Decade Rankings: 1940-1949

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(1)  Joe Louis  6’1”, 190- Defended his title eighteen times during the decade and had to serve in World War II in his prime. No question he was the top heavy of the decade. (18-0) *1232 Est.
(2) Ezzard Charles  6’0”, 181- From 1944 to 1951 Charles lost one fight and that was to Elmer Ray in a very controversial decision in which Ring Magazine felt Charles was the victor. Charles was one of the most active heavyweights and light heavyweights in ring history. Jimmy Bivins, Archie Moore, Elmer Ray, Joe Baksi, Joey Maxim and Jersey Joe Walcott all feel to Charles on his way to the title. His losses were to the before mentioned Elmer Ray and Jimmy Bivins who he defeated several times. No question about Charles being second in the decade.(62-5) *250 Est.
 (3) Jersey Joe Walcott  6’0”, 194- From 1946 to 1952 Jersey Joe was one of the top contenders for the title. Walcott was an amazing fighter who many felt defeated Louis over 15 rounds in 1947. In the rematch Walcott was knocked out in the 11th round. Walcott held victories in the decade over Jimmy Bivins, Lee Oma, Joe Baksi, Joey Maxim(2) and Elmer Ray. His losses were to Louis twice, Abe Simon, Elmer Ray, Joey Maxim and Charles. (18-7) *438 Est.
 (4) Jimmy Bivins  5’9”,184–Bivins fought every major contender during the decade with the exception of Joe Louis. At one point during the decade he was the number one contender in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. Victories include Gus Lesnevich, Joey Maxim, Tami Mauriello, Bob Pastor, Lee Savold, Ezzard Charles, Pat Valentino, Melio Bettina, Curtis Sheppard, Archie Moore and Lee Q.Murray. He lost to some of the best in the division as well; Harold Johnson, Archie Moore(3), Joey Maxim, Ezzard Charles, Lee Q. Murray, Walcott, Bob Pastor, Melio Bettina, (72-17-1) *410 Est.
(5) Billy Conn  6’1 ”, 174 –Conn had Joe Louis beat after 12 rounds in 1941 only to go out in the 13th round and lose by knockout. Conn was very quick on his feet and to fast for Louis but the war took what could possibly been his best years because in his rematch with Louis in 1946 he lost in only eight rounds. The Light Heavyweight champion left the division and moved up to the big boys after his 1940 victory over Gus Lesnevich. He immediately became one of the top contenders defeating Bob Pastor, Al McCoy, Lee Savold and Gunnar Barlund. (14-2) *159 Est.
(6) Archie Moore 5’11”, 172- Hard to believe Moore in #6 in this decade but he was avoided by most of the top fighters in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. Moore defeated the best that would fight him. Jimmy Bivins(3), Bob Satterfield, Harold Johnson all fell to the Mongoose. He lost to Charles on three different occasions, to Jimmy Bivins, Leonard Morrow, Henry Hall, Clint Bacon and Lloyd Gibson. (71-14-3) *264 Est.
 (7) Elmer Ray  6’2”, 194-Holds the longest winning streak in heavyweight history winning 50 fights in a row during the decade. The two big names during the stretch were Lee Savold and Jersey Joe Walcott. Another big name that fell to Ray was Charles in a questionable decision in 1947. Charles won the rematch. During the decade Ray lost to Turkey Thompson, Charles, Walcott, Kid Rivera and John Holman.  (74-6-1) *313 Est.
(8) Joey Maxim  6’1”, 182-Maxim defeated Jersey Joe Walcott, Pat Valentino, Bob Satterfield, Jimmy Bivins, and Gus Lesnevich. His losses were to Jersey Joe Walcott(2), Joe Kahut and Ezzard Charles.   (67-16-4) *156 Est.
 (9) Bob Pastor 6’0”, 183- Pastors big claim to fame was his two fights with Joe Louis in 1937 and 1939. The first of the two he lost a close decision and the second he lost in the 11th round by KO. By  the 1940s he was on the tail end of his career. He has two victories over Turkey Thompson and defeated Gus Lesnevich and split with Jimmy Bivins and fought a draw with Tami Mauriello. He only lost twice in the decade and that was to Billy Conn and Bivins. (14-2-1) *227 Est.
