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Old 10-17-2007, 12:55 AM   #16
apollack
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Arguments can be made on either side, but the bottom line is that you need to read the book on his career, which gives a fight by fight analysis. Bottom line is that without legal impediments, left to his own devices in finish fights, in his prime, Sullivan would have KO'd every one of his opponents in gloved bouts. And yes, he did fight good fighters.

As much as I like Jeffries, I think Sullivan would have KO'd him. Way too fast, strong, and explosive. Now, if Jeff beat John L., it would be because he wore him down, but as far as explosiveness and punching power goes, John L. has it all over Jeffries.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mendoza
Which class guys did Sullivan really knock out in a gloved fight? IMO, the best four heavies Sullivan fought were Mitchel in 1883, Burke in 1885, McCaffrey in 1885, and Corrbet in 1892.
I think that the significance of some of Sullivans early oponents has been obscured by the passage of time.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:26 AM   #18
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apollack
Arguments can be made on either side, but the bottom line is that you need to read the book on his career, which gives a fight by fight analysis. Bottom line is that without legal impediments, left to his own devices in finish fights, in his prime, Sullivan would have KO'd every one of his opponents in gloved bouts. And yes, he did fight good fighters.

As much as I like Jeffries, I think Sullivan would have KO'd him. Way too fast, strong, and explosive. Now, if Jeff beat John L., it would be because he wore him down, but as far as explosiveness and punching power goes, John L. has it all over Jeffries.
I need to read your Sullvian book. I just don't see anyone that Sullivan Koíd that was better than Corbett, Fitz, or Sharkey. Sullvian did not flash the flash big time power vs the best fighters I am familar with.

I have Sullvian vs Kilaran's read. It seems to me that Sullivan was more of a bar room brawler type, with a big punch, and good wrestling technique than a pure quessenberry fighter.

I don't think Sullivan would beat Jeffires, with or without gloves in either Queensberry or London Rules. Sullivan did spar with Jeffires once in 1900, and came away very impresses calling him the fastest big man he ever saw.

Even if we are to assume the power was easy, I doubt the speed and science were. We will never know. There is very little film to go on regarding Sullivan. I know a man involved in a huge research project that has offered me a chance to read Fistania, and Boxiana.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:28 AM   #19
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
It is particularly interesting that Corbett considers Jeffries a scientific fighter compared to those who have gone before.

Corbett had personaly shared a ring with-

Jake Kilrain
John L Sullivan
Peter Jackson
Charley Mitchel
Bob Fitzsimmons
Tom Sharkey
Jim Jeffries
Kid McCoy

This makes him a rather usefull witnes.
Here are Corbett's offical ratings.

Jim Corbett (circa 1925)
Heavyweight Champion of the World (1892-1897)
Quoted in: Gentlemen Jim Corbett: The Truth Behind a Boxing Legend, Patrick Myler (p. 190).

1-Jim Jeffries, Peter Jackson

3-Bob Fitzsimmons
4-John L. Sullivan
5-Frank Slavin, Jack Dempsey
7-Sam Langford
8-Jack Johnson
9-Jess Willard
10-Tom Sharkey, Harry Wills
12-Charlie Mitchell, Kid McCoy
14-Jake Kilrain
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:17 AM   #20
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Again, I swear to you if you read my books on Sullivan and Corbett, your opinons will change. Fitz is coming in December. You are going to get what they said at the time, not years later.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:29 AM   #21
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

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Originally Posted by apollack
Again, I swear to you if you read my books on Sullivan and Corbett, your opinons will change. Fitz is coming in December. You are going to get what they said at the time, not years later.
I will observe that the main result of your research of champions from Sullivan to Hart has been a large increase in the standing of John L relative to his succesors.

