Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
Do you mean by that that Louis has a bit more stamina, or a bit less?
I think Louis should rank a bit higher than Dempsey in terms of stamina.
It's hard though. You can say that because Dempsey usually went in for the kill early on and moved faster, therefore spending more energy whereas Louis was extremely efficient. Different pacings.
This is pretty accurate Chris. I'd give Louis a 4.25-4.50 on stamina, relative to Dempsey. Peak Dempsey never lost a bout due to lack of conditioning. His body attack offset any advantage most of his opponents may have enjoyed in that regard.
Nobody ever took out Willie Meehan in a four round exhibition, but in the second round of their final meeting, Dempsey came closer than anybody else. If their matches were all 10 rounders, Meehan would have boxed differently from the outset, and in any event, would have been eliminated well before ten rounds were up.
During WW I, Dempsey simply didn't face many opponents who might have extended him any distance. The shrewd Kearns steered Jack free of Langford, Jeannette, Wills, McVea, Norfolk, or anybody else who might derail Dempsey's rise through the ranks. In the aftermath of Jack Johnson's incendiary reign, it was probably prudent not to establish a reputation as somebody who would readily cross the color line, simply to secure a HW title opportunity in the first place. Even if Dempsey had fought and kayoed all of the top contenders easily, the majority public wouldn't have countenanced the idea of a HW champion willing to give such challengers an opportunity to follow so closely in Lil Arthur's footsteps. (This was reaffirmed when Dempsey tried to arrange a title defense against the worthy Wills.) Jack was probably pushing the envelope just by employing black sparring mates and cornermen (Tate, Godfrey.)
Gibbons made Dempsey miss frequently, something usually most draining to the boxer who misses, yet Dempsey was wearing Gibbons down towards the end of the bout. He certainly finished strong in the Brennan defense. But Louis was extended by Farr, Godoy, Simon, Conn, and Walcott. The simple fact is that Joe had more occasions to demonstrate his endurance. Jack's opponents usually failed to display theirs. They couldn't last long enough in most instances.
We might have gotten a very good idea of Dempsey's conditioning against Willard, if not for Kearns's reckless bet. Jess was out of shape, so Dempsey would have certainly won the title in Toledo, regardless. But Jack's opening round pace could have been more calculating, much less frenetic than the desperate onslaught he actually produced. He probably would have dispatched Willard in about the same length of time Firpo eventually did in retiring Jess.
All rampant speculation of course. But the top pugilists of that era did tend to be harder and more durable over the long haul, than today's overblown behemoths (whether fat, steroid-inflated, or both, like Toney).