(10) Gus Lesnevich 5’9”, 182-  Lesnevich was an outstanding light heavyweight who moved up to the heavyweights. His victory list includes, Nathan Mann, Tami Mauriello(4), Joe Kahut, Melio Bettina, Freddie Mills and Billy Fox(2). His losses included Billy Conn, Bob Pastor, Jimmy Bivins, Lee Oma, Bruce Woodcock, Freddie Mills, Joey Maxim and Ezzard Charles. (16-9) *564 Est.
(11) Tami Mauriello  6’0”, 196-  Tami lost to Gus Lesnevich twice in 1941 and twice again in 1947, he also lost to Jimmy Bivins twice; other losses included Joe Baksi, Lee Oma, Joe Louis, Joe Dominic, and Cesar Brion. His big victories came over Tony Musto(2), Red Burman, Lee Savold(2), Lou Nova(2), Gunnar Barlund(2), Lee Oma(2), Freddie Schott, Bruce Woodcock and Joe Dominic. Tami was ranked as the number one contender in 1946 and number two contender in 1942 thru 1945. (The War Years) (72-13-4) *520 Est.
(12) Joe Baksi  6’1”, 210- Baksi first big win was over Tami Mauriello in 1944 followed by wins over Lee Savold(2), Gunnar Barlund, Lou Nova, Freddie Schott, Freddie Mills and Bruce Woodcock. His losses were to Lee Savold, Lee Oma, Jimmy Bell, Jersey Joe Walcott, Olle Tandberg and Ezzard Charles. (55-8-3) *329 Est.
(13) Lee Oma  5’11, 190- Oma big wins were against Lou Nova, Tami Mauriello, Joe Baksi, Phil Muscato(3), Gus Lesnevich and Freddie Beshore. Losses included Joey Maxim, Tami Mauriello, Phil Muscato(2), Jersey Joe, Pat Comisky,  Colion Chaney, Henry Flakes(2) and Bruce Woodcock. Early in his career he lost a lot more than he won. He was ranked in the top ten by Ring Magazine in 1944 and 45. (55-25-3) *154 Est.
(14) Arturo Godoy  6’0”, 201- Godoy is remembered most for his two great fights with Joe Louis in 1940. He went 15 rounds with the champ in the first matchup and lost in the 8th round by knockout in the rematch. Godoy had an up and down career. He defeated Gus Dorazio, Tony Musto(2), Roscoe Toles and Phil Muscato and that was about it. His losses were against Roscoe Toles(4), Joe Muscato, Turkey Thompson, Alabama Kid, Leonard Morrow and Harold Johnson. (31-13-4) *320 Est.
(15) Lee Q. Murray 6’3”, 210- Murray defeated Curtis Sheppard(4), Turkey Thompson, Jimmy Bivins(2), his losses included Curtis Sheppard(2), Jimmy Bivins(3), Jersey Joe Walcott, Turkey Thompson. He was the number 3 ranked heavyweight in the world in 1943 and 1947. (53-17-1) *302 Est.
(16) Turkey Thompson 5’8”,203- Thompson was the last fighter to defeat Elmer Ray before he went on his 50 fight win streak. Other wins included Pat Valentino, Perk Daniels, Arthuro Godoy and Lee Q. Murray. His losses were to Bob Pastor(2), Pat Valentino(2), Perk Daniels, Lee Q. Murray, Al Hart and Jimmy Bivins. (40-8-2) *184 Est.
(17) Melio Bettina 5’9”,185- Melio had a strong record during the decade defeating Fred Apostoli, Pat Valentino, Jimmy Bivins, Harry Bobo(2), Gus Dorazio, Buddy Walker and Curtis Sheppard. His losses were to Fred Apostoli, Al McCoy Jimmy Bivins, Gus Lesnevich and Johnny Flynn.(35-6-1)*373 Est.
(18) Lee Savold 6’0”, 195- A very active fighter during the decade Savold defeated his share of top heavyweights; Lou Nova(2), Johnny Flynn, Tony Musto, Lem Fanklin(2), Joe Baksi, Gus Dorazio and Buddy Walker. His losses were many also, Harry Bbo(2), Tony Musto, Tami Mauriello(2), Jimmy Bivins, Joe Baksi(2), Elmer Ray and Phil Muscato(2).(51-17-3)*315 Est.
(19) Bruce Woodcock 6’0”, 195-Had a very impressive record during the decade but did not fight the most competitive boxers in the division. Victories included Freddie Mills(2), Gus Lesnevich, Lee Oma and Lee Savold. He only loss twice, Tami Mauriello and Joe Baksi.(35-2) *251 Est.
(20) Curtis Sheppard  5’11”,190-Sheppard was very active during the decade just like every other fighter trying to make a living. He defeated Lee Q. Murray twice, Johnny Flynn, Joey Maxim, Gus Dorazio and Buddy Walker twice. He lost to several big time fighters. Lee Q. Murray four times, Jimmy Bivins four times, Joey Maxim twice, Buddy Walker twice, Lem Fanklin, Lloyd Marshall, Melio Bettina, Jersey Joe Walcott and Archie Moore twice. (45-30-0)*170 Est.

