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Old 12-27-2010, 09:53 AM   #91
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by Boilermaker View Post
Here are some of the articles on some of Fitz opponents which i recently read.


English Champion Ted Pritchard 1892

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I didn't think Fitz ever faced Pritchard?
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Old 12-27-2010, 05:01 PM   #92
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by burt bienstock View Post
I will not comment on the ability of Bob Fitzimmons...
But there was one man who SAW every heavyweight from John L Sullivan to Joe Louis...He was a famous American poet who wrote the definitive piece on Bob Fitzimmons...The poet was Edgar Lee Masters,1869-1950..He saw every champion until 1949,and was a boxing lover besides a poet...He insisted that Bob Fitzimmons who Masters saw many times would have licked every heavyweight,until 1949...Very convincing...
The article is in a book I have called The Book of Boxing, by W.C. Heinz and Nathan Ward...The Time Of Ruby Robert,article titled pg.228..
What a convincing piece from a boxing expert who saw them ALL..A Fighting Machine On Stilts, Ruby Robert was called...Check it out...b.b.
Burt,
Robert Edgren, the most prominant and respected sportswriter of his time, who had seen all the great early middlewights such as Ketchel, Greb, and Walker, Papke, and Klaus said that it wasn't fair to compare Fitz to any middleweight...That was how highly he regarded Fitz...If one places the most credence in the people who have actually seen them fight this carries alot of weight. Edgren apparently was always asked to handicap fights because he was an astute judge of styles.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:58 PM   #93
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by GPater11093 View Post


The paper though is from the late '20s and not a primary source, so perhaps the author of that piece could be putting 'two and two together' or has remembered wrongly. I still don't entirely believe this.


True, I thought this as well, and it is definitely a strong possibility. Although last night I found an article about a fighter (cant remember his name) who was due to spar with the coloured champion Joe Godfrey. ( i thought i posted it, but i didnt, so it may be lost).

Here is another (though not timely) about Peter Mahers battle with the coloured champ "JOE" Godfrey.

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And here is more references to old chocolate Joe Godfrey. I think the evidence is starting to become insurmountable!

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Old 12-27-2010, 09:20 PM   #94
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by Rasch View Post
I didn't think Fitz ever faced Pritchard?
I think you are right, actually. They were scheduled to meet, but the fight never took place. However, they did hold an exhibition fight, but i am not sure how that went down. I am presuming that Pritchard didnt really trouble Fitz because otherwise, there would have been huge demand for a match.


Alex Greggains was another who was highly rated at the time, and who fought Fitz in exhibitions. Here is a link to one of his fights at a time when he was being tossed up as a possible opponent.

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ARthur Upham was a KO Victim just before Fitz' middleweight reign of terror. He was still fighting around in 1892, here is a brief mention of a name and the fact that he is in good condition, but that is about it.

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Abe Cougle is another win which is always swept under the carpet. Cougle wasnt a top 10 world ranked fighter. But he was still a solid and decent heavyweight. No mean feat for a middleweight to beat him. here is a description of his 53 round defence of his illinois heavyweight championship.

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Old 12-28-2010, 06:19 AM   #95
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by Boilermaker View Post
True, I thought this as well, and it is definitely a strong possibility. Although last night I found an article about a fighter (cant remember his name) who was due to spar with the coloured champion Joe Godfrey. ( i thought i posted it, but i didnt, so it may be lost).

Here is another (though not timely) about Peter Mahers battle with the coloured champ "JOE" Godfrey.

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And here is more references to old chocolate Joe Godfrey. I think the evidence is starting to become insurmountable!

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Yes, it does appear to be him.

I had a look on boxrec for a record for Joe Godfrey and it just has a bout 12 fights, mostly loses to the top fighters of the day.

Do you have any info on Joe Godfrey's career?
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Old 12-28-2010, 06:25 AM   #96
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
Truly one of most fascinating fighters in the history of the sport. I tend to think that with a little adjustment in techniques his talent would translate very well to any era. The extraordinary nature of his power is beyond dispute. It is unearthly. Along with Langford, he represents the best of the post-John L pre Dempsey era (and I know that he crossed over both).

Since most of our film of him is when he is already old, and largely are reenactments, I would like to hear opinions on his style, and perhaps analogous fighters later in history.
I have a full write up on 20+ minutes of Fitz vs Corbett which sheds light on their styles. Here's the thing. A deadly puncher can translate into any time line. Nat Fleischer who saw them all from Corbett to Ali said Fitz was the best KO puncher of them all. Maybe Nat was having a senior moment, but to put Fitz up there or ahead of Foreman, Shavers, Dempsey et illustrates his power.


