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Old 03-21-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
Manassa
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Default Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

Think of Ray Robinson first, where he rates as a puncher and why. Then move onto Charles.

What do you think?
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

Nope, although he was a great one and underrated. My reason is that in MOST of the footage we have he doesn't demonstrate excellence in two big things that define a GOAT level puncher:
-He doesn't score knockdowns or knockouts with body punching. He has a good right hand to the body, but we don't see him pinpointing the liver or plexus or heart or ribs with devastating effect.

-He cautiously opens up to finish and waits for openings rather than forcing them open by strength like a lot of the most devastating punchers do. Ezzard was great at feinting and subtly probing for openings. It's understandable- he's not a clubbing puncher but a sharp, quick one. I don't know whether he had the raw power for this approach.

If robinson is on the puncher side of boxer-puncher, than charles is on the boxer side. Maybe if we had more MW/LHW footage we could argue a better case for him as a puncher since he seemed to be a good deal more aggressive, but the Charles we know isn't that kind of operator.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

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Originally Posted by Swarmer View Post
Nope, although he was a great one and underrated. My reason is that in MOST of the footage we have he doesn't demonstrate excellence in two big things that define a GOAT level puncher:
-He doesn't score knockdowns or knockouts with body punching. He has a good right hand to the body, but we don't see him pinpointing the liver or plexus or heart or ribs with devastating effect.

-He cautiously opens up to finish and waits for openings rather than forcing them open by strength like a lot of the most devastating punchers do. Ezzard was great at feinting and subtly probing for openings. It's understandable- he's not a clubbing puncher but a sharp, quick one. I don't know whether he had the raw power for this approach.

If robinson is on the puncher side of boxer-puncher, than charles is on the boxer side. Maybe if we had more MW/LHW footage we could argue a better case for him as a puncher since he seemed to be a good deal more aggressive, but the Charles we know isn't that kind of operator.
Both of those points are quite strange. On the second one, I'd like to point out that a great puncher doesn't have to play that card in every fight*; to rank up with the best he just has to have that potential within him, like Ike Williams. Charles was able to pull a punch from nowhere; Moore, Valentino, Satterfield... Charles was actually a very, very damaging fighter. Look at Marciano, Layne and Baksi.

*In contrast to this, I rate Henry Armstrong in the top three (no lower) because of his brutal consistency in his prime.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

Charles had underrated power and so did SRR, they had the same type of one-punch power and yet many of there fights went the limit because of there abilities to box....While both men do not come to mind when I think of punchers because of their additional skills I would have to say they were punchers indeed
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

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Originally Posted by Manassa View Post
Both of those points are quite strange. On the second one, I'd like to point out that a great puncher doesn't have to play that card in every fight*; to rank up with the best he just has to have that potential within him, like Ike Williams. Charles was able to pull a punch from nowhere; Moore, Valentino, Satterfield... Charles was actually a very, very damaging fighter. Look at Marciano, Layne and Baksi.

*In contrast to this, I rate Henry Armstrong in the top three (no lower) because of his brutal consistency in his prime.
I'm not saying that Ezzard isn't great or that he lacked the ability; i'm saying that i think the greatest punchers frequently or primarily exhibit a mentality and strategy of landing a big punch or breaking a man down. I don't think charles does.

If you read A.J. Liebling's The Sweet Science(and if you haven't get on that), there's a section detailing Charles and Marciano both receive sessions with a psychiatrist as a part of pre-fight hype...The psychiatrist hypothesizes that Ezzard's personality is split in finishing mentality or killer instinct; that he simultaneously dislikes the brutality and primitive side of prize fighting, but also has a bloodthirsty dominant killer instint at the same time. Obviously that psychiatrist's experience with Charles' psyche and his career is limited, but I think that he proves a point in that Ezzard's technique and style varied with his mood, mentality, opponent and goal. He wasn't a killer with knockout in his mind all the time.

I don't see what's so strange about judging someone's quality as a puncher on the perceived results of their body punching. Am I wrong about Ezzard's body work? Does he have any overlooked displays here, in accounts or film?
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

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Originally Posted by Swarmer View Post
I'm not saying that Ezzard isn't great or that he lacked the ability; i'm saying that i think the greatest punchers frequently or primarily exhibit a mentality and strategy of landing a big punch or breaking a man down. I don't think charles does.

If you read A.J. Liebling's The Sweet Science(and if you haven't get on that), there's a section detailing Charles and Marciano both receive sessions with a psychiatrist as a part of pre-fight hype...The psychiatrist hypothesizes that Ezzard's personality is split in finishing mentality or killer instinct; that he simultaneously dislikes the brutality and primitive side of prize fighting, but also has a bloodthirsty dominant killer instint at the same time. Obviously that psychiatrist's experience with Charles' psyche and his career is limited, but I think that he proves a point in that Ezzard's technique and style varied with his mood, mentality, opponent and goal. He wasn't a killer with knockout in his mind all the time.

I don't see what's so strange about judging someone's quality as a puncher on the perceived results of their body punching. Am I wrong about Ezzard's body work? Does he have any overlooked displays here, in accounts or film?
Charles knocked out Lloyd Marshall with a left hook to the body in 1946

On the notion that Charles was not a killer (hmm), you may be right about it depending on his mood. Some knockouts, not all, from his later career show less instinctual finishing, but then, he still had the potential and demonstrated it against numerous opponents previous. Ike Williams, for various reasons, didn't register a great knockout percentage, but in full flight he was the most devastating fighter I've ever seen. Can't count him out.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

I think the case can be made.

Charles was able to outbox the better boxers of his era but he could still outslug much bigger heavyweights.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

Definitely, reading reports of him as a Middleweight and a Light-Heavyweight he really could bang, often turning a fight around, or ending it, in one punch.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

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Originally Posted by Manassa View Post
Both of those points are quite strange. On the second one, I'd like to point out that a great puncher doesn't have to play that card in every fight*; to rank up with the best he just has to have that potential within him, like Ike Williams. Charles was able to pull a punch from nowhere; Moore, Valentino, Satterfield... Charles was actually a very, very damaging fighter. Look at Marciano, Layne and Baksi.

*In contrast to this, I rate Henry Armstrong in the top three (no lower) because of his brutal consistency in his prime.
I've allways understood the nose split was caused by a wayward elbow.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

...when he was fighting light heavyweights nat fleischer said he was the hardest puncher and "most dangerous fighter in the ring today."


..nat was correct.
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

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Originally Posted by Manassa View Post
Think of Ray Robinson first, where he rates as a puncher and why. Then move onto Charles.

What do you think?
Combinations and accuracy? YES! Charles was great... Power? So-So at 200 pounds... That's fair...


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Old 03-22-2011, 05:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

Charles, one of the greatest punchers? I say no.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:14 AM   #13
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

Absolutely! As heavyweight champ he scored some devastating and picturesque ko's and of course the was the Boroudi fight...as well as his brutal ko of Archie Moore.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:32 AM   #14
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

technique, accuracy, combination fluidity, speed of hand and choice of punch all bode well for charles. perhaps he lacks the power of the truly great punchers such as louis and robinson. he's certainly up there though.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:52 AM   #15
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Default Re: Should Ezzard Charles be regarded as one of the greatest punchers?

Charles was a magnificent fighter and puncher.
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