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Azad Championship Report: Boxing Industry Poll: The American Heavyweights

Azad Championship Report
Azad Championship Report

Chris Arreola is America’s best heavyweight. Eddie Chambers is close behind. That’s the verdict in the fifth poll of an elite group of matchmakers and others with in-depth knowledge of boxing.

The panelists were asked what would happen if sixteen of the leading American heavyweights fought each other. This is about now; not how good a fighter was two years ago or how good he might be in the future. In reality, a round-robin tournament of this nature could never happen. It would require unmakeable matches and 120 separate fights. But thirteen of the most knowledgeable people in boxing agreed to predict the outcome of these fights.

The sixteen heavyweights chosen for consideration, in alphabetical order, were Chris Arreola, Cedric Boswell, Shannon Briggs, Eddie Chambers, Michael Grant, Joe Hanks, Evander Holyfield, Bryant Jennings, Kevin Johnson, Franklin Lawrence, Amir Mansour, Seth Mitchell, Hasim Rahman, Malik Scott, Tony Thompson, and Deontay Wilder.

This list includes some very oldtimers. That’s because of the uncomfortable suspicion that they can still beat some of the younger guys.

Eleven matchmakers participated in the poll. Listed alphabetically, they were Jerry Alfano, Eric Armit, Eric Bottjer, Tom Brown, Brad Goodman, Charles Jay, Ron Katz, Mike Marchionte, Chris Middendorf, Ron Scott Stevens, and Bruce Trampler. Steve Farhood and Al Bernstein rounded out the panel.

When the polling was done, 1,560 fight results were entered into the data base. Fighters were awarded one point for each win and a half-point for each draw (too close to call).

A perfect score (that is, each voter predicting that the same fighter would win every one of his fights) would have been 195 points. The results are:

Chris Arreola----- 173.5 points
Eddie Chambers- 169.5
Seth Mitchell----- 152.5
Tony Thompson- 140
Kevin Johnson--- 124.5
Bryant Jennings-  110.5
Deontay Wilder-- 102.5
Malik Scott------- 102
Amir Mansour---- 83.5
Franklin Lawrence 79.5
Cedric Boswell---- 69.5
Shannon Briggs-- 56.5
Hasim Rahman-- 55.5
Michael Grant---- 55.5
Evander Holyfield 42.5
Joe Hanks------- 42.5

The electors were evenly split on a match-up between Arreola and Chambers, with six panelists choosing each fighter and the last panelist saying that the match is too close to call. By and large, the older fighters fared poorly in the poll.

A statistical breakdown of the polling results can be seen by clicking here.

In four previous Boxing Industry polls, Sergio Martinez was ranked as the #1 middleweight in the world, Chad Dawson reigned at 175 pounds, Floyd Mayweather topped the list at 154 pounds, and Manny Pacquiao headed the field at 147 pounds.

Thomas Hauser can be reached by email at His most recent book (And the New...: An Inside Look at Another Year in Boxing) will published by the University of Arkansas Press later this summer.

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