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Old 11-12-2007, 03:44 PM   #1
Langford
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Default Hwts that caught bad breaks.

There is a "luck" factor that comes into play where success is involved. These are a list of some heavyweights that I think could have gone on and been more than just contenders/footnotes in boxing history had things played out just a little differently. I have stayed away from fighters who were barred from the top because of race (Jackson, Wills, etc) or those who died before they were able to evolve (mccarty). And also, taking them in their own time period (not moving them ahead or behind the time line so they can cherry pick a championship).

Oldest first.

1. Tom Sharkey.
Sharkey actually did fight, and win, the heavyweight championship. On what was ruled a foul to Bob Fitzsimmons. In a title that was vacated by Corbett, Fitz and Corbett were the two leading contenders at the time.
Had Corbett stayed retired, or likely come out of retirement to face Sharkey, it is likely that Sharkey would be remembered as the third "modern" heavyweight champ.

2. Georges Carpentier
It would have made a very interesting matchup. 6'6'' Jess Willard vs. 5' 11"
Carpentier. 245lbs vs. 170. Carpentier had the misfortune of being European during WWI and was out of the ring for the duration of the war plus. It would have been interesting to see the two fight, say in 1917. Carpentier never stood much of a chance vs. Dempsey, but without the war years, it is possible that Caprentier outpoints Willard to become champion between Willard and either Fulton or Dempsey. He would have been a hugely popular one.

3. Fred Fulton
Not sure what happened when he was knocked out by middleweight London who would end his career with a 1-8 record, but other than that, 1917 was a very good one for Fulton. In a 12 month period, he defeated Weinert (x2), Langford, Morris & Smith. That would be four of the Ring top ten right there (had it been in existance) Had the title not been frozen in the year 1917, it would be interesting to see, who would have got to Willard first. Or how Fulton vs. Carpentier would have turned out in an eliminator. In 1918 there was a fighter named Dempsey who would take away all Fulton had built up in 18 seconds.

4. Jack Renault.
Renault has become so obscure that his name sticks out, but the Canadian has to be one of the most unlucky heavyweights of all time. By 1923 he had done everything right. The only two fighters who beat him were Greb and Mikse. Nothing to be ashamed of there. He had also become one of Dempsey's best sparring partners. The education served him well. After the second Miske fight, Renault went on to beat Godfrey (2x), fight Tunney in a strange NC, beat Fulton, was ducked by Firpo, challenged Wills, and went on to fight and beat a bunch of No Names. He was peaking right around the time that Dempsey was making bad movies in Hollywood. A 1923/4 fight with Dempsey would have been ideal. Renault was now 200lbs plus.
So he had the bad luck of being a top contender in an era where he couldn't get a championship fight. Then the robberies came in. He was robbed vs. top ten heavy Rojas (whom he later beat) and most notably to Jack Sharkey. His career seems to have gone down hill after Sharkey. By the time a heavyweight tourny was announced two years later, Renault was all washed up.

5. Lem Franklin
One of boxing's sad tragedies, and most interesting figures. What happened to Franklin? By the time he died in the ring, he was out of the heavyweight picture for sure. During the reign of Joe Louis, Franklin put together a couple of solid years before WWII. He had reversed his losses to Musto and Simms, beat lightheavy Jimmy Bivins, Louis opponent Abe Simon, Curtis Sheppard and Lee Savold. Ranked third by the Ring in 41. He would be beat by the seriously underrated Bob Pastor early the next year, which would make him more a beat fighter than an unlucky one, but something happened to Franklin as well. He would go on to lose 7 of his last 9 fights.

6. Jimmy Bivins
Yes, a light heavy, and most likely, Louis would have taken him out during WWII, but could there have been a better matchup up between 1942-1946 then Louis. vs. Bivins? All the guys that Louis couldn't fight, Bivins was fighting and beating. Included are Bob Pastor (who probably wouldn't have been a draw vs. Louis III, but was deserving), Mauriello (x2), Savold, a young small Ezzard Charles, Loyld Marshall, Pat Valentino, Sheppard, Lee Q Murray (x2), Archie Moore. Then there is the strange way that Bivins v. Walcott was scored. In any other circumstance, that is a win for Bivins, with two of three judges giving the nod to Bivins. Bivins would have made a very credible opponent during WWII. Can't blame Louis, gotta blame the war, and the bad luck of Bivins coming into his own during those four years.

