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Old 02-02-2008, 12:53 PM   #61
Stonehands89
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. magoo
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.
My argument is mostly circumstantial, as you imply, but it all points in one direction. I don't think that we can afford to give any of his victories over real contenders the benefit of the doubt aside from perhaps the Sharkey fight. He was up to his eyebrows in sharkskin for that part of his career that people validate. I wink at it, that's all.
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Old 02-02-2008, 01:32 PM   #62
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehands89
My argument is mostly circumstantial, as you imply, but it all points in one direction. I don't think that we can afford to give any of his victories over real contenders the benefit of the doubt aside from perhaps the Sharkey fight. He was up to his eyebrows in sharkskin for that part of his career that people validate. I wink at it, that's all.
I understand the basis for your argument and I'm not disagreeing. For me, it really doesn't matter if his wins were the result of legitimate efforts or fixed fights. I'm not impressed with his fighting ability one way or another. Carnera was one of the crudest and clumsiest looking fighters that I ever watched. I'm sure I've seen journeyman, tomato cans and club fighters who were far worse, but as champions go, he really was very unpolished. Fixed fights or not, I wouldn't give him much of a chance against any decent champion, contender, prospect or high end journeyman. As crazy as it may sound, I'd actually pick a man like Ross Purity to beat him.
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Old 02-02-2008, 02:21 PM   #63
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr. magoo
I understand the basis for your argument and I'm not disagreeing. For me, it really doesn't matter if his wins were the result of legitimate efforts or fixed fights. I'm not impressed with his fighting ability one way or another. Carnera was one of the crudest and clumsiest looking fighters that I ever watched. I'm sure I've seen journeyman, tomato cans and club fighters who were far worse, but as champions go, he really was very unpolished. Fixed fights or not, I wouldn't give him much of a chance against any decent champion, contender, prospect or high end journeyman. As crazy as it may sound, I'd actually pick a man like Ross Purity to beat him.
Don't mind me -If a post spawns new thoughts like yours did, I just type away! I agree. "Primo" fought like zero. Niete. His strength was close to grizzly strength though, but without balance and coordination it wasn't necessarily a factor. It is actually sad for me to see what Louis and Baer did to him.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:01 PM   #64
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Willard should be seen as a product of the rule set of his day.

Under the rules he fought under he would beat a lot of linear champions.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:06 PM   #65
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehands89
My argument is mostly circumstantial, as you imply, but it all points in one direction. I don't think that we can afford to give any of his victories over real contenders the benefit of the doubt aside from perhaps the Sharkey fight. He was up to his eyebrows in sharkskin for that part of his career that people validate. I wink at it, that's all.
A lot of cr4p has been written about Carnera. Some of it due to xenophobic atitudes in the media at the time. The writtings of Gallico and others are total nonsense.

The important facts are these:

The fight where Carnera won the title from Sharkey was legit.

All the key fights that established him as a challenger for the title were legit (nobody disputes this).

Therfore he won the title simply because he was good enough to establish himself as a title challenger and then beat the champion.

At least alow him that.
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:35 PM   #66
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
A lot of cr4p has been written about Carnera. Some of it due to xenophobic atitudes in the media at the time. The writtings of Gallico and others are total nonsense.

The important facts are these:

The fight where Carnera won the title from Sharkey was legit.

All the key fights that established him as a challenger for the title were legit (nobody disputes this).

Therfore he won the title simply because he was good enough to establish himself as a title challenger and then beat the champion.

At least alow him that.
I think it is romantic to allow him that.

Primo was surrounded by several shady characters from the moment he arrived in New York -he wasn't simply connected, he was an instrument. It doesn't have to be as clean as you think it should be to prove his record untrustworthy. In fact, the wiseguys would be stupid to fix every fight and invite spotlights from the sportswriters and jeering crowds... that stuff could get too much attention and could be dangerous (like after the Chevelair fight when the button in the corner almost got killed by enraged spectators).

They had one objective -make lots of money. By pulling strings and buying off opponents, corner men, and managers, they engineered too many fights to allow us to give Primo the benefit of the doubt.

