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In this section are rare newspaper AND INTERNET articles
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May 4, 2009
Where Have You Gone, Harry Greb?
By Springs Toledo
Black clouds gather fast and break over Forbes Field in Pittsburgh where
Tommy Gibbons (51-0) and Harry Greb (159-12) are fighting like hell. It's
the last day of July in 1920. The crowd scatters for shelter in the electrical
storm. Thunder crashes as Gibbons, standing over six feet tall with a twenty
pound weight advantage, lands his feared right cross flush on the jaw of
Greb in round seven. It doesn't faze the smaller man. Greb is Greb he's
all over Gibbons from every angle, with punch stats that are off the charts.
The lone reporter who had not taken cover under the ring strains to see
through the downpour and calls the particulars as his peers scribble away
in wet notebooks: "Greb lands a right to the face, a left to the stomach,
a right to the ear, a left to the face, a right to the neck..." To
Gibbons, lightning seems to strike from every angle.
Almost fifty years later, Francis B. Maloy recalled that this fight was
"eerie like a scene from Dante."
Only two days earlier, Harry Greb was at Jack Dempsey's training camp
in New York City where he fought his third exhibition in three days with
the heavyweight champion. Dempsey, known for sending sparring partners out
of the ring sideways, could not handle the man known as the "Pittsburgh
Windmill" despite being twenty-five pounds heavier and four inches
taller. The last day of sparring ended after only two rounds Greb landed
a right that split Dempsey's eye wide open.
In September, Dempsey was preparing for an upcoming fight with Billy
Miske. Heavyweight "Big" Bill Tate and middleweights Greb and
Marty Farrell were his sparring partners. According to the New York Times,
"the bout with Greb was a real one a real honest to goodness battle."
Greb was a "veritable whirlwind" swarming all over the champion
and "forcing him around the ring". Dempsey was throwing his famous
short left hooks and rights but could neither connect nor keep him off.
Greb hit Dempsey "almost at will", at times leaping off the canvas
to land shots upstairs.
As the year drew to a close, Greb faced "Captain" Bob Roper
at Mechanics Building in Boston. Roper was a journeyman heavyweight known
for hard punching and hard ways. With a befitting skull and crossbones patched
onto black trunks, he was a disqualified four times in his career and once
entered the ring with a live snake around his neck. Despite the presence
in his corner of Jack Blackburn (whom Greb had already defeated and who
went on to train Joe Louis), Roper did not land more than a half dozen shots
on Greb, whose speed and activity was dizzying. The Boston Daily Globe reported
that Roper had to cover his face with both hands as a "sea of gloves"
came at him. It was "laughable at times" when Roper stretched
his neck to avoid overhands to the head that always seemed to land anyway.
This was vintage Greb. His aerial assaults from the outside were no less
effective than his work inside on a much larger man.
Two years later, Greb would fight Tommy Gibbons again at Madison Square
Garden. Since the loss to Greb at Forbes Field, Gibbons earned twenty-one
stoppages in twenty-six victories. The winner of this bout would fight Gene
Tunney for the American Light Heavyweight title as "a qualifying test"
to face Dempsey. Seated amid high society were the interested parties Tunney
and Dempsey. More than 14,000 had come out to see Gibbons, prematurely decreed
as "Dempsey's next opponent". It was almost a black tie affair.
Hundreds of women in evening dress raised the eyebrows of the boys from
the Bowery and the Lower East Side but their cheers co-mingled as "society
cast aside all aloofness".
The wrong man won. Gibbons took only three out of the fifteen rounds.
The betting figure that favored him was the ratio by which he was out landed
in the fight: two-to-one. "I never saw so many boxing gloves in my
life," Gibbons admitted the next day, "his punches seemed to come
from everywhere from the gallery, from under my shoes, from behind
In May the handicappers at Madison Square Garden got smart and made Greb
a three-to-one favorite when he entered the ring against Gene Tunney. Tunney,
undefeated before this fight and never defeated afterwards, could not halt
the "human hurricane" either, despite being warned by Dempsey
himself about Greb's uncanny abilities. According to the New York Times,
Tunney's exceptional defensive skills were overwhelmed by Greb's attack
and he was "completely at sea for fifteen rounds." Greb fractured
Tunney's nose in two places in the first round and soon Gene's handsome
features were rearranged into a Picasso painting. Tunney's corner ran out
of adrenaline chloride to stop the bleeding from his nose, mouth, and deep
cuts over both eyes. Abe Attell, sitting ringside, ran off to a druggist
and returned with a supply which he cuffed to Doc Bagley, Tunney's chief
second. It didn't matter. Tunney reported that all he saw for most of the
fight was a "red phantom". Greb "was never in one spot for
more than half a second," he said in an interview years later, "all
my punches were aimed and timed properly but they always wound up hitting
empty air. He'd jump in and out, slamming me with a left and then whirling
me around with his right or the other way around."
Tunney lost every round.
Dempsey ducked Greb.
Dempsey fought Gibbons the year after Greb whipped him, and would later
twice lose to Gene Tunney the second time in the famous "Long
Count Fight". Greb had been calling out Dempsey almost as soon as Dempsey
began making waves in 1918, and stepped up the pressure after he knocked
out Gunboat Smith in one round the year after Dempsey had knocked Smith
out in two. By June of 1922 it got to the point where Greb's manager showed
up at Dempsey's manager's office with a generous proposition. It went nowhere.
Curiously, King Dempsey was more than willing to fight heavyweights that
Greb had already defeated, including not only Gibbons and Tunney, but also
Miske and "KO" Bill Brennan. Greb was 2-0-1 against Miske, and
Brennan couldn't beat Greb to save his life losing all four bouts against
Greb inside of one year.
Earlier in the careers, Dempsey and Greb shared several opponents. Among
them was Willie Meehan who Greb beat twice though outweighed by thirty pounds.
Dempsey posted two losses to Meehan within the same time frame. "The
bigger they are," Tunney asserted, "the less respect Harry had
for them I have seen him virtually climb opponents a foot taller and bring
them down to his size." As late as August 1925, Dempsey was still ducking
the 5'8 middleweight, claiming that the only "fight he wanted was with
Harry Wills", who was a 6'2, 213 pound African-American Heavyweight.
Dempsey never faced Wills either, though pursued by Wills for years.
