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Old 02-04-2009, 12:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Greatest Welterweights of the 1980s

This encompasses two separate "periods," in which the members of one moved north to 160, and therefore never met anyone from the one that followed. I am thinking "welterweightish" here, so basically whatever got done at 140, 147, and 154 counts, but it is accomplishments at 147 itself that matter the most. I'm big on "classic" divisions I'll leave a few notes about why I feel this way at the end.

1. Ray Leonard
2. Tommy Hearns
3. Donald Curry
4. Wilfred Benitez
5. Simon Brown
6. Marlon Starling
7. Roberto Duran
8. Mark Breland

First, why Leonard over Hearns? I do believe Hearns is the greater fighter P4P and overall, but at welterweight Leonard BEAT Hearns. They both beat Duran and Benitez. 'Nuff said.

Why is Duran so low? Well, it's simple: he might have been the first person to beat Leonard, but he also go whupped by Benitez and Hearns.

Why is Curry higher than Benitez? Um, did you ever see Donald Curry? If not, I suggest reading my profile of him and then watching some of his old fights. The guy would have given either Leonard or Hearns a close run.

Finally, why is Simon Brown #5? Check out the guy's reign as IBF champion. He was unarguably the last solid 147lbs champ of the 1980s.

As usual, if I have written a profile about the guy, I link to it.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Good post/thread Johnny.

I'm glad to see Marlon Starling getting respect, he is an underrated and over looked fighter.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Good list. I still consider Leonard a con artist however and put Hearns ahead of him. He made Hearns come in under the Welterweight limit to weaken him, was soundly getting beaten until Tommy faded at the end, then refused to rematch Tommy until he thought Tommy was shot, turned out the joke was on him. Rematched Duran early because he knew about his training habits and was fully aware he wouldn't be in shape in time, then refused a 3rd fight until Duran was nearly 40. But enough about Leonard the conman...

Leonard, Hearns, and especially Duran rarely spent much time of the 80s fighting at Welterweight. Hell, Leonard didn't spend much time in the 80s fighting at ALL. Benitez was gone from the Welterweight division by the time the 80s rolled around. So, since fighting at 154 seems to be good enough for this list, why not add guys from 140, like Aaron Pryor? That con man Leonard ducked his ass hard.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Good list. I still consider Leonard a con artist however and put Hearns ahead of him. He made Hearns come in under the Welterweight limit to weaken him, was soundly getting beaten until Tommy faded at the end, then refused to rematch Tommy until he thought Tommy was shot, turned out the joke was on him. Rematched Duran early because he knew about his training habits and was fully aware he wouldn't be in shape in time, then refused a 3rd fight until Duran was nearly 40. But enough about Leonard the conman...

Leonard, Hearns, and especially Duran rarely spent much time of the 80s fighting at Welterweight. Hell, Leonard didn't spend much time in the 80s fighting at ALL. Benitez was gone from the Welterweight division by the time the 80s rolled around. So, since fighting at 154 seems to be good enough for this list, why not add guys from 140, like Aaron Pryor? That con man Leonard ducked his ass hard.
The thing centers on 147. I only reach to 154 or 140 to break close issues, like how 2-4 shaped up: Benitez, Curry, and Hearns? Everyone on the list did their most famous work south of middleweight at 147. Yeah, Benitez vs. Leonard was in 1979, but that was the first great bout of the Benitez-Duran-Hearns-Leonard generation.

As for Leonard being a con-man, I agree with you up to a certain point, and it all comes later. IMO, he didn't beat Hagler. IMO, he did take the Hearns II and Duran III fights because he thought they were safe, and I say as much in my profile of him (read it if you like). But Hearns didn't have to kill himself to make weight at 147 if he didn't want to; Duran could have pushed for an extra month before the rematch, or just disciplined himself more. You can't blame Leonard because those guys didn't negotiate very well.

I adore Hearns, and I think he had the more remarkable overall career. But at 147? or 147 + 154? Nope.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:56 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Good post/thread Johnny.

I'm glad to see Marlon Starling getting respect, he is an underrated and over looked fighter.
I've always liked Starling. The truth is if it weren't for Starling, we never would have known how good Curry was. I will eventually do a profile of him too.
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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1. Ray Leonard - People can complain all they want, fact remains that he knocked out 2 of the top 5 on the list and 3 of the top 10 in their prime and beating an undefeated 154 lb. WBA titleholder Ring champ Kalule as a tuneup for Hearns. Also, Leonard can't get blamed for psyching out Hearns enough to make him drop to 145, the fight was at 147.

