The Lightweight Division of the “The World’s Greatest Ever Boxer” reads like a “Who’s Who” of boxing.
Featured are seven Americans and eight Hall of Famers, ranging from Joe “The Old Master” Gans who fought in the late 19th century all the way up to contemporary great Floyd Mayweather, Jr., whose mega-fight against Juan Manuel Marquez is scheduled for September 19.
On-line voting at www.GreatestEver.com allows boxing fans from around the world to select the greatest boxer in each of the original eight weight classes, highlighted by the all-time pound-for-pound “Greatest Ever.”
The eight categories represent the eight original weight-class divisions: Strawweights are included in the Flyweight category; Super Middleweight in the Light Heavyweight division.
Many fighters fought and won titles at a number of different weights. As far as possible they have been nominated in the division that they made their biggest impact.
Fighters have not been nominated on the basis of whether they would beat another fighter in that division, though this is, of course, a consideration.
More importantly is their overall record, who they fought at the time, as well as the impact they made on the boxing world, and indeed the world around them. All nominees are listed in the voting section at www.GreatestEver.com.
The 10 Lightweight nominees with brief bios, listed in no particular order, follow:
Joe “The Old Master” Gans: 123-8-10 18 ND (88 KOs)…IHOF…American…Pro Years: 1891-1909……first African-American world boxing champion…Notable Victories: Battling Nelson, Kid Herman, Mike “Twin” Sullivan, Jimmy Britt, Steve Crosby, George McFaddan (3), and Frank Erne.
Benny “The Ghetto Wizard” Leonard: 183-19-11 (70 KOs) … IHOF … American …Pro Years...1911-1932…..learned to box on the streets of Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City...scientific boxer…World War I & II veteran…Notable Victories: Johnny Kilbane, Johnny Dundee (2), Jack Britton (3), Leo Johnson, Freddie Welsh, Patsy Cline (3), Soldier Bartfield (4), Rocky Kansas (3), Billy Angelo, Lew Tendler (2) and Pinky Mitchell.
Tony “Canzi” Canzoneri: 137-24-10 4 ND (44 KOs)...IHOF…American…Pro Years: 1925-1939…3-time world champion...moved from Louisiana to New York City…one of 3 world champions to hold w or more world titles in different weight classes as the same time…Notable Victories: Benny Bass, Al Singer, Billy Petrolle, Kid Berg, Lou Ambers, Frankie Klick, Baby Arizmendi, Jimmy McLarin and Kid Chocolate.
Henry “Homicide Hawk” Armstrong: 151-31-9 (101 KOs)… IHOF… American… Pro Years: 1931-1945…only boxer to hold three world titles in different weight classes at the same time…successfully defended his welterweight title a record 18 times…lost first pro fight…has 27 knockout wins in a row…Notable Victories: Juan Zurita (2), Mike Belloise (2), Frankie Klick, Benny Bass, Petey Saron, Chalky Wright, Barney Ross, Lou Ambers, Ceferino Garcia, Fritzie Zivic and Sammy Angott.
Ike Williams: 125-24-5 (60 KOs)…IHOF…American…Pro Years: 1940-1955 known for big right hand…managed for part of his career by Blinky Palermo…Notable Victories: Sammy Angott, Bob Montgomery and Beau Jack.
Carlos Ortiz: 61-7-1 1 NC (30 KOs)…IHOF…Puerto Rican…Pro Years: 195-1972…3-time world champion…moved to New York City…became first Puerto Rican world champion in more than 30 years and second ever at time…Notable Victories: Duilio Loi, Joe Brown, Ismael Laguna, Sugar Ramos and Carlos Cruz.
Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran: 103-16 (70 KOs)…IHOF…Panamanian…Pro Years: 1968-2001…world champion in four different weight classes…second fighter ever to fight in five different decades…knocked out opponents in each round, 1-15…Notable Victories: Ken Buchanan, Esteban DeJesus, Carlos Palomino, Sugar Ray Leonard, Pipino Cuevas, Davey Moore and Iran Barkley.
Julio Cesar “JC” Chavez: 108-6-2 (87 KOs)…Mexican…Pro Years: 1980-2005…6-time world champion in 3 weight classes…fought 25 years and was No. 1 Pound-for-Pound during one stretch…started pro career winning first 88 fights…holds records for most world title defenses (27), most world title fights (37) and longest unbeaten streak (91)…Notable Victories: Riben Castillo, Roger Mayweather (2), Rocky Lockridge, Juan Laporte, Edwin Rosario, Rafael Limon, Jose Luis Ramirez, Sammy Fuentes, Meldrick Taylor (2), Hector Camacho, Greg Haugn, Frankie Randall (2) and Tony Lopez.
Pernell “Sweat Pea” WHhittaker: 40-4-1 (17 KOs)…IHOF…American…Pro Years: 1984-2001…1984 Olympic gold medalist…defensive wizard who became the first undisputed world lightweight champion since Roberto Duran…world champion in 4 different weight divisions…Notable Victories: Greg Haugen, Jose Luis Ramirez, Freddie Pendleton, Azumah Nelson, Jorge Paez, Buddy McGirt (2) and Diosbelys Hurtado.
“Pretty Boy’ Floyd Mayweather, Jr: 39-0 (25 KOs)…American…Pro Years: 1996-Present…6-time world champion in 5 weight classes…Notable Victories: Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Gernaro Hernandez, Angel Manfredy, Gregori Vargas, Diego Corrales, Carlos Hernandez, Jesus Chavez, Jose Luis Castillo (2), Demarcs Corley, Arturo Gatti, Sharmba Mitchell, Zab Judah and Carlos Manuel Baldomir.
Boxing fans attending the festivities will be able to celebrate, up close and personal, the achievements of the World’s Greater Ever Boxers.
A three-day boxing spectacular is planned October 2-4 at the Paris Las Vegas, commencing that Friday with an official welcome reception and official weigh in for the following evening’s professional boxing show, presented by Sterling Promotions, and featuring Team USA versus Team Europe, capped by an exclusive after party.
The event culminates Sunday with The Greater Ever black-tie awards dinner, featuring some of the greatest boxers ever, as well as world-class entertainment, and then an exclusive after party.
The Retired Boxers Foundation (RBF) is the official charity for The World’s Greatest Ever Boxer. RBF assists retired professional boxers in the transition from their days in the ring to dignified retirement, helping those suffering from alcohol and substance abuse problems, homelessness and effects of pugilistic dementia.
Four ticket packages are on sale for the Oct. 2-4 weekend’s events through agents at the following numbers: North America – The Sports Alliance (914.941.3366) Smart Ticket Solutions (847.917.8497); United Kingdom and Europe – Rock Solid Events (UK: 0845 0945 606, Outside UK: +44 845 0945 606); Australasia – Events Worldwide Travel Group (Australia: 1300 788 666, Outside Australia: +61 3 5989 7666).
The event-only packages are as follows (all prices USD): Super VIP ($2,500), Platinum ($1,900), VIP ($1,400) and Gold ($1,115). The Super VIP, Platinum and VIP packages have a number or premiums in addition to those detailed in the Gold (welcome function, weigh-in, Greatest Ever poker tournament, exclusive Paris Las Vegas gaming area, exclusive memorabilia, movie screenings, access to Greatest Ever dedicated gaming areas and VIP bar, media and legends signings, general seating for the fights and at the awards dinner).
Regional agents can provide additional premiums for individual packages.