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Old 08-08-2007, 02:05 PM   #1
Manassa
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Default Henry Armstrong

I feel I have been doing Henry Armstrong a great injustice by picking too many fighters to beat him. I say we turn this thread into a bit of a tribute:

The man was a top class athlete:

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Here is an interesting comment by Armstrong, speaking of his fight with Ray Robinson:

"I almost knocked Ray out. He kept throwing those bolo punches at me. Well, I'd mastered how to defend myself against bolos from Ceferino Garcia. Ray threw one to many and I hit him with a right hand that sent him across the ring. But the bell saved him and he ran from me the rest of the fight. I couldn't catch him. I kept taunting him, 'Come on in and fight.' He just kept shaking his head and running like a scared rabbit."

Armstrong could dish it out...

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... And he could take it, too:

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I always thought Henry Armstrong looked really mean...

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... And his opponents thought so too:

"Petey Sarron, featherweight champion of the world, his face an ashen white, an empty ache in the pit of his stomach, squirmed in his seat and choked as he watched Henry Armstrong, the chocolate lancer, hammer Baby Arizmendi into the most brutal, ruthless defeat of his brilliant 11-year stretch of ring warfare last night at Wrigley Field."


"Paling perceptibly as he blinked with frightened eyes that saw Armstrong, the infernal machine, smoke the idol of Mexico out of the ring with burning, searing leather to take every one of the 10 rounds and with it recognition in California as the world's featherweight champion, Sarron aptly expressed the sentiments of the 16,000 hysterical, stunned spectators when he said: "I'm glad I'm not the one in there with Armstrong tonight."

In this thread, talk about Henry Armstrong.
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Someone in the forum has a beautiful poster of Henry, it would be great if he could post it.

Of course Henry is one of the best ever. A true fighting machine !

One of my favorite fighter, definitely.
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

And mine. I find Armstrong's 59-1-1 (51) streak to be the greatest run of all time.
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

And that is why Armstrong was the second finest fighter ever, only surpassed by someone as brilliant as Robinson.
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

There has never been a fighter like Armstrong before and there probably never will be again.
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet Pea
The 3 belts in 3 weight classes simultaneously is something else. Who would you say are his top wins and do they compare to other fighters top wins?
Armstrong's top wins, while great, are not on the same level of Ezzard Charles', for instance. But what really does it is Armstrong's consistency during a certain period where he went 59-1-1 (both the loss and draw being very controversial), scoring 51 knockouts, over three original weight classes, beating six Hall of Famers. It's incredible. Though only a lightweight, Armstrong holds the record for welterweight title defenses!

It's a common misconception that Armstrong was finished after he lost his titles, but in reality, he was always in the picture; though Armstrong slowed down quickly, he still managed to beat top quality fighters. He trashed Hall of Famers Fritzie Zivic, Lew Jenkins (for a second time) and Sammy Angott and also beat the excellent Willie Joyce, among others, such as former champion Tippy Larkin who he knocked out with a single punch. The massive hitting Al Davis had his teeth busted. Contender Ralph Zanelli was hammered twice.

Armstrong was pretty formidable before his famous peak run as well, where he beat a couple more Hall of Famers and several contenders such as Mike Belloise and Juan Zurita.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet Pea
So basically he had a great 3 year run and otherwise was pretty good but not at the top? And you consider him the #1 fighter of all time for that?

I need more consistency. Robinson and Greb for sure rank above him for me. I am constantly revising my top fighters of all time, so I'll have to look deeper into this situation.
With Armstrong, I take his quality over the quantity of Greb and Robinson. He was good at the start of his career and very good at the end - but in the middle, he was phenomenal.

His 59-1-1 could easily be changed to 61-0-0 with no complaints; he should have beaten Lou Ambers for the second time and won a portion of the middleweight crown off Ceferino Garcia.

During this period, Armstrong knocked out 51 of his opponents. 51! That's the same as what Joe Louis racked up in the best part of his career (60-1 (51) before the comeback), except Hank achieved it over better opposition:

It may take some time to comprehend that this run took place over three original weight divisions. And Armstrong was only a lightweight when he was breaking that welterweight defenses record. He knocked out fourteen of these challengers. At one point, Armstrong knocked out twenty seven men in a row; the third highest consecutive number in boxing history.

