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Old 06-16-2010, 12:19 PM   #31
Stevie G
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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Norton would have ripped Spinks a new one and Butch Lewis knew it. A rematch with a totally jaded Ali meant far more money and far less risk.

If Norton had defeated Spinks, he would have likely defended against Ali and beat him in a fourth fight. Holmes would have taken over thereafter by defeating Norton.

So history would have been altered slightly but not drastically!
My scenario exactly.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:23 PM   #32
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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Shavers beats Norton at any virtually any point of their respective careers as does Foreman.
I disagree. If Norton had landed his big punches on Earnie's chin first,then Ken would have WKO 1 next to HIS record. Norton may not have hit as hard as Shavers,but easily as hard as Jerry Quarry who stopped Shavers in one. I agree with about Foreman,however. He would always have been a nightmare for Ken.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:26 PM   #33
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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I agree Norton would have beaten Spinks, but don't condemn Ali at nearly 38 for not facing Norton again.Spinks ducked Norton,Ali fought him 3 times.
Too right. Nobody can accuse Muhammad of not being a fighting champion.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:30 PM   #34
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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He was a slow, plodding, come forward fighter - hands high with mediocre power and no head movement.

He went 15 with Ali which said more about what Ali had left than what Evangelista had. Holmes made mince meat of him easily - that is worth seeing but the Ali fight is attrocious!
Too right it was atrocious. Comparing Ali's performance with Holmes' against Evangelista is unfair,though. Holmes was at his peak,whereas Muhammad was 35 and near the end of his career. If Ali had been Holmes' age (29) when HE fought Evangelista,he'd have had as easy a time with him as Larry did.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:46 PM   #35
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

Norton KO 5 Stinks in '78............

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Old 06-17-2010, 04:32 AM   #36
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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A cautionary reminder though, JT, that this was also believed of 188 pound stringbean Garcia when he first squared off with Ken (then on the brink of turning 27). Norton did manage to inflict some damage on Garcia in their first match, but Jose still beat the crap out of him. Ken outweighed Garcia by 20 pounds, about the same difference he would have held over Leon in 1978.
Are we talking prime Norton or an inexperienced fledgling version tho? Norton improved vastly after losing to Garcia and indeed beat him up (in a decent fight) some 5 years later. Leon ain't fighting the Norton Garcia did initially.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:37 AM   #37
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

Norton would decision Spinks, then beat Ali in a fourth fight, then lose to Holmes in late 78/early 79.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:54 PM   #38
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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Are we talking prime Norton or an inexperienced fledgling version tho? Norton improved vastly after losing to Garcia and indeed beat him up (in a decent fight) some 5 years later. Leon ain't fighting the Norton Garcia did initially.
Garcia was around 20 years old, had been a middleweight just two years earlier, had two fewer fights, had been stopped in six by mediocre former middleweight Allen Thomas, and was a 5-1 underdog (as he should have been).

Ken was a full fledged heavyweight from the get go, an outstanding accomplished natural athlete, and again, was about to turn 27. If Garcia could do what he did to a physically mature Norton at this stage, Bob Foster might have killed Kenny as he nearly did Mike Quarry. (At this point in time, Bob was not adverse to beating up inferior heavyweights with Norton's inexperience either, as Cookie Wallace could attest.) Garcia-Norton I should never have happened.

Yes, Norton was vastly improved for the rematch, but the lazy Garcia had also regressed badly, despite still being only 25. Still, he actually had his moments, and lasted longer with Ken than he did with Bugner, Lyle and Alexander.

I'm not disputing that this early version of Norton was vastly inferior to later editions, but the nature of his loss to Garcia remains incredibly disturbing to me. Ken was dropped in the first round by a middleweight, and not a Hearns or Monzon caliber middleweight either.

He might well be the very best advertisement alive for Napoleon Hill and "Think and Grow Rich," but the chin was never really there. Examining his record, I find evidence for as many as 11 career knockdowns, about half of those early career knockdowns in early rounds by opponents who weighed under 200. Sure, he could get up to win, but he still had enough trouble with lighter opposition that I wouldn't dismiss Leon's chances on the basis of size alone. Mercado wasn't nearly as good as Ken, but he was bigger than Norton and a much harder puncher. (Norton simply didn't fight opponents under 200 pounds after 1972, but a good one may well have sprung another nasty surprise.)