Who has gone up and who has gone down as a result of your research?
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:21 AM   #22
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Sullivan up, Corbett down, Fitz up. However, I try to make my books neutral, presenting multiple viewpoints over the course of their careers, so you are going to hear from those who thought these guys were the best things they ever saw, those who thought they were overrated, and everything in between. But the books meticulously go over their fights and who they fought and provide context for their careers. Basically, I want the readers to feel they are living at the time and following their careers. It will really give you a solid feel for these fighters, and your analysis on these boards will be forever armed with some serious knowledge.
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:23 AM   #23
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Here is a sampling of the high praise given to Sullivan, all excerpts from my book. If you like this stuff, there's a lot more in the book:

Mike Donovan observed that Sullivan was “quick as a cat and very strong,” rushing at him “like a panther.” “In fact he was the strongest man I had ever met, and I had boxed nearly every big man of reputation up to that time, Paddy Ryan included, and was considered the cleverest man in the ring.”

After defeating Donaldson: “If the days of the prize ring were not gone by, Sullivan would stand at the head and front of the fraternity."

After one of his knockouts: , “Well, I have seen all from Hyer down to the present day, but none could have beaten that young fellow Sullivan."

After knocking out Paddy Ryan: “I have seen Tom Hyer in his best days, Morrissey and others in the ring; all, as you know, were good ones, but I am satisfied that Sullivan could lick any of them.”

"Sullivan won the fight by virtue of superior science and irresistible strength…. He cared nothing for Ryan’s blows, and his own hitting is so tremendous that it seems beyond the power of man to recover from the shock of one of his hands let out from the shoulder."

"One thing is certain, and that is that neither Mace or Sayers ever encountered so hard or so quick a hitter as is John L. Sullivan…. It was the writer’s fortune to see the fight between Heenan and Morrissey, and had Sullivan been on the boards that day as big, as capable, and as in as good condition as when he fought Paddy Ryan, it is my opinion that he could have whipped both of them, one after another. Those who think that he is not a thoroughly scienced man, are somewhat mistaken. He has a far better knowledge of the fistic art than either Heenan or Morrissey possessed. He is stronger than either, and unquestionably he is the hardest hitter known to the records of the ring."

"The superiority of Sullivan lies in his extraordinary nervous force and his altogether incomparable skill as a boxer.

In what does his extraordinary skill consist? In hitting as straight and almost as rapid as light; in the variety and readiness of his blows; in standing firmly on his feet and driving his whole weight and nervous force at the end of his fist, - a very rare and a very high quality in a boxer; in movements as quick and purposeful as the leap of a lion. He can ‘duck’ lower than any feather-weight boxer in America; he can strike more heavy blows in ten seconds than any other man in a minute, and he watches his opponent with a self-possession and calculation that do not flurry with excitement, but only flame into a ravening intensity to beat him down…

Other boxers begin by sparring; he begins by fighting – and he never ceases to fight. But from the first instant of the fight, Sullivan is as fierce, relentless, tireless as a cataract…. He does not waste ten seconds of the three minutes of each round.

And look at the odds he offers, and offers to all the world! ... Observe, he will not only defeat all comers, but he will defeat them in four rounds – in twelve minutes!"

"He is as lithe as a panther, and his rush is like an avalanche. His fists flash through the air like bolts of lightning, and his every movement is the perfection of grace."


“Whatever has been said in praise of Sullivan is not exaggerated.”

"He is about the most restless piece of humanity that we ever saw in the shape of a man. His every move conveys the idea of restlessness. He strikes to count, and fights to win. He goes at his opponent with a dash, hits out right and left, recovers his guard and strikes another smashing blow, then, jumping from the ground he rushes at his antagonist and follows him up, shooting out terrific blows and recovering himself with lighting rapidity."

“He can settle any man in the world, sure, and the bigger the man against him, the better it is for him. Let me give you a pointer. I was with him in Hot Springs when they picked a terrible big fellow for him to knock out. I felt of this fellow at the hotel, and I tell you he was something immense. He had the broadest shoulders of any man I ever saw, was as hard as iron, and weighed about 240 pounds. I told John of the kind of a fellow he had to meet. ‘Is he a big fellow?’ says John. ‘You can bet,’ says I. ‘He’s a stunner.’ ‘Then the bigger he is the harder he’ll fall,’ says John…. Well, he knocked that big fellow out in just two punches. ... …. I tell you that Sullivan thinks no more of knocking a man out than I do of eating an apple."