Fitzsimmons vs Corbett. Referee is Hall of famer George Siler.

Pre Fight: The story goes….. The two met in a hotel. Fitzsimmons extends his hand. Corbett grabs Fitzsimmons nose and twists it! There is bad blood from the start between these two.

Notes: This fight is on DVD. To best report the action, I will freeze frame the DVD ever 20 seconds, then report what has happened. This way the entire rounds worth of action will be fresh in my mind. All major occurrences will be reported, but minor stuff will be left out. I am not sure if the rounds go in sequence or not.

Opening. Arena is shown. Then Fitzsimmons and Corbett smile before the camera. Corbett seems to like the camera more so than Fitzsimmons.

Frame One: ( shown as round one ). The film seems to run a little slow. The fighters move to the center of the ring. Fitzsimmons swings twice! Corbett moves out of the way of the first than blocks the other! Corbett lands a quick 1-2. Great speed and footwork by Corbett. Its on level with a young Ali. Fitzsimmons hand speed seems faster than Marciano’s and about even with Dempsey’s. Fitzsimmons stance is knees bent, with him leaning back wards a bit. Corbett is very much on his toes. Fitzsimmons is something of a shuffling plodder moving forward, but he has a bounce in his step. Back to the action! After Corbett lands the 1-2 they clinch then push off. Left hook lands by Corbett. Technique is good. Then a jab by Corbett. Corbett circles to his right around Fitzsimmons, firing probing body shots. They clinch then push off. Fitz plods in. Corbett feints high with his right then bends at the waist and sticks in a straight left to the body. Wow, that was great. Perfectly set up and executed with fantastic speed. The bell sounds and the fighters walk back to the corner. Corbett wins the round easy. Fitz only was landing in the clinches.

***I time the seconds in-between rounds to see how slow the film is. I have no idea exactly when the bell sounded due to this being a silent film, but the time in-between round is 1 minute 25 seconds. So, 60 seconds = 85 seconds on this film. This explains why the film looks slow when people are walking around. However when the fighters move or throw punches, they both have good speed, especially Corbett. In between the rounds the fighters are fanned off by towels. The fight is outdoors in the desert sun.

Frame Two: This is round two. Fighters meet in the center of the ring. Corbett lands then clinches. They break. Fitzsimmons gives chase, but Corbett keeps an equal distance moving back wards or laterally. Fitzsimmons footwork is no match for Corbett’s. Fitzsimmons swings. Corbett blocks then counters. Hard body shot by Corbett. A clinch, then break. Corbett lands a sneaky right in the clinch. Fitzsimmons is quick with his punches, but Corbett is getting out of the clinches, or blocking. Lots of clinching. Corbett feints low with his left, and goes high with his right! HaHa, exact opposite of what he did in round one. The right lands hard. Corbett now working Fitz over in the corner off screen. Corbett backs up. Fitz advances. Corbett counters hard. I must say Corbett is a great clincher, much stronger than I pictured, plus he knows how to push off and re-set. Fitzsimmons lands hard on the inside for a change. Fitz lands a right. They clinch. They break. Fitz swings, Corbett ducks a viscous looking right, then counters with a 1-2 to the body and a head shot. I am very impressed with Corbett’s skills and defense. He looks like a highly skilled lightweight at 185 pounds! Bell rings. Corbett’s round though Fitzsimmons landed some good shots.


Frame three: They meet in the center of the ring. Corbett gets Fitz in a head lock and grins, and then pushes Fitzsimmons several feet back wards. Gentleman Jim is far strong then given credit for, even if he has Fitz by 18 pounds, that was quite a shove. Fitzsimmons boars in. Corbett clinches and head locks him again! Quick jab by Corbett. Fitzsimmons had no chance at blocking it. Fitzsimmons counters with a hard right as they fight! Right swing lands for Corbett, then an uppercut. Yes it was an uppercut. Corbett in attack. More hard shots by Corbett, then spirited clinching! BAM! Big right hand by Corbett. Another one. A quick left in the blink of an eye, then a right. Fitzsimmons in retreat in his corner. 1-2 by Corbett. A clinch. Then a left and hard right by Corbett. Fitzsimmons' head snaps back and forth. A hard hook to the body by Corbett. Fitz down on one knee clinching for 3-4 seconds timed by me. Referee Siler starts the count. WTF!!! Siler is restraining Corbett and escorting him away from Fitzsimmons. There was no neutral corner rule!! It seems like Siler is being partial to Fitzsimons here. Was this in the rules? More on Siler being partial in the Gans vs McGovern later!!! Fitzsimmons gets up. I believe he could have gotten up sooner if he chose to do so. Corbett moves in for the kill! Fitzsimmons has to fight his way out of a corner. Good action, but the sun come out and blurs the film a bit. It is written that Fitzsimsons could recover quickly from hard shots. Yes, this is the case on film! Big round for Corbett. 10-8

