Originally Posted by Duodenum
Carp had been the European HW Champion since June 1913, ONE MONTH AFTER HARRY STARTED HIS PROFESSIONAL CAREER! He took the EBU LHW honors in February 1913, and the European MW Title in February 1912, ALMOST A YEAR BEFORE GREB BEGAN HIS PROFESSIONAL CAREER! (Prior to that, the Orchid Man was EBU WW Champ in 1911.) While Harry was building up his legend through the advantage of living in a neutral country, Carp was inactive due to valorous wartime service.
Did Greb deserve shots ahead of Miske and Brennan? Probably, but Jack had apparently made pacts with KO Bill and the Thunderbolt that whichever of them got to the title first would afford the other a shot at it. There's no way Harry deserved a shot ahead of Carp though, who had waited the better part of two decades and survived the deadliest war in human history to get to this point. On top of that, the fact remains that they did combine to produce that inaugural million dollar gate, a live audience of 80,183, and more listening on radio.
Harry had 130 fights during Carp's wartime hiatus, but I have too many war veterans in my family (including a few who were gassed in Europe during WW I) to even contemplate suggesting that Harry should have gotten a title shot ahead of Carp. I just can't. Take away WW I, and Carp could well get a heavyweight shot before Greb's 1917 rise to MW contention. (That's assuming Willard could have been any kind of fighting champion.)
Yes, I agree with those who believe Harry was the P4P GOAT, and posted opinions saying so well before Stonehands published his series finale "The God of War." But Carp had waited too long already, in an era where the LHW Champion was frequently viewed as a top HW contender. He had held the EBU HW Title for eight years and defended it twice after the war ended. Harry was never a regional champion at the HW level. Taken within the context of 1921, Carp had established a HW pedigree which made him an acceptable challenger for Dempsey in public opinion.
I don't agree with a great deal of this; nor do I care to argue it, reallly.
My point was that Greb's being "to small" to fight Dempsey because it's a "no win" situation is pretty much negated by the fact that he matched Carpantier, who weighed in at 168 for his loss to Jeanette, and 170 for his DQ win over Smith.
If Greb is to small, Carpantier is to small.
If Carpantier is big enough to fight, so is Greb.
Can't have it both ways.