Top 10 Welterweights of All Time

After all the discussion regarding the possibility of Floyd Mayweather ever fighting Manny Pacquiao it makes me think of several boxers who did fight each other in this exciting weight class.   For an athlete to be called great he needs to face the best opposition available; so even though both Mayweather and Pacquiao are the most talented boxers in the world today, if they don’t face each other they won’t be able to proclaim they beat the best.   I’ll take a look at the truly best fighters ever to grace the squared circle in this famed weight class: The Welterweights.

10-Felix Trinidad

Tito is the best Puerto Rican fighter in history and he is also one of the ten best welterweight fighters in history.  I love a fighter that just obliterates his opposition, leaving no doubt of how good he is.   His technique was the stuff of legends as he delivered those perfectly released punches to turn the lights out of his opponents.  Some say he lost to De La Hoya (I agree), but I think it was only poetic justice to give him the nod in a fight that he wanted to win more than his adversary (the best at the time I might add).

9.-Tommy Hearns:

Some may think that Hearns doesn’t deserve to be in the list, but his destruction of Roberto Duran and Pipino Cuevas alone are more than enough to include him.   He may be the most powerful puncher in the history of the division, just ask any fighter who ever faced him.   His loss versus Ray Leonard proved he was as good a boxer as he was a puncher and his ability to improvise and have more tools under his jacket were more than anybody expected.

8.-José Napoles

Mantequilla, a Cuban immigrant based in Mexico is widely remembered for his loss to Middleweight champ Carlos Monzon, which is a shame considering how great he was in the welterweight division.   He was just a little small to step up against one of the greatest boxers in middleweight history.  He made 13 defenses including a win over a fellow welterweight in this list, Emile Griffith.    His opposition wasn’t as good as other fighters in this list that is why I don’t rate him as high as some may like.

7.-Barney Ross:

Some say that Ross wasn’t at his best when in the welterweight division, but still he managed to do pretty good, even making the list of the top 10 ever.   An awesome boxer who was beating only by the very best of the best.    He won 17 fights in a row before stepping to the middleweight division.  Ross was inducted to the hall of fame as the inaugural class in 1990.

6.-Pernell Whitaker:

One of the two or three best defensive fighters of all time, Whitaker, fighting with significant disadvantages in this weight class still manage to beat the best of the best.    The “Loss” to Oscar De La Hoya only adds to his legacy being that he was on the downside of his career and De La Hoya in his prime.    He also fought no. 1 pound for pound fighter in the world at the time, Julio Cesar Chavez, beating him clearly before being awarded a draw.  Whitaker one of the best.

5.-Emile Griffith:

A good puncher with relentless ferocity, Emile Griffith was probably more a combination of speed and agility.    The problems Emile faces against others in this list is that his available opponents weren’t as good as what others had available.  Still he was a very successful welterweight, one of the best ever.   He won the title three times, beating three world title holders:  Benny Paret,  Luis Rodriguez and Hall of Fame inductee Jose Napoles.

4.-Kid Gavilan:

Beating six hall of fame boxers is a pretty good reason to be as high as he is.  He fought so many good to great fighters more than once that he almost certainly had to had a loss here and there.   He faced the toughest competition any fighter in any era could face, and that included not only the no. 1 fighter in this list, but the best ever in Sugar Ray Robinson.    He made 7 defenses of the title.

3.-Sugar Ray Leonard:

One of my personal favorites.  Even though he didn’t fight that much, he fought and beat the best of the best.   One of the best combination fighters ever.  Very intelligent in the ring and versatile.  Had underrated power.  Fight against power puncher Tommy Hearns ranks as his greatest accomplishment in this division.

2.-Henry Armstrong:

The original Manny Pacquiao.   This guy was a monster, he once held the Featherweight, Lightweight and Welterweight championships at the same time!  He was a small fighter knocking out full fledged welters.  Most people rank Armstrong as not only the second best welterweight fighter in history, but the second best pound 4 pound fighter ever.

1.-Sugar Ray Robinson

Simply the best boxer who ever lived.  There is actually no footage of his welterweight form, only written testimonials.   Everybody who ever saw Robinson fight at this weight says that there was nothing like him. Great defense, awesome speed, perfect technique and he could knock you out with any punch.  Still the standard in boxing.

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