Re: Peter Maher In The Modern HW Scene
Maher was the same in any era. A very good fighter, but not quite at the elite level.
At 19 years he won the Irish Middleweight championship (at a time when the Irish scene was as strong as anywhere in the world). This is at least the equivalent of a modern alpha title.
At just 20 years, he faced Peter Jackson (a far better opponent than Holmes or Ali ever fought at that age), but he was soundly beaten and knocked out. By his 21 birthday he had won the Irish heavyweight championship and within a year unified it with the Canadian title and KOd his other opponents within 2 rounds. In his 22nd year, he faced his best tests. He beat Joe Godfrey, but was KOd by Fitzsimmons and Goddard who were definitely top 5 fighters.
He then had another 2 good years, with wins over decent contenders like Craig, and O Donnell where he actually won a split world heavyweight title. This is about the same as what David Haye has at the moment. He then ran into the Phenom that was Bob Fitzsimmons, which would be like running into a modern day Klitchsko, Tyson or Lewis. He did follow this with wins over Slavin, Choynski, O Donnell, CAC Smith. That is as impressive a list as any challenger ever put together after the 80s, with most of these being top 10 material. He then lost to Joe Goddard, who was a great fighter (definitely top 3 or 4 of the decade) and arguably not that far off an evander Holyfield type fighter (depending on how you view holyfield) but probably somewhere in between Holyfield level and Moorer level. Maher split the series against him.
Maher then drew Ruhlin in 20 and KOd Joe Kennedy in 2, both legitimate top10 fighters. Ruhlin was probably a top 5 and in ability about the same class as a chris byrd or John Ruiz. But his decline did start here, as he lost fights to Choynski and McCoy both top 10 fighters (McCoy was probably the equivalent of a Moorer, or toney type level ie great at the lower weight and pretty good as a heavyweight).
The decline had clearly started here, and Maher laboured on for thenext 10 years. But, although the decline started here, it is worth noting that Maher, past his best would only lose to legitimate top 10 fighters. He would still beat the low level fighters, when he fought them. This is no different to what holy is doing now, (except he is folding a lot easier to the top fighters than holy is). But he was still dealing with the Botha's of his time. It is impressive to be competitive against decent fighters, given his poor condition for such a long period of time, imo.
So after reviewing all that, i believe that in the 80s, Maher would win a lower tier title and be a very good fighter at this level (though maybe a Spinks, Jones Jr or Toney type might actually beat him there) At heavyweight, i think that he gets himself definitely in a position to win the world title but doesnt quite win the undisputed crown. i think the Shavers analogy is a good one, but i think Ken Norton is probably a better one. In the 80s, he is probably a Tim Witherspoon type level with his accomplishments. So i think he does about as well as tim. In the 90s/00s i think maybe he would reach chris Byrd level accomplishments. Which is a pretty good match since both were middleweights in their teens before concentrating on different types of training.