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Old 07-31-2012, 05:54 AM   #1
janitor
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Default What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

Harry Wills has been the subject of a lot of contovesy on this forum recently, but I get the idea that a lot of people don't have a very clear idea of his style as a fighter.

So how would you describe him?

I have my own ideas, but I would like to let other people put theirs across first.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

I think he was a pretty smart fighter, he talked about how he played possum against Fulton to encourage Fulton to come forward and give countering opportunities. He then took Fulton apart as we know. Fulton complained about 'holding and hitting', so he probably had a good inside game and used his strength to bully opponents and he certainly showed to be a good bodypuncher breaking Fulton's ribs. Given the KO's over numerous top opponents we have to rate him as a puncher

Awaits the ill informed Willard and Firpo comparisons
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

Senya has the juice on this should he happen along.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

I based my earlier points partly on the following interview:

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

He ko'd Kid Norfolk cold with a single short right uppercut, so that speaks of his in-fighting abilities. Norfolk was said to be quick and Wills used height/reach to offset quicker fighters

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Wills-Langford 1916 write up below: 'clever boxing skill', 'constantly kept his left jab in Langford's face'. When Langford made his way past the jab he was seemingly smashed with a hard right counter

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Here's a write up of a Wills-Langford 1916 bout, not much talk of styles but clearly very dominant


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Wills knocks out Tut Jackson with bodyshots, the below describes a brutal body attack

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This looks interesting, Benny Leonard discussing Wills, but it isn't free

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Dempsey describes Wills as a scientific but also a mauler

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Old 07-31-2012, 09:33 AM   #5
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerPuncher View Post
I based my earlier points partly on the following interview:

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

He ko'd Kid Norfolk cold with a single short right uppercut, so that speaks of his in-fighting abilities. Norfolk was said to be quick and Wills used height/reach to offset quicker fighters

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

Wills-Langford 1916 write up below: 'clever boxing skill', 'constantly kept his left jab in Langford's face'. When Langford made his way past the jab he was seemingly smashed with a hard right counter

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

Here's a write up of a Wills-Langford 1916 bout, not much talk of styles but clearly very dominant


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

Wills knocks out Tut Jackson with bodyshots, the below describes a brutal body attack

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

This looks interesting, Benny Leonard discussing Wills, but it isn't free

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

Dempsey describes Wills as a scientific but also a mauler

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
This is a prety good summary.

I think that he is underestimated as a puncher. In one of their early fights Sam Langford kicked the stool aside between rounds, because he thought that if he sat down he would never get up.

"Even iron will break eventualy, and my jaw isn't made of iron. It wouldn't do to take too many of those"

I also think that he was prety durable, given that only Sam Langford realy stopped him.

Sam Langford
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

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Originally Posted by janitor View Post
This is a prety good summary.

I think that he is underestimated as a puncher. In one of their early fights Sam Langford kicked the stool aside between rounds, because he thought that if he sat down he would never get up.

"Even iron will break eventualy, and my jaw isn't made of iron. It wouldn't do to take too many of those"

I also think that he was prety durable, given that only Sam Langford realy stopped him.

Sam Langford
Yes the reports do point to Langford being ready to go at times, Langford must have been pretty gutsy to stay in there or perhaps Wills wasn't the greatest finisher but the power certainly is there

Allot of names he blew out that are not noted on his record seem to have pulled big crowds and were big fights at the time, thought you might enjoy this story

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Old 07-31-2012, 04:36 PM   #7
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

A great one.

There's footage of Wills v Madden. Past his prime but still winning.
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

Wills doesn’t seem to have had any obvious weaknesses, apart from the fact that his style was not very aesthetically pleasing.

Can anybody suggest anything?
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

From those descriptions there he seems somewhat akin to a riddick bowe of his day in that he had the size and jab to keep people outside with their jab but the speed and power to beat them when they got inside.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor View Post
Wills doesn’t seem to have had any obvious weaknesses, apart from the fact that his style was not very aesthetically pleasing.

Can anybody suggest anything?
It did sound like Fulton may have had a better jab on the outside but that's speculating

Obviously being knocked out by Langford shows some weakness, while durable not the greatest chin and maybe could be suckered in or got complacent given he stated he didn't know what hit him. Speculative again


Quote:
Originally Posted by lufcrazy View Post
From those descriptions there he seems somewhat akin to a riddick bowe of his day in that he had the size and jab to keep people outside with their jab but the speed and power to beat them when they got inside.
Indeed, although maybe more of a focused body attack by the sounds of it, I wonder how many bodyshot KO's he has, we have 2 recorded but I'd expect there to be more as we don't have reports of all his fights

The more I read about the Wills the more impressive a fighter he appears to be
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:12 AM   #11
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

I think everyone has to agree that the more you read about wills, the more you even up the chances had he ever got the shot at dempsey.

Does anyone have any insight as to his physical strength?

I wouldn't read to much into the langford ko losses. Both seem to be perfect punches (like the one jersey ended charles with) any man would be down for ten after taking 15 stones worth of perfect punch.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:56 AM   #12
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

Quote:
Originally Posted by lufcrazy View Post
I think everyone has to agree that the more you read about wills, the more you even up the chances had he ever got the shot at dempsey.

Does anyone have any insight as to his physical strength?

I wouldn't read to much into the langford ko losses. Both seem to be perfect punches (like the one jersey ended charles with) any man would be down for ten after taking 15 stones worth of perfect punch.
There is a story about Wills attending the wake of a friend who was a boxer ,a big man,apparently the coffin had to be carried down several flights of stairs before it could be transported to the funeral parlour. Several friends turned up to help ,but the stairway was too narrow to permit them to all help.Wills is supposed to have shouldered the casket and taken it down and out into the street.

Wills was a health nut, and went on fasts to cleanse his body of impurities.
I've no doubt he was a very strong man.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:58 AM   #13
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

He was a great fighter.

I've noticed fighters from the 1920s and before who are judged mostly without people having seen the film tend to get rated a lot better than the ones who have a lot of easy-fo-find footage.
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:16 AM   #14
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Default Re: What sort of fighter was Harry Wills

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A great one.

There's footage of Wills v Madden. Past his prime but still winning.
Haven't heard of this, is it online?
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Old 08-01-2012, 10:37 AM   #15
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Haven't heard of this, is it online?
Not that I can find at the moment. A brief clip has been posted before.
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