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Surf-Bat
12-31-2007, 06:53 PM
1.Willie Pep- hard to argue with that kind of longevity.

2.Young Griffo- I did a lot of research on this guy and he was unreal. Even defensive master Jim Corbett called him "a marvel". He made hall of fame champions George Dixon, Joe Gans, Jack McAuliffe and George Kid Lavigne all look like they were swinging at nothing.

3.Nicolino Locche- Severely overlooked. He was like Pep and Griffo in that he stood right in your face and STILL made you miss. If champs like Carlos Ortiz, Antonio Cervantes, Joe Brown, Ismael Laguna and Eddie Perkins have trouble hitting you, you're doing something right.

4.Jack Johnson

5.Pernell Whitaker- though he was less effective defensively after he left the 135 lb class.

6.Wilfred Benitez- Fought like a mongoose taunting a cobra.

7.Jim Corbett- Father of modern "hit and not be hit" boxing

8.Winky Wright

9.Marlon Starling- Prototype for Wright's turtle shell defense.

10.Jimmy Young

Honorable mentions. Ike Weir

Whom would you folks add/replace?

Michael Frank
01-01-2008, 01:07 AM
Interesting list, I agree with most of it.

I'd delete Jimmy Young, as leaning out of the ropes against Ali doesn't count for me. Against others, he didn't impress me much on defense.

The PBF admirers would no doubt put him on this list, though I think his D is over-rated.

Roberto Duran and Dwight Qawi had excellent defensive abilities, though eventually those qualities deteriorated substantially. Ray Leonard and Donald Curry had exemplary defense WHEN they WANTED to utilize it; turning, rolling with blows, parrying, everything. But they often chose to abandon good defense to slug it out.

Muhammad Ali, in the 1960s, was almost never caught on the chin; the two times he was caught solidly, in that decade, he was dropped. He finished most fights unmarked to the face.

PeteLeo
01-01-2008, 02:41 AM
How about Joey Maxim?

Joey Giardello?

John David Jackson? (Remembered primarily today for his incredible loss to
Jorge Castro, for a long span the southpaw Jackson was untouchable and made the most accomplished offensive fighters look silly. And he was boring as old piss while doing so.)

Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom? (With no punch whatsoever, he still fought over 300 bouts against the best of his day and was KO'd only a couple of times -- I think.)

Joey Archer?

Miguel Canto?

Tommy Loughran?

Hector Camacho? (Maybe his success was due more to speed and reflexes than defensive prowess, but even after he got old, who among the monstrous punchers he faced managed to stop -- or even drop -- him?)

Harry Greb?

Joe Gans?

Packey McFarland?

Gene Tunney? (His "D" was almost entirely in his legs, but he could move them damned fast when he needed to.)

The Gibbons Brothers?

Tommy Ryan?

That's enough for now. PeteLeo.

robertk
01-01-2008, 02:50 AM
Another guy to consider is Ottke. He sure doesn't get a lot of respect, but he was never an easy guy to hit clean.

sweet_scientist
01-01-2008, 04:54 AM
Of the ones that I have seen a fair amount of in their primes:
1. Pernell Whitaker
2. Wilfred Benitez
3. Miguel Canto
4. Winky Wright
6. Marlon Starling
5. Floyd Mayweather
7. Billy Graham - maybe a surprise pick, but I think Graham had a real effective defense. Nothing flashy, but subtle moves which kept him from getting hit flush too often. No better example of this than his blunting of Kid Gavilan's serious offensive abilities in their third encounter.
8. Muhammad Ali
9. Roberto Duran (of 76-80 Vintage)
10. Bernard Hopkins




Going off what I've heard:
Willie Pep
Nicolino Locche
Young Griffo
Jim Driscoll
Mike Gibbons
Benny Leonard
Tommy Ryan
Jack Johnson
Charley Burley
Duilio Loi
Tommy Loughran

Senya13
01-01-2008, 08:59 AM
2.Young Griffo- I did a lot of research on this guy and he was unreal. ... He made ... Joe Gans ... look like they were swinging at nothing.
Which of their three meetings are you talking about? The 1897 one? There were somewhat different reports about that fight:
William Rocap, the ex-amateur champion boxer, is reported to have said after the fight that Griffo was lucky in even getting the decision of "draw."

