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Old 11-27-2012, 12:46 PM   #31
Seamus
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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Originally Posted by KuRuPT View Post
There was about a year or so time span where Jeffries could've fought Johnson... but besides that, he pretty much fought the best around.
After the Hart affair, it was fairly unanimous among writers that neither Johnson nor Hart had anything to offer Jeffries. At least from what I have read in next day accounts. I am sure Pollack's book will shed more light on this.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:49 PM   #32
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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Originally Posted by Unforgiven View Post
I agree.
But there's no harm in delving deeper and asking questions like - how was Jim Corbett, who hadn't won a fight in 6 years considered a top contender ?
I think we could positively come to some conclusions about the era AND about Jeffries' body of work and ability if we honestly try to answer those types of questions.



I agree.
I'm not asking for that. I'm asking simply who was better.
If you want to argue the relative worth of the eras, that's a whole nuther topic. And there are many tangents outside of boxing, from economics to sporting culture to pop culture, that bear real relevance.

Again, "rate higher" is a very vague request.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:04 PM   #33
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

Witherspoon wasn't mediocre.
He was arguably the #1 heavyweight in the world for a time. He was almost certainly in the top 3 - 5 for 3 or 4 years, and regularly facing other men in that range.

None of those guys were fighters who hadn't won a fight in 6 years (with 2 KO losses in the mean time).

If Jeffries had blasted away guys like Corbett and Sharkey, I would more readily buy into this "dominance" thing. But when he's struggling with old inactive guys, or a man 40 pounds lighter and considered less skillful than himself, I feels it's fair to doubt that dominance.
Few here agree though.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:10 PM   #34
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
After the Hart affair, it was fairly unanimous among writers that neither Johnson nor Hart had anything to offer Jeffries. At least from what I have read in next day accounts. I am sure Pollack's book will shed more light on this.

There is a narrow window in which Jeffries could have defended against Johnson and Martin but it was not a prolonged time lapse.

Jeffries challengers were for the most part undersized ,and over the hill , but that was not his fault.
Fitz, Corbett, & Sharkey were viewed as the best around by a huge consensus. He fought each man twice, swifter returns with Fitz ,and Corbett might have been more meritorius, but they had retired.

Jeffries leads Witherspoon comfortably in historical perspective.
The first heavyweight champ to retire undefeated.
Head to head the gap narrows appreciably, imo.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:30 PM   #35
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

[quote]
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Originally Posted by Unforgiven View Post
Marvin Hart never dethroned a Holmes-like champion.
I think that Hart's win over Johnson trumps Witherspoons loss to Holmes.

Quote:
Let's say Witherspoon gets the nod, and then goes on to beat Tillis, Page, and then lose to Thomas (that's at least two fighters who Holmes wouldn't touch at that time).
Or maybe he beats Holmes in a rematch.

He aint losing to Tommy Burns.
There are a lot of assumptions there.

Jeffries resume dosn't rely on assumptions because he prety much cleaned out the era.

Frankly I would be amazed if you had any confidence in Witherspoon beating Jeffries head to head as well.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:44 PM   #36
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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Jeffries challengers were for the most part undersized ,and over the hill , but that was not his fault.
Not his fault at all.
But he struggled with a couple of them, quite severely, when he seemed to have all the advantages.
That should make people question this supposed "reign of dominance", but apparently not.

Quote:
Fitz, Corbett, & Sharkey were viewed as the best around by a huge consensus.
And can anyone explain how and why Corbett - who hadn't won a fight in 6 years, and had been KO'd and beaten up in the mean time - managed to be viewed in such a way ?
It beggar's belief.

What's worse is that Jeffries had a really hard time putting him away.
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Old 11-27-2012, 01:50 PM   #37
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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I think that Hart's win over Johnson trumps Witherspoons loss to Holmes.
I prefer Witherspoon's narrow (and highly disputable) loss to Holmes.

Quote:

There are a lot of assumptions there.

Jeffries resume dosn't rely on assumptions because he prety much cleaned out the era.
I would say half those guys he fought were pretty "cleaned out" before he even got to them. (AND they often made him struggle.)
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:09 PM   #38
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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Originally Posted by Unforgiven View Post
I prefer Witherspoon's narrow (and highly disputable) loss to Holmes.
OK, so he sure as hell might have a resume as good as Marvin Hart then.

Quote:
I would say half those guys he fought were pretty "cleaned out" before he even got to them. (AND they often made him struggle.)
Who do you think that the best contenders of the period were?

If not them, then who?
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:13 PM   #39
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

"Witherspoon wasn't mediocre"

I should clarify that I posted the CRITERIA allows those mediocre in their time to be rated over those great in their time, and it does. Witherspoon clearly wasn't the force in his time Jeffries was in his.

"He was arguably the #1 heavyweight in the world for a time"

What time? He lost in 1983 to Holmes. He lost in 1984 to Thomas. He was stopped in 1 in 1986 by Bonecrusher Smith. How exactly does he get rated above Holmes, Spinks, or Tyson?--or Thomas or Smith, for that matter?

"Jeffries challengers were for the most part undersized"

Most of Jeff's opponents fell into the 180 to 200 lb range where most top fighters in the pre-Ali era fell. I don't think they were historically that small. Fitz is the kicker--although Adam Pollack has posted that he might have been heavier than his announced weights--but he still was in the same ballpark sizewise as Tommy Gibbons or Billy Conn.

