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Old 02-01-2008, 01:45 PM   #46
ChrisPontius
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonny's jab
OK, so far Leon Spinks, Carnera, Braddock, Rahman and Briggs have been offered up as WORSE THANS.

Anyone else ?
As much as i like him (particularly at LHW), i think Michael Spinks could be up there as well.

He did well in taking the title from Holmes, but Holmes was just horrible that night (he looked better in his 40's), and on top of that, on a fair scorecard, Holmes won the rematch. His fight with Cooney was decent, but Cooney never beat a live contender himself, was overhyped, inactive and on drugs. Then he ducks Tucker and gets blown out by Tyson, easier than any other Tyson opponent up to date.

I think guys like Carnera, Rahman and Briggs would have a good chance in beating him, and they are mentioned as "worst".


Doesn't look good for the Spinks brothers.
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Old 02-01-2008, 02:32 PM   #47
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

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Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
As much as i like him (particularly at LHW), i think Michael Spinks could be up there as well.

He did well in taking the title from Holmes, but Holmes was just horrible that night (he looked better in his 40's), and on top of that, on a fair scorecard, Holmes won the rematch. His fight with Cooney was decent, but Cooney never beat a live contender himself, was overhyped, inactive and on drugs. Then he ducks Tucker and gets blown out by Tyson, easier than any other Tyson opponent up to date.

I think guys like Carnera, Rahman and Briggs would have a good chance in beating him, and they are mentioned as "worst".


Doesn't look good for the Spinks brothers.
Doesn't say much for Larry Holmes, that he lost to, then struggled with albeit robbed against, Mike Spinks.

I see a trend developing. Some of the fighters regarded by many as the very BEST of the heavyweight champions actually LOST the title to some who are regarded as the very WORST.

Johnson, Ali, Holmes and Lewis lost to four of the worst, but are regarded among the best.
They were all over 35 though.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:07 PM   #48
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Braddock was pretty bad IMO, even if he was a likeable guy.
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Old 02-01-2008, 10:23 PM   #49
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

I still go with Buster Douglas.

As a CHALLENGER, he was fantastic against Tyson. We probably all know that.

As a CHAMPION, he didn't take his job seriously and got blown out.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:58 AM   #50
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

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Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
You should work as a PR-agent. You can make shit look good.
Thanks Chris, but I rather like being on early retirement (as least for the time being).
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Nah, Baer was incredibly primitive in terms of boxing skill, and since Braddock had the chin to take Baer's shot, he easily outboxed him.
Sure. After all, Carnera also managed to outbox him handily in the rounds Primo stayed upright. But I do wonder how the Max Baer of the Schmeling fight might have done against Braddock. Jimmy did close out his career with a fine decision win over Tommy Farr, hardly anybody's idea of a patsy.
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:01 AM   #51
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

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Originally Posted by Sonny's jab
Doesn't say much for Larry Holmes, that he lost to, then struggled with albeit robbed against, Mike Spinks.

I see a trend developing. Some of the fighters regarded by many as the very BEST of the heavyweight champions actually LOST the title to some who are regarded as the very WORST.

Johnson, Ali, Holmes and Lewis lost to four of the worst, but are regarded among the best.
They were all over 35 though.
Like you said, they were old and on top of that, in almost all of those cases seemed to be interested in other things than boxing.

I think it's more about coincidence than that it really says something about the champion. In a sense you could say that Louis was "lucky" to lose to a great like Marciano at that point, Liston to Ali, Frazier to Foreman, etc. If Ali wasn't there, i wouldn't be surprised to see Liston end up losing the title to, say, Terrel. Baer's legacy would also be a lot better if he lost the title by 4th round TKO to Louis than in being outboxed by Braddock. Sometimes a relatively weak challenger can step up to the plate and lift the title from a heavy favorite.
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:18 AM   #52
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

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Originally Posted by Mendoza
Yes, Willard looks a bit better vs Moran than Johnson did, but much of that has to do with his height, reach, and power.
This is why I emphasised scrutinizing the movie film of the event frame by frame, rather than viewing an inferior videotaped copy on youtube. Careful observation of a good film strip reveals that Jess was indeed much faster than Moran, and considerably more effective defensively when within Frank's range. (Even on youtube, you can make out how Jess alternately ducks Moran's rights and blocks his hooks before ripping those uppercut counters off the ropes.)

