1. Joe Louis 6’1”, 190 (Heavyweight Champion 1937-1949)
Lee Ramage, Primo Carnera, King Levinsky, Max Baer, Paulino Uzcudun, Jack Sharkey, Max Schmeling, Tony Galento, Bob Pastor(2), Arturo Godoy(2), Jim Braddock, Buddy Baer(2), Billy Conn(2), Lou Nova, Tami Mauriello, Jersey Joe Walcott(2) and Jimmy Bivins:
Max Schmeling while in his prime and Rocky Marciano and Ezzard Charles well past his prime.
Best Fight of His Career: 1938 Max Schmeling 1-KO win
Rating Analysis: There can be little question as to who was the top fighter of this period, “The Brown Bomber”. From 1935 to 1948 he defeated just about all the top contenders in the division and dominated like few fighters in the history of the sport. Why pick Louis over Marciano? Louis had a far better jab and was very causious and patient and would have cut Marciano’s face up during the fight. Even late in his career he lasted eight rounds against Marciano. I think Charles and Walcott would have been much tougher fights for Louis because they could move and get away from his power. In his prime with young legs I feel certain Louis would have run down Charles and Walcott late in the fights.
2. Rocky Marciano 5’10, 182 (Heavyweight Champion 1952-1956)
Roland LaStarza(2), Rex Layne, Freddie Beshore, Joe Louis(2), Lee Savald, Jersey Joe Walcott(2), Ezzard Charles(2), Don Cockell, Arhcie Moore:
Best Fight of His Career: 1952 Jersey Joe Walcott 13-KO win
Rating Analysis: Rocky finished his career undefeated so many make a strong argument that he is the best. First of all he had many close calls against not so terrific fighters. His decision over LaStarza in 1950 was a split decision, Walcott was ahead on all score cards in there first fight before Marciano won by knockout in the 13th round. Ezzard Charles more than held his own against Marciano in 1954 at the age of thirty three. Archie Moore the Light heavyweight champion floored the Rock in the first round in their 1955 fight. The light hitting Walcott put Marciano on the canvas in their first fight. I think in his prime Ezzard Charles may have been too much for Marciano but I think you have to put Marciano second on the list because he defeated five of the top six fighters on the list even if they may not have been in there prime. Schmeling would have been very tough to beat for Marciano but I give Rocky a slight edge.Schmeling was a fine boxer and could take a lot of punishment.
3. Ezzard Charles 6’0”, 181 (Heavyweight Champion 1949-1951)
Jimmy Bivins(4), Archie Moore(2), Elmer Ray, Joe Baksi, Joey Maxim(3), Jersey Joe Walcott(2), Gus Lesnevich, Freddie Beshore, Joe Louis, Nick Barone, Lee Oma, Rex Layne(2), Cesar Brion, Bob Satterfield:
Elmer Ray, Jersey Joe Walcott, Rex Layne, Nino Valdez, Harold Johnson and Rocky Marciano:
Best Fight of His Career: 1949 Jersey Joe Walcott 15-D Win
Rating Analysis: Charles had the most active of all the fighters during this period and maybe the best. He was a master boxer with skill and speed. From 1947 to 1951 he was the dominate fighter in the division. In his prime he may have been to much for Marciano but that is a big if. Schmeling and Charles would have been a great fight an a very close decision. I give Charles a very close edge over the German.
4. Max Schmeling 6’1”, 192 (Heavyweight Champion 1930-1932)
Johnny Risko, Paulino Uzcudun(2), Jack Sharkey, Young Stribling, Mickey Walker, Steve Hamas, Joe Louis:
Jack Sharkey, Max Baer, Steve Hamas, Joe Louis:
Best Fight of His Career: 1933 Joe Louis 12-KO win
Rating Analysis: Schmeling was the only fighter to ever beat Joe Louis in his prime. He was a truly great fighter of the era. Had he beaten Max Baer I believe his place in boxing history would have been higher. Baer was somewhat ackward and cumberson much like Marciano and was still able to defeat the crafty Schmeling. His loss to Sharkey was highly questionable.
5. Jersey Joe Walcott 6’0”, 194 (Heavyweight Champion 1951-1952)
Joe Baksi, Lee Q. Murray, Curtis Sheppard, Jimmy Bivins, Lee Oma, Joey Maxim, Olle Tandber, Harold Johnson, Omelio Agramonte, Hein Ten Hoff, Ezzard Charles(2).
Joey Maxim, Elmer Ray, Joe Louis(2), Ezzard Charles(2), Rex Layne, Rocky Marciano(2).
