So why is Duran so high and Leonard so low? Well, it is after Leonard's first retirement that he shifted from being a great boxer into being a great showman. I have always felt that all the numerous criticisms of Leonard were valid, but applied only to the latter half of his career. Since this list covers that, he winds up in the bottom half.
Duran, on the other hand, had two moments to shine as a middleweight: the tough time he gave to Marvin Hagler, and the upset win over Iran Barkley. By comparison, Leonard didn't fight Hagler. He robbed him based on star power. After that, he never dared to fight a young lion on fair terms until he got his ass handed to him by Terry Norris.
Frazier is routinely rated in the Top Ten All-Time Greats, but usually as #8,9, or 10. I think he should never, ever be ranked lower than #6. I have never actually sat down and considered a list of my own, so don't know how he would stack up... but putting him at the bottom is just too low. He was the #2 fighter of the greatest era of heavyweight history.
Whenever I see something like "your little list sucks," I know I am dealing with a pimply-faced teenager. 'Nuff said.
Whenever I see someone who doesn't appreciate Curry, Starling, or Breland, I know at a minimum they haven't bothered to find out what happened when these guys were sparring with the likes of Hearns, Leonard, etc. They probably haven't bothered to check out their actual fights either.
Whenever I see someone who adores a guy like Duran so much that they cannot conceive of his limitations, and think he was a better fighter than guys who beat him in the ring, I know I am dealing with someone who knows ZILCH about the sweet science. Duran was a great fighter, but the bread and butter of his reputation was at 135 pounds. He beat Leonard, but barely, and when Leonard was fighting Duran's fight.
When you get down to it, there is nothing Joe or anyone can do to persuade Calzaghe-detractors of his greatness. Think about who these people are. When Joe beats Hopkins, it is because Hopkins is washed up... oh, but wait! Hopkins went out and beat Pavlik! Ergo, Pavlik must be a nobody... see how this twisted logic works? You can see the same thing going on with RJJ. Anyone who was around 10 years ago knows that RJJ moved up to 175 at the time Calzaghe was starting out as a champion at 168. To say Calzaghe ducked Jones is ridiculous, especially when it was Jones and not Calzaghe who had the promotional power of HBO at his back, and could make most any fight happen.
I state my entire case for The Pride of Wales in the following profile:
Number 1: Pretty much all I can say is that your comments reveal that you know very little about the Starling-Curry-Breland years, or about the overall career of Roberto Duran. Either that or you simply don't get the difference between 135lbs and 147lbs, or the difference between the 1970s and the 1980s.
Duran's best fights were at 135, although he was desperately clinging to that weight. I suggest you go check your boxrec.com again before you suggest he was a great 140lbs. He made his bones south of that.
Duran beat Leonard the first time because Leonard was stupid enough to fight Duran's fight. Leonard beat Duran the second time because he did not. He humiliated Duran because Duran was stupid enough to neither stay disciplined or negotiate for sufficient time to train.
Seriously - every Leonard-hater on the planet want to blame the opponent because a guy shows up in less than top form? It's a cheap dodge. Leonard did put Donny Lalonde over a barrel, but Duran could have just said "I want another three months" if he had wanted to.
First, why Leonard over Hearns? I do believe Hearns is the greater fighter P4P and overall, but at welterweight Leonard BEAT Hearns. They both beat Duran and Benitez. 'Nuff said.
Why is Duran so low? Well, it's simple: he might have been the first person to beat Leonard, but he also go whupped by Benitez and Hearns.
Why is Curry higher than Benitez? Um, did you ever see Donald Curry? If not, I suggest reading my profile of him and then watching some of his old fights. The guy would have given either Leonard or Hearns a close run.
Finally, why is Simon Brown #5? Check out the guy's reign as IBF champion. He was unarguably the last solid 147lbs champ of the 1980s.
The truth is the alphabet soup boys are a guilty pleasure for me. I loathe how twisted boxing has become because of them, but frankly I don't know if our sport would be as interesting were it not for their schenanagins. Sometimes, it's black comedy at it's best. My most recent example: finding out that when Erik Morales went for the NABF 122lbs title, it was against a guy who was listed at 12-6, but was really 0-1. That was a total cock-up, but very typical of the WBC-affiliated NABF.
Liston was not really a part of the Golden Age. While he did fight Ali, he never had a notable fight after that, and therefore did not not have a big fight against a big opponent in the heyday of the time: 1968-1978. Liston is from the preceeding era.