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What Does “Eight-Division Champion” Really Mean?


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by: Rich Thomas

 

Comparing Pacquiao's Championships to Armstrong's and Robinson's and their Eras of Boxing:

One of the cornerstones of Manny Pacquiao's claim to legendary greatness is his status as the sole octuple champion in boxing history. It is a landmark achievement and worthy of praise, to be sure, just as being the sole seven-division champion was before it. However, in terms of all-time greatness, what does "eight division champion" really mean? To establish that, one must look into boxing's past and measure how the sport has changed.

 

Take Henry Armstrong, who was once ranked by The Ring magazine as the second greatest fighter in boxing history. Armstrong's main claims to fame are his status as a three-division champion, not only holding the 126, 135 and 147 lbs titles, but holding them all at the same time (a feat no fighter has duplicated in the eight decades since) and having defended the welterweight championship more times than any other boxer in history. Armstrong and Pacquiao are both weight class-leaping fighters who did what many considered impossible, but Armstrong did it at a time when there were only eight weight classes and one championship per class.

When Armstrong claimed the World Featherweight Title in October 1937, he had been a professional fighter for more than six years. In many of the fights of his first few years, Armstrong weighed in at less than the 126 pound limit (although also as often at around 130). If he were a modern fighter, with access to double the number of weight divisions and the ability to choose between three or four different titles, Armstrong would surely have won titles at 122, 126, 130, 135, 140 and 147 lbs, as all of these were divisions within his historical championship "band." It is not inconceivable that Armstrong could have snatched a title at 154 lbs as well, which would have made him a seven-division champ.

 

Sugar Ray Robinson would have gone beyond even that. Robinson started his career as a lightweight. During his first year -- his first twelve months -- as a professional boxer, he fought 25 times at weights between 135 and 147 lbs and defeated a former welterweight champ, a future welterweight champ and the reigning lightweight champion. Truly it was a different era, but for the purposes of this inquiry, it was an era without the 130 lbs, 140 lbs and other similar divisions. Sugar Ray's walking around weight wasn't that far from his fight night weight, as demonstrated by the fact that he fought on average twice a month. In the modern context, his "historical band" would mean claiming titles at 130, 135, 140, 147, 154 and 160. Given that Robinson nearly dethroned Joey Maxim (and would have in a modern 12 Round fight), and that fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns claimed 168 and 175 lbs titles, I think it is safe to say Robinson would have picked up those belts as well. That would have made Sugar Ray Robinson an eight-division champion, just like Manny Pacquiao.

 

An exercise like this is useful, because it puts things in perspective. Pacquiao is clearly an all-time great, and deserves to stand among a very rarefied crowd (and standing in the same category as Robinson and Armstrong is rarefied to be sure). However, the comparison indicates that Pacquiao has accomplished the eight-division championship feat only because of the existence of 16 weight classes and four world championships per division, a circumstance that has only existed since the 1990s. If some of the past greats clearly would have come close to, equaled or even exceeded this standard, it only stands to reason that another fighter sometime in the future will eventually do the same.

 

http://www.proboxing-fans.com/what-does-eight-division-champion-really-mean_122010/

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Amazing what Armstrong and Robinson did. The perception that I had of Manny and surely changed. I still think he is a phenomenal but not all time great as I maturely claimed him to be.

I stand corrected.

 

Utterly amazed at the amount of fights Robinson had! 25! in his first year!

That many fights do not get made upwards till the end of a fighters career nowadays!

Wow!!!!!

Armstrong too! Feats that can never be equaled!

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The world has changed dramaticallyin the last 20 years meaning boxing has aswell, more money and more attention to every little detail.

 

Its hard for me to judge former fighters before the 80's because of lack of footage and no real in depth daily news we have today.

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Amazing what Armstrong and Robinson did. The perception that I had of Manny and surely changed. I still think he is a phenomenal but not all time great as I maturely claimed him to be.

I stand corrected.

 

Utterly amazed at the amount of fights Robinson had! 25! in his first year!

That many fights do not get made upwards till the end of a fighters career nowadays!

Wow!!!!!

Armstrong too! Feats that can never be equaled!

 

Glad to see you man up edsel, unfortunately a lot of other younger guys wont. Thats why some old timers like me get pissed off when these futile comparisons are made.