At the end of Greb-Tunney fight, Tunney collapsed and had to be carried
into his dressing room. Stubbornly refusing to go to the hospital, doctors
on the scene stitched up Gene's face, reset his nose, and used a stomach
pump to remove about two quarts of blood, brandy and orange juice, and adrenalin
chloride. Greb, unmarked, didn't look like he even had a fight. He spent
the night drinking ginger ale (his preferred beverage) in a speakeasy surrounded
Happy Albacker was among them. Happy had a secret, but secrets are hard
to keep when you're three sheets to the wind. When the inevitable glass
was raised and someone toasted Greb's victory over the undefeated Gene Tunney
"though handicapped by height, weight, and reach", Albacker blurted
out "-and by one eye!" Had it not been for Greb's ability to parry
unexpected blows, the secret would have been out. It would have meant the
end of his career.
Harry Greb's vision in his right eye had been diminishing since the summer
of 1921, when Kid Norfolk thumbed him during a particularly violent mill
in Pittsburgh. Bill Paxton, the author of "The Fearless Harry Greb,"
offers compelling evidence that Greb suffered a retinal tear in the Norfolk
fight and so had only partial vision when he faced Gibbons, Tunney, and
Tommy Loughren (incidentally, three of the greatest light heavyweights of
all time). It is believed that Greb went completely blind in his right eye
after his fifth fight with "Captain" Bob Roper. He took almost
two months off afterwards (one of his longest periods of inactivity), spent
a week in the hospital, and was seen with patches over both eyes. His return
fight took place on New Year's Day, 1923 against Captain Bob Roper.
He would fight sixty-seven more times, take the middleweight title, defend
it six times, fight and beat terrors like Tiger Flowers and Mickey Walker,
master all-time greats like Jimmy Slattery and Maxie Rosenbloom all
while blind in one eye.
According to the Boston Daily Globe, Greb earned a few more technical
knockouts in Pittsburgh one night, though unofficially. After a female companion
in his car was relieved of $95 and a ring on a lonely road in Highland Park
by five robbers, Greb reported the incident to the police.
When they arrived on the scene, the officers noticed blood all over the
road. It was not Greb's.
Moved at the ensuing hearing by the weeping wife and children of one
of the assailants, Greb offered to post bail. For those close to him, this
was not a surprise. Contrary to the myth that he was a half-cocked hell-raiser,
Greb was a kind man and a practicing Roman Catholic. There is nothing to
suggest that he was anything less than in love with his wife Mildred throughout
their courtship and marriage. When she died of tuberculosis in 1923, he
was at her bedside. Harry was a faithful husband even if he was not the
kind of widower who held a candle.
To his credit, Greb had no regard for color lines. Some boxing historians
rightfully hesitate before testifying to the greatness of fighters like
Dempsey and Tunney because they would not fight the full range of threats
on the spectrum. Tunney never once faced an African American in seventy-seven
professional contests. This kind of discrimination affects legacy. It has
to. Greb, by contrast, avoided no man. He faced several black fighters beginning
as early as 1915 against Jack Blackburn, as well as Willie Langford, Kid
Norfolk, Tiger Flowers, Kid Lewis, and Allentown Joe Gans.
Greb's last fight was in 1926. It was an attempt to regain the middleweight
crown he lost to Tiger Flowers. The determined ex-champion turned the clock
back and fought well but lost another split decision to Flowers. Most believed
that the victory was rightfully his; that he had done more than enough to
take back the title. Greb himself said "well, that was one fight I
won if I ever won any." But the windmill was creaking. Greb was finally
In September, Greb had his right eye removed and replaced with a glass
eye. He confided to a friend that his career was over and that he planned
on opening a gym in downtown Pittsburgh. It must have been bittersweet for
Greb as he sat in the audience at the Dempsey-Tunney title fight in Philadelphia
later that month. He watched Tunney do what he always knew he himself could
do if given the opportunity outbox Dempsey and become world heavyweight
The end was near. After what was supposed to be a non-serious operation
on his face, Harry fell into a coma. At 2:30pm on October 22, 1926, the
32-year-old Greb died of heart failure. It was shocking news.
This fighter's fighter, often seen smiling in the heat of battle and
laughing when hit with a good shot, lived only two months after his final
bout. Perhaps Greb was a romantic who couldn't live without the object of
his passion. This much is beyond dispute: In a rougher era when boxing was
just emerging from the seedy underground and men fought to live, Harry Greb
lived to fight.
His legacy dwarfs what we see today. In a career that spanned from 1913
to 1926 and over 300 fights, Greb fought and beat almost a dozen Hall of
Famers (including two who were previously never beaten) and champions in
four divisions. Ninety years ago, he gave us a boxing milestone that you
can bet your house will never be repeated:
Greb fought forty-five times in 1919.
-That's an average of one bout every eight days against an array of sluggers,
boxer-punchers, and defensive specialists. That's a record of 45-0 against
not only other middleweights, but light heavyweights and heavyweights in
one calendar year!
Raise a glass of ginger ale in honor of the Pittsburgh Windmill: a remarkable
middleweight who fought them all any time, any place; the spirit smiling
behind every club fighter, contender, and champion who fights with the sudden,
ruthless passion of a summer storm for the glory of it all.
Here's to you, Harry Greb.
The author wishes to both acknowledge and highly recommend Bill Paxton's
The Fearless Harry Greb, Jack Cavanaugh's Tunney, Peter Benson's Battling
Siki, and Andrew Gallimore's A Bloody Canvas. Thanks to the Boston Public
Library Microfilm Department, an invaluable resource for locating obscure
fight reports. Gregory Toledo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Harry Greb, The Human Windmill..."A Perpetual Motion
INTERNET Article Info
Webpage Name: "Cox's Corner" http://coxscorner.tripod.com/
Author: Monte D. Cox
By Monte D. Cox
Harry Greb, World Middleweight Boxing Champion 1923-1926,
was the ever in your face nightmare, the supreme swarming style fighter.
His Cyber Boxing Zone bio notes that "Greb was called "The
Human Windmill" due to the constant flurries of punches he threw as
well as the fast pace he kept throughout his fights." He had unending
stamina, and he kept coming and you could not stop him. He had great hand
speed and an iron chin. He was a whirlwind in action from the moment the
opening bell rang. He could wear down any opponent given enough rounds.