Best Fight of His Career: 1952 Rocky Marciano 13-KO Loss
Rating Analysis: When you look at Walcott record it is very impressive. He really beat Joe Louis in 1948 only to have the decision taken from him, he had Marciano beat for twelve rounds before losing by knockout. He defeated Ezzard Charles twice and also had victories over Joey Maxim, Jimmy Bivins and Harold Johnson. He was a master boxer who was very elusive. I don’t think you could make a real strong argument for him being ranked higher and it would be hard to rate him much lower.
6. Archie Moore 5’11”, 196 (#1 Contender 1955,1956)
Curtis Sheppard(2), Jimmy Bivins(4), Bob Satterfield, Harold Johnson(4), Alberto Lovell, Jimmy Slade, Clinton Bacon, Clarence Henry, Joey Maxim(3), Nino Valdes(2), Bob Baker, Bert Whitehurst(2), Roger Rischer, Willie Besmanoff(2), Alejandro Lavorante.
Jimmy Bivins, Ezzard Charles(3),Leonard Morrow, Clinton Bacon, Harold Johnson, Rocky Marciano and Floyd Patterson.
Best Fight of His Career: 1955 Nino Valdes 15-D win
Rating Analysis: Moore was a great fighter for a long time. He probably was on his decline by the time he reached the heavyweight division at the age of 38. No question about his place at number 6 in the rankings. It would be hard to place him any higher. He lost to Charles, Marciano and Floyd Patterson at the age of 39, well past his prime.
7. Jimmy Bivins 5’9”, 177 (#1 Contender 1943, 1944, 1945)
Gus Lesnevich, Joey Maxim, Tami Mauriello, Bob Pastor, Lee Savold, Ezzard Charles, Pat Valentino, Tami Mauriello, Melio Bettina, Lee Q. Murray(3), Buddy Scott, Curtis Sheppard (4), Archie Moore, Omelio Agramonte, Turkey Thompson, Pat Valentino, Leonard Morrow, Clarence Henry.
Lem Franklin, Tony Musto, Melio Bettina, Bob Pastor, Jersey Joe Walcott, Lee Q Murray(2), Ezzard Charles(3), Archie Moore(3), Joey Maxim, Leonard Morrow, Harold Johnson, Clarence Henry, Joe Louis and Bob Baker:
Best Fight of His Career: 1942 Bob Pastor 10-Split Decision Win
Rating Analysis: He was undefeated in heavyweight division from 1942 to 1946.Durng the four year period he defeated the best in the heavyweight division. His body of work put him ahead of Billy Conn which is not always popular. Some very crafty boxers gave him trouble, Charles, Moore, Walcott and Harold Johnson. Because of the race issue they faced each other many times.
8. Billy Conn 6’1 ½” 174 (#1 Contender 1942, 1943, 1945, 1946)
Melio Bettina(2), Gus Dorazio, Gus Lesnevich(2), Bob Pastor, Al McCoy, Lee Savold, Gunnar Barlund and Tony Zale.
Best Fight of His Career: 1942 Joe Louis 13-KO Loss
Rating Analysis: Hard to rate Conn because he was just coming into his own when he had to go off to WW II. His big claim to fame was the Louis fight which he was ahead on points going into the 13th round. Bob Pastor was highly thought of and is the biggest name on his resume. When you put his body of work up against Bivins, Moore and Walcott he just does not have enough wins over elite opponents to push him up into the top ten during this period. He is rated ahead of Baer primarily because he fought a much better fight against Louis than Baer.
9. Max Baer 6’2 ½”, 209 (Heavyweight Champion 1934-1935)
KO Christner, Frankie Campbell, Tom Heeney(2), Johnny Risko, Les Kennedy, King Levinsky(2), Ernie Schaaf, Tuffy Griffiths, Max Schmeling, Primo Carnera, Tommy Farr, Tony Galento, Pat Comiskey.
Ernie Schaaf, Tommy Loughran, Johnny Risko, Paulino Uzcudun, Jim Braddock, Joe Louis, Tommy Farr, Lou Nova(2).
Best Fight of His Career: 1933 Max Schmeling 10-TKO Win
Rating Analysis: Baer was an outstanding heavyweight with size, speed and power who did not always prepare properly for his fights. His knockout win over Schmeling puts him into the top ten. He was the top fighter in the division and undefeated from 1931 to 1934.
10. Ernie Schaaf 6’2”, 203 (#2 Contender 1932)
Bud Gorman, Johnny Risko, Jack Renault, KO Christner, Tommy Loughran(2), Max Baer, Jim Braddock, Jim Maloney(2), Tuffy Grittiths, Young Stribling, Tony Galento, Paulino Uzcudun, Unknown Winston, Stanley Poreda.
