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Old 05-29-2012, 10:35 AM   #1
shommel
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Default who had tougher tougher opponents in their way to the title?

lamotta or graziano? why or why not?
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: who had tougher tougher opponents in their way to the title?

Graziano wasn't in the same galaxy as Jake when it came to quality of opposition on the way up. Dellcurti 3X, Basora 3X, Jimmy Reeves 3X, Jimmy Edgar 3X (Jake was responsible for three of the blemishes on Edgar's 34-5-1 slate, Teddy Yarosz two of the others), Robby 5X (IBHOF charter member), Fritzie 4X (IBHOF), Lloyd Marshall (IBHOF), Costner, Tommy Bell 2X, Holman Williams (IBHOF), Lytell, Satterfield, Janiro, Tommy Yarosz, Cecil Hudson, Johnny Colan (ending his career in ten rounds), Dauthuille, Villemain 2X, and Joey DeJohn among others, all BEFORE dethroning Cerdan.

Jake was a 72-13-3 veteran when he became Champion. SRR was responsible for four of those defeats, Frizie took a championship distance SD, Marshall and Dauthille each had a ten round verdict, and Reeves decisioned him twice before getting stopped in six. That accounts for nine of his 13 losses going into Cerdan. Jake went 1(1)-1(0)-1 with Basora, accounting for a tenth defeat and one of those three draws. LaMotta also drew with Edgar. Taking those away with a magic wand transforms LaMotta's record to 72-3-1 entering Cerdan, and deleting the Fox dive improves it to 72-2-1. Excellent opposition was necessary to drop Jake's loss column into double digits.

Rocky dethroned Zale when Graziano was 45-7-5. Billy Arnold, Red Cochran 2X (where he really established himself in the summer of '45), Harold Green (who he finally knocked out in his third attempt after coming out on the short end of back to back ten round decisions), Kapilow, Bummy and Servo were his best scalps, but they were really welterweights. His two best middleweight wins prior to Zale were probably Frankie Terry (who Rocky knocked out in six, but then drew with over eight in a quick rematch) and Sonny Horne. Arnold, in March 1945, was his last scheduled eight rounder. Jake starting competing in ten rounds beginning in September 1941, and exclusively in ten, 12 and 15 rounders (Zivic II) after October 1942.

While Graziano was an exciting slugger and compelling personality, the substance of his pretitle record simply doesn't measure up to Jake's. Marshall and Satterfield would go on to terrorize heavyweights, while Rocky's best noted opponents were 147 pounders. Colan weighed 174 when Jake stopped him, and Johnny competed as high as 181 during the war years, considerably heavier than any of Graziano's first rate opponents.

If LaMotta had knocked out Billy Fox and been bumped off by the mob in retaliation, or had been forever denied a title shot for such a transgression, he could well be in Canastota today for his pre-title resume as an honorary white member of Murderer's Row (and I suspect that's how Jake might be remembered today had he never gotten a shot). Rocky was enshrined there in 1991, but does he ever even get in without Graziano-Zale II?
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