***Referee Siler is talking to the time keeper. Heated discussion. Now he is bending his elbow back and forth and shaking his finger. Siler is pissed at something. He is arguing with one of Corbett’s corner man, perhaps about the alleged slow count, or Siler restraining Corbett after the knockdown. This goes on for the entire time in-between rounds. Outside of this, Siler is a great ref. He stays away from the action, and makes sure the breaks are clean.

Frame four: Fitzsimmons shuffling back and forth. It looks like he wants to catch Corbett coming in. Shots exchanged. Hard hook by Fitzsimmons in a clinch. Corbett switches up a bit. He jabs then clinches. Looked like John Ruiz there. Hard right to the head by Corbett. Corbett still very quick on his feet. Fitzsimmons can not catch up to Corbett. Another clinch. Ref Siler breaks them up. Rough clinch as they fight. Looks like an accidental head butt there! The bell sounds. The fighters get in each others faces! Corbett’s round.

Frame five: Corbett back in the middle of the ring. Clinching is now rough. Corbett is sneaky in the clinch. Fitzsimmons uses his elbow on Corbett’s neck to break the clinch. This has turned into a rough fight! Jabs’s by Corbett. Wilds swings by Fitzsimmons!!!!!!... Corbett ducks then lands a throws a 1-2 missing the first but landing flush on the second. Very impressive. The Sun comes out again. Screen blurred a bit. Some more good shots by Corbett. Round ends. Corbett’s round.

Frame six: We warp forward to some unknown round. The film is much better now. Different camera angle as well. A closer up view. Back to the action. Fitzsimmons is landing hard. Fitzsimmons is winging shots like Marciano on Corbett. When Fitzsimmons punches he gets leverage on his shots, and has very little recovery time in-between punches. A clinch. Fitzsimmons pushes Corbett several feet back. Freeze frame. Now the fighters are in the center of the ring…..Fitzsimmons feints high, then lands a hard hook in a downward motion to Corbett’s floating rib / liver area. Bam! Corbett goes down on one leg. He’s trying to keep himself up with his glove on the mat. Referee Siler starts the count. Corbett falls to the mat. Now he tries to move towards the ropes to get up. Corbett’s seems paralyzed from the shot but desperately tires to get up. Corbett is still very game unlike Oscar De LaHoya. Corbett is counted out! KO win for Fitzsimmons as he raises his hand in victory. IMO, this was not a lucky KO punch, it was cleverly set up by Fitzsimmons. I would pick Corbett in a re-match.

Notes: I was impressed with both fighters for different reasons. Corbett looked very good on a grainy and slow film. IMO, he was moved around like Ali, could clinch almost as well as Jack Johnson, and was near impossible to hit from a distance. Power wise, Corbett surprised me a bit. He was accurate, could lands all types of punches, and counter. No doubt, Gentleman Jim could really fight. Even in defeat this film shows me he could decision lots of champions, making them look like uncoordinated geeks in the process. Corbett took some hard shots to the head, but Fitz was a deadly puncher with speed.

As far as Fitzsimmons goes, his footwork was very average. However, he was mentally and physically tough. His hand speed was very good, and his power had great effect when he landed. Vs a longer stick and move type of fighter, I think Fitzsimmons has would struggle ( as he did here ) , but when he closed the distance Fitz was deadly. Fitz would do much better vs the punchers or swarmers then fleet footed boxers.
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Old 12-28-2010, 10:38 AM   #97
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

Joe Godfrey was an average to poor Philly white middleweight, and was not George "old chocolate."
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:20 AM   #98
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by mattdonnellon View Post
Joe Godfrey was an average to poor Philly white middleweight, and was not George "old chocolate."
There seems to have been a black Joe Godfrey though.
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Old 12-28-2010, 03:15 PM   #99
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

A Bob Fitzsimmons coming along today, his natural assets adapted to the modern game, would be a great fan favorite. There would be the excitement of a man who can slip to sleeping drops at any point: to end a beat down, or in the midst of an opponents rally, or all of a sudden during a seeming lull -- Bob dished out the KO's in just about every situation. The guy had grit, too. And he seemed to have a different approach for each fight. Add to this Bob's colorful personality and locquacity -- yes, I'm sure a Fitzsimmons would go over big today.