Height, reach and power can only take you so far without some modicum of coordination, skill and speed. As has been pointed out, Carl Morris was a second rater, and Fred Fulton proved to be as well. Willard proved he could handle opponents of comparable size, and so did Carnera. There's no footage of either Willard or Carnera tripping over their own feet like that clutzy Ali did against Wepner. (Muhammad was sooo clumsy that when Chuck gracefully and effortlessly slipped an Ali right, the so-called Greatest actually pirouetted completely around, and halfway across the ring in Cleveland while Wepner waited patiently with arms outstretched for the champion to finally stop stumbling about.)
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:55 AM   #53
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

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Originally Posted by SteveO
I still go with Buster Douglas.

As a CHALLENGER, he was fantastic against Tyson. We probably all know that.

As a CHAMPION, he didn't take his job seriously and got blown out.
This is why I made a distinction between ability and achievement. The nature of Buster's win over Tyson was far more impressive than Braddock's title victory. If he had worked hard to maintain himself in peak physical condition, then Douglas had tremendous potential. There have been plenty of champions who got beat in their first title defense. In these cases, all we have to go on are the natures of their wins and losses in championship competition.

Douglas came off the deck to take out a very live kingpin in impressive fashion. He lost the honors to yet another ATG. Both opponents were near their peaks. Who knows what he might have done had he kept his weight around 215? (Considering his diabetes, that may yet become a necessity for him to live into old age.) Douglas has too many good wins for me to otherwise consider him for this dubious distinction.
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:43 AM   #54
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

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Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
I disagree. Most people remember Carnera for being destroyed by Baer, but forget that he outboxed Baer for most of those other rounds and might have been bothered by an ankle injury. Be that as it is, he still has a good resume with wins over:

Uzcudun 2x
Young Stribling
Levinsky
Lasky
Schaaf
Sharkey
Godfrey
Loughran

Those are pretty good fighters.
--gotta be careful with Primo. I think that it is wiser to refrain from ranking him because his record stinks likes fishes. It was widely beleived that his bouts in Europe were fixed. Owney Madden, a murderous NY gangster bought him from his French manager ('See') and brought him to the U.S. Madden, by the way, was born in Leeds and maintained his English accent long after he arrived in the West side of NYC. in 1930. Promoters Duffy, a felon, and DeMange were his partners.

Anyway, Primo's first fight in the U.S. was at the Madison Square Garden against Big Boy Peterson who went down in round 1 from a nothing shot. The next fight was in Chicago against Rioux, who went down 6 times in round --and promptly got fined a grand and got his license revoked. Primo was cleared in the investigation for the Illinois commission. His next 12 fights were early KOs -most in the first or second round. Carnera was big and strong -but the man couldn't fight. It's as simple as that. Destroying guys like Chuck Wiggins ("KO 2") who hadn't been KOd more than once before in 153 previous fights just stinks. If a guy is taking a dive, it makes more sense to go down early, why get hurt round after round?

Then he fights Chevalier.

Chevelair was approached by wiseguys in the sharkskin suits and agreed "not to do his best". The guys weren't so sure so they bought insurance -in the cornermen. Chevelair goes out and is surprised to see how bad Primo is, and figures that he can enhance his reputation. So he starts clubbing him. The corner intervenes. One of them puts resin on a sponge and wipes Leon's eyes and he's damn near blind for round 6. He still landing shots on Primo though, and things still look good for his chances... so when Primo lands a few light shots, Leon's corner throw the towel in. The crowd goes nuts.

Chevelair welched and if it weren't for all the bad publicity surrounding that fiasco, he may have had an "accident" after that.