Tommy Loughran(2), KO Christner, Johnny Risko, Stanley Poreda, Max Baer, Unknown Winston, Primo Carnera.
Best Fight of His Career: 1930 Max Baer 10-D Win
Rating Analysis: Schaaf untimely death in the ring is one of the biggest tragedies in the long history of boxing. He was an outstanding heavyweight during the early 1930s. Schaaf split with Baer and had some real nice wins over Risko, Loughran, Stribling and Uzcudun. He also had good size for a heavyweight during that period. He was never the same after the second fight with Baer in which he took a horrible beating. Therefore you really can’t count his loss to Carnera and that is why he is ranked ahead of the big Italian.
11. Harold Johnson 5’10”, 177 (Light Heavyweight Champion 1961-1963)
Arturo Godoy, Jimmy Bivins, Archie Moore, Clarence Henry, Bob Satterfield(2), Nino Valdes, Jimmy Slade(2), Ezzard Charles, Marty Marshall, Wayne Bethea, Eddie Machen, Doug Jones, Henry Hanks:
Archie Moore(4), Jersey Joe Walcott, Bob Satterfield, Willie Pastrano, Johnny Persol:
Best Fight of His Career: 1953 Ezzard Charles 10-D Split Win
Rating Analysis: He opened his career with 24 straight victories. He was an outstanding light heavyweight who unfortunately fought in the division at the same time Archie Moore was dominating the division. He is ranked this high because of his wins over Charles in 1953, Archie Moore, Nino Valdez in 1952, Eddie Machen in 1961 and Doug Jones in 1962. That is an impressive list of wins.
12. Nino Valdes 6’3”, 209 (#1 Contender 1954, 1955)
Omelio Agramonte, Ezzard Charles, Doc Williams, Heinz Neuhaus, Archie McBride, Karel Sys, Tommy Jackson, Don Cockell, Dick Richardson, Joe Erskine, John Holman, Wayne Bethea, Mike DeJohn(2), Johnny Summerlin, Harold Carter, Pat McMurtry, Brian London:
Harold Johnson, Billy Gilliam, Bob Baker(2), Bob Satterfield, Eddie Machen(2), Zory Folley, Alex Miteff, Charley Powell, Alonzo Johnson, Sonny Liston:
Best Fight of His Career: 1953 Ezzard Charles 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Valdes was a very active heavyweight during the mid 1950s and should have been given a shot at the title against Marciano. He was the top contender for a two year period. His loss to Archie Moore was his last chance for a title shot. He lost to several fighters that are rated behind him but he has a very impressive resume of wins over tough opponents. His win over Ezzard Charles was his biggest victory of his career in 1953. Charles almost took the title from Marciano a year later in a title fight. The Charles fight puts him ahead of Bob Baker even though he lost to him twice.
13. Elmer Ray 6’2”, 194 (#1 Contender 1947)
Lee Savold, Jersey Joe Walcot, Ezzard Charles:
Turkey Thompson, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles, Kid Rivera, John Holman:
Best Fight of His Career: 1947 Ezzard Charles 10-D Win
Rating Analysis: Ray has two victories over two of the top fighters during this period but little else. He did win 50 fights in a row but very few big names. His victories over Charles and Walcott are the only thing that places him this high in the rankings.
14. Primo Carnera 6’5 ½ “, 260 (Heavyweight Champion 1933-1934)
KO Christner(2), George Godfrey, Paulino Uzcudun(2), Jim Maloney, Bud Gorman, King Levinsky(2), Les Kennedy, Ernie Schaaf, Jack Sharkey, Tommy Loughran:
Jim Maloney, Jack Sharkey, Larry Gains, Stanley Poreda, Max Baer, Joe Louis, LeRoy Haynes(2):
Best Fight of His Career: 1933 Jack Sharkey 6-KO Win
Rating Analysis: Hard to figure where to put Carnera because so many of his fights were not on the level. He was controlled by the mob and went all the way to the Championship. He was big and strong and could take a punch, but little else.
15. Joey Maxim 6’1”, 182 (#3 Contender 1951)
Wins: 13 2 Draws
Red Burman, Curtis Sheppard(2), Buddy Scott, Phil Muscato(2), Jersey Joe Walcott, Olle Tandberg, Pat Valentino DR(2), Bob Satterfield, Jimmy Bivins, Gus Lesnevich, Sugar Ray Robinson, Floyd Patterson(All 11 Sports Writers at Ringside scored the fight for Patterson).