There is one amusing commentary by O.F. Snelling in his 'Bedside book of boxing' (chapter 7):
One glance at any of the few photographs in existence of Young Griffo will show that he sported a pair of cauliflower ears of remarkable shape and beauty. He was, in fact, marked far more than any of the above-named champions he fought. Most surprising for a man reputed to be so fast that he could simply reach out into the air and catch flies on the wind!

Olympic Auditorium
01-01-2008, 02:14 PM
Miguel Canto has 2 be in the top 3 of all time imo.

Surf-Bat
01-01-2008, 10:30 PM
Which of their three meetings are you talking about? The 1897 one? There were somewhat different reports about that fight:
William Rocap, the ex-amateur champion boxer, is reported to have said after the fight that Griffo was lucky in even getting the decision of "draw."

There is one amusing commentary by O.F. Snelling in his 'Bedside book of boxing' (chapter 7):
One glance at any of the few photographs in existence of Young Griffo will show that he sported a pair of cauliflower ears of remarkable shape and beauty. He was, in fact, marked far more than any of the above-named champions he fought. Most surprising for a man reputed to be so fast that he could simply reach out into the air and catch flies on the wind!

I wasn't suggesting that Griffo got the better of his bouts with Gans. Merely that there were times that he made the future "Old Master" miss by the proverbial country mile. I'd have to go through all my old research to find exact sources(I just moved recently). I also read that Gans learned a lot about the art of defense from his bouts with Griffo.

I've seen many pics of Griffo. Never noticed any cauliflower ears. I'll take a closer look. If he does than are we to automatically assume that these are the result of a porous defense? Maybe he got them in streetfights while growing up? Or from his early bouts when he was still learning his trade? All I know is that, based on all available evidence, by the time Griffo arrived in America and took on the top fighters he was making them miss and showing near-impenetrable defense.

I'll take the reports I've read from scores upon scores of different sources(newspapers, Police Gazettes, interviews with contemporaries, etc) regarding Griffo's defensive prowess over the musings of the writer you cite. Though it was pretty amusing I must say.

Cheers and Happy New Year

Senya13
01-02-2008, 12:01 AM
If you gonna use the next day reports of that fight as sources of your information, then ok, but I'd like to see it still. If you used something written long time after the fights had taken place, then sorry, but there's little trust in amusing stories they sometimes create about fighters.

Also, don't forget that Gans was a clever boxer and a counter-puncher, who wouldn't be throwing punches in bunches in vain, so if you gonna use the argument that Gans didn't look as good as he did against some inferior opposition (as some of the sources point out), that's quite normal that he didn't. Griffo wasn't a tomato can, and obviously had very good defense, for Joe to realize this and adjust accordingly. It's just that these skills are often somewhat overrated or exaggerated, just as they were about some other defensive masters of the past (Pep, Locche, Benitez, Whitaker, etc).

walshb
01-24-2008, 09:44 AM
Can't dispute all mentioned and I will add Toney and Nunn and a peak Tyson too.....

jim glen
02-06-2008, 03:27 PM
LEN HARVEY, sure isn't that what the American's were a little disappointed in Len's performances for?

A defensive Master is all you ever read about Len Harvey, who should probably be credited as Britain's finest ever fighter overall, for ever area of expertise was fufilled by Harvey:

Champion and Top man in multiple weights,
Longevity - 20 years and still a top draw,
Competition - world class and always fighting up in weight
Boxing Skills - Defensive Master and 1st class boxer,
Gentleman - and credit to the Sport,

British Boxing Ambassador...not the like of his kind again!

yes walshb, James Toney.

starlingstomp
02-07-2008, 05:29 PM
Aesthetically one of my favourite defensive fighters was happy Lora.

Against Davila, Zaragoza, etc he was just a joy to watch slipping punches.Hands always held low and effortless upperbody movement.

