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Best Boxers of the 1940s

Updated on May 1, 2017

All-Time Great Boxers

Sugar Ray Robinson knocked out Rocky Graziano in the third round in defense of his middleweight championship.
Sugar Ray Robinson knocked out Rocky Graziano in the third round in defense of his middleweight championship. | Source
The Cincinnati Cobra Ezzard Charles beat Jersey Joe Walcott to become Heavyweight champion.
The Cincinnati Cobra Ezzard Charles beat Jersey Joe Walcott to become Heavyweight champion. | Source

Who is The Best?

Who is the best boxer of the 1940s?

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Classic Matches in Boxing

The Brown Bomber Joe Louis beat Billy Conn twice by knockout in defense of his heavyweight  championship.
The Brown Bomber Joe Louis beat Billy Conn twice by knockout in defense of his heavyweight championship. | Source
Jake LaMotta knocked out Laurent Dauthelle in the 15th and final round in defense of his Middleweight Championship.
Jake LaMotta knocked out Laurent Dauthelle in the 15th and final round in defense of his Middleweight Championship. | Source

Top 10 Boxers From The 40s

1. Sugar Ray Robinson: Sugar Ray is widely considered the best welterweight and best middleweight boxer in history. He had it ll: Power, speed, reflexes, chin, stamina, footwork, accuracy and timing. Robinson won the Welterweight crown from Tommy Bell and made several defenses including a win of Kid Gavilan before vacating and moving up to middleweight. Robinson won the middleweight championship a record five times. His best victories came from beating Jake La Motta (5 Times), Bobo Olson, Gavilan, Bell, Rocky Graziano, Henry Armstrong, Sammy Angott, and Randy Turpin. Sugar retired with a record of 173-19-6 with 108 knockouts to his credit.

2. Willie Pep: The Will of The Wisp is perhaps the best defensive fighter and best featherweight world champion in boxing history. Pep had footwork that was superior to his contemporaries and his feints, jab, and amazing head move nt made him a spectacle indeed. Pep won the Featherweight crown twice, The first time by beating Chalky Wright and the second time he regained it from Sandy Saddler in a rematch. He was Featherweight champion from 1946-1948 and again from 1949 to 1950. After winning the 126 pound title and making one defense Pep's record stood at a remarkable 134-1-1. His best victories came from spanking Wright (Twice), Saddler, Manny Castro, Paddy DeMarco, Manuel Ortiz and Jackie Wilson(Twice). Pep had a career resume reading 229-11-1 with 65 knockouts.

3. Joe Louis: The Brown Bomber holds the record for the most defenses of any world title in any division with 25. Louis was world heavyweight champion from 1937-1949 and he had a deadly right hand and left hook. His jab was as powerful and accurate as most boxers right hands were. Louis through accurate, short hooks and he was very accurate and great at closing the distance and destroying his opponents with pinpoint accuracy. Joe Louis's most impressive victories came from beating Max Schmeling, Max Baer, Jimmy Braddock, Primo Carnera, Jersey Joe Walcott, Billy Conn (Twice), and Tommy Farr. Louis left the sport with a record of 66-3 with 52 knockouts.

4. Ezzard Charles: The Cincinnati Cobra is widely considered the best Light Heavyweight boxer ever and one of the best heavyweight champions in history as well. He held the Heavyweight title just over two years and he made a total of 8 defenses during his reign. Charles could bang on the inside or pick you apart from the outside. He had very slick moves, good defense and his accuracy and combination punching were top notch. Charles's best accomplishments came from beating Bob Satterfield, Rex Layne, Walcott, Archie Moore, Jimmy Bivins, Joey Maxim and Joe Louis. Charles retired with a record of 93-25-1 with 52 knockouts.

5. Sandy Saddler: Saddler is a two time Featherweight and former Jr. Lightweight world champion who defended those collection of belts a total of six times. He is pound for pound one of the hardest puncher's in boxing history. His power was in both fists, he was very accurate and great at cutting off the ring or launching long range punches with his usual height and reach advantage that he possessed. His best wins came from knocking put Willie Pep (Three Times) and knocking out the great Flash Elorde. He also beat Ray Famechon, Terry Young, and Harry LaSane. He retired with a record of 144-16-2 with 103 wins coming by stoppage.

6. Manuel Ortiz: Ortiz is a former two time Bantamweight Champion from California. Although he was not a knockout puncher he could keep you honest or knock you out with an accumulation of shots. He was not great at any one thing but he was very good at all aspects of the ring. He had a solid jab, footwork, distance and timing. He held the Bantamweight tiles from 1942-1947 and again from 1947-1950. Manuel Ortiz's best wins came from beating Harold Dade, Dado Marino, Jackie Jurich, Luis Castillo, Tony Olivera and Lou Salica. Ortiz left the sport with a final career mark of 100-28-3 with 54 knockouts.