Jimmy Bivins, Ezzard Charles(5), Curtis Sheppard, Lloyd Marshall, Phil Muscato, Jersey Joe Walcott(2), Archie Moore(3), Bobo Olson(2), Willie Pastrano, Eddie Machen(2), Heinez Neuhaus:
Best Fight Of His Career: 1948 Jimmy Bivins 10-D Win
Rating Analysis: Maxim was a very active light heavyweight who had some impressive wins over Floyd Patterson and Sugar Ray Robinson. He also defeated Jersey Joe Walcott early in his career. I think it would be hard to argue that Maxim should be rated any higher. He could not beat the best heavyweights of the period losing to Ezzard Charles five times, Jersey Joe Walcott twice, and Jimmy Bivins.
16. Bob Pastor 5’11 ½” 183 (#1 Contender 1942, 1943)
Ray Impellittiere, Al Ettore, Lou Nova, Lee Ramage, Al McCoy(2), Roscoe Toles, Buddy Scott(3), Turkey Thompson(2), Gus Lesnevich, Lem Franklin, Jimmy Bivins:
Joe Louis(2), Nathan Mann, Gus Dorazio, Billy Conn, Jimmy Bivins:
Maxie Rosenbloom, Tami Mauriello:
Best Fight of His Career: 1937 Joe Louis 10-D Loss
Rating Analysis: Pastor had a very impressive record and won 13 out of 14 fights and a draw in 1941 and 1942. The war ended his career when he was in his prime. His two fights against Joe Louis were his claim to fame. He had a nice record but not very many big wins against top flight heavyweights. He lost to Conn, Louis and Bivins. All three are ranked ahead of him.
17. Hurricane Jackson 6’3 ½ “, 193 > (#1 Contender 1957)
Rex Layne (2), Clarence Henry, Dan Bucceroni, Charley Norkus, Archie McBride, Jimmy Slade, Ezzard Charles(2), Bob Baker(2):
Jimmy Slade(2), Nino Valdes, Eddie Machen, Floyd Patterson(2):
Best Fight of His Career: 1956 Floyd Patterson 12-D Split Loss
Rating Analysis: Tommy Jackson better known as Hurricane had a nice career and challenged for the title in 1956 and 1957. Charles was well past his prime when Jackson beat the former champ and he had a lot of trouble with lightly regarded Jimmy Slade losing two out of three fights. Valdes also handled him fairly easy knocking him out in the second round.
18. Bob Baker 6’2”, 213 (#2 Contender 1955, 1956)
Omelio Agramonte(2), Billy Gilliam(4), Jimmy Bivins, Kid Riviera(DR), Cesar Brion, Nino Valdes(2), Doc Williams, Joe Baksi, Coley Wallace(2), Jimmy Slade, Rex Layne(3), George Chuvalo, Dick Richardson:
Clarence Henry(2), Billy Gilliam, Bob Satterfield, Archie Moore, Tommy Jackson, Harold Carter, Willie Besmanoff, Roy Harris, Eddie Machen, Mike DeJohn, Dick Richardson:
Best Fight of His Career: 1953 Nino Valdes 10-D Win
Rating Analysis: Like Valdes, Baker was very active and had a lot of success. His two victories over Valdes standout as major accomplishments. The Chuvalo win was very big also. It is hard to make an argument for Baker being rated any higher.
19. Gus Lesnevich 5’9”, 181 (Light Heavyweight Champion 1941-1948)
Nathan Mann, Tami Mauriello(4), Joe Kahut, Freddie Mills, Billy Fox(2), Melio Bettina:
Billy Conn(2), Al Delaney, Bob Pastor, Jimmy Bivins, Lee Oma, Bruce Woodcock, Freddie Mills, Joey Maxim, Ezzard Charles:
Best Fight Of His Career: 1940 Billy Conn 15-D Loss
Ring Analysis: Lesnevich held the Light Heavyweight title during the war and was inactive from 1942-1946. His only real strong victory was against Tami Mauriello who was the #1 contender in the heavyweight division at the time. Lesnevich beat Mauriello four times.
20. Steve Hamas 6’1 ½” , 191 (#1 Contender 1934-1935)
Tommy Loughran(2), Lee Ramage(2), Max Schmeling, Art Lasky:
Lee Ramage, Tommy Loughran(2). Max Schmeling:
Best Fight of His Career: Max Schmeling 12-D Win 1934
Ring Analysis: Hamas had a very short career after winning 12 sports letters at Pennsylvania State College. He was said to have spoken five languages. His short career finished with a fine 35-4-2 record. He defeated two of the top fighters of the period in Loughran and Schmeling.
