Originally Posted by he grant
I agree with what you are saying for the common fan but Jeanette and Langford were not only fighters who knew how inactivity effects performance but fighters that fought Johnson so they knew how good he was .. again, I feel their public positions were motivated in part by political correctness and a dislike for Johnson ... as Archie Moore said " they a lll want me to say Marciano was the greatest I ever fought and I often do but it's not the truth, Charie Burley was .. "
Moore was in part being sour grapes like Langford was, to some degree. Plus, I'd like to have a nickel for every time a fighter says the best or toughest guy he fought was someone he beat. Moore didn't get KO'd by Burley, but Marciano beat the hell out of him, and this was after Moore said Rocky was overrated and he would own him. Everyone has a plan until they get in there and get hit and have a guy coming with nonstop power and never getting tired, and not as easy to hit as you thought going in.
Anyway, you are right it doesn't always pay to be honest. Not in one's economic interest. Like for instance Langford claiming over and over again until some believed him that he decked Johnson and had him badly hurt and really should have won, blah blah, when every local report said Johnson decked Langford twice and gave him a good beating, and that all Sam proved in that fight was that he could take an ass beating. I suppose if Sam came out and said, 'Johnson beat the crap out of me and is the best in the world, who no one can beat, and will beat the hell out of Jeffries,' that wouldn't help him garner a ton of interest in a rematch bout with Johnson.
Regardless, even Tommy Burns picked Jeffries to win, as did Munroe, Sharkey and Fitz too, all of whom had been in the ring with Johnson at some point, and all but Burns in the ring with Jeff at some point, and I don't think these guys were necessarily just trying to ingratiate themselves, although that is possible.
Of course, there were those who picked Johnson, like John L. Sullivan, Battling Nelson, and Stan Ketchel, and I think they were just rendering their honest opinions. I don't think a guy is being dishonest if he picks Jeff but being honest if he picks Johnson. Sometimes guys just get it wrong.