He sapped the energy out of his foes and battered them mercilessly from
all directions. He was a ruthless master of infighting and was not adverse
to using dirty tactics. Greb stayed in shaped by fighting often averaging
about 22 fights a year, and in 1919 fought 45 times. At his peak he weighed
between 158 and 165 pounds at 5 ft. 8in., and he often fought men who outweighed
him by as much as 40 to 80 pounds. Many consider Greb as the greatest middleweight
Historian Eric Jorgensen stated, "Greb may
have been the greatest fighter, pound-for-pound, who ever lived. Certainly,
he was among the top 2 or 3. He combined the speed of Ray Robinson, the
durability of Jim Jeffries, the stamina of Henry Armstrong, and the unbridled
ferocity of Stanley Ketchel with a will to win unsurpassed in the annals
of sport. At his peak, he was unbeatable, defeating virtually every middleweight,
light heavyweight and heavyweight of his generation. A great, great fighter."
Greb's record is virtually unbelievable. How many
fighters can claim to have a record like that of Harry Greb? He defeated
18 men who held, had held, or would hold world championships, and this at
a time when there were only 8 divisions in boxing and one champion in each
division. The 5 middleweight champions that Greb defeated were Mike O'Dowd,
George Chip, Al McCoy, Mickey Walker, Tiger Flowers and Johnny Wilson from
whom he won the title. He also defeated 4 middleweight title claimants Eddie
McGoorty, Frank Mantell, Jeff Smith and Bryan Downey. Greb defeated 7 light
heavyweight world champions, Mike McTigue, Jack Dillon, Battling Levinsky,
Tommy Loughran, Jimmy Slattery and Maxie Rosenbloom and one future world
heavyweight champion, Gene Tunney whom he fought five times. Count 'em!
5+4+7+1=18 champions who lost to Greb. Remarkable!
To really understand the era one should know that
because of the "No Decision" rules that prevailed at the time
the champions were not always the best fighters, there were many uncrowned
champions during this period. There were so many great fighters that Greb
met and defeated more first tier boxers than any other champion in history.
He beat Mike Gibbons, considered by many ring historians among the top 10
all time middleweights. He beat George "Ko" Brown who twice went
20 rounds with the legendary Les Darcy. He defeated master boxer Tommy Gibbons,
a light heavyweight and a truly clever mobile fighter who could feint, jab,
move and do it all. He won a narrow verdict over Kid Norfolk who Jack Dempsey
was accused of drawing the color line against. He beat Charlie Weinert who
went on to beat heavyweight slugger Luis Firpo in a No Decision match. He
also defeated heavyweights like Bill "Ko" Brennan who fought Jack
Dempsey for the world title. He decisively beat Brennan in every one of
their meetings to the point where it can be argued that he didn't lose a
single round. Greb annihilated former "white heavyweight champion"
Ed Gunboat Smith knocking him out in the first round. Greb decisioned Billy
Miske who a year later would fight Dempsey for the heavyweight title. Greb
beat Willie Meehan who once won a 4-round decision over Dempsey. Greb also
beat several of Dempsey's favorite sparring partners like Larry Williams
and Chief Clay Turner. Reigning light heavyweight champion Georges Carpentier
avoided Greb like the plague. Tex Rickard was very eager to match Greb and
Carpentier and even offered Carpentier a huge purse to meet Greb for the
light heavyweight championship but he refused.
The question of Harry Greb's greatness cannot be
disputed by the unbiased observer. His record is impeccable. The argument
that one cannot know how good Greb was because there are no available films
of him (except a training video) hold to an untenable argument. Historians
and collectors of vintage films understand Greb's greatness based on his
record and the many existing films of his opposition. There are films of
Mike Gibbons, Tommy Gibbons, Tommy Loughran, Jimmy Slattery, Mickey Walker,
Bill Brennan and Gene Tunney, all outstanding fighters whom Greb bested.
One can see how good these fighters were and know that Greb defeated them.
Further there are the newspaper accounts, with some of the bigger fights
featuring round by round descriptions of the action in the ring.
Whenever great fighters of his era discussed Greb
they mentioned three outstanding qualities that qualify him as the greatest
swarming fighter of history. First of these was his great speed. Second
of these was the relentless pace he set by the sheer volume of punches that
he threw. And lastly was his impregnable chin, which is an essential ingredient
to the successful swarming fighter.
Heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey said that Greb
was "The fastest fighter I ever saw. Hell. Greb is faster than (lightweight
champion) Benny Leonard." In 1920 Greb, who was in training for Billy
Miske, sparred Dempsey a few rounds. The sparring sessions were so good
that thousands of fans showed up just to watch. According to eyewitnesses
Greb "slapped the crouching heavyweight champion around, and bounced
away before Dempsey could do more than cock a punch." Jack Kearns,
Dempsey's manager, ran Greb out of camp. There was much talk of a Dempsey-Greb
match for the heavyweight championship, but it never came off. It seems
Jack Kearns was unwilling to take the chance.
Fighting Greb was like fighting a man with eight
arms. "He was never in one spot for more than half a second,"
said Gene Tunney, "All my punches were aimed and timed properly but
they always wound up hitting empty air. He'd jump in and out, slamming me
with a left and whirling me around with his right or the other way around.
My arms were plastered with leather and although I jabbed, hooked and crossed,
it was like fighting an octopus."
Greb would swarm over his opponents with his blazing
fast hands while throwing punches from all angles. Veteran fight manager
Dan Morgan said, "He threw so many punches that the breeze from his
misses gave opponents pneumonia. He tossed leather from all directions in
fusillades, barrages, salvo's, and volleys. Naturally being so fast and
throwing so many punches he was not a knocker-outer. To shoot a real shock
punch a fighter must get set, be more or less stationary for a fraction
of a second. Greb was never still in the ring, so most of his knockouts
were of the TKO variety."
Greb threw so many punches, from so many angles
and for so many hits that he would have drove today's "punch stat"
counters crazy. One of his opponent's Pat Walsh said after their fight,
"I thought somebody had opened up the ceiling and dumped a carload
of boxing gloves on me."
Harry had the proven tough chin needed to absorb
the heavy punch of much larger men. In around 300 professional fights, which
included dozens of bouts against heavyweights, he was stopped only twice,
once in his first year of fighting, and once when he broke his forearm throwing
a punch at Kid Graves.
Greb's most famous victory is his win against Gene
Tunney for the American light heavyweight title. Greb handed Tunney the
only official defeat of his career in their first meeting. The May 24, 1922
NY Times reported, "Greb, a human perpetual motion machine if
there ever was one received the decision of the judges Tommy Shortem and
Eddie Hurley and Referee Billy McPartland." The Times reported, "Tunney
tried with every ounce of strength and every trick of the trade to offset
the speed and remarkable ability of his rival. But the defending champion
could find no defense for the rain of blows which met him at every turn."
