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Old 08-05-2007, 12:57 PM   #1
ChrisPontius
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Default Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

I was thinking about this the other day.

If we forget about Bob Foster for the moment, the consensus is that the best 5 lightheavyweights are (in no particular order) Ezzard Charles, Sam Langford, Archie Moore, Michael Spinks and Gene Tunney.


Now, looking at these fighters' record, they all share the unique distinction of a lightheavyweight to be succesful against top heavyweight contenders.

Gene Tunney beat an aging Dempsey twice, was heavyweight champion of the world.
Sam Langford has several wins over top contenders like Harry Wills, Joe Jeanette, Sam Mcvey, Gunboat Smith and others. Should have gotten a shot at the (linear) heavyweight championship.
Michael Spinks beat an aging Larry Holmes. He also beat Gerry Cooney who was past his best. He was a heavyweight champion
Archie Moore lost in both of his title shots, but has good wins nonetheless; Bob Baker, Nino Valdes, Jimmy Bivins and others.
Ezzard Charles was heavyweight champion of the world with seven title defenses. He holds two victories over Jersey Joe Walcott (top15 heavyweight), should have gotten the decision in their fourth fight according to some. Also beat an aging Joe Louis and is the only man to go the 15 round distance with Rocky Marciano.


Clearly, they all had their share of succes in the heavyweight division.

Now, if we look at Fosters record against heavyweights, he lost on nearly every single occasion. His best wins at heavyweight are over journeyman Whitehurst and Willi Besmanoff. Neither of them were anything special. I can forgive his loss to a peak Frazier and to an underprepared Ali (although Spinks did take his chance against an underprepared Holmes), but he also lost to "normal" contenders in Zora Folley, Ernie Terrel and Doug Jones.

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One can make the argument that Tunney, Langford, Charles and Moore had an easier time stepping up to heavyweight because in their time, heavyweights were usually around 190 pounds whereas in Foster and Spinks' time, they were well over 200 pounds.

But then again, Moore did beat Baker and Valdes who were both around 210 pounds, Charles beat Louis who was over 210 pounds, Langford beat Mcvey who was also over 200 pounds as well as other. Spinks beat Holmes and Cooney who were big men. Tunney lacks here although it should be noticed that Dempsey was beating bigger men. Folley and Terrel were hardly much better than the fighters mentioned earlier.




In addition, Fosters opposition at lightheavyweight was also rather weak, probably weaker than the opposition of Tunney, Charles, Moore, Spinks and Langford at lightheavyweight.


Could Fosters lack of succes against heavyweights be not only because of the size difference, but also because he was simply facing better opposition?




If you rank Foster higher than either of these other 5 lightheavyweights, i'd like to hear it. Looking forward to replies.
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

The problem I have with this is that you should judge a lH by his LH competition..how he fared against HW should impact his ATG status...but not his LHW ranking. That said I don't know much about these guys opposition at LHW to have a strong opinion...but I think Billy Conn must be in contention as well
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Personally i don't hold his heavyweight losses against him one bit when judging him at 175. His losses vs Mina and Jones came in his first 13 fights, Terrell (Decent fighter in my book)had 10 wins on the trot including Williams and was still only Bob's 17th fight (we now have 3 of these losses pre 18 fight point) Folley was vastly heavier and his last loss to a non great heavyweight before going on a tear of 31 fights without loss (not counting Ali and Frazier of course) including umpteen defenses, a unification etc), he also had some wins over bigger men during that time, admittedly poor quality.

An aggressive view would find Charles having a similar 2 losses and a draw in his first 22 fights, with the losses being at his own weight. His record is a bit patchy before his 3 year break when he came back and went on his own tear (excepting a very dubious decision loss we won't count at all) thru a 5 year period. A hard line would tell us Charles never won the 175 title let alone defended it, tho his resume is sensational. He is however rated by many numero uno in a division he didn't officially rule.

So in summing up i don't hold much weight in Foster's above the weights losses when ranking him at 175 for the reasons stated above, just like i choose to accept Charles was a different animal after his service. I definitely have Foster top 10, but don't rate as far back as Langford.

