Originally Posted by mr. magoo
Roland Lastarza was a pretty decent fighter in my eyes. At one point, he was rated as the best defensive heavyweight of all time, and better than average boxing ability as well. He may very well have been one of the toughest challenges that a youthful Marciano ever had. Roland's career deteriorated following his second match with the Rock. He sustained an inordinate amount of punishment to both of his arms, resulting in the need for extensive surgery. After this point, he was never quite the same fighter again.
In my opinion, Roland fought a very defensive style of boxing that was not terribly aggresive and nor did he have much sting to his punches, or so it would appear. This may have been the limiting factor which prevented his rising to champion status.
Does anyone think that he might have been a champ in a different era, or at least a legitimate title threat in most?
Maybe LaStarza could have beaten the Hart's, Braddock's, Spinks, and Briggs of boxing. In fact, I think he has a very good chance to beat all four names I mentioned.
I think LaStarza would be a contender up to the 1960's, but I can't see him as a top contender from Ali to present. Roland was a good boxer, he just wasn't a puncher or super defensive.