Grantland Rice, one of the top sportswriters of
the time wrote, "Harry handled Gene like a butcher hammering a Swiss
steak. How Gene survived 15 rounds I will never know." Tunney himself
said, "Greb gave me a terrible whipping. My jaw was swollen from the
right temple down the cheek, along the chin and part way up the other side.
The referee, the ring itself, was full of my blood. If boxing was afflicted
with the commission doctors that we have now, the first fight probably would
have been stopped and no one would have heard of me today."
Greb and Tunney fought 4 more times and they were
all good competitive closely contested fights and one must remember that
Tunney was the naturally bigger fighter in all of these contests. Their
second fight was highly controversial. Tunney won the decision in their
rematch which many called the worst decision in New York history. Some sportswriters
at the time declared that it called for an investigation. William Muldoon,
NY State Athletic Commissioner, said in the Feb 24, 1923 NY Times
"The verdict was unjust" and "(Muldoon) declares that Pittsburgh
boxer (Greb) should have received decision."
According to historian Steve Compton Gene Tunney
won the the rubbermatch fair and square. The fourth bout in Cleveland was
cast for Greb by 2 of 3 Cleveland papers with the third calling it a draw,
and the fifth bout went to Tunney.
One of Greb's greatest fights was his victory over
welterweight and future middleweight champion Mickey Walker at the Polo
Grounds in New York in 1925. Walker, himself an all time pound for pound
great said in Peter Heller's In This Corner, "Harry Greb was
the greatest fighter I ever fought. He was one of the greatest that ever
stepped in the ring." The July 3, NY Times reported, "Greb
retained his world middleweight title when he battered his way to the decisionin
as savage and furious a ring encounter as either boxer has ever experienced."
The Times continued, "Walker left the ring badly used up. He
had a split lip, a bruised and battered nose, and a cut under his right
eye which was puffed and almost closed. Greb was unmarked, although he absorbed
punishing blows to the body through every round." The entire bout was
fought at an extremely fast pace. Walker started off well in the early rounds
but by the 6th Greb was firmly in charge. There was seesaw action in the
mid to late rounds. The champion finished strongly taking the final "championship"
rounds, nearly knocking Walker out in the 14th.
What is even more amazing is the fact that Greb
fought most of these great fights while blind in one eye. He suffered a
detached retina after being thumbed in his 1921 fight against Kid Norfolk.
For five years he fought half blind.
When he finally lost the title to Tiger Flowers
the split decision was a controversial one. The rematch was even more controversial.
When Joe Humphreys announced Flowers as the winner by split decision with
the judges, but not the referee, voting for him, the fans stormed the ring,
littering it with bottles, hats, paper and everything they could find to
throw in protest. Jim Crowley, the referee, walked over to Greb saying "Tough,
Harry, a tough one to lose. It was your fight." Gene Tunney who watched
the affair said, "Harry won by a substantial margin. It was an unjust
decision." William Muldoon also said Greb had won, adding, "but
the decision will stand. If we (The New York Athletic Commission) reversed
it, the Negro people might think they were being discriminated against."
Two months later Greb died. He was injured in an
automobile accident and complained of dizziness and breathing difficulty.
He would later die on the operating table as he tried to get his nose repaired
so he could breathe better.
Harry Greb was the ultimate aggressive swarming
style fighter, only Henry Armstrong can compare to him in terms of the volumes
of punches he threw and the killing pace that he set. Not even Armstrong
can compare to Greb in terms of his speed, maneuverability and durability.
Greb's perpetual motion fighting made him as dominant as any fighter who
ever lived and his awesome record is virtually unmatched in the annals of
Battling Legacies: Harry Greb vs. Sugar Ray Robinson
INTERNET Article Info
Webpage Name: (was)-www.fightworld.us (now is)-www.fightbeat.com
Date Written: July, 2004
Author: Greg Smith
HARRY GREB VS SUGAR RAY ROBINSON
by Greg Smith
Pound-for-Pound debates are inherently difficult. Indeed, I rarely make
pound-for-pound lists anymore because I've discovered that I change them
too much. Folks can argue all day as to whether Floyd Mayweather or other
fighters belong at the top of the current pound-for-pound list over Bernard
Hopkins. It's littered with subjectivity, and often tells you more about
the person making the list instead of hard, cold reality. It's fun to debate
and compare lists, but reaching a complete and final thesis-antithesis-synthesis
solution is always evasive. If you have multiple noteworthy fighters to
choose from, chances are you might pick the one whose style you prefer or
because of other idiosyncrasies and biases. It could be a counter puncher,
a puncher, a diversified technician, even someone from your own racial or
ethnic background, or a guy who simply outlasts opposition with superior
will and conditioning. In this day and age of marketing and political maneuvering,
it's increasingly difficult to tell how good a fighter really is. As Billy
Conn once said, if you see a fighter with an undefeated record, something
is wrong. After Sugar Ray Robinson faced Jake LaMotta for the sixth and
final time, he said Fritzie Zivic was actually his toughest fight. Weirdly
enough, Zivic lost more decisions than any champion in boxing history.
Ultimately, although far from perfect, I've become more comfortable just
attempting to compare the actual accomplishments of fighters over the long
haul against their best available opposition. To put it another way, a fighter's
true legacy is revealed by what they accomplished during the totality of
their career against other Hall of Fame material fighters. Granted, contemporary
Hall of Fame induction is creating more credibility problems instead of
fairness and justice to the art of pugilism, but instinctively, we have
a true gut feeling regarding who actually belongs in the Hall of Fame. As
some astute observers of the sport have posited, you just can't compare
eras in such a way as to sift through the soot and crystallize exactly how
one fighter stacks up against another head-to-head in a hypothetical ring.
Eras are just different. Perhaps it's best just to take the best look possible
at what a fighter accomplished during their era against the opposition that
was put in front of them, and leave it at that.
In that vein, I've given a lot of thought to various fighters in the
boxing history. I've looked long and hard at unsung heroes like Burley and
Langford. I've looked at the accepted elite like Ali and Louis. I've looked
at pioneers like Griffo and Jeffries, and matched them up with Sanchez and
Foreman, respectively. In the final analysis, one accomplishment and legacy
comparison really stuck out. The two fighters are indeed from different
eras, but their contributions to the sport are no less than mammoth. Both
are often mentioned on several historical Top 10 pound-for-pound lists,
although one of them is almost always listed in the Top 3. The other is
sometimes mentioned in the latter half of the list amidst some controversy.