He was a bit lazy with his defence at times and could get put too much stock in always slipping punches first, while waiting too long for perfect countering oppurtunities, so maybe not always the most well rounded pure-boxer.

Strictly sticking to defence i found him more interesting to watch than most.

Sharkey
02-07-2008, 08:24 PM
Agree Stomp. I liked watching Lora. What some may have seen as laziness seemed to me more to be he got away with fighting like that. I wondered how he wasn't getting tagged half the time rather than giving him credit.

raylawpc
02-09-2008, 08:27 PM
2.Young Griffo- I did a lot of research on this guy and he was unreal. Even defensive master Jim Corbett called him "a marvel". He made hall of fame champions George Dixon, Joe Gans, Jack McAuliffe and George Kid Lavigne all look like they were swinging at nothing.

Griffo also quite literally kicked the sh*t out of Corbett.

raylawpc
02-09-2008, 08:30 PM
I think folks are overstating Tommy Ryan's defensive capabilities. Tommy was a wonderful fighter and had a sound defense - but he was not a defensive marvel of his day like Young Griffo or Jack Johnson.

I have tremendhous respect for Ryan as a fighter, and he is one of the top ten welterweights of all time in my opinion. But I would not add him to any list of top ten defensive fighters.

jaybird
03-22-2008, 03:34 PM
Danny Lopez had an exceptional defense :)

gregbeyer
03-23-2008, 04:07 AM
hey hey hey....i draw the line at danny lopez.

his worst streak came when he tried to become a defensive fighter.... his defence was his right hand. it did not always carry him through but i have never seen a more exciting fighter and i saw him from amateur to pro-champ.

so pullllease don't cap on my boy danny and we will get along great.
greg

kikibalt
03-23-2008, 01:30 PM
hey hey hey....i draw the line at danny lopez.

his worst streak came when he tried to become a defensive fighter.... his defence was his right hand. it did not always carry him through but i have never seen a more exciting fighter and i saw him from amateur to pro-champ.

so pullllease don't cap on my boy danny and we will get along great.
greg

I agree about the right hand, that right hand belongs in the top 5 of right hands

wpink
03-23-2008, 06:56 PM
The aret of defense is not getting hit, then we most definately need to includue roy jones as he went to the age of 34-36 with out ever having his (what we believe) glass jaw exposed. This is primarily due to his speed and instincts but that is part of boxing and defense.

From what I saw my list is

Duran
Benitez
Mayweather
Ali
Jones
Sweet Pea

Did not see Pepp but from the accolades placed upon him, he would clearly be up there.

JLP 6
04-08-2008, 09:51 PM
Foot-movement, upperbody movement, parrying.

1. Pep. Possessed all in spades. Plus timing on par with Robinson.
2. Duran. Agressive and elusive simultanious (sp).
3. Whitaker. see Pep except the Robinson thing.

Every Mother's Fear
04-17-2008, 01:02 PM
Couple of things. Harry Greb was not a defensive fighter he came at you every second of every round. They didn't call him the "Human Windmill" because of his defensive moves

2nd. Eder Jofre. Nobody's mentioned him. He's right up there with anybody who has been named with the exception of Pep who is in a class by himself. In over 70 fights Jofre was never knocked down much less stopped. He would move his head just a fracttion of an inch and make guys miss.

The one advantage he had over most of these other defensive greats is that he could stop anybody with one punch. Left or right.

Also, haven't you guys ever heard of Barney Ross? The first guy to hold 3 titles at the same time? In over 80 fights against a real murderers row of all time greats, like Jofre he was never knocked down or stopped. Unlike Jofre he wasn't a puncher so he relied more heavily on his defense. He belongs in the top 5 along with Jofre.

EMF

Obama fan
04-17-2008, 01:37 PM
There is one amusing commentary by O.F. Snelling in his 'Bedside book of boxing' (chapter 7):
[i]One glance at any of the few photographs in existence of Young Griffo will show that he sported a pair of cauliflower ears of remarkable shape and beauty. He was, in fact, marked far more than any of the above-named champions he fought. Most surprising for a man reputed to be so fast that he could simply reach out into the air and catch flies on the wind!

