles Manson. He was the fight god’s answer to Leonard, and he is the greatest lightweight of all-time.
Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao went “Pac-Man” on the box office in historic ways before their record breaking “Money” maker.
Success matters when ranking them, for they were more successful than the greats above them combined. A small business fighter? No matter how great, could be considered “better” than the Wal-Mart that was Mayweather or Pacquiao.
They ruled the new millineum for over a decade, with constrasting styles that captivated the world. Their failure was in failing to advance their legacies through each other.
Floyd Mayweather was a combination of Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney. That hybrid produced a fighter with almost electric bursts of offense built around an invisbile defense.
Pacquiao’s unique style was designed to find and deal with Mayweather. A southpaw anomaly of rare speed and power, Pacquiao was blessed with a blend of the now late Aaron Pryor (RIP “Hawk”) and Henry Armstrong, and is the greatest Asian fighter of all-time.
He will have a very dark test of his legend on Nov. 5 against WBO welterweight champion Jesse Vargas @UNLV in Las Vegas.
Carlos Monzon is the best middleweight ever. He was like a movie-star villian playing himself to ruthless, real-life effect in the ring. He had enough of Stanley Ketchel and Sam Langford in him to break them both. Gennady Golovkin, a malevolent mix of Monzon
and the great Julio Cesar Chavez, seems his heir apparent.
Chavez is not the greatest Mexican fighter of all-time. Had he not fatally crashed his 928S Porsche in August 1982, Chavez would’ve crossed paths with Salvador Sanchez, the greatest featherweight fighter of all-time.
He shared “Fighter of The Year” honors with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981. Same year Leonard won the superfight with Hearns. His iconic KO of Puerto Rican legend Wilfredo Gomez at age 22, was but a foreshadow of his greatness.
Sanchez was a combination of Sandy Saddler and Willie Pep. Today, his upgrade seems to be Vasyl Lomachenko, who will battle Nicholas “The Axeman” Walters on Nov. 26 @The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Ricardo Lopez was the original Juan Manuel Marquez, and he is the greatest strawweight fighter of all-time.
I believe he would’ve beaten any flyweight ever, including today’s world #1 Roman Gonzalez.
7. Carlos Monzon
8. Salvador Sanchez
9. Ricardo Lopez
Andre Ward, who faces a major test against Sergey Kovalev on Nov. 19 @T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is Bernard Hopkins-like in a Roy Jones type of way. Still, no version of Ward was greater than Roy Jones Jr. in his prime. He is the greatest super middleweight of all-time.
“Y’all must’ve forgot” Jones Jr. was the most phenomenal athlete boxing has ever seen. He was technically flawed, and we knew once his supernatural reflexes subsided that so would he.
But Jones was undeniably great, and I like his chances against any fighter from 154 to 168 lbs in history.
10. Roy Jones Jr.
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“History is not was, it is.”