7. Clarence Henry
Not sure to classify Henry as unlucky, or just having knack for losing the bigger ones. In the end, I'd say he was more unlucky then anything. Wins vs. Agramonte (2x), in older Bivins, Thompson, Satterfield and especially Bob Baker should have seen him get a shot around 1952 but Charles and Walcott were the heavyweight draw then, legitamately. By the time Walcott was looking for a new opponent, he had already lost to Harold Johnson (closely) and Archie Moore for sure.

8/9 Eddie Machen/Zora Folley
Bad luck had nothing to do with Machen getting iced brutally by Ingo in 1958, or both being beat by Liston, but coming along during the Cus D'Amato controlled Floyd Patterson days certainly kept him from challenging for the title before Liston arrived. It's hard to believe that Machen never got a title shot and it took Folley ten years, though he was a top ten heavy during those ten years.

10. Leotis Martin
Ok, losing in a legit tournament to Jimmy Ellis, and other good fighters of your era like Bonavena and Clark isn't so much bad luck as it is not being able to step up. But come on, you beat the still very dangerous Sonny Liston, the best win of your career, and you can't fight any longer because even in losing Sonny can still detach your retina. The Liston win would have been a launch pad to a fight with Frazier or a rematch with Ellis.

11. Ray Mercer
Ray had some very nice come from behind wins against Damiami and Morrison. A comebacking Holmes could use his ring smarts to pick apart Mercer with ease, but Mercer had a very close call against Lennox Lewis, and for some reason could not do very well against journeyman Jessie Ferguson. If the Ferguson fight would have never happened, he would have been a great fight for Riddick Bowe.

12. Joe Mesi
One could say, "Mesi is lucky to be alive" which, of course, would be true. You could also say that it in his next fight against a top five opponent, that opponent would have taken him out for sure. Which is probably true.
But, Mesi had beat Williamson, Barrett, (who would go on to sleep his way through a title challenge) and good cruiser Jirov. Mesi wasn't the second coming, but he would have been a huge draw in the divison. Like Martin, it was a bad break for a potential title challenger.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:27 PM   #2
ChrisPontius
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Some very nice picks there, Langford.

You don't often hear about Renault at all. Didn't know the Rojas and more important, the Sharkey fight was a robbery. Is the latter available on film ?


If you don't mind i'd like to add two that come to mind:

-Jimmy Young. He had a short prime but probably due to a non-crowd pleasing style didn't get the decision against Shavers (rematch), Ali (linear title) and Norton, after which he went down hill fast. If he had gotten those verdicts, then he would've been a champion with wins over Ali (old but cunning), Foreman, Shavers, Lyle 2x, Norton and never having been beaten during his short prime.

-Pinklon Thomas. He had a bit of bad luck to come around when Holmes was aging and no longer taking on the top contenders. He put together an impressive winning streak, beating Weaver and Witherspoon, both of whom gave the champion very tough fights.

Last edited by ChrisPontius; 11-12-2007 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

good adds. Chris.
I was very close to putting Thomas up there.

A strong case can be made for Young too, I personally think that he did lose against Ali, but you could definitely argue that he should have gotten the decision and had a style that made him unlucky/looked over when it came time to decisions.

Renault is a true lost heavy. I do not know if he could have beat Dempsey, but like Wills, if Dempsey would have fought him, it would definitely put Dempsey at the number three spot for me ATG. I do not think film exists, but I'd love to read a write up on Sharkey vs. Renault.
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Mercer made two major league mistakes. One: he signed to fight Holmes instead of the WBO mandatory Michael Moorer (which had the potential to be explosive). Two: he thought he could defeat Ferguson without training.

The only bad break Pinklon Thomas got was from a needle full of heroin.
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Old 11-12-2007, 08:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmille
Mercer made two major league mistakes. One: he signed to fight Holmes instead of the WBO mandatory Michael Moorer (which had the potential to be explosive). Two: he thought he could defeat Ferguson without training.

The only bad break Pinklon Thomas got was from a needle full of heroin.
yeah, but even in the rematch Mercer didn't do all that well. Moorer was definitely the way to go for Mercer. A zig when you should have zagged.