The great Jack Blackburn trained George Godfrey. That fight was stopped in round 5, and there was a near riot. That's rare. A white crowd during the lynching years going nuts because a black man gets a loss against a white man. That one stinks to.

Bearcat Wright, KOd in 4. Wright was stopped twice before in 99 fights (both time by Langford, whom he fought 5 times in his first 12 recorded fights). My nose is bothering me there to.

Both fights with Stribling were disqualifications. Suspicions of a fix both times.

Primo was moved quickly from city to city in his first year in the U.S -like 22 different places in 24 fights inside of 12 months. He was pimped. And I look at the flying suitcases as suspicious.

Anyway, he meets Jim Maloney in Boston -the mob may not have felt that this one needed a fix because Maloney was 195 pounds and a non-threat. Surprise! Primo loses. But then beats him 5 months later.... in Madden's backyard.

The Sharkey fight was not fixed. Neither were his other losses to Larry Gains and Stanley Poreda, who was trained by Joe Jeanette.

The Baer fight wasn't fixed either. Baer was owned by Owney too, although I'm not sure that he was at this time... probably. The reporters were starting to watch Primo's fights very closely. So they left Primo on his own to take the heat off. Predicably, Primo crumbles.

.... All of Primo's wins are suspicious. The losses are less so -unless something went wrong, which happens. I think it likely that Stribling and Godfrey -both solid guys, negotiated those disqualifications as a matter of pride. Chevalier was more reckless and tried to win anyway. The rest were likely bought off and remember, this was at the height of the Great Depression. Wiseguys didn't feel the pangs of hunger but fighters did. The temptation wa$ probably $ignificant!
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:26 AM   #55
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

I don't know enough about Jess Willard to say that he was the "worst" lineal champion of all time. I suppose folks in this thread have already made some very good arguments which make him a strong candidate though. I've also heard names like Leon Spinks and Buster Douglas mentioned. Though I do not think that their reigns were any better or worse than WIllard's, a fair argument can be made that their overall careers were right on par with his. James Douglas is not that bad of a fighter from my standpoint. He fought a well assorted mixed bag of fighters who ranged from decent to good in the years prior to meeting Tyson. Also, he did the impossible by beating a man who some thought was borderline invincible ( of course no man is. ) Leon Spinks was pretty much a dud of professional, but he at least won a gold medal, and defeated some OK fighters like Righetti, Mercado, and a few others before challenging Ali. In either case, Douglas and Spinks likely beat better champions than Willard beat to win the title. Though Ali was washed up and Tyson ill prepared, I think Jack Johnson was truly a shot fighter with little left to offer at the time. What's more, is both Spinks and Douglas got right back in the ring and defended their belts in losing fashion, whereas Willard for whatever reason did not fight for something like two years.

Again, I'm no expert on Willard, and frankly he's not a fighter who's history has ever sparked my interest much, but I can certainly appreciate and understand some of the points that other posters have made for him being a weak champion.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:37 AM   #56
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehands89
--gotta be careful with Primo. I think that it is wiser to refrain from ranking him because his record stinks likes fishes. It was widely beleived that his bouts in Europe were fixed. Owney Madden, a murderous NY gangster bought him from his French manager ('See') and brought him to the U.S. Madden, by the way, was born in Leeds and maintained his English accent long after he arrived in the West side of NYC. in 1930. Promoters Duffy, a felon, and DeMange were his partners.

Anyway, Primo's first fight in the U.S. was at the Madison Square Garden against Big Boy Peterson who went down in round 1 from a nothing shot. The next fight was in Chicago against Rioux, who went down 6 times in round --and promptly got fined a grand and got his license revoked. Primo was cleared in the investigation for the Illinois commission. His next 12 fights were early KOs -most in the first or second round. Carnera was big and strong -but the man couldn't fight. It's as simple as that. Destroying guys like Chuck Wiggins ("KO 2") who hadn't been KOd more than once before in 153 previous fights just stinks. If a guy is taking a dive, it makes more sense to go down early, why get hurt round after round?

Then he fights Chevalier.

