Re: If Bob Fitzsimmons weighed 200lbs but acomplished the same........
I do see what you're saying and I personally give Fitz loads of respect for everything he did - It's unfathomable to me that someone weighing 11 stone 12 pounds could win a heavyweight title but he did it - but then again Corbett at 13 stone 4pounds (which was heavy for him) was hardly huge (he usually averaged 12 stone 12 pounds himself. Weights and weight differences were a loosely adhered to issue in those days - you have to remember weight divisions themselves were still a relatively new thing only 10-15 years on from the bareknuckle ringmen before. Fitzsimmons wasn't even really a heavyweight in his own time (and nor was Corbett for his entire career) but then again Fitz did knockout the 312lb 'Human Freight Train' Ed Dunkhorst inside 3 minutes - anyone who averages 165-175 and who can stop behemoths up to and beyond 100lbs heavier than themselves must have been an uncannily remarkable puncher. No one can dispute that. And according to the book Jack Johnson & His Times Jack Johnson himself said he beleived Fitzsimmons was probably the hardest punching of all the heavyweight champs when he was in his prime (obviously of the champs Jack saw in his lifetime that is. And whether he meant that in a literal sense or a p-4-p sense is not clear).
I am baffled, he did cut the most unlikely figure as a heavyweight champ with his alarmingly thin legs and knock-kneed stance, stiff backed, fiery tempered at times and apparently prone to eccentric prancing around the ring - at the very least I'd be concerned for him against a really massive puncher - and the truth is he didn't make one succesful defence of the title - and all his defeats came by the knockout route - and on film from the Corbett fight at least they both looked a little pitter-patter in that one, very tentative, and both very capable of knocking away eachothers jabs (apparently in those days conduct was almost as discussable as the rules and apparently Corbett would routinely request no inside punching in pre-fight mulling over the rules with referees which is farcical when you think about it - but Corbett and Fitz do both come across as constantly trying to make a nuisance of themselves and would not be above anything in trying to get an edge before proceedings began.
Respect where respect is due though - an old Fitz was giving a young Jeffries a thorough working over by all accounts before he got caught - could a young Fitz of beaten Jeffries handily?
Most fighters of the period seemed to have a lot of respect for Bob, Legendary Lightweight artiste Joe Gans for one:
"I consider Bob Fiotzsimmons as one of the greatest exponents of straight hitting that the prize ring has ever known. Fitz was a wonderful fighter and all of his straight punches were very effective. Until age set in and his hands went back on him there were few fighters able to withstand that famous shift of his. When Fitz delivered a blow he carried the whole weight of his body with it.
I think everyone needs to remind themselves that the early prize fighters were the pioneers really - they simply had no yardstick but also nothing to watch and learn from - they had to do it from scratch. It was another style of fighting altogether and unless we account for what constituted a good win or simply a good showing in whatever era they fought in then we can not fairly compare - wouldn't all fighters fight differently if all brought up under the same conditions and rules etc?