21. King Levinsky 5’11”, 201 (#2 Contender 1933)
Leo Lomsk(2)i, Jimmy Slattery(2), Tommy Loughran, Paulino Uzcudun, K.O.Christner, Unknown Winston, Charley Retzlaff, Tuffy Griffiths, Jack Sharkey(1933), Lee Ramage:
Tommy Loughran(2), Jimmy Slattery, Tuffy Griffiths, Johnny Risko(2), Primo Carnera(2), Max Baer(3), Micky Walker, Walter Neusel, Art Laskey, Joe Louis, Phil Brubaker, Lee Ramage, Maxie Rosenbloom, Johnny Paycheck:
Best Fight of His Career: 1931 Tommy Loughran 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Levinksy was a very active fighter who fought all the top fighters during the period.
22. Tami Mauriello 5’11 ½”, 198 (#1 Contender 1945, 1946, 1947)
Gunnar Barlund(2), Tony Musto(2), Red Burman, Lee Savold(2), Lou Nova(2), Lee Oma(2), Bruce Woodcock:
Gus Lesnevich(4), Jimmy Bivins(2), Joe Baksi, Lee Oma, Joe Louis:
Best Fight of His Career: 1942 Bob Pastor 10-Draw
Rating Analysis: Mauriello had a real strong career with big wins over Savold, Lou Nova and a draw with Bob Pastor. His unfortunate fight against Joe Louis really hurt his career on the national seen. He was the top contender in the division for the title for three straight years.
23. Lou Nova 6’3”, 202 (#1 Contender 1939, 1941)
Abe Simon, Lee Ramage, Gunnar Barlund(2), Tommy Farr, Max Baer(2), Pat Cominsky:
Maxie Rosenbloom, Tony Galento, Joe Louis, Lee Savold(2), Tami Mauriello(2), Lee Oma, Joe Baksi:
Lee Ramage, Bob Pastor, Buddy Scott:
Best Fight of His Career: 1939 Max Baer 11-KO Win
Rating Analysis: Nova opened his career going undefeated in 20 straight fights, winning 16 with 4 draws. He was one of the best heavyweights in the division from 1939 to 1942. His two victories over Max Baer get your attention and are the reason he is rated this high. He had two losses against Mauriello which hurt his ranking.
24. Roland LaStarza 6’0”, 184 (#1 Contender 1953, 1954)
Dan Bucceroni, Rex Layne:
Rocky Marciano(2), Dan Bucceroni, Don Cockell, Charley Norkus:
Best Fight Of His Career: 1950 Rocky Marciano 10-D Split Loss
Rating Analysis: LaStarza opened up winning 37 straight fights in a row against a lot of fighters you have never heard of. His main claim to fame was his two fights with Marciano and in his first match against the future champion he almost won. Outside of those two fights he did not have many accomplishments. He is probably overrated.
25. Tommy Farr 6’1”, 204 (#2 Contender 1937, 1938)
Tommy Loughran, Bob Olin, Max Baer, Walter Neusel, Red Burman:
Joe Louis, James Braddock, Max Baer, Lou Nova, Red Burman, Larry Gains, Lloyd Marshall:
Best Fight of His Career: 1937 Max Baer 12-D Win
Rating Analysis: Farr had a stellar career that lasted all the way up into the 1950’s. He was never able to surpass his greatest accomplishment of going 15 rounds with Joe Louis in his prime. He also beat Max Baer.
26. Clarence Henry 6’1”, 188 (#3 Contender 1952)
Turkey Thompson, Omelio Agramonte(2), Jimmy Bivins(1951), Bob Baker(2), Bob Satterfield:
Jimmy Bivins, Harold Johnson, Archie Moore, Jimmy Slade, Hurricane Jackson:
Best Fight of His Career: Bob Baker(25-0) 8-KO win
Rating Analysis: Nice career with two wins over Baker and like so many fine heavyweight he loss to Harold Johnson.
27. Rex Layne 6’1”, 193 (#2 Contender 1953)
Turkey Thompson, Jersey Joe Walcott, Cesar Brion, Bob Satterfield, Ezzard Charles:
Rocky Marciano, Ezzard Charles, Willie James, Harry Matthews, Roland LaStarza, Ezzard Charles, Earl Wallis,(2), Tommy Jackson(2), Bob Baker(3), Neinz Neuhaus, Willie Pastrano:
Best Fight of His Career: Rating Analysis: He had a 34-1-2 record the night he lost to Rocky Marciano. He had wins over Walcott and Charles during his career when they were both still top contenders. He would be rated higher but he lost to a lot of no names fighters.
