Originally Posted by janitor
This is the critical point.
If we match Marciano against a Klitschko brother in a fantasy fight, there are significant stylistic unknowns, because we have never seen him in with an elite fighter of that size or style.
Even if you don't think that Willard was any good, he was absolutely an elite fighter as big and durable as any of the curent crop of superheavyweights, and Dempsey not only beat him but anihilated him.
This absolutely has to be weighed in his favour when matching him against bigger fighters from later eras, as it should for Joe Louis and even Max Baer or Jack Sharkey.
Absolutely...and that's not to say that guys like Marciano and Liston couldn't adapt to today's king-sized heavyweights, it's just that we don't have enough of a track record to know either way what happens with as much certainty. And when the style of bulldogs like the Rock and Sonny depended on phsyicality like wearing their opponents down or utilizing size/reach advantages, respectively, it can be tougher to project.
For a modern day equivalent, it's also tough to project how Lennox does against a southpaw or a slicker, smaller pure boxer because he was an expert at fighting the bigger, orthodox sluggers that made up the mid 90's, early 2000's scene.