Sugar Ray Robinson and Harry Greb epitomized true accomplishment in the
sport of boxing. Most observers believe they couldn't have been more different
in and out of the ring. It's somewhat close to an Apollonian versus Dionysian
clash in personality, style, and character. Robinson exemplified controlled
grace. Greb was rough and wild. Realistically, the analysis becomes
much more complex beyond the initial glance. Both fighters possessed remarkably
similar character traits, but in inverse form. Robinson was outwardly vain
and stylish, but underneath the surface, he was old school tough and often
ruthless. Greb was old school tough to an extreme, but also quite vain in
a variety of substantive ways as well. All told, a faithful analysis is
not about popularity and persona. It's about intrinsic worth and long-term
As I've stated for about a decade, but have admittedly waffled like a
bad politician as well, Harry Greb might've been the best fighter in boxing
history. It's certainly a bold and flawed statement, but considering Greb's
indelible mark on the boxing landscape during his era and beyond, it's impossible
to ignore completely. Greb was the hardest of the hardcore Pittsburgh fighters.
When folks talk about brutal, dirty fighters, Greb is right up there with
fellow Pittsburgher Fritzie Zivic. Unlike Zivic, however, Greb was far more
successful in his very circuitous and never boring career. Over a 13-year
career, Greb fought around 300 recorded bouts and around 2,600 recorded
ROUNDS of action, but many believe the real number of bouts to be significantly
As stated, it was just a different era. Many of Greb's fights weren't
officially judged as wins, losses, or draws, but by newspaper decisions.
A close look will reveal that although Greb's career is filled with "no
decision" verdicts, the writers didn't exactly have him losing as many
fights as Zivic. Rather, he was almost always victorious. Today, fighters
who are considered inordinately active might reach 400 rounds of activity
in a career. Greb once fought that many rounds in one year. Greb also fought
hoodlums in the street, and was one of several great fighters in the first
few decades of the 20th century to bet on themselves to win. While only
a middleweight, and beginning his career at a much lighter weight, his accomplishments
put him right at the top of the list of heavy hitting contributors in the
history of the sweet science.
What we also know is that Greb was the only man to beat Gene Tunney,
and he defeated at least 16 men who at one time held an undisputed title.
It is well known that he fought the last several years of his career blind
in one eye after a particularly dirty encounter with Kid Norfolk. During
1922, according to official decisions and newspaper accounts, Greb defeated
Tommy Gibbons, Gene Tunney, and Tommy Loughran in less than 120 days. All
three men were naturally bigger than Greb. Gibbons and Loughran challenged
for the heavyweight title, and Loughran held the world light heavyweight
title. Tunney won the heavyweight title from Dempsey. Greb's infamous sparring
session with Dempsey reportedly caused Kearns to never entertain the idea
of allowing Greb's wish to fight Dempsey for the heavyweight title. Apparently,
Dempsey just couldn't hit him, and some sources claim the session was stopped
as Greb began to dominate Dempsey more. Conventional boxing history focuses
on Harry Wills as the man many believe Dempsey avoided, but not stepping
in against Harry Greb is probably more important considering that Greb beat
both Tunney and Gibbons, men who Dempsey actually defended his title against.
More revealing is the fact that Gibbons made Dempsey look awkward and bad,
but Greb defeated Gibbons more convincingly just over a year before. As
an aside, it's no mistake that Greb picked Tunney to beat Dempsey in 1926.
Well before Greb defeated Tunney, he had beaten several legitimate heavyweight
contenders while giving away 30-40 pounds in the process. He also routinely
faced off against men like Battling Levinsky, Mike McTigue, and Jack Dillon
a few years before the first Tunney fight. All of these men held the light
heavyweight title during their respective careers.
Tunney is considered by most to be the best man Greb defeated. Tunney
lost an estimated 2 quarts of blood in his first fight with Greb. By his
own account, Tunney "was swollen from the right temple down the cheek,
along under the chin and part way up the other side." Greb certainly
fought Tunney dirty, but Tunney later claimed that Greb wasn't just a dirty
spray hitter. Instead, he claimed Greb was a great fighter. Tunney acknowledged
that Greb made him a better fighter, and their series functioned as an apprenticeship
in preparation for Dempsey. Tunney won the four return bouts with Greb,
but newspaper reports reveal that Greb made a few of those close, and perhaps
should've been given the decision in at least one of them. In the end, Tunney
was far from bitter about his battles with Greb. He was a pallbearer at
Well past his prime, blind in one eye, and somewhat sick, Greb came from
behind and dominated the latter half of his famous fight with the great
Mickey Walker to win a clear cut decision. Some accounts claim that Walker
asked Greb not to knock him out in the final round. Greb didn't lose his
middleweight title several times to win it back several times, either. He
defended it six times from 1923 until 1926, while mixing in non-title bouts
and several bouts with Tunney and Loughran in the process. He lost the middleweight
title to Tiger Flowers after defending against Walker, and perhaps appropriately,
was never the same. Walker, who was a superb welterweight champion, later
became one of the great middleweight champions in history, and the middleweight
division went into wildly dysfunctional disarray after he departed for larger
quarry like Jack Sharkey and Max Schmeling. Sharkey and Schmeling were the
very best heavyweights of their day. They both held the undisputed title.
Sharkey was clearly getting the better of Dempsey until the Mannassa Mauler
went testicle hunting. Schmeling saw something, and then proceeded
to dissect and knock out Joe Louis in their first fight. As I opined during
the winter this year to several people, Roy Jones must've forgot about that.
In Harry Greb, it's hard to think of a fighter who accomplished more.
Ernest Hemingway once deemed Greb one of our great Americans. In the
same spirit of American folklore, perhaps it is true that only the good
die young. He was indeed vain and often nasty, but he was also truly great.
The ultimate rugged individualist. After a car accident, Greb thought it
was an appropriate time to finally fix his nose and make it look good. Greb
died on the operating table during that procedure at age 32. Sadly, although
some of Greb's fights were actually filmed, we don't have access to the
footage. Sound bite clips of Greb don't reveal as much as the first Tunney
versus Greb fight would. Real combat manifests the truth. After all, Vitali
Klitschko looks worse than a lot of amateurs when he hits the bags and mitts,
but most consider him to be the best heavyweight in the world right now.
We'll probably never get to see what so many old-timers claim to be one
of the best who ever lived.