"and over the hill"

Better point, although Fitz rebounded from his loss in 1899 to Jeff to score several of his most impressive ko's, and rebounded from his loss in 1902 to win the lightheavy title. Corbett seems to have been somewhat past it, and Jackson all but finished. This is the norm for young guys on the way up, though, and in fairness, the best men Jeff beat were the best of the era, not just young contenders who themselves were never the best.

"struggled" "had a hard time putting him away"

It is interesting that victories, and in some cases ko victories, are being downplayed in favor of losses. The criticism of Jeff is yeah he won, and beat them all, but he didn't win decisively enough. But very few in history beat them all, and none did it without struggling now and then.

Witherspoon lost many of his major fights even at his peak.

Last edited by edward morbius; 11-27-2012 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:24 PM   #40
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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Originally Posted by janitor View Post

OK, so he sure as hell might have a resume as good as Marvin Hart then.
Witherspoon has a better resume than Hart.


Quote:
Who do you think that the best contenders of the period were?

If not them, then who?
I don't know whether they were the best or not.
I am quite happy to accept that they were the best around .

But I'd like to know how and why Corbett (0 wins in 6 years) could be among the top contenders ?
Everyone here with their knowledge of boxing should be able to see that there's something wrong with that picture.

Also, the fact that Jeffries struggled somewhat with these older, smaller, often inactive opponents should be open to criticism.

It's okay saying he beat everyone around, but look who was around and look how he performed against them.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:30 PM   #41
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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"He was arguably the #1 heavyweight in the world for a time"

What time? He lost in 1983 to Holmes. He lost in 1984 to Thomas. He was stopped in 1 in 1986 by Bonecrusher Smith. How exactly does he get rated above Holmes, Spinks, or Tyson?--or Thomas or Smith, for that matter?
Arguably he was the best from 1983 to 1984, or at least for a few months in 1984. He lost a disputed decision to Holmes, then beat Tillis and Page (who Holmes didn't want to fight), while Larry was feasting on Scott Frank and Marvis Frazier.

AND during 1986, while Spinks and Berbick were his rival title-holders.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:34 PM   #42
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

"older" "inactive"

Fair enough.

"smaller"

Than whom? Every good fighter was small compared to Jeffries and so would have been later champions such as Dempsey, Tunney, Schmeling, Charles, Marciano, Patterson, etc.

Being big is not something to criticize in heavyweight boxing. It is just a fact of life. Jeff was probably the biggest top heavyweight prior to Foreman (or perhaps Ali).

Peter Jackson was actually bigger than the champions I listed. Corbett trained his weight down for long fights, but he was taller and rangier than the men I listed above.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:37 PM   #43
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unforgiven View Post
Witherspoon has a better resume than Hart.
A subjective interpretation at best, which prety much brackets Witherspoon.

Quote:
I don't know whether they were the best or not.
I am quite happy to accept that they were the best around .

But I'd like to know how and why Corbett (0 wins in 6 years) could be among the top contenders ?

Everyone here with their knowledge of boxing should be able to see that there's something wrong with that picture.
Because Jeffries had prety much worked through everybody else.

Subsequent results suggest that Corbett probably was as good as could have been managed.

Quote:
Also, the fact that Jeffries struggled somewhat with these older, smaller, often inactive opponents should be open to criticism.
Champions who genuinely fight the best around, have problems with somebody, even in a weak era.

So in summary, I disagree.

Quote:
It's okay saying he beat everyone around, but look who was around and look how he performed against them.
Again, even in a weak era there should be somebody around who can give you some problems. Witherspoon's era wasn't exactly the strongest there has ever been, so why didn't he benefit from the weakness of the era in the same way that Jeffries did?

Further to that, it is only in hindsight that anybody regards Jeffries era as a weak era. Up to the mid war period, it was taken as a given that Jeffries had the best title reign of any champion before Louis, and that he dominated one of the stronger eras.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:38 PM   #44
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

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Originally Posted by Unforgiven View Post
Arguably he was the best from 1983 to 1984, or at least for a few months in 1984. He lost a disputed decision to Holmes, then beat Tillis and Page (who Holmes didn't want to fight), while Larry was feasting on Scott Frank and Marvis Frazier.

AND during 1986, while Spinks and Berbick were his rival title-holders.
"Spinks and Berbick"

You rate them above Tyson?

"Tillis"

Beating Tillis makes you #1?

I think it kind of a spectacular stretch to consider Witherspoon ever the best heavyweight in the world.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:38 PM   #45
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Default Re: Who would you rate higher : Tim Witherspoon or Jim Jeffries ?

Quote:
"struggled" "had a hard time putting him away"

It is interesting that victories, and in some cases ko victories, are being downplayed in favor of losses. The criticism of Jeff is yeah he won, and beat them all, but he didn't win decisively enough. But very few in history beat them all, and none did it without struggling now and then.
Objectively, struggling for 23 rounds to put away an older, significantly smaller man, who hasn't won a fight in 6 years and has been KO'd and beaten up by smaller men in that time, IS WORTHY OF CRITICISM.

And, yes, losing a close decision to an active champion of a big, strong, "live" young contender may in fact be a more worthy performance.


Quote:
Witherspoon lost many of his major fights even at his peak.
He lost 3 fights in his prime years.

L12 Holmes (disputed decision, against excellent active champion)

L12 Thomas (close but clear loss to strong young contender)

LTKO1 Smith (bad result, awful performance against a tremendous puncher who he had dominated in a previous encounter)
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