28. Joe Baksi 6’1”, 210 (#1 Contender 1944, 1945)
Tami Mauriello, Lee Savold, Gunnar Barlund, Lou Nova, Freddie Schott, Freddie Mills, Bruce Woodcock, Olle Tandberg:
Lee Savold, Lee Oma, Jersey Joe Walcott, Ezzard Charles:
Best Fight of His Career: 1944 Tami Mauriello 10-D Win
Rating Analysis: Baksi was a big solid heavyweight who never got a shot at the title. He had some solid victories over Mauriello and Nova.
29. Lee Oma 5’11”, 193 (#2 Contender 1945, 1946)
Tami Mauriello, Joe Baksi, Phil Muscato(2), Gus Lesnevich, Omelio Agramonte, Freddie Beshore(2), Nick Barone, Bob Satterfield:
Lou Nova, Tami Mauriello, Jersey Joe Walcott, Phil Muscato(2), Pat Comiskey, Bruce Woodcock, Ezzard Charles:
Best Fight of His Career: 1944 Tami Mauriello 10-D Win
Rating Analysis: Fought the top heavyweights of the period and held his own. He did have wins over Mauriello, Lesnevich and Satterfield.
30. Arturo Godoy 6’0 ½”, 202 (#1 Contender 1940)
Tommy Loughran, Jack Roper, Tony Galento(2), Alberto Santiago Lovell(2), Valentin Campo, Gus Dorazio, Tony Musto(2), Phil Muscato:
Tommy Loughran, Roscoe Toles(5), Nathan Mann, Alberto Santiago Lovell(3), Valentino Campolo, Joe Louis(2), Turkey Thompson, Harold Johnson:
Tommy Loughran, LeRoy Haynes, Al Ettore, Roscoe Toles(3), Karel Sys:
Best Fight of His Career: 1940 Joe Louis 15-D Split Decision Loss
Rating Analysis: Godoy did not have a real strong career outside of the Joe Louis fights. They were his claim to fame and why he makes the list.
31. John Henry Lewis 5’11”, 180 (Light Heavyweight Champion 1936)
Bob Olin(2), Red Burman, Patsy Perroni, Al Ettore, Elmer Ray, Jimmy Braddock:
Maxie Rosenbloom(2), Al Ettore(2), Joe Louis, James Braddock:
Best Fight of His Career: 1937 Al Ettore 15-D Win
Rating Analysis: Light Heavy who had some good wins during his long career. He only lasted one round in his title fight against Joe Louis.
32. James J. Braddock 6’2 ½”, 194 (Heavyweight Champion 1935-1937)
Tuffy Griffiths. Jimmy Slattery, Les Kennedy, Art Lasky, Max Baer, Tommy Farr:
Leo Lomski(2), Tommy Loughran, Maxie Rosenbloom, Ernie Schaaf, John Henry Lewis, Al Ettore, Joe Louis:
Best Fight of His Career: 1935 Max Baer 15-D Win, Heavyweight Championship
Rating Analysis: The Cinderella Man came from nowhere to win the title. He has been immortalized by Hollywood in the movie about his life, “The Cinderella Man.”
33. Tony Galento 5’9”, 233 (#1 Contender 1940)
Al Ettore, Nathan Mann, Natie Brown, Lou Nova:
Arturo Godoy, Joe Louis, Max Baer, Buddy Baer:
Best Fight of His Career: 1939 Lou Nova 14-TKO Win
Rating Analysis:Galento did not have a real long run at the top. He was a dirty fighter who usually was not in real good condition. He did manage to floor Louis in their title fight which was probably his biggest claim to fame. His famous quote was I will “murder the bum.”
34. Lee Q. Murray 6’3”, 210 (#1 Contender 1944)
Curtis Sheppard(4), Harry Bobo, Turkey Thompson, Jimmy Bivins(2),
Curtis Sheppard(2), Jimmy Bivins(2), Jersey Joe Walcott, Jimmy Bivins, Roscoe Toles, Turkey Thompson:
Best Fight of His Career: 1946 Jimmy Bivins 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Murray had some nice wins over Bivins and Sheppard but was never given the chance to fight Louis.
35. Turkey Thompson 5’8 ½”, 203 (#3 Contender 1943)
Pat Valentino, Gus Dorazio(2), Elmer Ray(1943), Arturo Godoy, Lee Q. Murray:
Bob Pastor(2), Pat Valentino(2), Lee Q. Murray, Jimmy Bivins, John Holman, Rex Layne, Clarence Henry:
Tony Musto, Abe Simon:
Best Fight of His Career: 1943 Elmer Ray 1-KO Win (Ray did not lose another fight for 4 years and won a heavyweight record 50 fights in a row)
Rating Analysis: Thompson reached his peak during the war years and had little opportunity to fight for the title because Louis was involved with the war effort and the troops.
