At the end of LEGEND OF THE CONDOR HEROES, Yau Chui Gei all but declared that North Beggar Hung 7 Gung should be the winner of the Second Mt. Hua Sword Tournament and the # 1 Martial Artist in the World not necessarily because he was a better fighter than the other Greats, but because he had (in Yau's view) the best character and was the most heroic.
For the most part, I agree with Yau Chui Gei's viewpoint: I think that ideally, the best martial artist in wulin *should* be its most heroic and moral individual. Nevertheless, it seldom worked out that way. The Janitor Monk was highly enlightened, compassionate, and moral, but hiding away in Shaolin, he wasn't necessarily heroic. Of Dook Goo Kau Bai's character we don't know; he was probably not an immoral man, but he seemed more amoral than anything. Central Divinity Wong Chung Yeung was perhaps the most moral of the pre-LOCH era Greats. Gwok Jing was definitely the moral leader of the New Five Greats at the end of ROCH, but it is not certain that he was the best fighter (see the long Gwok Jing vs. Yeung Gor debate). In the time of HSDS, Cheung 3 Fung was probably the moral leader in wulin as well as its best martial artist. In SOD...forget it: the most powerful people were Dong Fong But Bai, Yam Ngor Hang, and Ngok But Kwun.
Do you feel wulin's most powerful person should also be its most moral?