It may well have been different if Foster fought a couple of contenders when developed around the time he fought Ali and Frazier, not that it matters with his 175 ranking.
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Foster was a freak in the light heavyweight division and had great power, a lot of ex middleweights used to move up to lightheavy like Tiger,Torres, Foster feasted on them, he also dominated a division that was pretty lackluster at the time, but he beat every light heavy, then after him it came to life with Galandez,Ahumada,EddieGregary,ROSSMAN,Spinks Quawi. As far a fighting Heavys Foster was weak, he had trouble taking a heavyweight punch, he landed some good shots on Ali and stunned Ali a few times even cut him but was outpowered by a decent puncher at most, Ali, I put Foster in the top 10 somewhere but not in the top 5 especially if we are including Charles and Tunney in that batch, No way Foster could compete with those 2 or be able to take a solid shot from the OLD Mongoose but he could hold his own with a lot of legit 175lbers, he would be able to square off vs Mike Spinks, I like Spinks in that match up but would not bet the house on him it could go either way
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

This is a classic "Styles Make Fights" riddle.

Spinks ranks highly because he was able to handle any style, height and strength within the LH division, and even to a limited extent at heavyweight.

Archie Moore could adapt to most styles and sizes and had excellent recuperative abilities.

Foster was most effective against shorter opponents, where he could use his reach and leverage. Taller light heavies gave him a little more difficulty. Shorter opponents who were very strong, like Frazier, ran right through him because Bob's footwork was a bit mechanical. He preferred to set his feet to punch.

Foster was one of the most exciting light heavies, but I'd rank him closer to 10 in the Top 10.
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

If not the top 5, the top 7 for sure. Foster would be in the money vs Tunney, Spinks, Langford, Charles, and Moore. While Foster was a murderuous puncher at light heavyweight, he could out box his man too.

Foster fought talented 1960's to 1970's heavyweight timeline. Foster did not have the chin to last at heavyweight. For what its worth, Ali said Foster gave him one of his toughest fights. Foster was the lone man to cut Ali as a professional.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
One can make the argument that Tunney, Langford, Charles and Moore had an easier time stepping up to heavyweight because in their time, heavyweights were usually around 190 pounds whereas in Foster and Spinks' time, they were well over 200 pounds.
You could make the argument but you would be wrong. Langford, Charles, Moore Dillon and Loughran were all verry proven against world class fighters over 200lbs.
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
You could make the argument but you would be wrong. Langford, Charles, Moore Dillon and Loughran were all verry proven against world class fighters over 200lbs.
I adressed that point in my original post.


But the champions that Foster would need to defeat were Frazier, Ali and Foreman, all 210+ pound monsters.
Spinks had the same with Holmes and Tyson.

Tunney, Charles and Moore didn't have that big a disadvantage against the reigning champions.
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Old 08-06-2007, 06:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
I was thinking about this the other day.

If we forget about Bob Foster for the moment, the consensus is that the best 5 lightheavyweights are (in no particular order) Ezzard Charles, Sam Langford, Archie Moore, Michael Spinks and Gene Tunney.


Now, looking at these fighters' record, they all share the unique distinction of a lightheavyweight to be succesful against top heavyweight contenders.

Gene Tunney beat an aging Dempsey twice, was heavyweight champion of the world.
Sam Langford has several wins over top contenders like Harry Wills, Joe Jeanette, Sam Mcvey, Gunboat Smith and others. Should have gotten a shot at the (linear) heavyweight championship.
Michael Spinks beat an aging Larry Holmes. He also beat Gerry Cooney who was past his best. He was a heavyweight champion
Archie Moore lost in both of his title shots, but has good wins nonetheless; Bob Baker, Nino Valdes, Jimmy Bivins and others.
Ezzard Charles was heavyweight champion of the world with seven title defenses. He holds two victories over Jersey Joe Walcott (top15 heavyweight), should have gotten the decision in their fourth fight according to some. Also beat an aging Joe Louis and is the only man to go the 15 round distance with Rocky Marciano.


Clearly, they all had their share of succes in the heavyweight division.

Now, if we look at Fosters record against heavyweights, he lost on nearly every single occasion. His best wins at heavyweight are over journeyman Whitehurst and Willi Besmanoff. Neither of them were anything special. I can forgive his loss to a peak Frazier and to an underprepared Ali (although Spinks did take his chance against an underprepared Holmes), but he also lost to "normal" contenders in Zora Folley, Ernie Terrel and Doug Jones.