36. Melio Bettina 5’9”, 181 (#1 Contender 1945)
Gunnar Barlund, Al McCoy, Red Burman, Pat Valentino, Jimmy Bivins, Harry Bobo(2), Gus Dorazio, Curtis Sheppard:
Jimmy Bivins, Gus Lesnevich:
Best Fight of His Career: 1941 Jimmy Bivins 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Finished his career in the heavyweight division and had a fine record. Most of his losses were in the lower weight classifications. His career record was 83-14-3. He never got a shot at Joe Louis.
37. Lee Savold 6’1”, 1908 (#1 Contender 1950) Wins: 7
Lou Nova, Tony Musto, Lem Franklin, Lou Nova, Joe Baksi, Gus Dorazio, Bruce Woodcock:
Billy Conn, Harry Bobo(2), Tony Musto, Tami Mauriello(2), Jimmy Bivins, Joe Baksi(2), Elmer Ray, Bruce Woodcock, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano:
Best Fight of His Career: 1950 Bruce Woodcock 4-TKO win
Rating Analysis: Savold won the British Boxing Board of Control Heavyweight title in 1950 with his win over Woodcock. It didn’t mean a great deal but it did make him the number one contender. He was quickly defeated by Joe Louis in a 6th round knockout. Marciano ended his career in 1952.
38. Bruce Woodcock 6’0 ½”, 190 Yorkshire, UK (#2 Contender 1949) Wins: 5
Freddie Mills, Gus Lesnevich, Lee Oma, Lee Savold, Freddie Mill:,
Tami Mauriello, Joe Baksi, Lee Savold, Jack Gardner:
Best Fight of His Career: 1946 Gus Lesnevich 8-KO win (Only Lesnevich had ever been counted out)
Rating Analysis: One of the top fighters from Great Britain, he held the Commonwealth heavyweight title and fought for the British Boxing Board Heavyweight title against Lee Savold following Joe Louis’ first retirement.
39. Don Cockell 5’11” 205 London (#2 Contender 1954-1955) Wins: 7
Freddie Beshore, Nick Barone, Tommy Farr, Harry Matthews(3), Roland LaStarza:
Jimmy Slade, Randy Turpin, Rocky Marciano, Nino Valdes:
Best Fight of His Career: 1954 Roland LaStarza 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Cockell claim to fame was his heavyweight title fight against Marciano in which he gave a fine showing before being knocked out in the 9th round. He was one of the better British heavyweights of the period.
40. Harold Carter 6’0”, 191 New Jersey (#3 Contender 1957) Wins: 4
Wayne Bethea, Bob Satterfield, Bob Baker, Willi Besmanoff:
Wayne Bethea(2), Johnny Summerlin, Nino Valdes, Alex Miteff, Charlie Powell, Karl Mildenberger, Bob Cleroux, Tod Herring, Tom McNeeley:
Wayne Bethea, Bob Satterfield:
Best Fight of His Career: 1957 Bob Baker 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Carter climbed up the ladder as a top contender in the mid 1950’s with wins over Baker and Satterfield. His loss to Valdes killed any chances of getting a shot at the title.
41. Curtis Sheppard 5’11”, 199 Pittsburgh (#2 Contender 1944) Wins: 7
Unknown Winston, Lee Q. Murray(2), Joey Maxim, Gus Dorazio, Buddy Walker(2):
Tony Musto, Lee Q. Murray(4), Lem Franklin, Jimmy Bivins(4), Joey Maxim(2), Buddy Walker(2), Melio Bettina, Jersey Joe Walcott, Archie Moore(2):
Best Fight of His Career: 1943 Joe Maxim 1-KO win
Rating Analysis: Sheppard fought all the tough black fighters during the 1940s and there were many. His record was not that impressive but he was only knocked out 5 times during his 85 bout career.
42. Roscoe Toles 6’2”, 197 Detroit (#4 Contender 1939) Wins: 15
Harry Thomas, Arturo Godoy(5), Gunnar Barlund, Gus Dorazio, Patsy Perroni(2), Buddy Walker, Alberto Santiago Lovell(2), Lee Q. Murray, Freddie Schott:
Maxie Rosenbloom, Bob Pastor, Abe Simon, Buddy Walker, Arturo Godoy:
Arturo Godoy(3). Buddy Walker, Alberto Santiago Lovell:
Best Fight of His Career: 1938 Gunnar Barlund 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Another very active African American fighter who was very competitive throughout the late 1930’s all the way through the 40’s. Was never given a shot at the title by Joe Louis because of his race but none the less was one of the best during the decade.
