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Old 09-15-2007, 08:00 PM   #1
Jersey Joe
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Default My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

This is something I see all the time when people discuss fighters. They only consider their pet fighter's prime period. The most glaring example is Mike Tyson, who for 3 years was a terror, but for the other decade+ of his career was simply not that good.

Consistency is massively underrated. Even a great champ like Ali had periods where he performed relatively poorly and was not world #1.

There seems to be this obsession with the best parts of a fighter's career. This favours flashy fighters, or those who are good at looking amazing in victory, or who have scored some really impressive wins. It's great to show a few highlights of an Tyson, Foreman, even Ali at their best. But what if we showed a "lowlights" reel of every top fighter? Tyson getting battered for 10 rounds vs journeyman Douglas, raped by Lewis and losing to Mcbride and Williams? Foreman's decline after Zaire? Ali getting humbled by Frazier, Norton, Spinks.

IMO the true test of a fighter is how he responds in adversity, and how long he can maintain his dominance, not just how he does on his best nights. This is where fighters like Louis, Marciano, Holmes and Lewis (to lesser extent) are really impressive. How many times were they really outclassed? Very rarely. They maintained dominance and consistency for a very long time. Almost no fighters are unbeaten, Marciano mainly because he never fought a true great heavyweight. But these guys really were top dog for year after year, Louis and Lewis avenged their losses in convincing style. I think this is a factor that is totally overlooked whenever people talk about the greats, and about hypothetical head to head matchups. You can't take Tyson's or Foreman's best year and compare it to a Louis who was a dominant champ for much longer. Compare their performances over a 5-10 year stretch, and Louis, Marciano, Lewis, Holmes etc come out looking much more impressive. Ali I think also deserves credit, he was rusty after jail and this stopped him being totally dominant for 5+ years - his comeback showed that.

I'm just focusing on heavyweights here, but it applies to all divisions.
The really great fighters all have longeivity. There is too much nuthugging of the 2 year wonders.
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Old 09-15-2007, 08:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

Interesting post, but does lack of longevity for whatever reason guarantee a loss in head to head battle? I can see how it carries some weight, but some fighters do indeed burn bright, and short.
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Old 09-15-2007, 08:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

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Interesting post, but does lack of longevity for whatever reason guarantee a loss in head to head battle? I can see how it carries some weight, but some fighters do indeed burn bright, and short.
Agreed,

Super duper Greg, burned like an almighty inferno before going down in flames.
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

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Agreed,

Super duper Greg, burned like an almighty inferno before going down in flames.
Mate you have really come of age in here!! You're ability to see past mere stats and the taken for granted is approaching genius proportion!

P.S. Did you see in my Spinks thread where he commented Page hit harder than Witherspoon? The great Ed Scuyler once said he considered Page to have a better right hand than Coetzee himself. He also thought Page had turned the corner vs Snipes as he sprained his ankle badly in the leadup (remember summin about someone had a piano in the ring and it had lifted some board, Page then sprained the ankle shadow boxing, i think) and refused to let the media know, instead getting special shock therapy so as to fight.
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

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Mate you have really come of age in here!! You're ability to see past mere stats and the taken for granted is approaching genius proportion!

P.S. Did you see in my Spinks thread where he commented Page hit harder than Witherspoon? The great Ed Scuyler once said he considered Page to have a better right hand than Coetzee himself. He also thought Page had turned the corner vs Snipes as he sprained his ankle badly in the leadup (remember summin about someone had a piano in the ring and it had lifted some board, Page then sprained the ankle shadow boxing, i think) and refused to let the media know, instead getting special shock therapy so as to fight.
Well then,

I guess you've just turned another PAGE in history.
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

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Well then,

I guess you've just turned another PAGE in history.
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

But, Bob Seger, Jon English or Metallica?
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

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But, Bob Seger, Jon English or Metallica?
How about Jimmy PAGE?
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

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How about Jimmy PAGE?
I bet his version rocked!!!
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Old 09-16-2007, 07:05 AM   #10
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey Joe
This is something I see all the time when people discuss fighters. They only consider their pet fighter's prime period. The most glaring example is Mike Tyson, who for 3 years was a terror, but for the other decade+ of his career was simply not that good.

Consistency is massively underrated. Even a great champ like Ali had periods where he performed relatively poorly and was not world #1.