2. Aaron Pryor - If it's from 140 to 154 in the 80's Pryor has to be in the top 3. In 3-4 years he did more then 99.9% of boxers do in there whole career; he's ahead of Hearns because he had a better title reign with slightly better quality opp. Had to move to 140 because no one at 135 wanted to give him a title shot there.

3. Tommy Hearns - Knocked out a Pipino Cuevas on a very long title reign in 2, ruined him. Beat 2 out of the 10 on the list

4. Donald Curry - Definitely one of the best welterweights of the 80's.

5. Mike McCallum
6. Wilfred Benitez
7. Simon Brown
8. Marlon Starling
9. Roberto Duran
10. Lloyd Honeyghan

Mark Breland has to sit this one out, at least until I reevaluate later, I'll put a brief caption up for each and why.
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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1. Ray Leonard - People can complain all they want, fact remains that he knocked out 2 of the top 5 on the list and 3 of the top 10 in their prime and beating an undefeated 154 lb. WBA titleholder Ring champ Kalule as a tuneup for Hearns. Also, Leonard can't get blamed for psyching out Hearns enough to make him drop to 145, the fight was at 147.

2. Aaron Pryor - If it's from 140 to 154 in the 80's Pryor has to be in the top 3. In 3-4 years he did more then 99.9% of boxers do in there whole career; he's ahead of Hearns because he had a better title reign with slightly better quality opp. Had to move to 140 because no one at 135 wanted to give him a title shot there.

3. Tommy Hearns - Knocked out a Pipino Cuevas on a very long title reign in 2, ruined him. Beat 2 out of the 10 on the list

4. Donald Curry - Definitely one of the best welterweights of the 80's.

5. Mike McCallum
6. Wilfred Benitez
7. Simon Brown
8. Marlon Starling
9. Roberto Duran
10. Lloyd Honeyghan

Mark Breland has to sit this one out, at least until I reevaluate later, I'll put a brief caption up for each and why.
I won't deny that McCallum was a great fighter. The thing is that I think of his heyday as STARTING with his 1989 win over Herol Graham. He had a few good fights in the 1980s - the win over an undefeated Julian Jackson comes foremost in my mind - but he built his lasting reputation in the early 1990s, not the 1980s.

I adore Aaron Pryor, but he had exactly 4 fights at 147 or 154, and that was at the clear end of his career. Like I said, my list is centered on classical welterweights. The core is 147. Pryor did zip at that weight.

Anyway, if you agree with either point, Breland fits in nicely. And I think he should be above Honeyghan or McCrory either way.
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I've always liked Starling. The truth is if it weren't for Starling, we never would have known how good Curry was. I will eventually do a profile of him too.
When I was at the hall of fame, Starling told a story about one of his fights with Curry. He said "...I hit him with my best left uppercut, and it would have knocked out most people...but all Curry did was go 'HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!', after that, I knew I was in for a long night."

He's a character. Very good fighter aswell. I had him winning the 2nd Breland fight. Marlon was on that line between very good and great. Very hard to rate.
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I won't deny that McCallum was a great fighter. The thing is that I think of his heyday as STARTING with his 1989 win over Herol Graham. He had a few good fights in the 1980s - the win over an undefeated Julian Jackson comes foremost in my mind - but he built his lasting reputation in the early 1990s, not the 1980s.

I adore Aaron Pryor, but he had exactly 4 fights at 147 or 154, and that was at the clear end of his career. Like I said, my list is centered on classical welterweights. The core is 147. Pryor did zip at that weight.

Anyway, if you agree with either point, Breland fits in nicely. And I think he should be above Honeyghan or McCrory either way.
If you're only looking for Fighters that fought at welterweight then McCallum doesn't count. If you're only counting fighters that fought a good chunk at 147 then you're right Pryor doesn't count.

If this list includes 154 pounders McCallum belongs on the list; not only did he knock out an undefeated Jackson, but Donald Curry, Milton McRory, (the first) Luigi Minchillo, and he decisioned Herol Graham, if that doesn't qualify him for his spot in the list, what would? (Btw I checked boxrec and they were all in the 80's)

Again, if you're counting 140 pounders, Pryor did more there against good-great opposition than some did at both 147 and 154.

If you don't include those 2, then Breland fits right behind Honeyghan. Why? Compare their 80's resume and you'll get your answer, though not that far apart, Lloyd's is clearly better.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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When I was at the hall of fame, Starling told a story about one of his fights with Curry. He said "...I hit him with my best left uppercut, and it would have knocked out most people...but all Curry did was go 'HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!', after that, I knew I was in for a long night."

He's a character. Very good fighter aswell. I had him winning the 2nd Breland fight. Marlon was on that line between very good and great. Very hard to rate.
Great story - I love that :-)
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