61-0-0 is a career for most greats. Imagine if Armstrong had that record without the other fights and losses - I'm pretty sure he'd be the consensus #1 with no questions asked. Armstrong needed those early losses to help him learn - it was a matter of trial and error, improvement; development. He burned out during his welterweight reign and then lost to someone good enough to take the title from him - a dirty cunt who may have been disqualified under today's rules, Fritzie Zivic. Even when slower, battle-scarred and less agile than before, Armstrong was still beating some of the best. He did lose his consistency, but it didn't really matter because he'd already had a career's worth of magnificence from '36-'40. The pre '36 and post '40 wins, where he beat another four Hall of Famers and around twelve contenders, are just the icing on the cake.

We must remember that Armstrong didn't benefit from a glorious amateur career like Ray Robinson's and was largely a novice when he stepped into the ring in his early days.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manassa
Here is an interesting comment by Armstrong, speaking of his fight with Ray Robinson:

"I almost knocked Ray out. He kept throwing those bolo punches at me. Well, I'd mastered how to defend myself against bolos from Ceferino Garcia. Ray threw one to many and I hit him with a right hand that sent him across the ring. But the bell saved him and he ran from me the rest of the fight. I couldn't catch him. I kept taunting him, 'Come on in and fight.' He just kept shaking his head and running like a scared rabbit."
.


That has to be the funniest quote in a while.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemesis


That has to be the funniest quote in a while.
Funny in what way?

I don't know who to believe; Robinson, who said he carried Armstrong, or the latter, who says Robinson wouldn't dare to exchange with him. Through no bias, I find Armstrong's account more believable seeing as he was still a top quality fighter who was knocking out a lot of people. The man was an experienced bull, and the young, spindly Robinson would probably have thought it wiser to keep his distance. By that point, Armstrong lacked the footspeed and agility of his youth to catch up to boxers and preferred a fighter to stand and trade with him.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

He ducked Burley.

But I always say that.

Lovely pictures, Manassa.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:56 PM   #11
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manassa
Funny in what way?

I don't know who to believe; Robinson, who said he carried Armstrong, or the latter, who says Robinson wouldn't dare to exchange with him. Through no bias, I find Armstrong's account more believable seeing as he was still a top quality fighter who was knocking out a lot of people. The man was an experienced bull, and the young, spindly Robinson would probably have thought it wiser to keep his distance. By that point, Armstrong lacked the footspeed and agility of his youth to catch up to boxers and preferred a fighter to stand and trade with him.
it just seems strange, that directly after the fight he told the newspaper men that Robinson would have beaten him in his prime regardless and then this. I tend to believe Robinson's comments, as he said that at that time Armstrong had regressed that much he physically had to hold him up at some stages as he didnt want Armstrong to suffer the indignity of being KO'ed

we need some of the newspaper reports of the fight for neutrality, anybody frequent the New York library or is there anywhere on the internet that stores Newspaper articles of the NY Post (or similar)?
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:57 PM   #12
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by McGrain
He ducked Burley.

But I always say that.

Lovely pictures, Manassa.
I very much doubt that.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by McGrain
He ducked Burley.

But I always say that.

Lovely pictures, Manassa.
McG. where do you rank Burley in your middleweight rankings and P4P?

I ask because although i think he would rank top 5 (Middle) in head to head rankings, I cannot find a place in the top 8, just on the opponents he beat.
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:00 PM   #14
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobkhan
During Armstrongs run Burley was still very green and untested, so no Hammerin´Hank didn´t duck Burley.
He held two wins over Zivic when he Armstrong, having been approached by Burley's people, chose to fight Zivic.

Also, during the two following approaches, Armstrong's people apparentley indicated they were of back down the divisions. Then they fought another one at Welter.

Burley was ranked second in the world behind Ralph Zanelli at this time. I think.
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Henry Armstrong

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemesis
it just seems strange, that directly after the fight he told the newspaper men that Robinson would have beaten him in his prime regardless and then this. I tend to believe Robinson's comments, as he said that at that time Armstrong had regressed that much he physically had to hold him up at some stages as he didnt want Armstrong to suffer the indignity of being KO'ed

we need some of the newspaper reports of the fight for neutrality, anybody frequent the New York library or is there anywhere on the internet that stores Newspaper articles of the NY Post (or similar)?
Maybe Armstrong meant Robinson would have always beaten him, but only if he ran.

I got this from the New York Times:

Ray Robinson, Harlem welterweight who is now a corporal in the Army, enjoyed a brisk workout at the expense of the veteran Henry Armstrong in the star bout of ten rounds at Madison Square Garden last night. Robinson enjoyed it, but nobody else in the Garden got any satisfaction from the spectacle, which was as tame as a gymnasium workout between father and son.

It doesn't tell us much apart from there wasn't much action. It supports both stories without giving a definitive answer.
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