Originally Posted by mr. magoo
Holmes was still the best man of the 80's up until Tyson's arrival. And he did fairly well in the nineties. Foreman Had a record of 31-3-26, and defeated a lot of top rated fighters within a ten year period, and Morrer by the way, was not a second tier fighter.
You're missing the point that I'm trying to establish. The premis for a strong era is based primarily on weather or not the very best met each other and often, and were they in their primes? There were way too many matches that didn't happen in the nineties taking away from the notion that it was a strong era. What's more, you had two 40+ champions ( Foreman and Holmes ) who were representatives of previous periods, that managed to breach the ranks of the top ten, beat some rated contenders, and one of whom even became world champion, and a repeat contender. What does this say about the 90's as it compares to the era/eras that Foreman and Holmes came from?
You still had more matchups, and better fights between prime fighters. The best rivalrys of the nineties were probably the Holyfield Bowe fights. The rest of the decade's signature sagas came when it's participants were past their primes. Tyson vs Lewis ( both past prime ) Lewis vs Holyfield ( both past prime ) Tyson vs Holyfield ( both past prime )
You also had several fights which never even occured such as Tyson vs Douglas II, Tyson vs Moorer, Tyson vs Bowe, Bowe vs Lewis. and so on and so forth.
1. I named Holmes along with Tyson and Spinks as the best of the eighties.
2. I understand you point now about matches not taking place, but I don't know if I agree with it. Was the 1900 to 1910 decade weaker because Jeffries and Johnson did not fight in their primes. Were the twenties weaker because Dempsey and Wills or Tunney and Godfrey did not fight. It effects the legacies of the fighters involved, but the talent was there, so I don't know if the decade should be judged weaker.
3. For one reason or another, very few champions have tried to fight into their forties. This may be in some cases because they could no longer fight, but not always. Corbett lost badly to Jeffries in 1903, but was still impressive sparring years later. Louis and Walcott quit after losses to Marciano, but that does not prove they were not up to beating mere contenders or lesser fighters. Patterson is in the same boat with his final loss to Ali.
And a couple of champions did well in their forties. Johnson won several bouts in 1919, including victories over Tom Cowler and Bob Roper, second-tier contenders of the era. If they had ratings, I think Johnson would have been rated in 1919 at 41. Five years later he was still good enough to beat the trial horse Homer Smith, and in 1926, at 48, could still beat Pat Lester.
Willard came back in 1923 at 41 to knock out Floyd Johnson, a top contender some saw as a coming champion, a victory which put him solidly near the top of the division and potentially in line for a title bout.
Jack Kearns was quoted by Time Magazine on Dempsey's plans versus the top contenders:
"Dempsey will defend his title against either Willard, Firpo, or Wills. It is a case of first come, first served."
Willard was matched with Firpo in an elimination bout.
Compared to Holmes, Johnson and Willard did as well.
Foreman's efforts in his forties is in a class by himself in heavyweight boxing history, as is his longevity, beating his first rated fighter (according to the Boxing Register) in 1970 and his last 24 years later in 1994. Holmes beat his first in 1978, I think, and his last iin 1992, a 14 year run. Louis and Ali did better, and Johnson probably would have if they had ratings back then.
On Moorer--What I meant is that he was not a peer of Lewis, Tyson, Bowe, or Holyfield-but I might be judging him too harshly. I was not not all that impressed with his big win over Holyfield. It seemed Holyfield really had an off night and did not fight well. Moorer was not only Ko'd by Foreman, but also by Holyfield in a rematch, and also by Tua.