Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
His title opposition was pretty mediocre, but the fact that he kept winning for so long sort of compensates for it. Quantity over quality in this case.
I think Witherspoon, Norton and Weaver (in hindsight) were his best opponents. The thing that bothers me is that he barely got by the former two and struggled against the latter and didn't give any of them a well-deserved rematch. In other words, his title run could've been way more impressive but he chose not to take risks.
These are all very good points and agree with most of what you're saying. Keep in mind however, that fighting Earnie Shavers twice and facing an entire generation of unbeaten prospects coming off of big wins, is not exactly a risk free career. I've never held it against him for fighting the younger challengers with not so many fights. The real problem that I had However, was his taking fights with guys who were never very good to begin with, nor ever would be such as Lucien Rodriguez, Alfredo Evangelista, Tex Cobb, Scott Ledoux, Ossie Ocasio, Lorenzo Zannon and Leon Spinks. None of those guys should have gotten title shots, and frankly I think it was ridiculous that they did. On the other hand, some of the other fighters like Cooney, Shavers, Norton, Witherspoon, Smith, Berbick, Jones, Weaver, Frank, and Williams were actually not as bad as people sometimes make them out to be in my opinion