- - Sunday, August 18, 2019

It’s not quite as sad as when a good boy goes bad. But it is disappointing when you see a good website go wrong.

BoxRec is as a valuable a resource as you will find in boxing. It has become the bible of the sport, replacing the old printed boxing register, with ratings, schedules results, dates, titles and other information about fights and fighters.

You want to know who Roberto Duran fought in his first time in the United States, where it was and the outcome? You can find those details (Benny Huertas, Sept. 13, 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York, a first-round knockout by Duran in a scheduled 10-round bout). You can find who Benny Huertas faced in his first fight, where it was and the outcome (Jay McCombs, Sargent Field, New Bedford, Massachusetts, a four-round decision defeat).

It’s where a local boxing legend like the District’s Darryl Tyson, a perennial super lightweight world contender, lives forever, from his first fight in Washington on Sept. 3, 1982 — a fifth-round knockout over Wayne Anderson — to his last time in the ring at the Washington Convention Center on Dec. 12, 2004, a 10-round welterweight decision loss to an up-and-coming local legend, DeMarcus Corley. Included in there is Tyson’s March 1, 1986 win in 12 rounds for the World Boxing Council Continental Americas lightweight title at the Washington Convention Center against a tough opponent named Freddie Roach.

But somehow BoxRec, with all those numbers and records and statistics, has gone down a dark road, from bible to tabloid. They’ve taken their numbers and twisted them into something — well, twisted.

They have come out with a list of the top 25 fighters of all time, and like many things in boxing, it’s warped and whacked.

Greatest-of-all-time debates can vary from sport to sport, depending on the dominance of the individuals in those debates. No greater argument rages in sports today than who is the greatest basketball player of all time — Michael Jordan or LeBron James (ignoring the greatest of all time, Wilt Chamberlain).

But sometimes it’s pretty clear, even years after a player has left the game, that no one was greater before or since. The only time it is suggested anyone was a better football player than Jim Brown is out of boredom.

Boredom, though, hasn’t even been enough to stop experts from universally agreeing on who was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the history of the sport — Sugar Ray Robinson, the former welterweight and middleweight champion who fought from 1940 to 1965, winning 173 bouts and losing just 19 (most at the end of his career) with six draws and two no contests.

The late, great boxing historian Bert Sugar named Robinson as the greatest fighter of all time, and so did his co-author, trainer Teddy Atlas, in their 2010 book “The Ultimate Book of Boxing Lists.” They have plenty of company. The quality of opponents, the dominance, the cumulative impact of Robinson’s career has etched his name in stone at the top.

Well, BoxRec has crossed it out with crayons and replaced it with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

I think Mayweather is a great fighter, underappreciated by most. And, with a 50-0 record, should be on any top 25 list.

But ahead of Ray Robinson? Muhammad Ali? Joe Louis? Roberto Duran? Willie Pep? The list of fighters Mayweather has been put on top of should embarrass even him.

It doesn’t get much better — Manny Pacquiao is second, and you don’t find Ray Robinson until fifth.

BoxRec should plead the fifth for that one.

According to the web site badlefthook.com, the BoxRec people used a formula for this list that relies heavily on ratings, which, as most of us know, are often twisted and turned — no matter whose ratings they rely on.

They came up with this formula in discussions with “interested BoxRec forum users,” badlefthook.com reported.

Sorry, but I wouldn’t rely on most of you out there to help me compile a list of the best bubble gum.

Ali is fourth on the list, but nowhere will you find the opponent who made Ali great, Joe Frazier. Or the man who Ali defeated in 1974 and came back 20 years later to regain the heavyweight championship at the age of 45, George Foreman.

But Floyd Patterson is on the list.

Henry Armstrong is not on the list anywhere. Both Sugar and Atlas ranked him as the second greatest boxer in history.

He won the featherweight, lightweight and welterweight titles at a time when there were far less weight classes in the sport. From 1931 to 1945, Armstrong fought 183 times, winning 152 (101 knockouts) losing 22, with nine draws. He posted a 22-3 record in world championship fights.

“No one who ever saw this fighter, known as ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ or ‘Homicide Hank’ or ‘Hurricane Hank,’ will ever forget him: a nonstop punching machine, his style more rhythmic than headlong, his matchstick legs akimbo, his arms crossed in front of his face, racing the clock with each punch, and each punch punctuated by a grunt,” Sugar wrote in an ESPN profile. “His likes will never be seen again. The feats of Henry Armstrong are a benchmark against which all future generations will be measured.”

Not all future generations, I guess.

BoxRec? Try BoxWreck.

Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

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