Re: Dempsey's vaunted run to the Title
Ray Arcel and Jack Sharkey on Jack Dempsey:
Did Arcel dwell in the past as an older man? Well, he trained modern fighters like Roberto Duran and saw the vastly underrated Argentine master, Nicolino Locche, and couldn’t speak highly enough of those greats. In the brilliant wizard Locche, Arcel saw a man he described as being even cleverer than Willie Pep.
So how did the great Ray assess Dempsey and the other heavyweights? Mike Hunnicut interviewed Arcel at length on different occasions and picks up the story. “You have to understand,” Mike explains, “that guys like Arcel are very measured and understated in their descriptions of fighters. It takes a lot to impress them, because they get to see and handle so many quality operators. If they tell you a guy was ‘pretty good’, they usually mean ‘excellent’. They may also take some time to warm to you and therefore warm to the subject.
“Arcel was a very quiet and polite man by nature, unbelievably knowledgeable about the fight game, yet never one to brag about how much he knew.
“But when we went deep on Jack Dempsey, Ray’s eyes lit up. For him, there was no other fighter past or present who could compare.”
Arcel’s verdict on the Manassa Mauler was thus: “Dempsey would have absolutely beaten any fighter who came after him – without a doubt. I know all about Joe Louis and how he knocked guys’ teeth out. I have every respect for Joe – I rate him number two. But Dempsey would have killed Louis, George Foreman, any of those guys. What Jack had was God-given – you can’t develop the kind of talent he had.
“Marciano? Same result. Dempsey would have murdered Rocky. I tell you, Jack would have chased everyone out of the ring. I trained Max Baer a couple of times and often got asked how good that booming right of his was and whether it was as good as anything Dempsey had. Are you kidding? It wasn’t even close.
People always asked me what Jack’s weaknesses were. That’s the point – he didn’t have any.”
Former heavyweight champ Jack Sharkey expressed similar sentiments in a 1986 interview. “Jack Dempsey was the best because he was a real fighter, and if he hit you in the shoulder he could dislocate it.
“Ali was a real good boxer but he took too many punches in his training, which he didn’t have to take.
“Joe Louis was nothing sensational, being a methodical fighter, but he was a great finisher when he had his man in trouble.
“Rocky Marciano was very good and I almost put him up there with Dempsey. It would be a tough fight between those two but Dempsey, I’d say, was a better puncher.”