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Thread: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

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    Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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?

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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
    Last edited by sweet_scientist; 01-01-2008 at 04:57 AM.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Surf-Bat
    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!

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Miguel Canto has 2 be in the top 3 of all time imo.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Senya13
    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

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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).

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Can't dispute all mentioned and I will add Toney and Nunn and a peak Tyson too.....

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Surf-Bat
    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Danny Lopez had an exceptional defense

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by gregbeyer
    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

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Senya13

    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.)

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Anybody heard of Sammy Mandell?

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    You mean Sammy "The Clutch"?

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

    GorDoom

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by GorDoom
    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.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Every Mother's Fear
    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?

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    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

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    Sammy Mandell

    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

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    surf-bat great list.

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    Re: Top 10 Defensive Fighters Ever

    Mendoza and John Jackson were relly the "Fathers" of defensive boxers. I give them that title before I lay it on Corbett.

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