Re: Gene Tunney v Joe Louis
I don't consider the first Conn match as readily as many, because of Joe's decision to listen to reporters instead of Blackburn concerning his weight. Members of the media convinced Louis to come in light, for speed, and his trainer was proved correct. Louis wasn't strong under 200. (He had filled out a little between Godoy II and Conn I.) If Joe hadn't weakened himself by losing a couple pounds too many, Conn may not have stunned him late. (Then again, if Billy couldn't hurt Joe, he may not have gone for the kill.)
Tunney was sooo smart, so disciplined, so well conditioned, and so tough, and even when hurt against Dempsey, Gene remained a moving target. It appeared that Joe frequently stunned his kayo victims into immobility before administering the coup de grace. I can't see Joe petrifying Gene into such a teed-up position if he somehow managed to nail Tunney flush. Even when finishing off an opponent himself, Gene's feet were seldom planted still.
It wouldn't hurt Joe that Tunney was a much bigger target than Conn or Pastor. Gene always boxed tall, and wouldn't have been getting underneath Louis's attack. Fencing from long range was Gene's usual modus operandi. Tunney was very much a thinking boxer, far more so than Louis, who frequently pulled the trigger intuitively. (It was only after Joe's return from retirement that he abandoned his combination punching, and started throwing one at a time.)
Speculation about Tunney/Louis will always be an entertaining and intricate subject to decipher, and there will always be threads on which we can take turns making a case for one or the other. (And, we never have to worry about an actual outcome contradicting our best prognostications!)