Chevelair was approached by wiseguys in the sharkskin suits and agreed "not to do his best". The guys weren't so sure so they bought insurance -in the cornermen. Chevelair goes out and is surprised to see how bad Primo is, and figures that he can enhance his reputation. So he starts clubbing him. The corner intervenes. One of them puts resin on a sponge and wipes Leon's eyes and he's damn near blind for round 6. He still landing shots on Primo though, and things still look good for his chances... so when Primo lands a few light shots, Leon's corner throw the towel in. The crowd goes nuts.

Chevelair welched and if it weren't for all the bad publicity surrounding that fiasco, he may have had an "accident" after that.

The great Jack Blackburn trained George Godfrey. That fight was stopped in round 5, and there was a near riot. That's rare. A white crowd during the lynching years going nuts because a black man gets a loss against a white man. That one stinks to.

Bearcat Wright, KOd in 4. Wright was stopped twice before in 99 fights (both time by Langford, whom he fought 5 times in his first 12 recorded fights). My nose is bothering me there to.

Both fights with Stribling were disqualifications. Suspicions of a fix both times.

Primo was moved quickly from city to city in his first year in the U.S -like 22 different places in 24 fights inside of 12 months. He was pimped. And I look at the flying suitcases as suspicious.

Anyway, he meets Jim Maloney in Boston -the mob may not have felt that this one needed a fix because Maloney was 195 pounds and a non-threat. Surprise! Primo loses. But then beats him 5 months later.... in Madden's backyard.

The Sharkey fight was not fixed. Neither were his other losses to Larry Gains and Stanley Poreda, who was trained by Joe Jeanette.

The Baer fight wasn't fixed either. Baer was owned by Owney too, although I'm not sure that he was at this time... probably. The reporters were starting to watch Primo's fights very closely. So they left Primo on his own to take the heat off. Predicably, Primo crumbles.

.... All of Primo's wins are suspicious. The losses are less so -unless something went wrong, which happens. I think it likely that Stribling and Godfrey -both solid guys, negotiated those disqualifications as a matter of pride. Chevalier was more reckless and tried to win anyway. The rest were likely bought off and remember, this was at the height of the Great Depression. Wiseguys didn't feel the pangs of hunger but fighters did. The temptation wa$ probably $ignificant!
I have to disagree.

I mean, i don't doubt that some or even many of his early fights have been fixed, but this can probably be said of a lot of boxers during that period.

I've seen the Godfrey fight and it looked legit to me. Godfrey hit Carnera with hard combinations early on, some of which landed flush. I doubt he'd do that if he was instructed to lose somehow. It was a dirty fight, with a lot of infighting, Godfrey coming in head-first. He landed a left hook to the groin from which Carnera went down and Godfrey was disqualified. On top of that, Godfrey's record is filled with disqualifications. It's not like this was an anomoly.


Saying that "the man couldn't fight" is a wild exaggaration and selling him short, in my opinion. He outboxed Baer rather easily in the vast majority of the rounds. Or was that fixed too? His knockout of Sharkey looks legit to me. He beat master boxer Loughran and Uzcudun. What about Schaaf, Levinsky or Laski?

Who cares if the Chevalier fight was fixed? What matters is that when he stepped up to world class competition, he compiled an excellent record and gave a good account of himself, even against Baer. Which should show that he's certainly capable of beating lesser fighters.
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Old 02-02-2008, 11:55 AM   #57
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehands89
--gotta be careful with Primo. I think that it is wiser to refrain from ranking him because his record stinks likes fishes. It was widely beleived that his bouts in Europe were fixed. Owney Madden, a murderous NY gangster bought him from his French manager ('See') and brought him to the U.S. Madden, by the way, was born in Leeds and maintained his English accent long after he arrived in the West side of NYC. in 1930. Promoters Duffy, a felon, and DeMange were his partners.

