Boxing


All Time Flyweight Survey: Wonjongkam Cracks Top 10

by Geoffrey Ciani - Who are the ten best flyweights of all-time?

This is the eighth in a series of surveys that focus on the top ten boxers from each of the original eight weight classes. In the first survey, we peered into the opinions of long-time boxing fans to make a definitive list of the top ten all time heavyweights. Although this is a very subjective topic that is skewed by personal bias, differences of opinion, and the absence of a universally agreed upon criteria to judge past fighters, we can still establish some degree of consensus. While contemplating my own list of top heavyweight pugilists, I decided gathering the input of others might help display a more accurate portrayal of what a 'true' top 10 list should look like. Since then I have had similar surveys involving the light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight, and bantamweight divisions.

In this survey, which included many of the same individuals from the previous seven, I polled 16 long-time boxing fans (myself included). My question was simple. I had each person in the survey provide me with a chronological list of who he or she (the one ‘she’ in the survey being my esteemed colleague from On the Ropes Boxing Radio, the lovely Miss Jenna J) considered to be the ten best flyweights in boxing history.

Ties were not allowed, just a straight-forward list from one to ten. I then used a weighted scoring system to assign points to fighters based on where they appeared on each individual's list. First place votes received 25 points. Second place votes were worth 15 points, third place votes were worth 12, and fourth and fifth place votes were worth 10 and 8 points respectively. After that, the point differential was constant, with sixth place votes getting 5 points, seventh place votes getting 4, eighth getting 3, ninth place 2, and tenth place 1.

Survey Results

After all of the lists were tabulated with the aforementioned scoring system a total of twenty-four different flyweight boxers received mention. Here is a list of the results. (First place votes are indicated in parenthesis).

1. 357 Jimmy Wilde (12)
2. 244 Miguel Canto (4)
3. 151 Pascual Perez
4. 125 Pancho Villa
5. 113 Benny Lynch
6. 97 Fidel LaBarba
7. 51 Frankie Genaro
8. 45 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
9. 43 Midget Wolgast
10. 25 Newsboy Brown
11. 18 Fighting Harada
12. [tie] 15 Ricardo Lopez
12. [tie] 15 Yuri Arbachakov
12. [tie] 15 Sot Chitalada
15. [tie] 8 Jimmy Barry
15. [tie] 8 Peter Kane
17. 7 Santos Laciar
18. 6 Masao Ohba
19. 5 Pone Kingpetch
20. 4 Jackie Paterson
21. 3 Jung Koo Chang
22. [tie] 2 Hiroyuki Ebihara
22. [tie] 2 Daisuke Naito
24. 1 Memphis Pal Moore

Here is the distribution of votes.
TOTAL LISTS MADE - NAME - (1st-2nd-3rd-4-5-6-7-8-9-10)

16 Jimmy Wilde (12 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0)
16 Miguel Canto (4 5 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 0)
16 Pascual Perez (0 1 5 6 0 2 0 2 0 0)
15 Pancho Villa (0 2 3 1 3 2 3 1 0 0)
15 Benny Lynch (0 2 1 2 4 2 1 0 2 1)
12 Fidel LaBarba (0 1 2 2 3 1 2 0 0 1)
12 Frankie Genaro (0 0 0 1 0 4 3 2 1 1)
8 Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 2 1)
13 Midget Wolgast (0 0 1 0 0 1 2 3 3 3)
6 Newsboy Brown (0 0 0 0 1 1 0 4 0 0)
5 Fighting Harada (0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1)
1 Ricardo Lopez (0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0)
5 Yuri Arbachakov (0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3)
3 Sot Chitalada (0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0)
1 Jimmy Barry (0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0)
4 Peter Kane (0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2)
2 Santos Laciar (0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0)
2 Masao Ohba (0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1)
3 Pone Kingpetch (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1)
1 Jacky Paterson (0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0)
1 Jung Koo Chang (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0)
1 Hiroyuki Ebihara (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0)
1 Daisuke Naito (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0)
1 Memphis Pal Moore (0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)

The Breakdown:

Jimmy Wilde was the clear winner. He finished top three on every list and got the most first place votes (12). Miguel Canto and Pasquel Perez were the only other two fighters to appear on all sixteen lists, with Canto getting the remaining four first place votes. Pancho Villa and Benny Lynch rounded out the top five with each appearing on all but one survey list. Fidel LaBarba and Frankie Genaro topped the bottom half of the top ten. Both fighters appeared on 75% of the lists of those surveyed. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Midget Wolgast were separated by just two points, with Wolgast receiving mention by more than 80% of the participants and Wongjongkam appearing on just half the lists. Newsboy Brown took the final top ten slot.