When boxing aficionados and experts argue about the best fighters in
history, it's hard to think of an instance when Sugar Ray Robinson's name
has been left out of the loop. I felt lucky to be able to watch Robinson
versus LaMotta VI after the De La Hoya versus Sturm/Hopkins versus
Allen III card. First, I was a little annoyed when De La Hoya got top billing
without ever competing in the middleweight division previously. I felt mildly
vindicated when many felt he actually lost that fight to Sturm. I have a
high level of respect for Oscar De La Hoya, but it just wasn't fair. Hopkins,
pushed to the side promotionally again, shouldn't have faced Allen for the
third time, but the alphabets make things unnecessarily complex, and dilute
the purity of the sport at every turn. Robinson versus LaMotta VI was the
opposite of that, and in watching that fight after the aforementioned card,
my eyes opened wide as Robinson unloaded repeated virtuoso combinations
on the stubborn Bronx Bull. It was further proof to me that boxing hasn't
progressed as other sports have relative to the science and technique of
I don't know how Hopkins would've done against Robinson. Bouie Fisher
seemed to think he wouldn't do as well as you would expect a trainer to
claim. I'm still analyzing his recent comment about a hypothetical match-up
between Robinson and Hopkins, and am still not completely clear of his intent.
I'm not sure he articulated his thought process as he wanted us to hear
it. Robinson was a truly great fighter, but in examining his true accomplishments,
he lost to fighters you wouldn't expect him to falter against. Robinson
is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing fighter that ever lived. At his
best, whereas subtle sweet scientists like Nicolino Locche, Ezzard Charles,
and Charley Burley could apply tactics and moves only the extreme trained
eye could see, Robinson could do much of what they practiced, but then could
switch up and apply other things they couldn't. He was sweet, and then he
could be devastating and ruthless as LaMotta discovered in their last fight,
and as Gene Fullmer learned when he got knocked out when Robinson
was going backwards. Robinson could then turn around and lose to Randy Turpin.
As far as accomplishments go, Robinson got a heckuva start. He was undefeated
as an amateur, and ran off an extremely impressive professional win streak
until the loss to LaMotta. The loss signaled an end to an almost unconscionable
125 bout win streak when one combines Robinson's amateur and professional
records. Many feel he was at his best as a welterweight, but most of Robinson's
career recognition came when he stepped up to middleweight. Robinson's wins
over the great Kid Gavilan at welterweight would tell us all we need to
know about Robinson's prowess at that weight, but the footage is unavailable.
In sum, he fought an amazing array of quality opposition including 18 world
champions and 10 Hall of Famers. He was a five-time middleweight champion,
and therein lies the essence of his reign at that weight. It was impressive,
but he had to lose that title several times to win it back several times.
Many criticize Monzon, Hagler, and Hopkins for fighting smaller men, but
many forget that Robinson lost to a welterweight stepping up in weight.
He was great to watch, but legitimate loss after legitimate loss equals
several legitimate losses.
Perhaps more importantly, Robinson faced a bridge too far when he stepped
up to challenge Joey Maxim for the light heavyweight title. Robinson was
ahead on points, but collapsed in the heat. To be completely fair, however,
Maxim was fighting in the same heat. Later, Maxim once bluntly stated that
it was just as hot on his side of the ring as it was on Robinson's. A loss
is a loss, and Robinson didn't keep trying like Tunney did after the loss
to Greb, and like Greb did after losing to Tunney in a return. Robinson
retired after the Maxim bout, and came out of retirement as a middleweight.
He never challenged at light heavyweight again. At 5'11", Robinson
had about three inches on Greb, and one would think he might have a good
shot in an immediate rematch with Maxim without sacrificing too much conditioning.
Maxim was not the best light heavyweight of his era, either. Robinson never
went after Archie Moore or Harold Johnson. He also didn't attempt to rebuild
and rebound by going after lesser contenders to build the foundation for
a return match with Maxim. Moore made overtures, but Robinson wasn't listening.
Robinson's foray into the light heavyweight division began and ended with
the Maxim fight.
I always cringe a little when I criticize a fighter, or look for cracks
in the armor of an especially great fighter like Sugar Ray Robinson. Boxing
is a very dangerous and brutal sport, and racking up over 200 professional
fights like Robinson did with almost unparalleled success is amazing. In
comparing Robinson to Greb, however, the preponderance of the evidence suggests
that Greb actually accomplished more in his career. He beat the best middleweight
of his era when he was far past his prime and blind in one eye. Mickey Walker
was one of the best middleweights of all-time, and later challenged two
heavyweight champions. Walker fought a draw with Sharkey, and went out on
his shield against Schmeling. The heavyweight champion of the world, Jack
Dempsey, avoided Greb. The Human Windmill wasn't at his best fighting with
one eye, but he beat the best in the world during that time. He didn't lose
to his era's version of Joey Maxim. He defeated a step up from Maxim in
Tommy Loughran as far as eras go. He beat Gene Tunney, lost return bouts,
and some of those were close as mentioned above. Joey Maxim once challenged
for the heavyweight title, but was easily defeated by Ezzard Charles. Sugar
Ray Robinson was a great fighter the world may never see again. Harry Greb
was an American original who went a few steps beyond Robinson when matched
head-to-head in true accomplishments.
On to the bigger divisions
INTERNET Article Info
Webpage Name: ESPN .com
Date Printed: Jan 10, 2005
Author: Max Kellerman
Monday Jan 10, 2005 -- On to the bigger divisions
By Max Kellerman Special to ESPN.com
Last month Max defended his list of the greatest of the Millennium
by talking about guys like Eder Jofre, Willie Pep and other lighter weight
fighters. This week Max defends his greatest-ever picks in the welterweight
through heavyweight divisions:
Harry Greb's ring record is the most spectacular in the history of boxing.
Boxing people often refer to the record of a great fighter who took on great
opposition by saying "it reads like a who's who of boxing in that era."
The number of name fighters "The Pittsburgh Windmill" bested shames
-- literally shames -- the record of any other fighter in the history of
boxing. Every single middleweight and light heavyweight of note (white and
black) between 1916 and 1926 were whipped at least once, and usually they
were whipped multiple times. Since Greb was fighting in an era of no-decisions,
most of these fights went down as "ND's," but if you look them
up, the newspapers almost always had Greb winning. When the papers didn't
have him winning, they had him drawing, and often that was when the opponent
outweighed Greb by 20 pounds.