Anyway, Primo's first fight in the U.S. was at the Madison Square Garden against Big Boy Peterson who went down in round 1 from a nothing shot. The next fight was in Chicago against Rioux, who went down 6 times in round --and promptly got fined a grand and got his license revoked. Primo was cleared in the investigation for the Illinois commission. His next 12 fights were early KOs -most in the first or second round. Carnera was big and strong -but the man couldn't fight. It's as simple as that. Destroying guys like Chuck Wiggins ("KO 2") who hadn't been KOd more than once before in 153 previous fights just stinks. If a guy is taking a dive, it makes more sense to go down early, why get hurt round after round?

Then he fights Chevalier.

Chevelair was approached by wiseguys in the sharkskin suits and agreed "not to do his best". The guys weren't so sure so they bought insurance -in the cornermen. Chevelair goes out and is surprised to see how bad Primo is, and figures that he can enhance his reputation. So he starts clubbing him. The corner intervenes. One of them puts resin on a sponge and wipes Leon's eyes and he's damn near blind for round 6. He still landing shots on Primo though, and things still look good for his chances... so when Primo lands a few light shots, Leon's corner throw the towel in. The crowd goes nuts.

Chevelair welched and if it weren't for all the bad publicity surrounding that fiasco, he may have had an "accident" after that.

The great Jack Blackburn trained George Godfrey. That fight was stopped in round 5, and there was a near riot. That's rare. A white crowd during the lynching years going nuts because a black man gets a loss against a white man. That one stinks to.

Bearcat Wright, KOd in 4. Wright was stopped twice before in 99 fights (both time by Langford, whom he fought 5 times in his first 12 recorded fights). My nose is bothering me there to.

Both fights with Stribling were disqualifications. Suspicions of a fix both times.

Primo was moved quickly from city to city in his first year in the U.S -like 22 different places in 24 fights inside of 12 months. He was pimped. And I look at the flying suitcases as suspicious.

Anyway, he meets Jim Maloney in Boston -the mob may not have felt that this one needed a fix because Maloney was 195 pounds and a non-threat. Surprise! Primo loses. But then beats him 5 months later.... in Madden's backyard.

The Sharkey fight was not fixed. Neither were his other losses to Larry Gains and Stanley Poreda, who was trained by Joe Jeanette.

The Baer fight wasn't fixed either. Baer was owned by Owney too, although I'm not sure that he was at this time... probably. The reporters were starting to watch Primo's fights very closely. So they left Primo on his own to take the heat off. Predicably, Primo crumbles.

.... All of Primo's wins are suspicious. The losses are less so -unless something went wrong, which happens. I think it likely that Stribling and Godfrey -both solid guys, negotiated those disqualifications as a matter of pride. Chevalier was more reckless and tried to win anyway. The rest were likely bought off and remember, this was at the height of the Great Depression. Wiseguys didn't feel the pangs of hunger but fighters did. The temptation wa$ probably $ignificant!
Interesting post,

Although there are a lot of probably's in it, I still think that your points have a great deal of validity in terms of the questionable history of Carnera's controversial career. For decades, critics, historians and sports writers have labeled Carnera's career as being loaded with fixes, more so than any other champion I can think of. Were all of his fights fixed? I don't think so, but I believe that there were a fair number of them to where if they hadn't been, he may never have reached the championship ranks, and might have declined in the embryonic phases of his career.

I was never very impressed with Primo's style. Yes, he was a monster during a time when most men simply did not reach that size, but I can't describe him as being a talented big man, like Lewis, Bowe, Klitschko or even Cooney for that matter. He was very slow and moved at glacial speeds, along with having a weak defense, and often threw punches that were telegraphed. His balance was less than desirable as well. I can't see Carnera beating very many good fighters, and I we don't even have to go as far as comparing him to great champions either. I think there are a fair number of contenders from various eras, who never won belts that I'd pick to dust him fairly easily.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:08 PM   #58
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

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Originally Posted by Dempsey1238
Carnera is underated also. He look impressive in fights outside of Louis and Baer, I put Carnea on the level of VK or so. Perhaps Wlad.
There is absolutely no way Carnera is a better fighter than Wlad. The less technically skilled Klitschko would also school him.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:24 PM   #59
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Theres a handful of heavyweights who rate amongst the worse ever. Willard is in that bunch. Gotta put L Spinks, Carnera,Braddock, and Briggs in there off the top of my head. Today I think I'll put Willard above Spinks out of that bunch. Tomorrow he might be ahead of the other 4. They are pretty interchangeable for me.
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Old 02-02-2008, 12:49 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
I have to disagree.

