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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Manny Pacquiao 2nd greatest boxer ever?

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International Sports Examiner | Marv Dumon

b o x i n g

In the World's Greatest Ever Boxer website, fans worldwide were able to vote for who they thought are the sport's all-time prize fighters.

Nearly 500,000 votes were cast, and voting ended in December 2009.
By Weight Class >

Wilfredo Gomez (44-3-1) was voted as the greatest ever bantamweight.

Pacquiao (50-3-2) was voted as the greatest ever featherweight.

Roberto Duran (103-16) was voted as the greatest ever lightweight.

Roy Jones, Jr (54-5) was voted as the greatest ever light heavyweight.

Muhammad Ali (56-5) was voted as the greatest ever heavyweight.
All-Time Greats ?
Fans voted Muhammad Ali as the third greatest boxer ever. Manny Pacquiao was voted second. And Sugar Ray Robinson (173-19-6) was voted in the poll as the world's greatest boxer ever.

Most expert panels list Henry Armstrong (149-21-10) as ranked third on the all-time list. Ali, second. Robinson, first.

Polling is inherently biased when assessing current fighters against retired fighters, often to the disadvantage of retired fighters or boxers from previous eras.

It is often more appropriate to assess a boxer throughout an entire career. A voter can only do that after the boxer retires and not when a fighter still has a few bouts left.

Therefore, the poll would have more valid results several years after Pacquiao's and Roy Jones' retirement. Not when they are still fighting.

For instance, to be inducted into the basketball and football hall of fame, retired athletes must wait a few years in order to become eligible for induction.

Waiting a few years after retirement allows voters and panelists to sober up and generate more objective assessments. Additionally, media coverage and hype will have died down which allows a voter to better compare different fighters.

Ideally, all-time lists in any sport should be era independent. That is not possible in most cases. Athletes are reviewed even though they fought or played in different eras, with different game rules.

Boxing has not always been the same. Before, boxers endured throughout 15 rounds - if the fight lasted that long. Gloves have evolved. So have mouthpieces.

Fighters did not always inject their hands with Xylocaine, or have effectively engineered mouth guards or hand wraps to help them cope with the brutality inside the squared circle.

Different eras are just that: different. Other variables can distort the comparison. Athletes that played before the 1960s often enjoyed less media coverage. Thus, there tends to be less video footage of their feats. That makes it harder for voting panelists to conduct a true comparable analysis across eras, from "prehistoric" to modern.

Top athletes today have much more media coverage. Their athletic performances on the field are well documented, and videos of their accomplishments proliferate on sites such as YouTube.

Finally, there is an imperfection caused by lack of records. Boxing has existed for centuries. Records have not always been preserved. Is it possible that fights took place in which no one recorded the event.

The polling that concluded this past December addresses boxing from the last 100 years. But the greatest in the history of mankind? That is speculation.

We are open-minded enough to allow for the possibility that a caveman - who had to fend off dinosaurs - could have whooped everyone on the all-time list. Unfortunately, the media did not exist back then. Point proven.


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