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Old 10-08-2007, 11:37 PM   #1
Langford
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Default Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Responding to a post about Louis, it reinforced my belief that Louis made such a fast/impressive rise on the heavyweight scene. He fought at such a fast pace that in a half years time he was knocking out top ten guys (Lee Ramage) to earn a top ten ranking himself. I don't think it is a stretch to say that those who burn through their early competition wind up being some of the best heavyweights in history.
My top ten.

1. Jim Jeffries.
Championship in less than three years. Was fighting solid vets, like Choynski and Goddard less than a year in. Fought probably the number one ranked challanger (Tom Sharkey) in less than two years. Won the title in just his eleventh fight. Wins over many of the top fighters of his day, both white and black, on the way to the title.

2. Joe Louis
Beat top ten guys (Ramage, Perroni) a half year into his ascent to the the title. Beat a former world champs just a year or so in (Carnera, Baer) followed by decisive wins over top contenders (Levinsky, Uzcudan, Retzlaff). Would get top honors if not for Schmeling taking him down a peg. Still won the heavyweight championship in approx three years. Retiring former champ Sharkey along the way. Fought a staggering 36 times in three years before taking the title.

3. Mike Tyson.
The heavyweight division was in a huge disaray in the mid 80's with alphabet champs changing belts every year or so. Tyson came in and burned a straight path to an undisputed heavyweight championship like nobody has since. Debuting in March of 1985 it would just be 20 mos before he took his first belt. He would go on to beat most of the other contenders during the next year, picking up belts from Thomas and Tubbs along the way. Tyson became the youngest person to hold a belt at 20, but even more impressive is that he had them all by age 22 and like Jeffries and Louis before him, was undisputed a little over 3 years from his pro debut.

4. Joe Frazier.
Frazier fought impressive competion from the very beginning. Fighting Bonevena just a year into his campaign is impressive. The fact that he followed up that with wins over Chuvalo, Quarry, Mathis, Ellis, Bonevena II (and a much better win). It is these type quality wins that place him so high on the list on his run to the top, even though it would take him the relatively leisurely pace of five years.

5. Muhammad Ali
The Greatest rise was great. Not only did he turn pro so young and win the title so young (barely 22) he did so in an impressivly by facing top ranked guys in less than two and winning the title in well under four years. Winning the title only slightly older but against Sonny Liston just puts him a notch above Patterson.

6. Jack Dempsey
One gets the idea of Dempsey toiling around for years, underfed and in Hobo camps for several years. In reality, fighting was Dempsey's meal ticket and his rise, especially when he got proper management, was pretty fast. Took Dempsey just four years from debut to the Willard beating. Wining the title at just 24. All the more impressive when you consider that unlike most of the list, he had no olympic training and built himself up without backing. Beat a solid group of (white) contenders in 1918 (Fulton, Brennan, Miske).

7. Floyd Patterson.
What Patterson lacked in competion at heavyweight he more than made up for by winning the title at such an early age (21) and learning so fast as a fighter who turned pro at only 18.

8. George Foreman
It took George just a little over three years to go from pro debut to bouncing Joe Frazier off the canvas to become heavyweight champion right around the time of his 24th birthday.

9. Leon Spinks
Okay, Spinks does not have the quality wins that the others has on the list, he did not spark up many of the contenders in front of him the way that Louis or Tyson did. But the fact that he took the title in just a year after his pro debut, could put him further up in the ratings depending on how you look at it. Especially when you consider that he did it in just his 8th pro fight. Definitely the fastest rise to the top, if not the most impressive.

10. Ingemar Johansson
Underatted rise to the top. Johannson has the distinction of being the only fighter who fought only fighters with winning records on his way to the top.
There is hardly any filler (and no set backs) on the way to Johanssons title victory over Patterson. A feat he achieved in just his 23rd fight (although strectched over a somewhat leisurely near seven year period). Beating Cooper, Erskine, Neuhaus and especially Machen place him on the list.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Liston i think u missed. Never knew that Ingo fought only positive record opponents. Very interesting. Oh John Tate (while not a linear champ) had a great resume, and Corbett worth a mention.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

povetkin may soon join these guys and Jack Johnson when he got going cleaned out a lot of good guys.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

I am not sure about povetkin, i can;t see him beating wald and he is nearly 30 already so it's hardly the quickest rize to the top.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

povetkin is a two-year pro with Donald as his 13th fight and (hopefully) Byrd as no 14. BTW he has one negative record upponent. Would he beat Vlad, good question but it may be the fight to re-ignite the Hw division.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:20 AM   #6
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

