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Pictorial History of Boxing's Lightweight Division

Updated on October 22, 2015

Two Mexican Warriors

Julio Cesar Chavez won his first 89 fights before suffering a setback in losing a decision to Frankie Randall.
Julio Cesar Chavez won his first 89 fights before suffering a setback in losing a decision to Frankie Randall. | Source
Juan Manuel Marquez beat Juan Diaz twice. Their first encounter was named Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine.
Juan Manuel Marquez beat Juan Diaz twice. Their first encounter was named Fight of the Year by Ring Magazine. | Source
Alexis Arguello laid many opponents flat with his long right hand that he launched like a missile with deadly accuracy.
Alexis Arguello laid many opponents flat with his long right hand that he launched like a missile with deadly accuracy. | Source

Who is The Best?

Who is the best lightweight boxer ever?

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Benny and Shane

"The Ghetto Wizard" Benny Leonard is one of history's greatest lightweight Prizefighters.
"The Ghetto Wizard" Benny Leonard is one of history's greatest lightweight Prizefighters. | Source
Sugar Shane Mosley defended his lightweight crown eight times and never lost in this weight class.
Sugar Shane Mosley defended his lightweight crown eight times and never lost in this weight class. | Source
Floyd Mayweather beat Jose Luis Castillo twice. Once by a close decision and then he dominated Castillo in the rematch.
Floyd Mayweather beat Jose Luis Castillo twice. Once by a close decision and then he dominated Castillo in the rematch. | Source

Top 10 Lightweight Fighters Of All Time

1. Roberto Duran: Hands of Stone knocked out Ken Buchanon for the 135 pound world title and defended it successfully 12 times with 11 knockouts. As a lightweight he was a vicious puncher with slick defense and counter punching skills. Duran had a record of 62-1 in this weight class and he avenged his only loss twice both times by knocking out Estaban De Jesus. His best wins came against Buchanon, De Jesus, Ray Lampkin and Carlos Palomino.

2. Benny Leonard: The Ghetto Wizard retired with a record of 90-6-1 with 70 knockouts. He was a master boxer with a great jab and knockout power in his deadly accurate right hand. Leonard won the lightweight laurels and held them for over seven years making 7 defenses and winning 8 non title bouts as well. Leonard defeated Jimmy McLarnin, Freddie Welsh, Jack Britton and Rocky Kansas among others.

3. Pernell Whitaker: Sweet Pea defeated Greg Haugen for the championship and defended it eight times before vacating to move up in weight. Whitaker also unified the belts before leaving the division. He was a slick southpaw with a great jab, punishing body attack and a masterful defense that is one of the best ever. His top wins came against Haugen, Jose Luis Ramirez, Azumah Nelson, Juan Nazario and Jorge Paez.

4. Joe Gans: The Old Master had an excellent ring record of 145 wins, 10 losses and 16 draws with 100 big knockouts to his credit. Gans was an accurate place puncher with knockout power in both hands. Gans won the championship by knocking out Frank Erne in one round and he then proceeded to defend it 14 times plus he won several non title bouts as well. His top wins came against Erne, Steve Crosby, Kid McPartland, Charley Sieger and Jack Blackburn.

5. Julio Cesar Chavez: The Lion of Culiacan knocked out Edwin Rosario for the championship and then racked up two defenses and two non title wins. Chavez was an aggressicve pressure fighter with a granite chin, brutal body attack and great stamina. His best victories came against Rosario, Jose Luis Ramirez, Rafael Limon and Nicky Perez.

6. Juan Manuel Marquez: Dinamita knocked out Juan Diaz for the crown and defended it by knocking out lineal champion Joel Casamayor. Marquez also knocked out Diaz again and flattened Michael Katsidis. M,arquez is one of the best counter punchers in prizefighting history especially with the right hand. His jab is top notch as is his perfect timing with his punches.

7. Carlos Ortiz: Carlos Juan Ortiz had a career record of 61-7-1 with 30 knockouts. He defeated Old Bones Joe Brown for the title and made four defenses before losing. He was not a knockout puncher but he wore you down with a steady barrage of blows. Not great at anything but good at everything. The best wins for Ortiz came against Brown, Ismael Laguna, Kenny Lane and Flash Elorde.