{Average weight 191 of the top heavyweights of the 1940s}

* Fighters Ring Rankings Totals for the Decade:
(Record is from the decade of the 1940s)

Top Heavyweights During the 1940s

1940     Joe Louis Tony Galento Bob Pastor Godoy Red Burman (est)
1941     Joe Louis  Max Baer Godoy  Red Burman Abe Sikon (est)
1942     Joe Louis Bob Pastor  Billy Conn  Bettina  T.Thompson
1943     Joe Louis Jimmy Bivins  Mauriello T.Thompspn    Lee Savold  
1944     Joe Louis Jimmy Bivins   Mauriello Lee Murray Sheppard (est)
1945     Joe Louis  Jimmy Bivins  Mauriello  Baksi  Bettina
1946     Joe Louis Mauriello   Elmer Ray  Walcott     Woodcock (est)
1947     Joe Louis

JJ Walcott 

Elmer Ray Mauriello Baksi (est)
1948     Joe Louis JJ Walcott Elmer Ray Joey Maxim  Lee Savold
1949     Joe Louis E.Charles JJ Walcott  Lee Savold    Lee Oma (est)


History of the Heavyweight Division 1940-49
Top Three Heavyweights

1940-Champion, Joe Louis       
#1 Max Baer                       

#2 Arturo Godoy                 

def. Arturo Godoy 15-D
def. Arturo Godoy 8-KO
def. Tony Galento 8-KO
def. Pat Cominskey 1-KO
loss Joe Louis 15-D
loss Joe Louis 8-KO
def. Gus Dorazio 10-D
def. Tony Musto 10-D

1941-Champion, Joe Louis       

#1 Billy Conn   
#2 Lem Franklin                                        

def. Abe Simon 13-KO
def. Buddy Baer 7-Disq
def. Billy Conn 13-KO
def. Lou Nova 6-KO
def. Gunnar Barlund 8-KO
loss Joe Louis 13-KO
def. Jimmy Bivins 11-KO
def. Tony Musto 2-KO
def. Abe Simon 5-KO

1942-Champion, Joe Louis       

#1  Jimmy Bivins                

#2 Tami Mauriello             

def. Buddy Bear 1-KO
def. Abe Simon 6-KO
def. Gus Lesnevich 10-D
loss Bob Pastor 10-D Split
def. Joey Maxim 10-D
def. Tami Mauriello 10-D split
def. Bob Pastor 10-D split
def. Lee Savold 10-D
def. Gunnar Barlund 8-KO
draw Bob Pastor 10-DR
def. Tony Musto 8-D
loss Jimmy Bivins 10-D Split
def. Lee Savold 10-D
def. Lou Nova 6-KO

1943-Champion, Joe Louis       
#1 Jimmy Bivins                 

#2 Tami Mauriello             

Inactive(WW II)
def. Ezzard Charles 10-D
def. Tami Mauriello 10-D
def. Melio Bettina 10-D
def. Lee Q. Murray 10-D
loss Jimmy Bivins 10-D
def. Tony Musto 7-KO
def. Gunnar Barlund 8-KO
def. Lee Savold 10-D

1944-Champion, Joe Louis       
#1 Melio Bettina               
#2 Tami Mauriello            

def. Johnny Davis 1-KO 
def. Curtis Sheppard 10-D 

loss Joe Baksi 10-D
def. Lee Oma 8-KO
loss Lee Oma 10-D

1945-Champion, Joe Louis       
#1 Biily Conn                       
#2 Tami Mauriello             

Inactive(WW II)
Inactive(WW II)
def. Lee Oma 10-D
def. Lou Nova 1-KO
def. Gunnar Barlund 2-KO

1946-Champion, Joe Louis
#1 Tami Mauriello             

#2 Elmer Ray                      

def. Billy Conn 8-KO
def. Tami Mauriello 1-KO
def. Bruce Woodcock5-KO
loss Joe Louis 1-KO
def. Lee Savold 2-KO
def. Jersey Joe Walcott 10-D

1947-Champion, Joe Louis       
#1 J .Joe Walcott                

#2 Elmer Ray                      

def. Jersey Joe Walcott 15-D Split
def. Joey Maxim 10-D
def. Elmer Ray 10-D
def. Joey Maxim 10-D Split
loss Joe Louis 10-D Split
loss Jersey Joe Walcott 10-D 
def. Ezzard Charles 10-D Split

1948-Champion, Joe Louis       
#1 J. Joe Walcott                
#2 Ezzard Charles             

def. Jersey Joe Walcott 11-KO
loss Joe Louis 11-KO
def. Archie Moore 8-KO
def. Elmer Ray 9-KO
def. Jimmy Bivins 10-D
def. Joe Baksi 11-KO

1949-Title Vacant              
#1 Ezzard Charles            

#2 Lee Oma                      
#3 Turkey Thompson        

def Joey Maxim 15-D
def. Jersey Joe Walcott 15-D
def. Gus Lesnevich 7-KO
def. Pat Valentino 8-KO  
def. Omelio Agramonte 10-D
def. Freddie Beshore 10-D
def. Lee Q Murray 6-KO



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