"You have heard of hundreds of men, when speaking of Sullivan, say, “He wins by brute strength,” and I have seldom seen a man who advanced the truth, which is that Sullivan is as clever as any man. His unquestioned ability as to being the hardest hitter ever seen has caused the overlooking of the fact that his blow is always planted where it will do the most good, either upon the jaw or jugular - again, it is certain that could an adversary so land his blow, Sullivan would fall as quickly as another, and yet having knocked out about sixty men, he has never been harmed. The truth is that Sullivan is a careful, scientific fighter…. Do I think his equal as a pugilist ever trod the earth? Certainly not…. Even in imagination the ancients never conceived such a hitter as Sullivan."

You should read what they said about him after he defeated Kilrain!

Joe Choynski thought that Sullivan would defeat Slavin, Goddard, and Jackson. "I think he'll land on Jackson right enough if he meets him. ... Personally, I wish he would fight Jackson, for I know how long the fight would last, and who would win it."
Choynski on Goddard: "I don’t think he’d have a ghost of a show with Sullivan. You see, it’s this way. Sullivan is quicker than I am, and he hits with terrible power. If I’d a tenth of Sullivan’s force I’d have beaten Goddard both times I fought him, but I hadn’t it. Now, it’s easy to figure it out. I think, honestly, that John would smash him down with very little trouble."

Corbett said: "I tell you that no one can whip Sullivan who is not as fast as I am. I am not so sure that he wouldn’t whip Peter Jackson, for Peter’s style would suit him a good deal better than mine. Peter would go and shy with him, and no man can do that with any hope of success."

After seeing Corbett-Sharkey, one observer said, "Sullivan in his good days was the man to have fought Sharkey. He would have knocked his head off."

After seeing Corbett-Jackson, "The general opinion was expressed that Sullivan in his best day could have made mighty small work of the pair of them in the one night."

The Times-Democrat once summarized: "Sullivan was one of the quickest big men that ever lived; that with all his aggressive ability, which had in reality not been overrated, he was quick as lightning at parrying, ducking, dodging and getting out of the way generally. While his tactics were never to unnecessarily delay a contest, he well knew when it was desirable to rush and when it was prudent to bide his time. In brief, Sullivan, in addition to being probably the hardest hitter that ever stood in a prize ring, was also one of the quickest of big men, a thoroughly scientific boxer by instinct as well as training, and without a superior as a ring general. In this way many boxers of skill and comparatively good sense were ignominiously defeated."
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:26 PM   #24
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

The implication here is that Sullivan was the intersection between brute force and science. A prototype for Jack Dempsey.

I will mention a couple of interesting things that have likley already come to your attention.

I notice that when Terry McGovern was on the way up some papers compared his style to Sullivan. This might be for want of a better comparison or it might be more instructive.

I also notice that Jack McAuliffe puts Sullivan at the top of his heavyweight list despite having a noticable bias towards slick boxer types such as Tunnet and Corbett.
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:26 PM   #25
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Excellent stuff Apollack! At the bear minimum, you have shed some light on the subject that Sullvian was not plodder or slow handed. I have no idea Sullivan had the skill or speed that many of the quotes testify to. Can I ask a few questions?

Quote:
Joe Choynski thought that Sullivan would defeat Slavin, Goddard, and Jackson. "I think he'll land on Jackson right enough if he meets him. ... Personally, I wish he would fight Jackson, for I know how long the fight would last, and who would win it."

Choynski on Goddard: "I donít think heíd have a ghost of a show with Sullivan. You see, itís this way. Sullivan is quicker than I am, and he hits with terrible power. If Iíd a tenth of Sullivanís force Iíd have beaten Goddard both times I fought him, but I hadnít it. Now, itís easy to figure it out. I think, honestly, that John would smash him down with very little trouble."
This means something to me since Choynski fought Goddard. Though I have a hard time believing Sullivan was faster than Choynski.