To suggest that Primo's bouts that got him the title shot were legit when it is clear that dozens previously were not is like arguing that his managers wanted to make a little, but not a lot, of money. It doesn't make sense.
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Old 02-02-2008, 06:45 PM   #67
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehands89
Primo was surrounded by several shady characters from the moment he arrived in New York -he wasn't simply connected, he was an instrument.
Every fighter of that period was linked to organised crime one way or another. There are no exceptions.

Baer and Braddock were both involved in dodgey fights. They did not get sh1t upon by the press because they were Americans.

Quote:
They had one objective -make lots of money. By pulling strings and buying off opponents, corner men, and managers, they engineered too many fights to allow us to give Primo the benefit of the doubt.
Perhaps this happened in penny novels.

In reality it didnt.

Quote:
To suggest that Primo's bouts that got him the title shot were legit when it is clear that dozens previously were not is like arguing that his managers wanted to make a little, but not a lot, of money. It doesn't make sense.
The opposite is the case.

To argue that his early bouts were fixed when he clearly beat the champion and the ranked contenders fairly, flies in the face of reason.

Why were all those early bouts fixed if he suddenly became able to beat the best as soon as he started fighting ranked contenders?
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:09 PM   #68
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonehands89
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.


Godfrey lost the fight. He was instructed to lose and did so, but on his own terms. It makes perfect sense.


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.


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.
As you said, a lot of your evidence is circumstancial. Have you seen the Godfrey fight ? The fights of him that i have seen are legit and against top class opposition. That's all i need to know.

If they were all fixes, then why did he lose some fights to fighters he could've realistically lost to? Why did he lose to Sharkey earlier on? You claim that he travelled and changed location all the time not to rise too much suspicion at one place - but all of his title fights and defenses were right in MSG, and these also happened to be his biggest wins.

And for someone who could not fight, it sure is one hell of an accomplishement to make it into the 6th round with the greatest puncher of all time.
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:09 PM   #69
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

[quote=janitor]
Quote:
Every fighter of that period was linked to organised crime one way or another. There are no exceptions.

Baer and Braddock were both involved in dodgey fights. They did not get sh1t upon by the press because they were Americans.
Please... spare the allegations of American bias. You are engaging in revisionism. Primo did not throw a couple of fights to get ahead. His whole career was controlled by shady characters on both sides of the pond. They were simply more organized here in America. Primo was not shat upon, he was widely perceived, even then, as an exploited dunce with skills that were average at best. The exception was Italian Americans who were proud. They, as well as Primo, were the victims here.

The uproar you are reporting began not in the home office of the KKK but in the bleachers among god-fearing paying customers who know bullshit when they see it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
Perhaps this happened in penny novels.

In reality it didnt.

The opposite is the case.
Janitor, there is too much testimony. Too many instances in the ring. Too many verified and factual connections between Owney Madden and Primo's managers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
To argue that his early bouts were fixed when he clearly beat the champion and the ranked contenders fairly, flies in the face of reason.
Nothing is "clear" about Primo's rise to the top, nor is anything clear about his few title defenses. What is clear is that he was abandoned before Baer and he never won a significant fight again and lost to guys who were bums. BUMS!! Coincidence? Maybe in bizarro world.

You are assuming that Primo had a career that was more or less on the up & up, that he was no more connected than the rest. Your assumptions are in stark contrast to what has long since been suspected and in some instances, confirmed. I assume that Primo's record cannot be taken at face value because it is logically inferred by what has long since been suspected and in some instances, confirmed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
Why were all those early bouts fixed if he suddenly became able to beat the best as soon as he started fighting ranked contenders?
You are begging the question here.
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Old 02-02-2008, 07:32 PM   #70
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
As you said, a lot of your evidence is circumstancial. Have you seen the Godfrey fight ? The fights of him that i have seen are legit and against top class opposition. That's all i need to know.
I've seen that one. Is that really all you need to know? Does Primo's handlers' status as felons and known gangsters factor in? How about the suspicions held by many contemporary observers of the sport that at least 4 fights were known to be fixed and probably many more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
If they were all fixes, then why did he lose some fights to fighters he could've realistically lost to? Why did he lose to Sharkey earlier on? You claim that he travelled and changed location all the time not to rise too much suspicion at one place - but all of his title fights and defenses were right in MSG, and these also happened to be his biggest wins.
They were not all fixes. They couldn't be. It simply doesn't and couldn't work that way. This stuff isn't clean!

