Re: Macriano Vs Dempsey
I keep going back to two filmed performances by Dempsey. His display of speed and power against the huge and ridiculously tough and durable Willard, and his 15 round demonstration of skill and endurance against a late peaking Gibbons, when past his prime.
How much the hip injury he sustained against Firpo hurt him in his subsequent matches is something we'll never know for certain, but the fact remains that he was never quite the same after being on the receiving end of that shove through the ropes. The most truly significant thing about the Tunney/Dempsey matches is that when Jack finally did land a clean shot on Gene's head, he wobbled Tunney halfway across the ring, then floored him.
Marciano's most impressive dominant win was against Rex Layne. In that one, Layne simply wasn't strong enough to force Rocky backwards, and Marciano's handspeed was vastly superior. At 24, the Dempsey of Toledo was much faster, harder hitting, more mobile and better than Layne in every way except possibly physical strength. (Bigger boxers with superior physical strength never bothered Jack, as Willard discovered.)
The title fight rematch with LaStarza was a tremendous win for Marciano, against an opponent who nearly drew against Rock earlier, but he was on his feet when Ruby Goldstein called a halt, and once again, had nothing like the power Dempsey brought to the table. (Remember, Dempsey fractured the ribs of the non-steroid inflated modern sized superheavyweight George Godfrey in sparring. Godfrey had 82 kayoes in 99 wins, and weighed up to 269 pounds for competition. Godfrey was in his mid 20s when Dempsey did this to him. As Jack was fond of saying, "These big guys are easy meat for me.")
Rocky's best knockout, for my money, was his double hook kayo of Matthews, an achievement no opponent realized in Harry's other 102 bouts. But the Kid, a natural cutie, had been handling Rocky pretty easily before Marciano suddenly struck. Once again, Dempsey's speed and power were vastly superior to what Matthews brought to the table.