Much has been made of Greb's losing to Gene Tunney. Greb thoroughly beat
Tunney in their first meeting, handing Tunney what turned out to be the
only loss of his entire professional career. The rematch went to Tunney
in a robbery. Tunney was in his prime and outweighed Greb by 15 pounds,
and yet lost 9 or 10 of the 15 rounds according to all of the newspapers
of the day that I have read. Subsequent Tunney-Greb fights all took place
when the smaller Greb was past his prime, and according to many sources,
totally blind in one eye. When they were both at their best, the smaller
Greb proved clear superiority over the larger Tunney -- at the very least
Greb was superior in a pound-for-pound sense.
Greb also fought and beat Jack Dempsey's opponents more often than Dempsey
himself did (Willie Meehan, Bill Brennan, Battling Levinsky, Ed Smith, Gene
Tunney, etc.), and Greb pursued a match with Dempsey, which he never received.
When Greb was in his prime between 1918 and 1922, through approximately
150 fights against the consistently best competition anyone has ever fought,
he lost twice and drew six times. He avenged all of his losses with multiple
wins. The rest of the all-time middles (if forced to put them in order):
2) Sam Langford, 3) Ray Robinson, 4) Stanley Ketchel, 5) Marvin Hagler,
6) Carlos Monzon, 7) Bob Fitzsimmons, 8) Tony Zale, 9) Mickey Walker, 10)
Jake LaMotta, or something like that.
Timeless, Indefinable, Incredible: Was
Harry Greb the Greatest Fighter Ever?
INTERNET Article Info
Webpage Name: http://www.eastsideboxing.com/news.php?p=5591&more=1
Date Written: Dec 16, 2005
Author: Mike Casey
by Mike Casey
Dec 16, 2005 - By MIKE CASEY: Some men just
look like fighters. They don't have to make a fist, strike a pose, strut
around the place or talk the talk. One look into their eyes, one scan of
their features, and you know they've got the right stuff. Harry Greb, like
the great Stanley Ketchell before him, looked like a fighter all over. The
tight eyes, the harshly scraped hair and the lean body told you at a glance
that Greb was a man apart even in the toughest sport of all.
Legions of great pretenders have discovered to
their disappointment that you cannot buy, steal or fake what is only given
to the chosen few. A mean look and a hard attitude won't protect you from
a harsh dose of reality if you are not cut from the right cloth. Nor will
an intimidating name. New York super-middleweight Michael Corleone has learned
that harsh lesson in his eleven-year, 11-23-3 career.
There have been a great many fighters who have
tried to imitate Harry Greb and inherit his impregnable armour and fighting
heart. Most of them are tucked away and forgotten in boxing's vast A to
Z archives with maybe ten or twelve fights on their log.
If Harry Greb had a dozen fights in a year alone,
he was going slow. Nicknamed the Human Windmill because of his perpetual
motion style, Harry was no less fast and furious in the rate at which he
swelled his astonishing ring record. When he was all done, he had jammed
299 fights into the short space of fourteen years, having fought everybody
who was somebody in a golden era of teeming talent.
For those interested in the finer details of decimal
points, Greb averaged 21.5 fights a year, and only the Grim Reaper finally
stopped him in 1926. Boxers of Harry's era had to fight frequently to earn
any meaningful money, and winning a world championship didn't necessarily
buy them a ticket to a more leisurely lifestyle. The heavyweight champion
was just about the only guy who could afford to take a walk on easy street.
The difference between the average annual salary of Harry Greb and Jack
Dempsey was immense.
A perfect illustration of this fact is that between
winning the middleweight championship from Johnny Wilson in 1923 and losing
it to Tiger Flowers in 1926, Greb defended his title six times and engaged
in a total of fifty-six fights.
As for the list of illustrious fighters he faced,
many of them in ongoing series and most of whom he defeated, we can only
shake our heads at the sheer breadth and depth of talent. Harry bounced
around the weight divisions like a mischievous rubber ball, whipping the
cream of his own class, thrashing top quality light-heavyweights and heavyweights
and even roughing up Dempsey in their famous sparring sessions of 1921.
Greb defeated George Chip, Al McCoy, Jeff Smith,
Mike McTigue, Eddie McGoorty, Tiger Flowers, Gunboat Smith, Battling Levinsky
Jimmy Slattery and Maxie Rosenbloom.
He was two and one over the brilliant Tommy Gibbons,
and also split a pair of decisions with Tommy's gifted brother, Mike, the
legendary Minnesota ace whose marvellous defensive skills won him the nickname
of the St Paul Phantom.
In four out of five meetings with that other master
boxer, Tommy Loughran, Greb was the boss.
He twice bested heavyweight contender Bill Brennan
and was also too good for one of the greatest light-heavyweights of all
in the Hoosier Bearcat, Jack Dillon. Giant killer Jack also specialised
in terrorising bigger men, but little ol' Harry was all over him in their
In their second match at the Toledo Coliseum in
Ohio in 1918, Greb administered a terrific thrashing to Dillon. The local
newspaper reported that Harry pounded Jack's nose to a pulp, staggered him
and overwhelmed him.*
Greb gave Gene Tunney a brutal beating in their
first fight at Madison Square Garden in 1923, so much so that an infuriated
Gene retired to his bed with his sore body and applied his formidable intellect
to devising a game plan for his revenge.
Tunney was undoubtedly Harry's master in their
wonderful five-fight rivalry, though not as comprehensively as the history
books suggest. Historians and researchers have lately credited Greb with
the newspaper decision in their fourth fight at Cleveland, which would make
Gene the three to two winner in their series. After their final scrap, Greb
reportedly visited Tunney's dressing room and good-naturedly barked, "I
never want to fight you again."
Forever eager to get to the next place and the
next thrill, Greb didn't hang around killing time in the early phase of
his career either. In 1915, while still serving his boxing apprenticeship,
he engaged in successive fights with Billy Miske and the dangerous Jack
Blackburn, who would go on to achieve greater fame as the master trainer
of Joe Louis.
Even the loss of sight in one eye failed to curb
Greb's enthusiasm or dull his ability. Historians disagree on which fight
caused the injury, but it is most commonly believed that Harry suffered
a detached retina in the first of two vicious fights with Kid Norfolk. Greb
kept the injured eye a secret from all but his wife and closest friends,
finally consenting to its removal in a private operation in Atlantic City.
A perfectly matching glass eye was substituted, attached to the eye muscles
by sheep tendons.