Madison Square Garden had many figures in it who were either owned or influenced by Owney Madden and co. It is New York. New York has always been homebase for the American gangster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
And for someone who could not fight, it sure is one hell of an accomplishement to make it into the 6th round with the greatest puncher of all time.
That someone who could not fight was 6'6 and 280 pounds. A gorilla can't box but I'd bet it would take Louis at least 10 rounds to put it down and out.

...........
I'm not presenting the case against Carnera's career, taken in toto, as fact. This is a matter of probability and credibility. This stuff is all shadowy, but if you want to have an understanding of Carnera's boxing career, you first must understand how the American underworld worked in the 1930s and beyond.
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Old 02-03-2008, 01:44 AM   #71
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Dempsey beat him. How good could he have been?
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:55 AM   #72
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

I currently rank the following champions below Willard (in chronological order):
Hart
Burns
Carnera
Braddock
Leon Spinks
Douglas
Moorer
Briggs
Rahman

Of course most of those are highly debatable, but Willard is still far from the lowest-ranking linear heavyweight champ in my book.
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:58 AM   #73
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

With the Colour line still in play, could Willard really be considered The Heavyweight Champion of the World between 1915 and 1919?

IMO, no, others may beg to differ.

I say Shannon Briggs was the least of all The Heavyweight Champions of the World.
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:00 AM   #74
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

[quote]
[quote=Stonehands89]
Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor
Please... spare the allegations of American bias.
The bias towards American fighters in that period is quite palpable. I would not call it an alegation.

Quote:
You are engaging in revisionism.
No I am not.

The Gallicos of this world are the rvisionists. The guys who actualy had to fight Carnera and train fighters to fight him took him verry seriously.

Quote:
Primo did not throw a couple of fights to get ahead. His whole career was controlled by shady characters on both sides of the pond.
The same is true for all fighters of the period.

Do you think Joe Louis wasnt managed by people involved in organised crime?


Quote:
The uproar you are reporting began not in the home office of the KKK but in the bleachers among god-fearing paying customers who know bullshit when they see it.

Janitor, there is too much testimony. Too many instances in the ring. Too many verified and factual connections between Owney Madden and Primo's managers.
What testimony?

Yes Carnera had links to Owney Madden I do not dispute this.

Where is the actual primary evidence that Carneras fights were fixed?

Quote:
Nothing is "clear" about Primo's rise to the top, nor is anything clear about his few title defenses. What is clear is that he was abandoned before Baer and he never won a significant fight again and lost to guys who were bums. BUMS!! Coincidence? Maybe in bizarro world.
Even Carneras most vheament critics have not aledged thatt his fights against Schaff, Lasky and Levinsky were fixed. These are the key fights that established him as a title challenger.

Nobody living in the real world thinks that the Sharkey fight was fixed.

Therfore Carnera did not get to the top due to themanipulations of his managment he got to the top because he was good enough and beat the necesary people.

Carnera beat at lest three fighters who were ranked in the top ten at or around the time after he lost the title. He remained ranked in the top 5 untill he lost to Louis.

I would also be interested to know who these bums who beat him were. Leroy Haynes for examplewas clearly a contender.
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Old 02-03-2008, 10:00 AM   #75
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Default Re: Was Willard the worst ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TBooze
With the Colour line still in play, could Willard really be considered The Heavyweight Champion of the World between 1915 and 1919?

IMO, no, others may beg to differ.

I say Shannon Briggs was the least of all The Heavyweight Champions of the World.
Well Willard DID used a color line, but what parts Willard from say Sullivan, or Jim Jeff so to speak is he did WIN against a black man in a title fight(Johnson) Sure after the fight, the color line was used again. But Willard did at least prove himself so to speak.
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