43. Heinz Neuhaus 6’2”, 213 Germany (#4 Contender 1954) Wins: 9
Karel Sys(2), Hein Ten Hoff(2), Dan Bucceroni, Rex Layne, Brian London, Joe Bygraves, Joey Maxim:
Karel Sys, Nino Valdes, Ingermar Johansson, Albert Westphal:
Hein Ten Hoff, Rex Layne, Henry Cooper:
Best Fight of His Career: 1954 Dan Bucceroni 10-D win
Rating Analysis: A very competitive fighter out of Germany who was one of the best fighters in all of Europe during much of the 1950’s.
44. Dan Bucceroni 6’2”, 181 Philadelphia (#2 Contender 1953)
Roland LaStarza, Tommy Harrison, Jimmy Slade, Freddie BeShore. Hein Ten Hoff:
Roland LaStarza, Tommy Jackson, Heinz Neuhaus, Cesar Brion:
Best Fight of His Career: 1951 Roland LaStarza 10-D win
Rating Analysis: Bucceroni had some very nice wins during the early fifty’s and climbed all the way up to the number two contender for Marciano’s title. Hurricane Jackson ended his climb with a 6th round knockout in 1954.
45. Gunnar Barlund 6’1 ½”, 196 (#2 Contender 1938)
Buddy Baer, Tony Musto, Jack Roper, Buddy Scott:
Nathan Mann(2), Bob Olin, Lou Nova(2), Roscoe Toles, Jack Roper, Melio Bettina, Abe Simon, Harry Bobo, Billy Conn, Tami Mauriello(3), Gus Dorazio, Buddy Scott(2), Joe Baksi, Phil Muscato:
Best Fight of His Career: 1938 Buddy Baer 7-TKO win
Rating Analysis: Barlund did not have a real stellar career but his win over Buddy Baer placed him as Ring Magazines number two contender for the title in 1938. He never got a shot at the title.
46. Buddy Baer 6’6 ½ “, 237 Sacramento, Calif. (#2 Contender 1941)
Abe Simon, Lee Savold, Nathan Mann, Tony Galento:
Gunnar Barlund, Joe Louis(2):
Best Fight of His Career: 1941 Joe Louis 7-Disq Loss
Rating Analysis: Buddy Bear was well known because of his older brother Max. Buddy was a giant of a man in size and floored Louis in the first round of their 1941 title fight. He had a very short career retiring at the young age of 26. He later went into television and movies.
47. Lem Franklin 6’2”, 197 Mobile, Alabama (#2 Contender 1942)
Lee Savold, Abe Simon, Jimmy Bivins, Curtis Sheppard, Tony Musto, Abe Simon:
Tony Musto, Bob Pastor, Harry Bobo, Joe Muscato, Lee Savold(2), Gus Dorazio:
Best Fight of His Career: 1941 Jimmy Bivins 9-TKO win
Rating Analysis: Another very sad end to a quality fighter as Lem Franklin died in the ring following his bout in 1944 against Larry Lane. He was only 26 years old. As was the general rule for most African American fighters during the period he had to struggle getting quality pay and opponents. Although he did reach as high as the number two contender he was never given a shot at the title.
48. Abe Simon 6’4”, 254 Queen, New York (#4 Contender 1941)
Jersey Joe Walcott, Gunnar Barlund, Roscoe Toles:
Lou Nova, Buddy Baer, Lem Franklin, Joe Louis(2), Lem Franklin:
Best Fight of His Career: 1941 Joe Louis 13-TKO Loss
Rating Analysis: Abe Simon was an enormous man who is best known for his two fights against the Brown Bomber. He lasted 13 rounds in their first fight. He also had a great win over future heavyweight champion, Jersey Joe Walcott early in Walcott’s career.
49. Pat Valentino 6’0”, 180 San Francisco (#6 Contender 1949)
Turkey Thompson(2), Freddie Beshore:
Melio Bettina, Turkey Thompson, Jimmy Bivins(2), Ezzard Charles:
Best Fight of His Career: 1949 Ezzard Charles 8-KO Loss
Rating Analysis: Valentino fought for the title in 1949 against Charles. He fought a very competitive fight against Charles.
50. Tommy Gomez 5’10 ½”, 191 Tampa, Fl. (#3 Contender 1948)
Tony Musto, Freddie Schott, Gunnar Barlund:
Jersey Joe Walcott, Lee Oma, Bob Satterfield:
Best Fight of His Career: 1947 Gunnar Barlund 5-KO win
Rating Analysis: War hero during World War II winning the Purple Heart. He retired at the age of 31 and had a few good wins.