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Opinion

The 10 greatest welterweights of all time

Tony Connolly, with his weekly column, this week asks Birmingham Mail boxing journalistic legend Mike Lockley to name the 10 greatest welterweights of all time

2. Henry Armstrong

“Homicide Hank”, the only fighter to hold three real world titles at the same time – feather, light and welterweight – was a freak of nature.

An incredibly slow heartbeat gave the limitless stamina to fling leather from first bell to last.

Armstrong was perpetual motion, a dazzling boxer who could outlast the Duracell bunny.

And Armstrong beat the very best, his career studded with victories over legends such as Barney Ross, Lew Jenkins, Sammy Angott and Petey Sarron.

Small for a welterweight, Armstrong even fought a draw for the world middleweight crown.

Ernie Roderick, a fine British champ, lured Hank to London in 1939 but was swept away by the human whirlwind before him. Ernie waited for the storm to ebb. It didn’t.

Armstrong took the title from Ross in 1938 and defended a staggering 18 times in two years, finally succumbing to Fritzie Zivic in 1940.

Quite simply, Armstrong was a ring miracle worker, but a breakneck schedule, all-action style and the rigours of defending championships in three separate weight divisions finally caught up with the warrior.

He retired in 1945 with a record of 151 wins in 181 bouts (nine draws).

armstrong

 

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  • So Mike Lockley thinks that Manny and Mayweather should be in the top 10 but that the likes of Tommy Hearns, Roberto Duran and Wilfred Benitez shouldn’t be – ridiculous!

    He also lists fighters that he could only have seen the merest fraction of their careers on film, if any at all – for these he’s essentially regurgitating older boxing writer’s and historian’s opinions rather than really his own.
    However he’s not the only one – there are many fans today who accept SRR to be the best boxer of all-time without seeing even one of his fights, many others do the same after seeing less than 20% of his 199 pro fights.

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