Vicious & Malicious
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
How big is too big?
How big is too big?
We have weight classes for a reason. I’m a firm believer that if you’re a “puncher” and have known knockout power, at 180ish, you can hurt just about anyone… Marciano and Satterfield are just two examples of the truth in that statement.
Much has been made of “natural” weight, which I think is a term greatly misused and misunderstood. I’ve heard lots of people say that basically the weight the fighter starts at is their “natural” weight… The most recent example is Jones is a “160-168lb fighter”… He matured into a LHW and walked around at (and into the ring) around 185 or so. I wouldn’t call that a “natural 160-168” lb’er…
There have been threads lately about Spinks vs Holmes and some members have asserted that Spinks was a shit heavyweight, based on his choice of opponents at the weight and his capitulation at the hands of Tyson. He very well could have lost against some of the lesser but available opponents at HW at the time, so call it smart management. He could very well have been successful.
Michael Spinks walked around at about 190-200lbs, I would guess, in his LHW days as champ. He simply stopped cutting weight and lifted some weights to get himself above 200lbs. He was a bit blown up for the division, so I would say he was a natural 190-200lb’er…
Ezzard Charles was a middleweight, then LHW, then a “HW”, which was a cruiser by today’s standards. Was he a natural middleweight? No. He matured into a 180ish-lb man… He was a natural 180lber, right?
I read an article where Bob Foster talked about Roy Jones and his decision to fight Ruiz, and he said when he moved up to fight heavy, someone gave him some concoction to drink to gain weight, and he said he got up to 190ish (can’t remember the exact weight he gave), and he said it made him sick so he stopped drinking it. He said he stayed around 178 or so. I would call Foster a “natural” LHW.
There’s no doubt that some LHWs cope better against heavier opponents; Charles and Conn come to mind. Charles was clearly bigger naturally than Conn, but there’s no doubting Conn’s durability or effectiveness, even with the absence of a punch.
I’ve also heard it said that Marciano would simply be too small for the likes of a Lewis or Klitschko.
So why does a guy like Spinks get relegated to a “blown up LHW” label while a guy like Marciano or Louis, 185lbs (or so) and 197lbs (or so) respectively, get a pass as legitimate heavyweights?
So to the original question: How big is too big? I feel Spinks would have a rough time with/give a rough time to Foster or Jones or any other highly-respected LHW on any given top ten list, but he could also trouble some smaller heavyweights like Charles, Patterson, Louis (screw you, I’m making a point), and many other guys in the 215 or less category. Obviously, there are stylistic exceptions to this generality, so don’t get crazy…
The lower you go down in weight, that one more pound makes a difference… It’s generally 7-8lbs for the normal-sized dudes… When you go lower, you’re talking 4lbs, which can be significant. By the time you get to Heavyweight, 30lbs or more can be the difference, but it only makes a difference when the gap in skill or conditioning/durability/tenacity is great. If the smaller man has power, skill, or conditioning, or worse, all four, he generally wins.
I think Marciano or Dempsey or Louis, the three that come to mind when thinking of smallish HW’s that can hang with modern, bigger heavyweights. I can easily envision any of them coping and succeeding against Ali, Frazier, Holyfield, etc, but have trouble seeing them succeed against Foreman, Liston, or Lewis, who was both big and good…
You can argue all day that Louis took out Simon or Buddy Baer or Carnera and that Dempsey whipped Willard, but anyone that’s being intellectually honest realizes the difference between those guys and the similarly-sized Lewis, Wlad, and Bowe, for instance.
Size isn’t size alone; skill and conditioning and tenacity comes into play. Yeah, size only matters as long as the bigger guy isn’t as fast or skilled or smart, athletic, or as conditioned, etc…
By my logic, the line lies at the 215-225lb mark. That is the separation, but not across the board; mind you, I’m talking about when it’s competitive stylistically and skill-wise/conditioning-wise.
I guess the question is, when all things are equal, how big is too big? The whole thing is juggling attributes and skills the guy you’re arguing for, but at what point do you say: ”You know, he’s better, even better pound for pound, but he can’t deal with that size… “