8. Shane Mosley: Sugar Shane beat Phillip Holiday for the lightweight championship and made 8 defenses winning all of them by knockout. In this division he was a fast and deadly puncher.He has an iron chin and in his prime he had superb reflexes. His greatest wins came over Holiday, John John Molina, Jesse James Leija and Wilfredo Ruiz. Mosley could have retired undefeated had he fought all of his bouts in this division.

9. Floyd Mayweather, Jr.: Mayweather is the best defensive boxer since Pernell Whitaker maybe better. He beat the lineal champion Jose Luis Castillo for the championship and then dominated him in his only rematch to date. Money Mayweather has excellent defense, reflexes, speed and accuracy. His best wins at 135 came against Castillo (twice), Victoriano Sosa and Phillip Ndou. Rarely does this pugilist get hit squarely and rarely does he get hit by more than one punch at a time.

10. Alexis Arguello: Explosivo beat Jim Watt by 15 round decision for the WBC Championship and made four defenses. Arguello was a brutal puncher at lightweight and he was tall and rangy. His best lightweight wins came over Watt, Ray Mancini and Jose Luis Ramirez. Arguello was able to use the stick and box from the outside or wing bombs on the inside to the head and body during his ring contests.

Pernell Whitaker's Top Lightweight Victories

Roger Mayweather
Greg Haugen
Jose Luis Ramirez
Azumah Nelson
Poli Diaz
Juan Nazario
Jorge Paez
Louie Lomeli
 
 
 
 
Eight of Pernell Whitaker's best wins in the lightweight division.

"Hands of Stone" Roberto Duran

Roberto Duran terrorized the lightweight division throughout the 1970s destroying Ken Buchanan for the 135 pound championship.
Roberto Duran terrorized the lightweight division throughout the 1970s destroying Ken Buchanan for the 135 pound championship. | Source
Pernell " Sweet Pea" Whitaker won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic games.
Pernell " Sweet Pea" Whitaker won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic games. | Source
Carlos Ortiz strikes a pose for this boxing card which is from volume 1.
Carlos Ortiz strikes a pose for this boxing card which is from volume 1. | Source

The Best Lightweight Rivalry of All Time

Roberto Duran and Estaban De Jesus fought three times. De Jesus handed Duran his first loss and his only loss as a lightweight. Duran knocked out De Jesus twice in return bouts. One thing is for sure these guys disdained each other from the get go.

Hardest Lightweight Punchers of All Time

What sets these ring legends apart when it comes to their power is the fact that they knocked out champions and other hall of famers.

1. Roberto Duran- Career record of 104-16 with 69 knockouts.

2. Joe Gans- Career record of 145-10-16 with 100 knockouts.

3. Julio Cesar Chavez- Career record of 107-6-2 with 86 knockouts.

4. Alexis Arguello- Career record of 82-8 with 65 knockouts.

5. Benny Leonard- Career record of 90-6-1 with 70 knockouts.

Benny Leonard Tribute

Pernell Whitaker vs. Greg Haugen Highlights

Where Was He Born?


view quiz statistics

Birthplace of Roberto Duran

Roberto Duran vs. Ken Buchanon Highlights

© 2013 Buster Johnson

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      Zolano 7 weeks ago

      Buster Johnson:It is accepted that you are a fan of Chavez and everywhere you mention it even without fitting or deserve to be in some lines.

      Chavez is one of the top five at 140 pounds, but at 135 pounds his pace was very short and there were champions who wore better boxing in that division and faced better opponents than Chavez.

      Ike Williams, Esteban De Jesus, Ken Buchanan and Ismael Laguna were much better than Chavez in Lightweight and you did not even mention them.

      Juan Manuel Marquez stood out in Featherweight as well as Floyd Mayweather Jr and Alexis Arguello had both their best times in Superplume Weight.

      If for you Chavez should be "one of the best Lightweights because he beat Chapo and Ramirez" then Duran should be for justice one of the five best Welterweights since he beat Palomino, Leonard, Heair and Nsubuga there, who were much better That Ramirez, Chapo, Nicky Perez and Rafael Limon.

      There were a lot better fighters than Chavez at 135 pounds and you never remember them; His greatness was at 140 pounds. You have to be objective, that your admiration for Chavez does not blind you!

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