Another update for the 200 Greatest Heavyweights

This is a quick one. I have once again rearranged the ranking – both of fighters already listed, and fighters further up the list. I have hemmed and hawed about this topic for years now, but I finally gave in and included a specific metric in my final score – draws. Or, specifically, draws against top ten opponents.

In many cases, draws are virtually wins, thanks to bad or controversial decisions. In others, they represent truly close fights against good fighters. As an example, in 1999, Lennox Lewis famously beat up and nearly stopped Evander Holyfield in their first fight, only to be held to an extremely disputed draw. Almost all of the audience, media, fans, and experts agreed that the scoring was a travesty, and Lewis was denied a major win over the only other fighter with a case for being considered the best heavyweight in the world. The draw remained in the record books, but to ignore a successful 12 rounds against Holyfield was unkind to Lewis.

It seemed to me that many important fights were being neglected. Obviously a draw won’t count as strongly as a win, but they should count for something.

So, in my mathematical formula, I rate each individual win over a Ring-rated top ten contender (or champion) as one point, then add to that the calculation of the plus/minus score of top ten opponents (wins plus losses). Then I add the total number of draws versus top ten opponents and cut the number in half. 4 draws equals a score of 2, 3 equals 1.5, and so on… Then, I add to that number the cumulative total of top ten wins (again), wins over future/current/former linear champions, wins over hall-of-famers at heavyweight, and wins for the linear championship. The new total has shaken up the overall ratings some. The biggest mover was actually my inspiration for this update.

Arturo Godoy, a tough swarmer of the 1930s and 1940s who gave Joe Louis one of his toughest fights, was rated 174, which seemed quite low. I noticed that he had an impressive 5 draws against top ten opponents on his record, and it felt unfair that 5 near-wins against top opposition wasn’t counting in his favor. After the recalculation, Godoy moved up 17 spots in the ranking, on the strength of those draws.

In addition to including draws in my calculations, I also added two additional fighters to the total. One of whom was actually in my master list, but I somehow neglected when putting the final rankings together. The other was a contemporary of that fighter, and they faced off repeatedly.

I am still calling this the top 200, but there are now 204 fighters in the field.

As always, the main starting point for this project can be found here.

One thought on “Another update for the 200 Greatest Heavyweights

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s