Why pound-for-pound lists are all meaningless
In the aftermath of Tyson Fury’s win over Deontay Wilder, someone who should know better stood up at the post-fight press conference and asked Fury where he would rank against the biggest heavyweights in all the time. For a moment, Fury contemplated a moment of rare modesty, paying homage to the names of John L Sullivan to Anthony Joshua, before concluding that he would beat them all.
And why not, eh? He is entitled to his point of view like anyone else.
Over the past few days, there has been a rush to define Fury both pound for pound and in historical terms. Is he the best British heavyweight of all time, better than Lennox Lewis? Well, surely then he must be the best of this era? How long does an era last today? Is it more than a few months?
The problem is, all of these lists just don’t make sense whether they’re written by The Ring or @ boxingfan7829875729. Pound for pound, the ten best of all time, the 20 greatest punchers – they might have fun chatting around the table in a pub or bar, but their value is zero. All that matters in boxing is what happens in the ring, the rest is just opinions, influenced by time, favoritism, popularity, knowledge gaps and whatever the flavor. of the month.
Believe it or not, your “definitive” pound-for-pound list that was spent so much time before it was released to the world via Twitter is just as valuable as someone else’s “ten best cheeses” list. (side note: Gruyere is pound for pound # 1, obviously).
Yet people get so mad about them. Should Errol Spence go to 6 or 7? Why is Errol Spence here anyway? Does this Logan Paul fight mean I can still include Floyd Mayweather? It’s as if winning a fan survey is a substitute for competing in the ring.
The positions are so entrenched. If you do not agree, you will be told that you “don’t know anything”, or that you are a “fanboy of (insert name of boxer)”. And let’s face it, the only thing worse than people who try to force their point of view on you are those who don’t understand the difference between fact and opinion (handy tool: Fury beats Wilder (fact), Fury will beat Usyk or Joshua (opinion)).
It has been suggested that after beating Wilder, Fury had “nothing more to prove”.
Hold on, he’s a boxer who has fought four world heavyweight title fights, including three against the same opponent. Four world title fights are less than Rocky Marciano, Ezzard Charles, Jersey Joe Walcott, Mike Weaver and Herbie Hide. And how would he have “nothing more to prove” when there is another undefeated world champion in the same division as him?
What we do know about Fury is that he’s Deontay Wilder’s undisputed heavyweight world champion. The rest, like it or not, is opinion.
It’s not about demeaning Fury, or his accomplishments, but in reality, how can you compare him to Holmes, or Marciano, or Dempsey? When Floyd Patterson became the youngest heavyweight world champion in history, there will have been people who said he was better than Joe Louis, others would have called him sacrilege.
I’ve made quite a few lists in the past, most of them under duress, some as an excuse to write about the history of the sport. It’s fun to look back on the sport’s past, but don’t pretend you know the answers. Whether you think Eder Jofre, or Jeff Chandler, or Panama Al Brown, or Naoya Inoue is the best bantamweight ever, that Sugar Ray Robinson, Harry Greb, Carlos Monzon or Marvin Hagler is the best middleweight, l important is to make time to remember what they’ve done – because they’re all great.
I feel pretty much like the Hall of Fame. It’s fantastic to have a place like the Hall of Fame, but how many people who voted have already seen Sot Chitalada or Santos Laciar or Gianfranco Rosi boxing?
Don’t try to send Fury into retirement. Who wouldn’t want to see Fury take on Usyk, or Joshua or Dillian Whyte or possibly Bakhodir Jalolov? Fancy a great era of heavyweights? We need Fury in it. Take advantage of the fighters we have now and show them some respect.