On any given night Ray Leonard could give a great and effective impersonation of Jersey Joe Walcott, shuffle his feet like Muhammad Ali, jab and move like Sugar Ray Robinson, and be as tricky as Willie Pep. Yet he could remain that TIGER, Sugar Ray Leonard. The same Tiger that we saw with Thomas Hearnes, and even in Leonard's losing efforts in the first fight with Roberto Duran; of course, the Tiger that we saw the night Leonard blew the minds of us all by defeating Marvin Hagler.
Robinson was everything you would want in a middleweight, a dynamic machine and the best left jab ever in the Middleweight division. Even with such great boxing abilities, he possessed the ability to get a one punch knockout. Sugar Robinson, a man that brought so much class to professional boxing.
Duran burst on the scene by defeating one of the most crafty light weights of all times, Ken Buchanan, with a relentless style of constant punches. When we all thought Duran would be the next Henry Armstrong, he fooled us because he held some of the most polished boxing skills we had ever seen. Duran moved up in weight and never lost any of those qualities; then captured the title in the middle weight division.
Here was a guy so good that he remained the #1 contender in the Light Heavyweight division longer than most pro boxers' career last. Moore's defense was so good that in the final matches of Joe Louis' career, Joe tried to integrate Moore's defense into his repertoire. The only finisher better than Archie Moore was the Great Joe. The only reason I did not make Archie Moore #1 is because his defense was so good that it overshadowed his offense, and to be #1 I believe that intent must be offense.
Henry Armstrong won titles in three different weight divisions with a phenomenal ability to throw punch after punch, round after round in each of the weight divisions that he won titles. Henry Armstrong's style is the foundation for such fighters as Rocky Marciano, Joe Frazier, and Mike Tyson.
Willie Pep - "Mr. Stop You, Block You, and Mr. Get Out the Way." Spinning, stepping to the side, counterpunching, and double this - double that; Willie Pep fathered it all. The only guy who could go three minutes without landing a punch and still win the round.
Benny Leonard, one of the greatest of all times. Leonard was a master boxer - combination puncher, and a dream in a pair of boxing trunks.
Bobby Foster could do everything, but put on enough weight to whip the Heavyweight Champion of the World. It was said that Bobby Foster could "thread a needle with his right hand." Foster was by far one of the best Light Heavyweight Champions ever; and was always in shape when he got into the ring.
Barney Ross fought when purses were small, arenas were small, and televisions were nonexistent; but when hearts were gigantic. Just buy one of Barney Ross' films and you will see why he is #9 in my book.
Emile Griffith is one fellow that was so good that he intentionally became 50% of the fighter he could be. Even at his 50% and the temperament of a "school bus driver;" Griffith was 10% better, for years, than most fighters in the Middleweight division.