I mean, i don't doubt that some or even many of his early fights have been fixed, but this can probably be said of a lot of boxers during that period.
Primo's record is in a class by itself -even by the standards of the time. I'll grant you this: most of my argument is hearsay and circumstantial, but there is too much of both. The assertion that he was left on his own after the Loughren fight makes sense when you look at the subsequent W/L ratio. Sure he had some wins, but losing to DeMeglio who was 0-1-1, and who finished his career with 3 more losses in his 96th fight really calls into question his ability to beat Loughren on the level 3 years earler.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
I've seen the Godfrey fight and it looked legit to me. Godfrey hit Carnera with hard combinations early on, some of which landed flush. I doubt he'd do that if he was instructed to lose somehow. It was a dirty fight, with a lot of infighting, Godfrey coming in head-first. He landed a left hook to the groin from which Carnera went down and Godfrey was disqualified.
Godfrey lost the fight. He was instructed to lose and did so, but on his own terms. It makes perfect sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
Saying that "the man couldn't fight" is a wild exaggaration and selling him short, in my opinion. He outboxed Baer rather easily in the vast majority of the rounds. Or was that fixed too? His knockout of Sharkey looks legit to me. He beat master boxer Loughran and Uzcudun. What about Schaaf, Levinsky or Laski?
Carnera impressed you against Baer? Guess who Primo's backers bet on in that fight? (It wasn't their giant champ with an impressive paper record of 78-6). Baer was no devotee and no technician anyway. He larruped -he didn't box much, and it's hard to "fight" King Kong.

The man couldn't fight. But he was big and strong as an ape with an 85 inch reach. He was in the ring 100 times and I would argue that he was innocent of the shenanigans. An innocent patsy. Sure, he was bound to pick up a thing or two eventually and the fact is, a man that large is hard to deal with and can thus afford to have primitive skills, even if he wasn't fighting set-ups.

Loughran, Uzcudun, Schaaf, Levinsky, and Laski? Fix, fix, fix, fix, and fix. Every one of those fights took place between '32 and the Baer fight. Those were precisely the fights that got reporters suspicious and compelled Madden et al.'s abandonment of Carnera.

If you still doubt it, ask yourself who he defeated of note after Loughren. The Loughren bout was the fix that brought the curtain down on the show. He was used up and discarded -which is precisely what they did whenever they had an opportunity or a live one. Primo was both. And he got a pittance for what he believed were real efforts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
Who cares if the Chevalier fight was fixed? What matters is that when he stepped up to world class competition, he compiled an excellent record and gave a good account of himself, even against Baer. Which should show that he's certainly capable of beating lesser fighters.
Primo went down 12 times against Baer, who barely trained. That is not impressive.

The Chevalier fight was not only fixed, it was fixed two or three times, which shows the care that was invested in the shady dealings. Primo was a meal ticket who was owned. Other guys would have a button pushed now and then like Ike Williams and LaMotta. Primo Carnera was, as Budd Schulberg, wrote,

"a champion who spraing full and overgrown form the fertile mind of the mob. The mob giveth and there stood, in all his bogus glory, the innocent champion Carnera."

Note/ Schulberg later wrote "The Harder They Fall" about Carnera.

Another Note/ I tend to take Sharkey's word that he didn't throw the fight against Primo when he lost the title to him. He stood by that til his death in 1994. He said that "a ghost beat him" -Schaff's who died after Primo KOd him. Baer did the damage, actually, which probably loosened his brain stem just waiting for the ham-fisted wallops of Carnera.
...............................
For what it's worth, I like the man. I think that he was among the nicest and most gentle champions we've had (Dempsey was another one). But he is an object to be pitied.
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