Last edited by b0xx0r; 09-15-2006 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 11-13-2007, 02:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

I think Carp loseings to Jess. No way can I see George beating Willard.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Smokin' Bert Cooper is the first guy i thought of, he came so close 2x in winning the heavyweight title, if he had any luck it would have went his way
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Langford
There is a "luck" factor that comes into play where success is involved. These are a list of some heavyweights that I think could have gone on and been more than just contenders/footnotes in boxing history had things played out just a little differently. I have stayed away from fighters who were barred from the top because of race (Jackson, Wills, etc) or those who died before they were able to evolve (mccarty). And also, taking them in their own time period (not moving them ahead or behind the time line so they can cherry pick a championship).

Oldest first.

1. Tom Sharkey.
Sharkey actually did fight, and win, the heavyweight championship. On what was ruled a foul to Bob Fitzsimmons. In a title that was vacated by Corbett, Fitz and Corbett were the two leading contenders at the time.
Had Corbett stayed retired, or likely come out of retirement to face Sharkey, it is likely that Sharkey would be remembered as the third "modern" heavyweight champ.

2. Georges Carpentier
It would have made a very interesting matchup. 6'6'' Jess Willard vs. 5' 11"
Carpentier. 245lbs vs. 170. Carpentier had the misfortune of being European during WWI and was out of the ring for the duration of the war plus. It would have been interesting to see the two fight, say in 1917. Carpentier never stood much of a chance vs. Dempsey, but without the war years, it is possible that Caprentier outpoints Willard to become champion between Willard and either Fulton or Dempsey. He would have been a hugely popular one.

3. Fred Fulton
Not sure what happened when he was knocked out by middleweight London who would end his career with a 1-8 record, but other than that, 1917 was a very good one for Fulton. In a 12 month period, he defeated Weinert (x2), Langford, Morris & Smith. That would be four of the Ring top ten right there (had it been in existance) Had the title not been frozen in the year 1917, it would be interesting to see, who would have got to Willard first. Or how Fulton vs. Carpentier would have turned out in an eliminator. In 1918 there was a fighter named Dempsey who would take away all Fulton had built up in 18 seconds.

4. Jack Renault.
Renault has become so obscure that his name sticks out, but the Canadian has to be one of the most unlucky heavyweights of all time. By 1923 he had done everything right. The only two fighters who beat him were Greb and Mikse. Nothing to be ashamed of there. He had also become one of Dempsey's best sparring partners. The education served him well. After the second Miske fight, Renault went on to beat Godfrey (2x), fight Tunney in a strange NC, beat Fulton, was ducked by Firpo, challenged Wills, and went on to fight and beat a bunch of No Names. He was peaking right around the time that Dempsey was making bad movies in Hollywood. A 1923/4 fight with Dempsey would have been ideal. Renault was now 200lbs plus.
So he had the bad luck of being a top contender in an era where he couldn't get a championship fight. Then the robberies came in. He was robbed vs. top ten heavy Rojas (whom he later beat) and most notably to Jack Sharkey. His career seems to have gone down hill after Sharkey. By the time a heavyweight tourny was announced two years later, Renault was all washed up.

5. Lem Franklin
One of boxing's sad tragedies, and most interesting figures. What happened to Franklin? By the time he died in the ring, he was out of the heavyweight picture for sure. During the reign of Joe Louis, Franklin put together a couple of solid years before WWII. He had reversed his losses to Musto and Simms, beat lightheavy Jimmy Bivins, Louis opponent Abe Simon, Curtis Sheppard and Lee Savold. Ranked third by the Ring in 41. He would be beat by the seriously underrated Bob Pastor early the next year, which would make him more a beat fighter than an unlucky one, but something happened to Franklin as well. He would go on to lose 7 of his last 9 fights.

6. Jimmy Bivins
Yes, a light heavy, and most likely, Louis would have taken him out during WWII, but could there have been a better matchup up between 1942-1946 then Louis. vs. Bivins? All the guys that Louis couldn't fight, Bivins was fighting and beating. Included are Bob Pastor (who probably wouldn't have been a draw vs. Louis III, but was deserving), Mauriello (x2), Savold, a young small Ezzard Charles, Loyld Marshall, Pat Valentino, Sheppard, Lee Q Murray (x2), Archie Moore. Then there is the strange way that Bivins v. Walcott was scored. In any other circumstance, that is a win for Bivins, with two of three judges giving the nod to Bivins. Bivins would have made a very credible opponent during WWII. Can't blame Louis, gotta blame the war, and the bad luck of Bivins coming into his own during those four years.

