Re: How were old timers so good?
It really is simple the diversification of weight categories combined with a much smaller talent pool allows for the good boxers to avoid each other much more easily. As a general rule they do not fight as high a quality of fighter as often.
As has been mentioned boxing as we know it has been around since late 1800's and most agree that from a technical standpoint 1890's-1910 has very few "top" fighters they are great in achievement Fitzsimmons middle-heavy etc but probably short on HTH ability.
The transition period from 1910-1920 as boxing became more popular and legalised a better class of fighter emerges. From 1920-1950 when boxing was most popular and fighters fought at the top level much more frequently than today we get the majority of our greats Its no coincidence they were fighting more often against a better class of opponent with more refined styles than earlier counterparts.
It then reached a plateu with from 50-late 70's with the status quo producing good fighters and fights though fighters fought less. then from the late 70's onwards with the proliferation in belts and weight classes as well as a more cautious money driven approach of protection and with the advent of PPV there has been a gradual decline to modern day.
Now we have good athletes who fight less often in more weights against a lower class of opponent......no brainer they are going to be worse.