Middleweights Ranked by Decade

Following up on my post for heavyweights, I am ranking the middleweights next. Why go out of order? I don't know. I found it most exciting, and there were some clear cut number ones that you associate with each decade. For the most part, the same rules apply, but ranking middleweights is a bit more challenging because of a couple complications.

First, heavyweights typically start and stay heavyweights. Lots of people pass through the middle weight division. At heavyweight, I evaluated things by what you've done at heavyweight, but this is a little bit more challenging. A lot of times the best guys move up. (Another reason to do middleweight next is that several of the best remained at middleweight). How do you rank these guys? For example, Roy Jones, Jr. spent very little time at middleweight in the 90s. But he beat the best of the best, and then he moved up for bigger challenges. Other guys move up because they can't make the weight. So, given that I'm the king of these lists, I decided to use the hypothetical of whether I thought a guy moved up for the former (he gets credit at middle weight) or the latter (he gets docked at middle weight). [On the other hand, Sugar Ray Robinson was the best welterweight of the 40s (probably ever) and the best middleweight of the 50s (probably ever), but he fought only one fight at welterweight in the 50s (a championship defense). When the time comes to rank welterweights, I'm not putting him atop the 1950s. Is that inconsistent? Sure, but, heck, it's my list!)

Second, the heavyweight division is the glory weight class. Middleweights are probably next, followed by welterweights or light heavyweights, then lightweights. The middle divisions were added later, and so they're even lower profile. Many more heavyweights fights were broadcast back in the day then middleweights. So, whether I'm relying on my realtime knowledge of fighters and fights, or looking back at footage on YouTube, or just reading the history, there's a less available for middleweights. For this reason, I've cut the lists in half, so I'm doing top 5.

Finally, and this is a big challenge. Lots of guys didn't get opportunities, especially historically and especially below heavyweight. This was particularly true for black boxers, but it was also true for Europeans. Marcel Cerdan didn't come over until 1948, when he was 110-3. But when he did, he beat Tony Zale handily. How do I rank these guys?

Lastly, the heavyweight post got very little response, so I've decided to flip things around and give the recent decades first. Also (and I did this with the heavyweights as well), if someone got robbed in my mind, I make the correction in my rankings. I had GGG over Canelo, and I had Hagler over Sugar Ray, despite the fact that Sugar Ray gave a tremendous showing.

If you disagree, let me know below. I hoped this might spark some conversation, but apparently I may have to go to Eddie Murphy's barber shop for that. Here it goes.

2020s: (only ranking two, since we're only 3 years in)

  1. Golovkin
  2. Charlo
  1. Golovkin
  2. Alvarez
  3. Martinez
  4. Cotto
  5. Jacobs
  1. Hopkins
  2. Pavlik
  3. Taylor
  4. Martinez
  5. Wright
  1. Jones, Jr.
  2. Hopkins
  3. Toney
  4. McCallum
  5. Castro
  1. Hagler
  2. Duran
  3. Leonard
  4. Nunn
  5. Barkley
  1. Monzon
  2. Valdez
  3. Hagler
  4. Griffith
  5. Antueferno
  1. Tiger
  2. Griffith
  3. Benvenuti
  4. Pender
  5. Giardello
  1. Robinson
  2. Lamotta
  3. Fullmer
  4. Basilio
  5. Olsen
  1. Zale
  2. Cerdan
  3. Williams
  4. Burley
  5. Lamotta
  1. Yarosz
  2. Corbett III
  3. Apostoli
  4. Thil
  5. Walker
  1. Greb
  2. Walker
  3. Flowers

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