Pictorial History of Boxing's Welterweight Division
Legends of The Ring
Top 10 Welterweight Boxers in History
1. Sugar Ray Robinson: Sugar Ray beat Tommy Bell for the Welterweight Title and made five defenses before vacating to box as a Middleweight. Robinson had power, speed, reflexes, footwork and an excellent chin. He never lost as a Welterweight and had 110 victories in this division. Sugar's top wins in the 147 pound weight class came against Kid Gavilan, Henry Armstrong, Fritzie Zivic and Sammy Angott. Sugar Ray was nearly unbeatable and he fought all the time against the best of his era. Generally regarded as the best boxer, pound for pound, in the history of the sport.
2. Henry Armstrong: Homicide Hank beat Barney Ross for the Welterweight Crown and made a record 18 title defenses. Armstrong was a relentless whirlwind who never stopped coming forward and never stopped punching. His final ring record reads 150 wins, 21 losses, 10 draws with 101 knockouts. Armstrong's top victories in the 147 pound weight class were against: Ross, Lew Jenkins, Fritzie Zivic and Ceferino Garcia. Armstrong had power, speed and his relentless attack was too much for most prizefighters to deal with.
3. Sugar Ray Leonard: Leonard beat Wilfred Benitez by knockout for Welterweight honors and made four defenses over two reigns. Sugar Ray had supreme boxing skills featuring speed, footwork and a great jab. Among his best wins in this division were victories over: Benitez, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Floyd Mayweather, Sr. Leonard never shied from a challenge and his talent was always at an elite level in his prime. Leonard could brawl on the inside or dance on the outside and his defense was his wonderful reflexes.
4. Kid Gavilan: Gavilan beat Johnny Bratton for the Welterweight Championship and defended his title 7 times. His final resume reads 108 wins, 30 losses, 5 draws with 28 knockouts. Gavilan was an average puncher but he had great boxing skills and a solid defense. His top victories were over Bratton, Tony Janiro, Billy Graham, Gil Turner and Carmen Basilio. Gavilan gave the great Sugar Ray Robinson his toughest test in the 147 pound weight class.
5. Felix Trinidad: Tito knocked out Maurice Blocker for the Welterweight Championship and defended the title 15 times. He also held the belt for over six years which is a division record. His Welterweight record was 35-0 and Trinidad had crippling power especially in his left hook. His best wins were against: Blocker, Oba Carr, Yori Boy Campas, Oscar De La Hoya, Pernell Whitaker and Hector Camacho. Tito's defense was his offense. Trinidad had power in both hands and his punch accuracy along with his power put some of the best boxers to sleep.
6. Jose Napoles: Mantequilla knocked out Curtis Cokes for the world title and made 13 defenses over two separate reigns. He was very solid with a hard punch and great overall boxing ability. Naploes has a resume that reads 81 wins, 7 losses with 54 knockouts. His top wins in this division came against: Cokes, Emile Griffith, Hedgeman Lewis and Billy Bachus. Napoles was not great at any single thing but he was very good at nearly every facet of the game.
7. Emile Griffith: Griffith won the 147 pound title three different times while compiling a record of 85 wins, 24 losses and 2 draws. Although he was not known as a power puncher he was still relentless and could fight on the inside or the outside with equal precision. His top wins were against: Benny Paret, Ralph Dupas, Don Fullmer and Manuel Gonzalez. When Griffith was in top form he would've been a handful for any welterweight in history.
8. Oscar De La Hoya: The Golden Boy beat defensive wiz Pernell Whitaker for the Welter Title and defended it successfully seven times before losing it to Felix Trinidad. De La Hoya had a wonderful left hook and his footwork and under used jab were marvelous as well. His biggest victories were over: Whitaker, Hector Camacho, Ike Quartey, Julio Cesar Chavez and Arturo Gatti. De La Hoya took on all challenges and he had more skills than the majority of his opponents. Although prone to tire late in fights De La Hoya usually had such an early lead that he could coast to victory.
9. Barney Ross: Ross is a two time Welterweight Champion with a splendid career record that reads 72 wins, 4 losses and 3 losses with 22 knockouts. He won the Welterweight Title from Jimmy McLarnin and fought many exhibitions to go with his two title defenses. He had skills that were as good as anyone in the sports history. His best victories came against: McLarnin (twice), Ceferino Garcia (twice) and Baby Joe Gans.
10. Charley Burley: Burley is one of the best fighters to never have won a world tile. His record is 83 wins and 12 losses with 50 knockouts. Burley fought anyone in any weight class and he was hard to hit with more than one shot at a time. Burley was the definition of old school and he beat some solid Welterweights. Among his victims were Holman Williams, Jackie Burke, Billy Soose and Fritzie Zivic.
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