7. Clarence Henry
Not sure to classify Henry as unlucky, or just having knack for losing the bigger ones. In the end, I'd say he was more unlucky then anything. Wins vs. Agramonte (2x), in older Bivins, Thompson, Satterfield and especially Bob Baker should have seen him get a shot around 1952 but Charles and Walcott were the heavyweight draw then, legitamately. By the time Walcott was looking for a new opponent, he had already lost to Harold Johnson (closely) and Archie Moore for sure.

8/9 Eddie Machen/Zora Folley
Bad luck had nothing to do with Machen getting iced brutally by Ingo in 1958, or both being beat by Liston, but coming along during the Cus D'Amato controlled Floyd Patterson days certainly kept him from challenging for the title before Liston arrived. It's hard to believe that Machen never got a title shot and it took Folley ten years, though he was a top ten heavy during those ten years.

10. Leotis Martin
Ok, losing in a legit tournament to Jimmy Ellis, and other good fighters of your era like Bonavena and Clark isn't so much bad luck as it is not being able to step up. But come on, you beat the still very dangerous Sonny Liston, the best win of your career, and you can't fight any longer because even in losing Sonny can still detach your retina. The Liston win would have been a launch pad to a fight with Frazier or a rematch with Ellis.

11. Ray Mercer
Ray had some very nice come from behind wins against Damiami and Morrison. A comebacking Holmes could use his ring smarts to pick apart Mercer with ease, but Mercer had a very close call against Lennox Lewis, and for some reason could not do very well against journeyman Jessie Ferguson. If the Ferguson fight would have never happened, he would have been a great fight for Riddick Bowe.

12. Joe Mesi
One could say, "Mesi is lucky to be alive" which, of course, would be true. You could also say that it in his next fight against a top five opponent, that opponent would have taken him out for sure. Which is probably true.
But, Mesi had beat Williamson, Barrett, (who would go on to sleep his way through a title challenge) and good cruiser Jirov. Mesi wasn't the second coming, but he would have been a huge draw in the divison. Like Martin, it was a bad break for a potential title challenger.
I dont think Sharkey had bad luck ,quite the opposite rally ,the punch Fitz threw to stop him was legit ,but the ref Earp ,a pal of Sharkeys dsqd Fitz.


Firpo lucked out big time when he sacked his corner,trying to save money ,a good manager would have made more of Dempsey being pushed back in the ring imo.
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Old 11-13-2007, 06:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Langford, I can find very little on this Sharkey -Renault fight except that Sharkey built up an early lead and won clearly, dropping only two rounds in a good defensive contest with no knockdowns.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcvey
I dont think Sharkey had bad luck ,quite the opposite rally ,the punch Fitz threw to stop him was legit ,but the ref Earp ,a pal of Sharkeys dsqd Fitz.


Firpo lucked out big time when he sacked his corner,trying to save money ,a good manager would have made more of Dempsey being pushed back in the ring imo.
Earp can't be crooked! I enjoy watching the film Tombstone too much to think of Earp as playing favorites! It is crazy that Wyatt Earp was a ref for this fight. I have heard both sides when it comes to the punch, have to read the new Pollack book to get the real scoop on it though

However, regardless, its still a fight that was billed for the championship of the world, Sharkey technically won it, and if Corbett would not have recalimed his championship, Sharkey would be written down in history as the champ.
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Old 11-13-2007, 08:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattdonnellon
Langford, I can find very little on this Sharkey -Renault fight except that Sharkey built up an early lead and won clearly, dropping only two rounds in a good defensive contest with no knockdowns.
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ].

Matt, a little bit about Renault here. Sharkey was the hometown hero.

The little blurb on boxrec suggusts that another local paper thought that Renault had won the majority of the rounds. Renault beat Rojas, had the Sharkey fight, and then beat Risko, before losing to Godfrey. He had already beaten Godfrey twice.
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Old 11-13-2007, 09:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dempsey1238
I think Carp loseings to Jess. No way can I see George beating Willard.
probably. But Capentier could try and out box him over 15-20. I think its in interesting fight.
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Old 11-13-2007, 10:40 PM   #13
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Willard could hit though. And George did not have the greatness of chins. And still its a superheavyweight vs a middleweight/lightheavyweight. Carp is pretty over rated.
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Old 11-14-2007, 08:56 AM   #14
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Default Re: Hwts that caught bad breaks.

Leotis was coming on in the Ellis fight at the time of stoppage.
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Old 11-14-2007, 09:15 AM   #15
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James "Quick" Tillis, who should have realized his chance against Mike Weaver, and Renaldo Snipes, who probably fought the wrong champ.
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