7. Billy Conn: The Pittsburgh Kid was a fabulous Light Heavyweight champion and an outstanding heavyweight contender as well. Best known for pounding on and leading heavyweight champion Joe Louis on all cards when he got caught and knocked out in the 13th. He also got knocked out in the rematch with Louis but otherwise he dominated some good light heavyweights and heavyweights. Conn was a light puncher bu one heck of a boxer his combinations were crisp and he used his footwork, jab and subtle movements to baffle many great boxers. Conn beat Tony Zale, Lee Savold, Al McCoy, Gus Lesnevich, Fred Apostoli, and Young Corbett 3. Conn finished with a mark of 64-11-1 with 15 knockouts.

8. Jake La Motta: The Bronx Bull is known for having a granite jaw and for being the first man to ever beat the great Sugar Ray Robinson. But he was much more than that. His defense although not great was better than some thought. La Motta was good at rolling with punches. His power was not of the one punch knockout variety but his shots carried sting no doubt. La Motta was a come forward intelligent pressure fighter who worked the body well and he actually had a snappy jab and an accurate strait right hand. His best wins came from beating Robinson, Marcel Cerdan, Bob Murphy, Laurent Dauthuille, Tiberio Mitri, Bob Satterfield and Fritzie Zivic (Twice). La Motta left the squared circle with a mark of 83-19-4 with 30 knockouts.

9. Ike Williams: Williams held the Lightweight world championship from 1945-1951 and made 8 total defenses during his reign. He had above average two fisted power and great balance. His chin, will and tight, high guard were hard to break and he had a boxer puncher kind of style of moving in and out. He fought anyone ready to willing to sign the contract and in his prime he got a lot of work completed. Williams best victories came for cheating among others, Beau Jack, Sonny Boy West, Johnny Bratton, Kid Gavilan, Bob Montgomery and Tippy Larkin. Williams retired with a record of 127-24-4 with 61 knockouts.

10. Marcel Cerdan: Cerdan only held the 160 pound Middleweight Championship for around a year from 1948-1949 but he scored a T.K.O. to win the title from hall of fame boxer Tony Zale. Also, he beat many solid contenders before his untimely and early death In clouding: Zale, Holman Williams, Bert Gilroy, LaVerne Roach, and Cyrille Delannoit. Cerdan was not a one punch knockout artists but, he is good at breaking you down physically and mentally before knocking you out or in some cases he could teach you a lesson and win a lopsided missing Cerdan retired with a record of 111 wins, 4 losses and 65 knockouts.

Did He Ever Win It?


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Joe Louis's Top Victories

Max Schmeling
Billy Conn
Jack Sharkey
Primo Carnera
Max Baer
Jim Braddock
Buddy Baer
Jersey Joe Walcott
Jimmy Bivins
 
Arturo Godoy
 
Ten of The Brown Bomber's biggest wins.

The Will of The Wisp!

Willie Pep beat Sandy Saddler in their second bout to regain the Featherweight championship.
Willie Pep beat Sandy Saddler in their second bout to regain the Featherweight championship. | Source

Black EverLast Sparring HeadGear

Best Boxing Bouts From The 40's

1. Rocky Graziano K.O. 6 Tony Zale 2 (1947) Rocky is floored and looks finished but somehow stages a comeback with his deadly right hand that lefty Zale on the mat and Graziano as the new Middleweight champion of the world.

2. Tony Zale K.O. 6 Rocky Graziano (1945) In the rematch Zale seemed to be a beaten man and his face looked battered and he was staggering from big right hands. He was not to be denied this time as he kept punching until finally taking all of the fight out of The Rock with a body shot.

3. Joe Louis K.O . 13 Billy Conn (1941) Although Louis shook Conn here and there he was still being out boxed plain and simple. Conn was the light heavyweight champ attempting to become the heavyweight king. Conn started trading with Louis and got hurt in the 12th and knocked out in the 13th.

4. Jake LaMotta W10 Sugar Ray Robinson (1943) La Motta and Robinson traded shots and the bout was close throughout. La Motta knocked Robinson down which helped him secure a close decision.

5. Joe Louis K.O. 11 Jersey Joe Walcott (1948) Louis struggled mightily with Walcott until the end of the 11th round where his short hooks closed the show.

Sugar Ray Robinson Knockouts and Highlights

Legends of The Ring

Marcel Cerdan knocked out Tony Zale to win the Middleweight world championship.
Marcel Cerdan knocked out Tony Zale to win the Middleweight world championship. | Source
Ike Williams was a former Lightweight world champion who took on all comers.
Ike Williams was a former Lightweight world champion who took on all comers. | Source

Willie Pep Footwork Highlight

Birthplace of Willie Pep (Middletown, Connecticut)

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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