When you slip punches as Griffo did, the punches slide right by your head.

That would account for the ears.

Anyone with boxing experience would know that.

I think I'll skip O. F.'s book.

(I'll keep W C Heinz' Fireside Book of Boxing.)

Obama fan
04-17-2008, 01:45 PM
Anybody heard of Sammy Mandell?

GorDoom
04-17-2008, 02:58 PM
You mean Sammy "The Clutch"?

Yeah he was a damn good defensive fighter but they didn't call him "The Clutch" for nothing.

GorDoom

Surf-Bat
04-17-2008, 04:50 PM
You mean Sammy "The Clutch"?

Yeah he was a damn good defensive fighter but they didn't call him "The Clutch" for nothing.

GorDoom

I think you're thinking of Sammy Angott here.

Surf-Bat
04-17-2008, 04:53 PM
Couple of things. Harry Greb was not a defensive fighter he came at you every second of every round. They didn't call him the "Human Windmill" because of his defensive moves

2nd. Eder Jofre. Nobody's mentioned him. He's right up there with anybody who has been named with the exception of Pep who is in a class by himself. In over 70 fights Jofre was never knocked down much less stopped. He would move his head just a fracttion of an inch and make guys miss.

The one advantage he had over most of these other defensive greats is that he could stop anybody with one punch. Left or right.

Also, haven't you guys ever heard of Barney Ross? The first guy to hold 3 titles at the same time? In over 80 fights against a real murderers row of all time greats, like Jofre he was never knocked down or stopped. Unlike Jofre he wasn't a puncher so he relied more heavily on his defense. He belongs in the top 5 along with Jofre.

EMF

Whom out of my list do you feel Ross and Jofre should replace?

GorDoom
04-18-2008, 06:49 AM
Surf-Bat:

Your absolutely correct. I mixed up my Sammy's. What can I say ? Sometimes the ol' synapses don't snap to like they used to.

As to who I would take off the list to include Jofre & Ross?

Nobody.

I don't believe in rankings or lists much. We all know who the greats & near greats are. All of the named fighters except for Greb were defensive wizards. To me they are all great & as to who is greater to me it's meaningless. Rankings & listings are all to subjective to take too seriously.

That doesn't mean I disaprove or anything. I realise aficionado's have a lot of fun debating these subjects & that's what this board is about, a place were true fans, boxers, mgrs., trainers, writers & historians can come to & talk boxing without all the b.s. name calling on other boards,

GorDoom

hawk5ins
04-18-2008, 09:35 AM
Was a Fine defensive fighter who scored some impressive victories over a young rising in weight Tony C and took 1 of 3 from a young Jimmy McLarnin as well.

But ol Sammy forgot to duck against Al Singer. That one not only leaves a mark, but pretty much costs him the noteriety he probably deserved.

(Hagar?) Sorry Sharks.

Old inside joke.

Hawk

jim
05-06-2008, 02:23 PM
surf-bat great list.

greek1237
05-08-2008, 05:51 AM
Mendoza and John Jackson were relly the "Fathers" of defensive boxers. I give them that title before I lay it on Corbett.

Chuck1052
05-08-2008, 08:38 AM
While Harry Greb was regarded as an aggressive,
unorthodox brawler, it should be pointed out that he
as an extremely fast fighter who was very hard to hit
with a solid blow. Moreover, sportswriters often wrote
about Greb's ability to move on his feet after seeing in
action.

- Chuck Johnston

Surf-Bat
05-08-2008, 09:56 AM
While Harry Greb was regarded as an aggressive,
unorthodox brawler, it should be pointed out that he
as an extremely fast fighter who was very hard to hit
with a solid blow. Moreover, sportswriters often wrote
about Greb's ability to move on his feet after seeing in
action.

- Chuck Johnston

Right on! To put him in the pressure fighter category would be to completely overlook the fact that he was an excellent defensive fighter as well, equal parts Cassius Clay and Henry Armstrong/Aaron Pryor. He threw punches in bunches(like Armstrong) from weird angles(like Pryor) and bounced out of range on rubbery legs(Like Clay).