There seems to be this obsession with the best parts of a fighter's career. This favours flashy fighters, or those who are good at looking amazing in victory, or who have scored some really impressive wins. It's great to show a few highlights of an Tyson, Foreman, even Ali at their best. But what if we showed a "lowlights" reel of every top fighter? Tyson getting battered for 10 rounds vs journeyman Douglas, raped by Lewis and losing to Mcbride and Williams? Foreman's decline after Zaire? Ali getting humbled by Frazier, Norton, Spinks.

IMO the true test of a fighter is how he responds in adversity, and how long he can maintain his dominance, not just how he does on his best nights. This is where fighters like Louis, Marciano, Holmes and Lewis (to lesser extent) are really impressive. How many times were they really outclassed? Very rarely. They maintained dominance and consistency for a very long time. Almost no fighters are unbeaten, Marciano mainly because he never fought a true great heavyweight. But these guys really were top dog for year after year, Louis and Lewis avenged their losses in convincing style. I think this is a factor that is totally overlooked whenever people talk about the greats, and about hypothetical head to head matchups. You can't take Tyson's or Foreman's best year and compare it to a Louis who was a dominant champ for much longer. Compare their performances over a 5-10 year stretch, and Louis, Marciano, Lewis, Holmes etc come out looking much more impressive. Ali I think also deserves credit, he was rusty after jail and this stopped him being totally dominant for 5+ years - his comeback showed that.

I'm just focusing on heavyweights here, but it applies to all divisions.
The really great fighters all have longeivity. There is too much nuthugging of the 2 year wonders.
Good points.
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Old 09-16-2007, 12:28 PM   #11
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Default Re: My pet hate - judging fighters purely on their best 2-3 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey Joe
This is something I see all the time when people discuss fighters. They only consider their pet fighter's prime period. The most glaring example is Mike Tyson, who for 3 years was a terror, but for the other decade+ of his career was simply not that good.

Consistency is massively underrated. Even a great champ like Ali had periods where he performed relatively poorly and was not world #1.

There seems to be this obsession with the best parts of a fighter's career. This favours flashy fighters, or those who are good at looking amazing in victory, or who have scored some really impressive wins. It's great to show a few highlights of an Tyson, Foreman, even Ali at their best. But what if we showed a "lowlights" reel of every top fighter? Tyson getting battered for 10 rounds vs journeyman Douglas, raped by Lewis and losing to Mcbride and Williams? Foreman's decline after Zaire? Ali getting humbled by Frazier, Norton, Spinks.

IMO the true test of a fighter is how he responds in adversity, and how long he can maintain his dominance, not just how he does on his best nights. This is where fighters like Louis, Marciano, Holmes and Lewis (to lesser extent) are really impressive. How many times were they really outclassed? Very rarely. They maintained dominance and consistency for a very long time. Almost no fighters are unbeaten, Marciano mainly because he never fought a true great heavyweight. But these guys really were top dog for year after year, Louis and Lewis avenged their losses in convincing style. I think this is a factor that is totally overlooked whenever people talk about the greats, and about hypothetical head to head matchups. You can't take Tyson's or Foreman's best year and compare it to a Louis who was a dominant champ for much longer. Compare their performances over a 5-10 year stretch, and Louis, Marciano, Lewis, Holmes etc come out looking much more impressive. Ali I think also deserves credit, he was rusty after jail and this stopped him being totally dominant for 5+ years - his comeback showed that.

I'm just focusing on heavyweights here, but it applies to all divisions.
The really great fighters all have longeivity. There is too much nuthugging of the 2 year wonders.
Well, for fantasy fights, I think you would agree that we must analyze the fighters at their best, not when they are over the hill.

Of course, I see your point: subpar nights show how a fighter reacts to adversity, but a fighter could be so good that he wouldn't need to react to adversity, precisely Tyson's case during his three-or-so peak years.

On the other hand, longevity is great, but the quality of the opposition during that length of time is also important. Tony Galento gave Joe Louis more trouble than savvy Larry Holmes gave Mike Tyson, for example. Besides, in three short years, Tyson successfully defended nine times, more than Dempsey, Foreman, Marciano, Liston and Holyfield, to name a few.

What a fighter shows when on top is what counts. Tyson, in three years, showed much more as champion than the many other legendary names. There is nothing necessarily wrong with three years in peak form at the top of the most grueling of all sports.
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