Did Wonjongkam Deserve His Top 10 Spot?

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam became just the third active fighter to finish in the top ten on any list in the series of surveys. The other two fighters who shared this distinction were Bernard Hopkins (who ranked as the #5 middleweight) and Manny Pacquiao (who ranked #9 in the bantamweight survey). Wonjongkam appeared on 50% of the lists (compared to Pacquiao at 26.7% and Hopkins at 86.7%). Interestingly enough, while half of the participants omitted him from their list entirely, almost 20% of those surveyed had him amongst their top five, myself included.

Following the second loss of his career, Wonjongkam won 55 bouts in a row, including seventeen successful defenses of his WBC flyweight title during a reign which spanned more than five years. He has the record for the quickest knockout in flyweight history when he stopped future rival Daisuke Naito in a mere 34 seconds. Interestingly enough, Naito was the man who ultimately ended Wonjongkam’s long run (in all, Wonkongkam leads the head-to-head series 2-1-1). In March of this year, Wonjongkam would regain the WBC flyweight title from the Koki Kameda who had won the throne from his long time rival Naito four months prior.

His list of accomplishments ultimately falls short when compared against someone like Jimmy Wilde, but all in all, I believe Wonjongkam’s position is justified.

How does my list compare?

In the heavyweight and light heavyweight surveys nine of the ten boxers from my list appeared in the official results. In the middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, and featherweight surveys I was down to eight, but I was back up to nine for the bantamweight survey which is where I stood on this one. I had Fighting Harada on my list; the official list had Newsboy Brown there in his stead.

1. Jimmy Wilde
2. Pancho Villa
3. Fidel LaBarba
4. Pascual Perez
5. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
6. Miguel Canto
7. Frankie Genaro
8. Midget Wolgast
9. Benny Lynch
10. Fighting Harada

More Raw Data:

Here is a quick snap-shot at how the votes broke down amongst the top ten:

1. Jimmy Wilde
Total Lists: 16 (100%)
First Place: 12 (75%)
Top Three: 16 (100%)
Top Five: 16 (100%)
Average Points: 22.3

2. Miguel Canto
Total Lists: 16 (100%)
First Place: 4 (25%)
Top Three: 12 (75%)
Top Five: 15 (93.8%)
Average Points: 15.3

3. Pascual Perez
Total Lists: 16 (100%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 6 (37.5%)
Top Five: 12 (75%)
Average Points: 9.4

4. Pancho Villa
Total Lists: 15 (93.8%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 5 (31.3%)
Top Five: 9 (56.3%)
Average Points: 7.8

5. Benny Lynch
Total Lists: 15 (93.8%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 3 (18.8%)
Top Five: 9 (56.3%)
Average Points: 7.1

6. Fidel LaBarba
Total Lists: 12 (75%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 3 (18.8%)
Top Five: 8 (50%)
Average Points: 6.1

7. Frankie Genaro
Total Lists: 12 (75%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 0 (0%)
Top Five: 1 (6.3%)
Average Points: 3.2

8. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
Total Lists: 8 (50%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 1 (6.3%)
Top Five: 3 (18.8%)
Average Points: 2.8

9. Midget Wolgast
Total Lists: 13 (81.3%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 1 (6.3%)
Top Five: 1 (6.3%)
Average Points: 2.7

10. Newboy Brown
Total Lists: 6 (37.5%)
First Place: 0 (0%)
Top Three: 0 (0%)
Top Five: 1 (6.3%)
Average Points: 1.6

Only one surveys left?

Now that I have finished surveys for each of the original eight weight classes, I had initially intended to do just one final survey, and that would be for the top ten all-time pound for pound fighters in the sport. I am, however, considering to do additional surveys for the remaining nine divisions, depending on feedback.

Past Surveys:

In case you missed any of the previous surveys:

HEAVYWEIGHT SURVEY-CLICK HERE

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT SURVEY-CLICK HERE

MIDDLEWEIGHT SURVEY-CLICK HERE

WELTERWEIGHT SURVEY-CLICK HERE

LIGHTWEIGHT SURVEY-CLICK HERE

FEATHERWEIGHT SURVEY-CLICK HERE

BANTAMWEIGHT SURVEY-CLICK HERE

***

To view a complete list of past guests from On the Ropes Boxing Radio please visit our website
BY CLICKING HERE

To contact Geoffrey Ciani:
ontheropes@eastsideboxing.com

To read more by Ciani please visit The Mushroom Mag:
http://www.eatthemushroom.com/mag

Article posted on 22.09.2010



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