However, a further operation later on proved too
much for even Harry's great heart. Shortly after his second title match
with Tiger Flowers, Greb underwent an operation to remove facial scars sustained
in an automobile accident and from his multitude of tough fights. He died
on the operating table on October 27, 1926.
Writers, fans and fellow opponents came to praise
Harry Greb when he was alive, and they praised him when he died. Incredibly,
nearly eighty years after his passing, Harry's name is still writ large
on the boxing landscape.
Many of today's fighters use Greb as the ultimate
reference when the talk turns to giving every last drop and fighting to
the death. His name is mentioned in reverence in cult TV programmes. The
International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) recently voted him the
greatest middleweight of all time. Many fight fans and experts also rate
him tops in the pound-for-pound stakes.
The accolades are endless and the conclusion is
crystal clear. In the era of five-minute fame, Harry Greb has become an
icon for all the ages, a roguish and familiar ghost we are happy to have
in our house as a permanent guest. Not because of sentiment, but because
he earned the right to be there.
Perhaps the explanation for Greb's enduring and
universal appeal really isn't that complex. Even when he was alive and kicking
in the roaring twenties, Harry seemed timeless and oddly ethereal. He was
rock 'n' roll thirty years before the term was invented, and yet he wasn't.
He was too special and too indefinable to be shoe-horned into any era or
hitched to any passing trend.
Greb loved to fight and he loved to live. He did
both with total conviction and commitment. Once in your life, if you are
lucky, you get to brush against such an individual. You can feel the electric
and sense the danger, but you know to your frustration that you can never
step into that special zone and be that man.
How does a guy who rarely visits a boxing gym beat
some of the greatest fighters who ever came down the trail? How does he
drive cars at breakneck speed without breaking his neck? How does he drink
through the early hours after going fifteen brutal rounds with Mickey Walker
and then wrap up the celebrations with a return fight out on the sidewalk?
Greb did all of those things.
Other fighters spoke of him in awe. Gene Tunney
observed, "Greb could move like a phantom and had ring cunning far
beyond estimates made of him in the press."
Such was Tunney's admiration for Harry, he was
a pall bearer at Greb's funeral.
Jack Dempsey described Greb as the fastest fighter
he ever saw. Irish ace Jimmy McLarnin said, "If you thought I was great,
you should have seen Harry Greb."
It would be interesting to know how Harry regarded
such flattery. Quite possibly, he lapped it up. More probably, he wondered
what all the fuss was about.
He certainly had a sense of humour and seemed to
admire honesty and candour in others. During some lusty infighting in one
of his two wars with Tiger Flowers, Greb suffered the rare experience of
being caught off guard. As he was going through his usual repertoire of
punching, thumbing and cussing, he was taken aback by Tiger's polite request
not to take the Lord's name in vain. "I thought he was kidding,"
Harry said later, "but I'll be damned if he didn't mean it."
Greb had even more devilish fun with fellow great,
Mickey Walker. Mickey, the pugnacious Toy Bulldog, was the reigning welterweight
champion when he stepped up to challenge Harry for his crown on July 2,
1925, before a crowd of 50,000 at the Polo Grounds in New York. The two
warriors waged one of the greatest fights ever seen at the famous venue,
with Greb a commanding winner.
But their rivalry didn't end there. Greb and Walker
met up later at the Guinan club, a noted New York nightclub of the time,
where they drank champagne and chatted to the glamorous owner and hostess,
Texas Guinan. Happy and well oiled by the time they hit the night air at
around two or three in the morning, Harry and Mickey began discussing their
fight for the first time.
It was then that Mickey put his foot in it, offering
the opinion that he would have won the match if Greb hadn't thumbed him.
Harry couldn't have that and offered to beat Walker again right where they
stood. Greb couldn't wait to get his coat off, but it got stuck around his
elbows as he pulled too hard and Walker belted him with a terrific uppercut.
Mickey always bragged thereafter that he won their unofficial return.
The two men got lucky. The only person around at
that hour was a massive Irish beat cop called Pat Casey, whom Walker described
as being as big as Primo Carnera. Familiar with Greb and Walker and their
idea of a good night out, Casey waived the incident and told them to get
Walker enjoyed ribbing Greb but always acknowledged
Harry's superiority as a fighter, placing him on the gold standard with
Ketchell and Dempsey.
Mickey never forgot one incredible incident from
the Polo Grounds classic. "Harry could hit you from impossible angles.
Once, after he missed a right to my face, he spun all the way around so
that his back faced me. I relaxed my guard and waited for him to turn around.
But before I knew what was happening, his left was stuck in my mouth. I
still don't know how he did it, but he hit me while his hands faced in the
opposite direction." **
How I wish that I could visit a fighter's saloon
bar in heaven (assuming the old gentleman upstairs permits such a facility)
and find Greb, Stanley Ketchell and Carlos Monzon sitting at the same table
discussing their greatest fights. They have always struck me as spiritual
brothers, despite the span of years and circumstances that separated them.
They were giants of men who lived and fought with a burning passion and
then left us suddenly just as we were beginning to wonder if they were eternal.
Ketchell was shot to death when he was twenty-four.
Greb died at thirty-two and Monzon was gone at fifty-two. It is easy to
become maudlin about such things and trot out the old Marvin Gaye line about
the good dying young.
But in all truth, do we really enjoy watching wild
horses grow old?
In the Mike Casey All-Time Rankings on my website,
in which varying points values are accorded to fighters across 22 different
categories, Harry Greb places fifth in both the middleweight and light-heavyweight
The middleweight rankings are thus: 1. Sugar Ray
Robinson 2. Carlos Monzon 3. Tommy Ryan 4. Marvin Hagler 5. Harry Greb 6.
Mike Gibbons 7. Stanley Ketchell 8. Sam Langford 9. Marcel Cerdan 10. Mike
This is some achievement on Harry's part, when
one considers that he fought in the no-decision era. Exhaustive research
has enabled historians to determine the winners of many of these fights
according to original newspaper reports, but the outcome of many others
remain a mystery. Since the results cannot be assumed, fighters of Greb's
era inevitably lose a few points here and there in any results-based ranking.
There is little doubt that Harry would otherwise
rank higher than he does. Was he really the greatest middleweight? Was he
the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all?
What's your opinion? Who are your top middleweights
and pound-for-pound masters?
is a boxing journalist and historian, a member of the International Boxing
Research Organization and founder and editor of The Grand Slam Premium Boxing
Service for boxing historians and fans. www.grandslampage.net
* Newspaper research by BoxRec
** Stanley Weston, Boxing and Wrestling, October