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Pictorial History of Boxing's Featherweight Division

Updated on April 12, 2014

122 Pound Legends of The Ring

Willie Pep regained the featherweight championship from Sandy Saddler in their second fight. It was a battle of offense against defense.
Willie Pep regained the featherweight championship from Sandy Saddler in their second fight. It was a battle of offense against defense. | Source
Azumah Nelson is the best boxer to ever come out of Africa. He was excellent on offense and defense and he had an iron chin.
Azumah Nelson is the best boxer to ever come out of Africa. He was excellent on offense and defense and he had an iron chin. | Source
Henry Armstrong is the only boxer in history to hold titles in three different weight classes at the same time.
Henry Armstrong is the only boxer in history to hold titles in three different weight classes at the same time. | Source
Salvador Sanchez is one of the best Mexican boxers of all time.
Salvador Sanchez is one of the best Mexican boxers of all time. | Source
Alexis Arguello being hoisted into the air after another victory. He was a brutal puncher at featherweight.
Alexis Arguello being hoisted into the air after another victory. He was a brutal puncher at featherweight. | Source
Abe Attell I s one of the best Featherweights and best Jewish boxers of all time.
Abe Attell I s one of the best Featherweights and best Jewish boxers of all time. | Source

Who is The Best?

Who is the best Featherweight boxer in history?

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The 10 Best Featherweights of all Time

1. Willie Pep: The Will of the Wisp is perhaps the finest defensive boxer in history. His defense, footwork and jab were simply marvelous. He retired with a record of 229 wins, eleven losses and one draw. Pep beat Sal Bartolo for The Featherweight Championship and after losing it to Sandy Saddler he won a rematch to become a two time Featherweight champ. He was named fighter of the year in 1945. He was not a hard puncher but, he usually out landed his opponents by 5 to 1 on average during his bouts. His greatest victories came against Saddler, Bartolo, Paddy DeMarco and Chalky Wright.

2. Salvador Sanchez: The Invincible Eagle died at only 23 years old but, still made a Hall of Fame career with a resume that reads 44-1-1 with 32 knockouts to his credit. He had great speed, reflexes and power. Sanchez probably had the best footwork of any Mexican fighter ever born. He knocked out Danny Lopez for the 126 pound laurels and made nine defenses before he passed away from a car wreck. His biggest wins came against Azumah Nelson, Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez and Ruben Castillo.

3. Henry Armstrong: Homicide Hank knocked out Petey Sarron in six rounds for the featherweight championship and held the title from 1937-1938 before vacating it. Armstrong was a whirlwind of punches in the ring. He had power but more than anything he had stamina through the roof. He could win bouts with either hand and he retired with a record of 150-21-10 with 101 knockouts. His biggest wins in this weight class came against Sarron, Benny Bass, Frankie Klick and Chalky Wright.

4. Sandy Saddler: Saddler is a two time featherweight champion who won the crown both times by knocking out Willie Pep. He retired with a resume of 144-16-2 with 103 knockouts. He is a devastating puncher known for power in both hands. He also had a solid jab and good chin. Saddler's biggest victories came against Pep, Paddy DeMarco, Flash Elorde and Teddy Davis.

5. Azumah Nelson: The Professor was the featherweight champion of the world from 1984 until vacating the throne in 1988. Nelson knocked out Wilfredo Gomez for the title and made six defenses before moving up in weight. He has great ring generalship and his power, chin and jab are wonderful tools of the trade he possesses. His top wins came by conquering Gomez, Pat Cowdell, Marcos Villasana, Danilo Cabrera and Juvenal Ordenes.

6. Manny Pacquiao: Pac Man knocked out Hall of Famer Marco Antonio Barrera in 11 rounds to become featherweight king. In defenses of the crown he destroyed Fahsan 3K Battery in four rounds and fought a draw with the legendary Juan Manuel Marquez. In that bout he floored Marquez three times. As a featherweight Pacquiao had explosive speed and power which is a deadly combination. Not to mention the southpaw had brilliant footwork.

7. Abe Attell: The Little Hebrew won the featherweight crown twice and the second time he held it for six years. His best wins came against Battling Nelson, Johnny Kilbane, Johnny Reagan and Frankie Neil. He left the fight game with a final tally of 72 wins, 9 losses and 16 draws. He scored 39 knockouts. He was known for his jab, ring generalship and amazing stamina.

8. Marco Antonio Barrera: The Baby Faced Assassin was known for a brutal left hook to the body and a strong desire and will but he also had excellent boxing skills complimented by a text book jab. He beat the undefeated Prince Naseem Hamed for the title and defended it four times before falling to Manny Pacquiao. His best wins in this weight class came against Erik Morales, Johnny Tapia, Paulie Ayala and Hamed.

9. Naseem Hamed: The Prince was one of the best single shot knockout punchers in featherweight history. He was left handed and very unorthodox in the ring. Hamed knocked out Steve Robinson in 8 for the featherweight championship and racked up 15 defenses before being dethroned by Marco Antonio Barrera. His best wins were over Kevin Kelley, Wilfredo Vazquez, Tom Johnson and Manuel Medina.

10. Alexis Arguello: Arguello had height, reach, accuracy and power that were hard to match at featherweight. He knocked out Ruben Olivares in 13 for the crown and defended it four times along with a few non title wins as well. His best wins came against Olivares, Royal Kobayashi, Leonel Hernandez and Rigoberto Riasco.

* Please share with me your opinion on who you believe is the best featherweight boxer of all time is in the comments capsule which is located at the bottom of this page.

Prince Naseem Hamed

Naseem Hamed was one of the hardest knockout punchers in featherweight history.
Naseem Hamed was one of the hardest knockout punchers in featherweight history. | Source

List of Boxing's Weight Classes

Heavyweight
Cruiserweight
Light Heavyweight
Super Middleweight
Middleweight
Jr. Middleweight
Welterweight
Jr. Welterweight
Lightweight
Jr. Lightweight
Featherweight
Jr. Featherweight
Bantamweight
Jr. Bantamweight
Flyweights/ Strawweight
This is a listing of the weight divisions in the sport of boxing.

Problems With Boxing Throughout The Years

1. Fixed Fights- Many boxers have admitted to taking a dive during bouts.

2. Rigged Rankings- Rankings have been manipulated in the past because of payoffs.

3. Dirty Fighters- Their has been boxers who have used loaded gloves to get an advantage not to mention boxers who have taken steroids.

Boxing like other sports has and always will have issues. The three items listed above are just a sample of boxing's ills.

Barrera and Pacman Go To War

Manny Pacquiao fought Marco Antonio Barrera twice winning both bouts.
Manny Pacquiao fought Marco Antonio Barrera twice winning both bouts. | Source

Highlights From Manny Pacquiao vs. Marco Antonio Barrera 1

Tribute To Salvador Sanchez

Did They Fight?


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Birthplace of Salvador Sanchez

Willie Pep Highlights

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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      Benjamin Chege 3 years ago

      Hi lesliebyars. Voted up, awesome and useful. Once again I get to learn more about boxing from you regarding the various classes of boxers. I only knew the 3 major classes well, but not the 4 sub-classes per category.

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