I have never seen a manga author write 1200 chapters only to do stuff like this to his title character. I just pretend that the manga ended after Ippo beat Karasawa and that everything afterwards is some meth induced nightmare.
He was on his way to following in Rikishi's footsteps.
That's Joe's first rival in Ashita No Joe, who dropped three weight classes to settle the score at Bantamweight (Beneath Featherweight, which itself required insane weight management.). He was eating a single tomatoe a day, locking himself in a room to keep drinking water, and reduced himself to a skeleton.
[SPOILER - highlight to read]: He won the feud. Then he died.
I used to consider this a "everyone gets what they want" match. Mashiba kicks his ass, he gets the title, the crowd gets a bloodbath.
And I still think it kind of is, but I'm pretty sure Mashiba wouldn't be happy if he knew how Sawamura felt about the "beating". The thing is, he's a true sociopath... Mashiba, he pretends to be stone cold, but he cares way too much about things like looking bad, losing a match, or losing a fight.
Sawamura, he loses or gets hospitalized, and he doesn't think twice about it. He won't be kept up nights thinking "Dammit, Ippo beat me!" He simply does.not.care.
So in that sense, Mashiba lost everything. His title, his ranking, and his beat down was wasted on a guy who won't "learn his lesson".
Actually Mashiba did not give two flying ducks about how Sawamura felt, he just wanted to feel justified on getting blood-lusted and use that Edge to get sharper with his boxing. Technically he got what he wanted but it was a pretty stupid thing to look for.
He has experience against Mexican fighters, and he has the advantage of seeing his fight with Ippo. He's smarter then Ippo, hits harder, but is just as tough (As we saw with Vorg, tanking the white fang)
Takamura is a 200+ pound man starving himself to fight 155 pound guys.
Ricardo, from what we can tell, is naturally a featherweight.
It isn't really comparable.
And technically, word of God is that Takamura is the best boxer pound for pound in the series, not necessarily that he has the most technical skill. In terms of mastery of the finer points of boxing no one is on Eagle's level.
I'm not so sure.. Looking at how much Sendou pushed Vorg (The ref may have been biased, but Sendou certainly had a good performance), and comparing it to how Date destroyed a Miyata who claimed he was in his best health, without suffering from weight management..
I'd also rate Date at his peak well above Vorg at any time prior to his American challenge. Technically speaken Vorg was unprepared to fight Elliot and had a terrible start at his title fight but caught up greatly, we can only really guess how good he'll be at the top of his game. Elliot is no Martinez though.