One very impressive aspect of Fitzsimmons domination of NP Dempsey is that people said that Dempsey showed a form that would have beaten any other middleweight around; yet he was almost a child in Fitzsimmons hands (but heartbreakingly game).
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Old 12-28-2010, 05:16 PM   #100
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by mattdonnellon View Post
Joe Godfrey was an average to poor Philly white middleweight, and was not George "old chocolate."
I am interested in your opinion on this, because you obviously know an awful lot more about the period than most of us. But the articles i discovered with references to old chocolate Joe Godfrey seem to prove pretty conclusively that George Godfrey and Joe Godfrey were the same person. Whether this was caused by misprints or lack of knowledge or whether it was a deliberate change of name, i tend to think the first, seems unclear.

Also, whether the Joe Godfrey Fitzsimmons fought was Old Chocolate or the White Philly middleweight you talk about is also unclear. You would think the second, but to be honest the first does seem to make sense and be a more appropriate fit, particularly with the article i posted (admittedly it was not timely).

Do you have anything further on the white Philly middleweight? or the exhibitions between Fitz and Godfrey?
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:03 PM   #101
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by mattdonnellon View Post
Joe Godfrey was an average to poor Philly white middleweight, and was not George "old chocolate."
Keith Robinson's biography on Fitz has Joe Godfrey in a list of black fighters faced by Fitz prior to the Corbett bout.
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:40 PM   #102
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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I don't understand why modern fans have a hard time understanding how these transitional gloved boxers could hit so hard. they look so 'primitive' on film, that stuff would never work today etc etc etc.

the gloves they used were the same size (or smaller) than the gloves mma fighters wear today. watch enough mma fights and you see things that make you question their chins: knockdowns off jabs, horrible roundhouse swings that level guys, and other light looking punches that seem like they kill people.

take the same concept but make the mma fighter a turn of the century boxer, who all they train is throwing punches, along with the theory and skill to place their punches and it's not so far fetched to believe that a 155 lb man could have the science and strength to ko guys much larger than he.

in all fighting sports, a lot of the person's success comes down to the physical qualities of the fighters. some legends of the ring in boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, judo etc were one in a thousand physical specimens, whose physicality enable them to do things that average men can't explain, let alone duplicate.

I believe from the reports I've seen that bob fitzsimmons was such a man. argue what you want about technique or other things, but when bob fitzsimmons hit men lesser than a james j. jeffries, they folded up like accordions.
Great post.
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:58 AM   #103
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

More information about Fitzsimmons opponents. Sweeney, who met Fitzy when he was 54 years of age was apparently a promising young heavyweight.

Also interesting information on Dick Ellis, who seems to have been knocked out in 3 rounds. Ellis was apparently the leading contender for the middleweight title, so he was not exactly an easy mark.

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Old 02-08-2011, 05:29 PM   #104
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

I just noticed also that Bill KO Sweeney was not only a promising young heavyweight, but two years after he faced Fitzsimmons (in 1916) he actually fought none other than Harry Greb to a 6 round No Decision. Absolutely amazing stuff, when you think that if the Bob Fitzsimmons wasnt banned from boxing because of his age Greb vs Fitzsimmons would not have been too far fetched.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:04 PM   #105
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Default Re: Bob Fitzsimmons Appreciation Thread

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Originally Posted by Boilermaker View Post
I just noticed also that Bill KO Sweeney was not only a promising young heavyweight, but two years after he faced Fitzsimmons (in 1916) he actually fought none other than Harry Greb to a 6 round No Decision. Absolutely amazing stuff, when you think that if the Bob Fitzsimmons wasnt banned from boxing because of his age Greb vs Fitzsimmons would not have been too far fetched.
The rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper with Fitzsimmons.

It might be that if the true significance of his resume were understood it would rival Sam Langford's or Harry Greb's.
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