Originally Posted by Shake
I agree completely that experience is a key ingredient in craft and skill. However, boxing is also a physical sport, and the decline of age is often hurried by miles on the clock and ring wars with competitive adversaries.
The old timers tested themselves more often against better competition often in less than ideal circumstances -- it should be reasonable to assume that wear and tear is a natural consequence. Even in todays environment we see fighters in their twenties deteriorate, although I do admit that performance enhancing drugs and more prevalent dehydration is partly to blame.
But anyone after 100 or so fights should experience a physical drop-off, and there is a cut-off point where that matters more than in-ring experience.
This is true...sometimes. I have found that it usually depends on styles. Guys with give and take style like Ad Wolgast, Battling Nelson, Terry McGovern, Joe Frazier, Jeff Fenech, etc. tend to have a shorter shelf life due to this. But it doesn't apply to guys who weren't as easy to hit and dished out more than they took, as evidenced by the careers of Archie Moore, Johnny Dundee, Harry Greb, Benny Leonard, Willie Pep, etc.
Back then you were considered a mere novice if you hadn't had at least 50 fights with several losses sprinkled in there (losses were considered learning experiences then, not things that make them shred your multi-fight deals with Showtime like today, hence why they pamper fighters in the modern age). Nowadays they think you're ready for a title shot after 20 fights. In earlier eras this would be absolutely UNTHINKABLE.