Selecting the Fighters for a Division Set

TRYING TO DECIDE WHAT FIGHTERS to include in a new division set is like trying to decide what's the greatest Western movie ever made: The Magnificent Seven, The Unforgiven, High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma, Tombstone . . .it can't be done. It's too close a call and everyone has their own idea of what makes a film qualify for consideration.

It's the same when you try to decide between over 400 qualified fighters to put into a 100 to 125-card division set for Title Bout II. However, difficult or not selecting which fighters "make the cut" has to be done. 

From the time I started to design Title Bout, even before the Avalon Hill version (at that time greatly assisted by my brother Tom), I based my choices on my belief that all fighters, regardless of ability level, deserved respect and the chance to appear in any boxing simulation.

The easy way out would have been to simply determine the consensus top 100 to 150 fighters in the division being work upon, and throw them into the mix. By opening the selection process to include fighters from every level of skill created difficulties.


For every trial horse or gatekeeper added, you risked the chance of leaving out a more talented and more recognizable fighter.

So why do it? Well, it goes beyond my individual philosophy to the gist of the game itself. Title Bout II

and its predecessors based the selection of fighters on the premise that having a wide variety of ability levels also added significantly to the enjoyment of the game.

For example, using a wide range of fighters in a set heightens the chance of witnessing an upset.

You could call Joe Frazier knocking out or scoring a TKO over Joe Louis an upset but in your mind, you know that it quite possibly could happen. Max Schmeling did it; why not a pressure fighter like Frazier? It's an upset, yes, but not in the grandest sense of the word. Now, Zora Folley or Eddie Machen eeking out a points win over Louis - that's an upset! Or take it down a notch: Jerry Quarry losing to Willie Besmanoff - there's a shocking upset.

But without including a spectrum of fighters that goes from a Joe Louis to a Joe Frazier to a Jerry Quarry to a Willie Besmanoff, it wouldn't be possible to achieve major upsets in Title Bout.

Clearly, some type of well thought out method for selecting the fighters had to be determined. Here, step by step, is the method I managed to bring to fruition:


Step 1


I start by researching a division in depth, collecting the name of literally hundreds of fighters in the specific division with which you are working


Following that you must winnow the field to a manageable number by ousting any boxer whose losses significantly outnumber his wins.


The next group to go are those fighters with glossy records like 21-3-9 who never fought over 8 rounds.

The final part of Step 1 is to eliminate any fighter who fought the majority of his bouts during the bare-knuckle era.

Benny Leonard

'The Ghetto Wizard'

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