 

Personally i find it amusing and entertaining to keep the whole Mayweather / Pakow nonsense going, but when talking about fighters like Hank, and SRR, plus guys like Duran, nonsense is all the two of them are. mlol/ mlol/

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Re: What Does “Eight-Division Champion” Really Mean?

 

by: Rich Thomas

 

Comparing Pacquiao's Championships to Armstrong's and Robinson's and their Eras of Boxing:

One of the cornerstones of Manny Pacquiao's claim to legendary greatness is his status as the sole octuple champion in boxing history. It is a landmark achievement and worthy of praise, to be sure, just as being the sole seven-division champion was before it. However, in terms of all-time greatness, what does "eight division champion" really mean? To establish that, one must look into boxing's past and measure how the sport has changed.

 

Take Henry Armstrong, who was once ranked by The Ring magazine as the second greatest fighter in boxing history. Armstrong's main claims to fame are his status as a three-division champion, not only holding the 126, 135 and 147 lbs titles, but holding them all at the same time (a feat no fighter has duplicated in the eight decades since) and having defended the welterweight championship more times than any other boxer in history. Armstrong and Pacquiao are both weight class-leaping fighters who did what many considered impossible, but Armstrong did it at a time when there were only eight weight classes and one championship per class.

When Armstrong claimed the World Featherweight Title in October 1937, he had been a professional fighter for more than six years. In many of the fights of his first few years, Armstrong weighed in at less than the 126 pound limit (although also as often at around 130). If he were a modern fighter, with access to double the number of weight divisions and the ability to choose between three or four different titles, Armstrong would surely have won titles at 122, 126, 130, 135, 140 and 147 lbs, as all of these were divisions within his historical championship "band." It is not inconceivable that Armstrong could have snatched a title at 154 lbs as well, which would have made him a seven-division champ.

 

Sugar Ray Robinson would have gone beyond even that. Robinson started his career as a lightweight. During his first year -- his first twelve months -- as a professional boxer, he fought 25 times at weights between 135 and 147 lbs and defeated a former welterweight champ, a future welterweight champ and the reigning lightweight champion. Truly it was a different era, but for the purposes of this inquiry, it was an era without the 130 lbs, 140 lbs and other similar divisions. Sugar Ray's walking around weight wasn't that far from his fight night weight, as demonstrated by the fact that he fought on average twice a month. In the modern context, his "historical band" would mean claiming titles at 130, 135, 140, 147, 154 and 160. Given that Robinson nearly dethroned Joey Maxim (and would have in a modern 12 Round fight), and that fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns claimed 168 and 175 lbs titles, I think it is safe to say Robinson would have picked up those belts as well. That would have made Sugar Ray Robinson an eight-division champion, just like Manny Pacquiao.

 

An exercise like this is useful, because it puts things in perspective. Pacquiao is clearly an all-time great, and deserves to stand among a very rarefied crowd (and standing in the same category as Robinson and Armstrong is rarefied to be sure). However, the comparison indicates that Pacquiao has accomplished the eight-division championship feat only because of the existence of 16 weight classes and four world championships per division, a circumstance that has only existed since the 1990s. If some of the past greats clearly would have come close to, equaled or even exceeded this standard, it only stands to reason that another fighter sometime in the future will eventually do the same.

 

http://www.proboxing-fans.com/what-does-eight-division-champion-really-mean_122010/

 

Pointless article.

 

Hearns was a 5 weight champion but boxers have come along, equalled that record, and exceeded it.

 

So what? Is Hearns not a great fighter then?

 

As for Armstrong becoming a champ at all the weights, nobody can do anything about timing.

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Great article... add Hearns too of course... Lets hear you synopsis Skav.

 

Amazing feats that I knew nothing of. If it wasn't for McBride acosting me when I made mention of Pacman, greatest, then I would not have been around looking or researching the point so soon.

 

 

Edsel-

 

Triple Champion used to be that point at which you stopped really thinking of them in terms of the current landscape and realized everything they'd done or would be doing was now on a completely historical plane. The difference between being simply great for the day and being on that highlight reel which all those that followed would be trying to match. I'd LIKE to think that even with all this nonsense, the fans can still see Greatness without the need to artificially create it.

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