Skill, experience and intelligence, not size or power, would have been Leon's biggest deficits against Ken. In that respect, the gap between the two would have been too much for Leon to overcome. Relentless swarming would not have worked with Norton, who had dealt with plenty of it in sparring with a peak Frazier on a daily basis.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:27 PM   #39
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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When we talk about uncrowned heavyweight champions names like Peter Jackson, Sam Langford and Harry Wills come up but never Ken Norton.

I wonder if there was a significant period where Norton was better than the title holders and idealy equiped to beat them.
Yes ... From the Yankee Stadium robbery in 76 through his title loss to Holmes in 78 ...
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:29 PM   #40
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

Norton wins.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:40 AM   #41
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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Yes ... From the Yankee Stadium robbery in 76 through his title loss to Holmes in 78 ...
It's possible that Ken was the best heavyweight in the world in the timeframe that you mention. I still do n't look at the Yankee Stadium fight as being a robbery,though. As I'm repeatedly saying,there is a case for Norton winning it on workrate,but it was still close enough.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:19 AM   #42
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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Originally Posted by Duodenum View Post
Garcia was around 20 years old, had been a middleweight just two years earlier, had two fewer fights, had been stopped in six by mediocre former middleweight Allen Thomas, and was a 5-1 underdog (as he should have been).

Ken was a full fledged heavyweight from the get go, an outstanding accomplished natural athlete, and again, was about to turn 27. If Garcia could do what he did to a physically mature Norton at this stage, Bob Foster might have killed Kenny as he nearly did Mike Quarry. (At this point in time, Bob was not adverse to beating up inferior heavyweights with Norton's inexperience either, as Cookie Wallace could attest.) Garcia-Norton I should never have happened.

Yes, Norton was vastly improved for the rematch, but the lazy Garcia had also regressed badly, despite still being only 25. Still, he actually had his moments, and lasted longer with Ken than he did with Bugner, Lyle and Alexander.

I'm not disputing that this early version of Norton was vastly inferior to later editions, but the nature of his loss to Garcia remains incredibly disturbing to me. Ken was dropped in the first round by a middleweight, and not a Hearns or Monzon caliber middleweight either.

He might well be the very best advertisement alive for Napoleon Hill and "Think and Grow Rich," but the chin was never really there. Examining his record, I find evidence for as many as 11 career knockdowns, about half of those early career knockdowns in early rounds by opponents who weighed under 200. Sure, he could get up to win, but he still had enough trouble with lighter opposition that I wouldn't dismiss Leon's chances on the basis of size alone. Mercado wasn't nearly as good as Ken, but he was bigger than Norton and a much harder puncher. (Norton simply didn't fight opponents under 200 pounds after 1972, but a good one may well have sprung another nasty surprise.)

Skill, experience and intelligence, not size or power, would have been Leon's biggest deficits against Ken. In that respect, the gap between the two would have been too much for Leon to overcome. Relentless swarming would not have worked with Norton, who had dealt with plenty of it in sparring with a peak Frazier on a daily basis.
I'll be back on this, ransacked my house for two mags i'd like to read and after sifting thru about 200 did not find the suckers. Must have put them aside.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:32 AM   #43
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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It's possible that Ken was the best heavyweight in the world in the timeframe that you mention. I still do n't look at the Yankee Stadium fight as being a robbery,though. As I'm repeatedly saying,there is a case for Norton winning it on workrate,but it was still close enough.
You are not alone. Many seem to feel the same ... I'll rewatch it on youtube one of these days to get a recent perspective.
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Old 06-19-2010, 04:05 PM   #44
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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I'll be back on this, ransacked my house for two mags i'd like to read and after sifting thru about 200 did not find the suckers. Must have put them aside.
Take your time, JT. We've got a good dialogue going on this, and I'd expect nothing less from you than a quality response. (As I'll be recovering from a broken leg for the next several weeks, I can't rummage through anything, so I'd be more inclined to defer to whatever you can document.)
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:20 PM   #45
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Default Re: Supposing Leon Spinks had defended his title against Ken Norton...

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Take your time, JT. We've got a good dialogue going on this, and I'd expect nothing less from you than a quality response. (As I'll be recovering from a broken leg for the next several weeks, I can't rummage through anything, so I'd be more inclined to defer to whatever you can document.)
Sorry to hear that mate. How in the heck did that come about if you don't mind me asking.

I've got a couple of Eddie Futch interviews and i know he talks about the Garcia fight, i want to see what he said as i can't remember.
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