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One can make the argument that Tunney, Langford, Charles and Moore had an easier time stepping up to heavyweight because in their time, heavyweights were usually around 190 pounds whereas in Foster and Spinks' time, they were well over 200 pounds.

But then again, Moore did beat Baker and Valdes who were both around 210 pounds, Charles beat Louis who was over 210 pounds, Langford beat Mcvey who was also over 200 pounds as well as other. Spinks beat Holmes and Cooney who were big men. Tunney lacks here although it should be noticed that Dempsey was beating bigger men. Folley and Terrel were hardly much better than the fighters mentioned earlier.




In addition, Fosters opposition at lightheavyweight was also rather weak, probably weaker than the opposition of Tunney, Charles, Moore, Spinks and Langford at lightheavyweight.


Could Fosters lack of succes against heavyweights be not only because of the size difference, but also because he was simply facing better opposition?




If you rank Foster higher than either of these other 5 lightheavyweights, i'd like to hear it. Looking forward to replies.
I think you have to judge him on his 175 opposition,which may have been less than stellar ,but he dominated the division,the fact that he couldnt duplicate Moore,s success against the bigger guys may mean you pick Moore to beat him head to head but it shouldnt really be a factor when rating Foster at LH,he makes my top 5 out of those who have held the title,where you put Charles and Tunney is personal choice,I beleive their place in boxing history is at Heavyweight,Langford may have been able to win three titles,given the chance ,would you pick Ketchel to beat him at 160?,he held a win over OBrienthe reigning 175 king when he was near his best,where do we put Sam?Its a bit like rating Armstrong Imo.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
I adressed that point in my original post.


But the champions that Foster would need to defeat were Frazier, Ali and Foreman, all 210+ pound monsters.
Spinks had the same with Holmes and Tyson.

Tunney, Charles and Moore didn't have that big a disadvantage against the reigning champions.
that is true but they did have to contend with a strong punching champ. Dempsey,Marciano,Louis.....Tyson showed Spinks what power was,Tunney and Charles also knew 1st hand...Foster was 6"3 1/2 but did not have the frame to fight Heavyweight but he was a giant at lightheavy
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
I adressed that point in my original post.


But the champions that Foster would need to defeat were Frazier, Ali and Foreman, all 210+ pound monsters.
Spinks had the same with Holmes and Tyson.

Tunney, Charles and Moore didn't have that big a disadvantage against the reigning champions.
There is in fact a historical crossover between Foster and the light heavyweights of the 50s. One of the heavyweights who beat him (Doug Jones) had previously lost to Harold Johnson who was himself a teir bellow Charles and Moore.

This suggests that Charles and Moore would likley have done well against the likes of Jones, Folley and Terrel.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:38 AM   #12
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
There is in fact a historical crossover between Foster and the light heavyweights of the 50s. One of the heavyweights who beat him (Doug Jones) had previously lost to Harold Johnson who was himself a teir bellow Charles and Moore.

This suggests that Charles and Moore would likley have done well against the likes of Jones, Folley and Terrel.
Fair go mate, Foster was having his 9th pro fight and was still fighting 6 and 8 rounders for goodness sakes. I don't think it shows anything. On top of this Jones didn't have a single win in his 4 fights right before Foster (including Harold) so it's not like Johnson was on his own.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

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Originally Posted by JohnThomas1
Fair go mate, Foster was having his 9th pro fight and was still fighting 6 and 8 rounders for goodness sakes. I don't think it shows anything. On top of this Jones didn't have a single win in his 4 fights right before Foster (including Harold) so it's not like Johnson was on his own.
Fair observations.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:13 AM   #14
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
Fair observations.
Thanks. Bob's a bit like Holmes, he didn't rule in a period of great opposition, tho Foster went after a unification and such. Both stood out like a sore thumb and both missed out on brilliant era's by very little.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:50 AM   #15
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Default Re: Should Bob Foster by in the top5 of lightheavyweights? A few thoughts..

I rank Foster around 5 all time. HIs heavyweight losses don't count against him because he was a light heavyweight. His power is nearly unmatched at Lightheavyweight and he was so big that he'd give trouble to anyone.
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