Quote:
The Times-Democrat once summarized: "Sullivan was one of the quickest big men that ever lived; that with all his aggressive ability, which had in reality not been overrated, he was quick as lightning at parrying, ducking, dodging and getting out of the way generally. While his tactics were never to unnecessarily delay a contest, he well knew when it was desirable to rush and when it was prudent to bide his time. In brief, Sullivan, in addition to being probably the hardest hitter that ever stood in a prize ring, was also one of the quickest of big men, a thoroughly scientific boxer by instinct as well as training, and without a superior as a ring general. In this way many boxers of skill and comparatively good sense were ignominiously defeated."
What was the date of this quote?
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:38 PM   #26
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
I notice that when Terry McGovern was on the way up some papers compared his style to Sullivan. This might be for want of a better comparison or it might be more instructive.
I think McGovern paid a lot more attention to going to the body to wear opponents down, while Sullivan went for the head most of the time and was a harder puncher P4P. Although McGovern did score a fair number of one-punch KD's and KO's, but to me he's more of a wear-them-down power-puncher than a KO artist, unlike Sullivan.
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:43 PM   #27
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Mendoza, my book has quote after quote discussing how damn fast Sullivan was. They couldn't believe that a man that big could be that fast. Any historian knows that Choynski had very big power - everyone who fought him agreed on that. Yet Joe himself said that Sullivan was faster than him and had more than ten times his power!

As to your question, that quote was printed just after Sullivan was defeated by Corbett in 1892, sort of a going away homage to him.

BTW, if you read my Sullivan and Corbett books, I think you'll have a better sense for how far gone Sullivan was when he fought Jim. The fight was practically meaningless. Sullivan was done for after 1889. He had no interest in fighting again, and his lifestyle of eating and drinking (and I mean DRINKING!!!) and doing next to nothing for three years but for very short 3 round friendly exhibitions, left him a shell.
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:19 PM   #28
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apollack
Mendoza, my book has quote after quote discussing how damn fast Sullivan was. They couldn't believe that a man that big could be that fast. Any historian knows that Choynski had very big power - everyone who fought him agreed on that. Yet Joe himself said that Sullivan was faster than him and had more than ten times his power!

As to your question, that quote was printed just after Sullivan was defeated by Corbett in 1892, sort of a going away homage to him.

BTW, if you read my Sullivan and Corbett books, I think you'll have a better sense for how far gone Sullivan was when he fought Jim. The fight was practically meaningless. Sullivan was done for after 1889. He had no interest in fighting again, and his lifestyle of eating and drinking (and I mean DRINKING!!!) and doing next to nothing for three years but for very short 3 round friendly exhibitions, left him a shell.
Apollack--McFarland has your Sullivan bio in the mail, but I just have a standard boxing question for you--perhaps you deal with it in the book:

What do you feel about the level of competition Sullivan faced compared, let's say, to Jeffries or Johnson? Ryan, Elliott, Slade, Mitchell, and Kilrain do not seem to quite stack up. How do you feel about it?
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:47 PM   #29
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

Oh, I don't know. I think Sullivan's opposition does not get the credit it deserves. He met some very experienced underrated fighters. That's one thing I tried to highlight in the book. These guys were no beginners. They were considered good fighters, and the fast way Sullivan mowed through them shocked experts. Versus when you say 'Oh, they sucked so that's why he killed them' That's not what they said then. The conclusion was that Sullivan was really special to blast these guys out.

But certainly you can make arguments either way. I prefer not to get into that too much, and just allow the books to objectively speak for themselves, lay out the facts, and for folks to then use them to weave arguments in whatever way they like.

I'm not going to lie - I like Sullivan and Fitzsimmons' styles more than Corbett's, but that does not change the respect I have for how difficult Corbett's style was to solve. Like I said, I try to offer the pro and con of everyone, so don't think my Sullivan book is only a love fest. But the overall impression I got from reading over ten years of primary source articles on him was that he was one hell of a fighter.
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Old 10-17-2007, 04:00 PM   #30
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Default Re: Corbett's article on the best fighters.

BTW, when you read my Fitzsimmons book, you are going to view his fight with Corbett with a whole new perspective. I truly enjoyed researching Fitz and he's my favorite pound for pound out of all these guys.
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