I know what your saying but most of the guys on the list where world champions before 24 and povetkin is nearly 30, i don't see fighting larry donald and a past it byrd as that impressive when you are nearly 30. If he had turned pro alot ealrier and done this then i would be more impressed.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:14 AM   #7
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Dokes and Page both had respectable resumes, considering the fact that Page probably won the title two years after he should've.
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Old 10-09-2007, 10:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattdonnellon
Oh John Tate (while not a linear champ) had a great resume,
No he did not, it was no better than any other alphabet crap champ of the time IMO, and he sold himself out by going to South Africa... TWICE.
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Old 10-09-2007, 11:22 AM   #9
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

THE SOUTH AFRICA BIT IS IRRELEVANT. COETZEE WAS HIS 20TH FIGHT IN HIS SECOND PRO YEAR. mERCADO WAS NO 13 AND KNOETZEE AND BOBICK WERE 18 AND 19. WHAT OTHER ALPHA CHAMP MATCHED THAT?
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattdonnellon
THE SOUTH AFRICA BIT IS IRRELEVANT. COETZEE WAS HIS 20TH FIGHT IN HIS SECOND PRO YEAR. mERCADO WAS NO 13 AND KNOETZEE AND BOBICK WERE 18 AND 19. WHAT OTHER ALPHA CHAMP MATCHED THAT?
If that impresses you 'Super' Greg Page will make you wet yourself.

Winnning the USBA title in his 15th fight against Stan Ward

Beating... no steamrollling 23-1-1 Marty Monroe in fight 16

Destroying Evangelista in fight 17

Scott LeDoux was fight 19 and Jimmy Young fight 20...

And the cherry on the cream on the top of the cake: Like Tate, Page sold himself out fighting in South Africa


I forget how bad 80s Heavies were, when you use Evangelista and Scoot LeDoux to top someone elses resume, you know you can be only be talking about 80s Heavyweight alphabet crap.
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaycaz
Tyson's is most impressive for me due to it being the beginning of the 'alphabet title' era, thus making it a tad more difficult to obtain 'undisputed' status.
I agree.

I'd also switch Patterson and Dempsey and replace Spinks with Liston.
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBooze
If that impresses you 'Super' Greg Page will make you wet yourself.

Winnning the USBA title in his 15th fight against Stan Ward

Beating... no steamrollling 23-1-1 Marty Monroe in fight 16

Destroying Evangelista in fight 17

Scott LeDoux was fight 19 and Jimmy Young fight 20...

And the cherry on the cream on the top of the cake: Like Tate, Page sold himself out fighting in South Africa

I forget how bad 80s Heavies were, when you use Evangelista and Scoot LeDoux to top someone elses resume, you know you can be only be talking about 80s Heavyweight alphabet crap.
Damned if i know what SAfrica has to do with this thread.I still think Tate tops Page but no matter. I also think that the much maligned HW's of the 8o's had more debpth from 5 to 15 than any other decade in history.
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:56 PM   #13
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBooze
If that impresses you 'Super' Greg Page will make you wet yourself.

Winnning the USBA title in his 15th fight against Stan Ward

Beating... no steamrollling 23-1-1 Marty Monroe in fight 16

Destroying Evangelista in fight 17

Scott LeDoux was fight 19 and Jimmy Young fight 20...

And the cherry on the cream on the top of the cake: Like Tate, Page sold himself out fighting in South Africa


I forget how bad 80s Heavies were, when you use Evangelista and Scoot LeDoux to top someone elses resume, you know you can be only be talking about 80s Heavyweight alphabet crap.
Also beat George Chaplin in his ninth fight, and was ranked shortly afterwards.
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:23 PM   #14
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattdonnellon
Damned if i know what SAfrica has to do with this thread.
What? I know history is not what it used to be in Schools now a days, but are you really telling me you do not know what the symbolism is if a Black Western fighter fought a white South African in late 70s/early 80s South Africa?
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:32 AM   #15
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Default Re: Heavyweight champs rise to the top

Maybe i know as much about it as you as my schooling was 40 years ago and i'm from politically aware Ireland but this is a thread on a BOXING forum about HW's and their rise to the top. I'm sympathetic to your attitude and actually protested against the Irish rugby side going to SA but that has nothing to do with this thread.
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