Originally Posted by Seamus
Do guys with 8 fights, middleweights, lighheavies and shells of once great fighters count well on a heavyweight resume? Because I am still searching for some really good heavyweights on Johnson's resume. Granted, outside of Johnson, really good heavyweights didn't exist so much in that era.
This can be spun in whatever way one is inclined ,imo.
I haven't made a pick here ,I am a big Holmes fan but in title defences his challengers included men with the following amount of fights under their belts.
Thats seven challengers, with a total 97 fights between them.
How many of those in their prime?
By contrast , Langford for example ,had over 50 fights when he was thrashed by Johnson, likewise Ketchel, O Brien over a 100 ,they may have been small ,but at least they were experienced , savy ,and ringwise.
Until film footage surfaces of Johnson's early foes, ie Childs, Klondike, Griffin, Hart, Martin etc ,we have to rate them according to what we read about them.
Holmes is easily top 10 , and for me no 5, so no problem from this corner with anyone rating him over Jack.
Most champions have wins over shells of once great fighters, it is a fact that "The king is dead long live the king," is a boxing cliche.
What would have been said about Johnson ,had he refused to fight Jeffries?
The saddest night I've spent in a closed circuit theatre was spent watching Holmes beat up a shell of a great fighter, a shot Ali.
Lets address Johnson ducking his black contemporaries.
When he was an aging champ , Johnson signed to defend against Jeannette at least three times , outside pressures vetoed the fights. The evidence has been posted several times in newspaper articles.
He may have avoided Langford ,[ the offers he got to fight him in the UK and the States were derisory , = high risk ,low reward,] ]but I see no evidence he was afraid to fight Jeannette ,and their actual fights show no reason for him to be .
McVey was comprehensively mastered in 3 fights, and showed no interest in a 4th.
Holmes missed Page, Coetzee, and Thomas, rematches with, Williams ,and Witherspoon who ,as a novice lost a highly disputed decision to him in a fight that Holmes finished with a closed eye and a puffy face , even at 50, no one ever saw Johnson in that state.