100 Greatest Pound for Pound Boxers Of All Time: 6. Benny Leonard

benny-leonard
Benny Leonard

6. Benny Leonard

Division: Lightweight (135) to Middleweight (160)

Record: 91-5-1 (185-19-10 including newspaper decisions)

Years Active: 1911-1932

Nicknamed “The Ghetto Wizard” because of his Jewish heritage, humble upbringing and boxing prowess, Benny Leonard was one of the first great pound for pound boxers.

Speedy and clever, Leonard was frequently described as a “master.” He wasn’t a power puncher—Leonard wasn’t even ranked on Ring’s greatest punchers list—but had incredible footwork, a stiff left jab and classic combo punching ability. A great showman, he seldom lost a round in his victories and in some ways was the precursor to the great Willie Pep.

At the request of his mother, Leonard retired in 1925 as a two-time champ who never lost in a championship bout (aside from a late-hit disqualification).

However, he lost most of his money in the 1929 stock market crash and returned to boxing in 1931. Though described as pudgy and slow, he ended up winning 16 of his 17 fights before retiring after a loss to Jimmy McLarnin.

After an esteemed career as a ref, Leonard died in the ring of a heart attack. Most remaining footage of Leonard is of his match with Lew Tendler. Always ranked top 10 in all-time pound for pound lists, Leonard is universally considered one of the top two lightweights ever.

(source: bleacherreport.com by Dave Carlson)

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