I call him an "evasive pressure fighter", which almost seems like an oxymoron. But I see no other way of describing Harry's style(at least how it's been described by opponents and through eyewitness accounts).

The Welterweight Epitome
04-05-2009, 05:11 AM
I'm surprised Roy Jones is being overlooked by many here.

His athletic ability was second to none, which alone, made him almost untouchable in his prime. The things he could do in there were amaizing, considering how technically flawed he was.

Other than that, I like the list.

Do you think Benny Leonard belongs in there with these guys?

Surf-Bat
04-05-2009, 06:15 PM
I'm surprised Roy Jones is being overlooked by many here.

His athletic ability was second to none, which alone, made him almost untouchable in his prime. The things he could do in there were amaizing, considering how technically flawed he was.

Other than that, I like the list.

Do you think Benny Leonard belongs in there with these guys?

Benny was a great defensive fighter and would make any top 20 list, imo. I think it would be hard to put him above any of the guys on the top 10, though.

Jones? You could put him in the top 50 for sure. Maybe even top 25. I personally can't find him a place anywhere near the top 10. But his incredible speed and reflexes definitely give him the distinction of being a defensive great.

The Welterweight Epitome
04-06-2009, 03:47 AM
Yes, well it all depends I guess how you would judge a defensive great.

I think a guy way up the list of many, such as Whitaker, was actually hit as much as Jones. Sure, Whitaker could turn a man better, was more cagey and could stand in closer, but I'm not sure he took fewer punches than Jones.

Surf-Bat
04-06-2009, 05:18 AM
Yes, well it all depends I guess how you would judge a defensive great.

I think a guy way up the list of many, such as Whitaker, was actually hit as much as Jones. Sure, Whitaker could turn a man better, was more cagey and could stand in closer, but I'm not sure he took fewer punches than Jones.

Probably because his quality of opposition was also vastly superior to Jones. Yet he still rarely took hard shots at 135. It was when he rose to welter that he started getting dinged.

He also didn't score a lot of KOs like Jones did, so opponents were able to hang in there a lot longer and thus had more opportunities to land blows.

JonnyBlaze
04-07-2009, 12:36 AM
I'd replace Jack Johnson with Archie Moore..Archie was really hard to hit especially in his prime..If you watch the first minute in the Ali fight,you'll get a good idea at just how much more elusive he was when he was at his best..When he'd work his defense,no one had any openings..

JonnyBlaze
04-07-2009, 12:38 AM
I might want Benny L. in the top 10 too..

Surf-Bat
04-07-2009, 03:03 AM
Jonny. Maybe. Archie was hard to hit for sure. But by most accounts(and the films) Johnson was darn near IMPOSSIBLE to hit. He completely smothered his opponent's offense.

Surf-Bat
04-07-2009, 09:41 AM
Actually, I think you can make a strong case for both Benny Leonard and Archie Moore replacing Jimmy Young.

JonnyBlaze
04-07-2009, 11:34 PM
You're right surf-bat,I think Young may have been a better choice..

I wish there was more film on Archie because we (for the most part) only see an older Archie who is a little easier to hit than he was when he was at his very best..It's hard to say when he started to decline but I can remember reading Archie saying that when he was at his best he never tasted a uppercut from anyone..I could be kinda bias about Archie to an extent but he and Sugar Ray Robinson are my 2 favorite fighters ever..

Surf-Bat
04-09-2009, 04:54 AM
I actually have a film of a prime Archie in his fight with Jimmy Bivins. He is awesome. His jab has a downward chop to it that looks very painful. Reminds me of a hatchet.

beaujack
12-31-2011, 12:49 AM
I think Jack Britton has to be near the top of the greatest defensive fighters list. After being kod as a prelim fighter in his second bout in 1905, Jack Britton fought 342 more bouts in his 25 year career, without ever being kod. An amazing feat by any standards. He even went 15 rounds with the great Mickey Walker, when Britton was 37 years old...Greatest defensive record ever...