We’ve ranked the all-time greatest middleweights, bantamweights, light heavyweights and flyweights. Now we turn to the featherweights and offer our list of the all-time best to lace up the gloves at 126 pounds. As noted in our previous divisional rankings, we limit boxers to only one of the traditional eight weight classes, which makes it a little easier to spread the glory around and recognize more fighters. Thus, you won’t find George Dixon or Terry McGovern listed here as they hold prominent positions in our bantamweight rankings.
12. Freddie Miller: The fighting pride of Cincinnati scored more than two hundred pro wins including victories over such fellow greats as Panama Al Brown, Petey Sarron, Al Dundee and Baby Arizmendi.
11. Jim Driscoll: The boxer they called “Peerless,” one of the most cerebral of pugilists, holds wins over such immortals as George Dixon and Abe Attell.
10. Vincente Saldivar: One of the finest southpaws in boxing history, “Zurdo de Oro” owns victories over Ismael Laguna, Sugar Ramos, Howard Winstone and Jose Legra.
9. Salvador Sanchez: His career was cut short as, at the age of only 23, he died in a car accident, but over the course of only three years Sanchez secured boxing immortality with an amazing streak of championship wins including victories over Danny Lopez, Wilfredo Gomez, Juan LaPorte and Azumah Nelson.
8. Johnny Kilbane: A tough, clever boxer and one of the sport’s longest-reigning world champions, Kilbane holds wins over Abe Attell, Jimmy Walsh and George Chaney.
7. Alexis Arguello: While the great Nicaraguan gained fame as a lightweight and in his unforgettable battles with Aaron Pryor, his best years were at 126 and 130 as he scored wins over such elite talents as Ruben Olivares, Leonel Hernandez, Alfredo Escalera and Bobby Chacon.
6. Johnny Dundee: With over 330 matches to his credit, including tough battles against such luminaries as Benny Leonard, Johnny Kilbane, Lew Tendler and Willie Ritchie, the legacy of the great “Scotch Wop,” aka Giuseppe Curreri, is forever secure.
4. Abe Attell: One of the cleverest of ring artists, the reputation of “The Little Hebrew” took more abuse than the fighter himself ever did after he was involved in the famous “Black Sox Scandal” of 1919, but wins over George Dixon, Battling Nelson, Johnny Kilbane, Owen Moran and Jimmy Walsh guarantee him ATG status.
2. Henry Armstrong: The greatness of “Homicide Hank” was most firmly established at 126 pounds as this pound-for-pound legend devastated the division, racking up over eighty wins in less than seven years, in the process overwhelming such top-flight talents as Frankie Klick, Petey Sarron, Benny Bass, Chalky Wright, and Baby Arizmendi.
1. Willie Pep: The all-time king of the featherweights, the amazing “Will O’The Wisp” put together an incredible 229 pro wins against only eleven defeats, with all of those victories at 126 pounds.
Honorable Mentions: Young Griffo, Azumah Nelson, Eusebio Pedroza, Benny Bass, Baby Arizmendi, Erik Morales, Battling Battalino, Wilfredo Gomez, Chalky Wright, Harry Jeffra, Benny Valgar, Davey Moore, Marco Antonio Berrera, Danny Lopez, Owen Moran, Young Corbett II.