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?
More or less like you say- a very good boxer, but smallish and limited offensively. He would be a legitimate contender in any era, I'm pretty confident. I don't think he would be quite championship level material in most time periods, but if he'd come around in, say, the Schmeling-Sharkey-Carnera-Baer-Braddock era, then I'd imagine he would've had a good shot at getting a stint as champion.