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Old 11-05-2014, 11:02 AM   #1
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Default How did Corbett change the sport?

I hear about how Corbett changed boxing from bare-knuckle brawling to something more scientific, but how exactly did he do that?
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

Corbett and Peter Jackson are both credited with the advancement of the sport from bare knuckle era into the modern queensbury time. Corbett for instance, stressed lateral movement, use of your legs to gain an advantage over an opponent and implementation of "feints" to move your opponent out of position. Corbett wasn't much of a puncher but he was difficult to hit and would exhaust many opponents. Before him many fighters basically stood in front of each other and fought a more brawling style.
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:08 PM   #3
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

I read an account of the Jackson/Corbett fight that declared it to be the fastest and most technically advanced bout ever fought. To that point, of course.
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Old 11-05-2014, 03:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

He didn’t.

Jem Mace and John L Sullivan changed the sport, but Corbett rewrote history to say that he did it.

It is a recurring theme in all branches of history, that it tends to favour the man who lives the longest!
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

The first point to make is that not all bare-knuckle fighters brawled. Quite a handful, despite the bloody rule-set, utilised agility and tactics. This provided the foundation of skill for Queensberry combat.

Corbett, while original, was not a new breed.

Most historians are happy to cast the bare-knucklers from the picture, but in doing so they've routinely hung credit on the wrong peg.

It's like giving a history on horror films without acknowledging Boris Karloff.
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

The thing is, "technically advanced" or "scientific", they mean "best employment of techniques understood currently." In other words, whilst Jackson and Corbett were everything people said they were, it doesn't follow that they cut some sort of path.

I'd point towards NP JD and Jack McAuliffe as more legitimate forgers, but that is highly debatable too, partly for reasons Ted touched upon.

I'm not sure that Corbett did a single thing to advance boxing in the manner meant by the opening post.
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

To expand upon Ted’s point, there is some evidence that the cart came before the horse here.

The champions who really promoted the Queensbury rule set, often did so because it was well suited to their strengths.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

Thankfully his sartorial advancements were not adopted.
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Old 11-05-2014, 07:16 PM   #9
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

Yea, cause the geriatric diaper cut is way more edgy.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

Quote:
Originally Posted by McGrain View Post
I'd point towards NP JD and Jack McAuliffe as more legitimate forgers, but that is highly debatable too, partly for reasons Ted touched upon.
Mike Donovan, a veteran, showed better skills (with the gloves) than Jack Dempsey, in their fight.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:34 AM   #11
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

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Originally Posted by Seamus View Post
Thankfully his sartorial advancements were not adopted.
Actually, they were. Decades later by Billy Papke


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Old 11-06-2014, 02:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

Ike Weir and Young Griffo were both considered masters of much of what Corbett supposedly pioneered. That was before Corbett.
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

THE CHAMPION MAKER * A Series of Articles by Jimmy De Forest * The World’s Greatest Trainer * 1923

ARTICLE I.---HOW I RANK MODERN CHAMPIONS

From Sullivan to Dempsey, the greatest champion of them all has been and is Dempsey. For personal popularity, of course, nobody has ever licked “John L.” His willing and terrible fists carried him into the championship of the world, but his big vice, boisterous laugh, his frank, boyish quality of good-fellowship and generosity of time and money with his friends made him even a greater champion as a heart winner. Men wept when he lost to Corbett and wept when he died---real tears.

But as a fighter the great Sullivan in his best day must have gone down before the greater Dempsey. As did Willard, As would have Jeffries, Burns, Fitzsimmons, Corbett, Sharkey or McCoy, and as did Carpentier, who never really had a chance. It may be noticed that one name is missing from this coterie of supermen of the ring here named---that of Jack Johnson.

These opinions and memoirs of mine would be unworthy of your attention if they were not carried out with full honesty and sincerity. That being the case I must go on record as saying that I think the greatest fight in ring history would have occurred if Johnson had met Dempsey. Of course, time has prevented such a match Johnson had bowed to years of loose-living before Dempsey became uppermost.

But Johnson is the one heavyweight champion of all that I have known who was in his time comparable to Jack Dempsey as a fighting machine. In a trainer’s eye both men owned “everything.” They hit like pile-drivers, could take punishment, had endurance and added to dazzling speed and ability to strike from any angle of body position with accuracy and force. Each had a tireless pair of legs and nimble pair of feet.

DEMPSEY IS CLEVER BOXER.

The popular conception of Champion Dempsey, as I find it, is that he is rough, tough, strong and a slugger. He has such qualities all right. But the public does not seem to understand what the experts do, which is that he is a master of the art of boxing in its finest points and is capable under pressure of showing flashes of speed equal to that of the fastest heavyweight champion I have ever known---Jim Corbett. As well could Johnson. These two and McCoy are the only men who could ever touch “Gentleman Jim’s” best speed. And that goes for Carpentier.

What would have happened if Dempsey and Johnson, age and condition being equal, had met, not all my experience of the ring, allows me positively to say. All in all, in such an event, I think, I would have been inclined to give Dempsey the shade for two reasons: The first is, other things being equal between a white man and a black man. I have noticed that invariably the white man could exercise a psychological superiority over his brother of lesser civilization. Somehow the white man always has managed to assume and maintain the mastery.

The other reason is that Dempsey always has shown a grimmer, more determined will to win than Johnson. There is nothing the matter with Johnson’s courage. He had the true fighter’s spirit and a genuine liking for the game---real champion quality in that respect as in others. But he could be amiable to a fault. His good nature could carry him to such an extent that once he was sure he had the man going he would be reluctant to finish the job.

JOHNSON’S GREATEST ON DEFENSE.

Johnson was the greatest defensive fighter that ever lived. And he knew just how far a punch had to travel. In this respect he had no equal among other heavies and was as wonderful in accuracy as Joe Gans. He was remarkable at recuperating himself while actually fighting in the ring without betraying to his opponent that he had been hurt. It has become the fashion almost entirely now for a fighter when he has been hard hit and feels himself slipping or dazed, immediately to fall into a clinch and hang on till he gets back his breath and steadies himself.

Johnson’s method was entirely different. He was a great actor at hiding any sign that he was in distress. And instead of falling into the arms of his antagonist and hugging to escape punishment, he always could manage a marvelous series of feints of a character that made the other man think Johnson was on the point of attack.

DEMPSEY IS WISER MAN.

In this regard Jack Dempsey has shown himself a wiser and better man than Johnson. Despite the stories that always run around about a champion indulging in secret dissipations, any gossip of that character told of Dempsey can be set down by the public as idle or malicious trash. Dempsey is an alert and intelligent fellow, and in the intimate relations that naturally come to exist between fighter and trainer. I was able to sound Jack’s mind pretty thoroughly. He is as determined to hold the heavyweight championship as he was to win it. And I found that he fully appreciated the restraints he must place on himself if he meant to do so. His ambition is to hold the championship and retire undefeated only when advancing years dictate retirement to be the reasonable thing to do---at such time of life when an honorable retirement could be made.

My judgment ranks Bob Fitzsimmons as third of the great champions. If John L. Sullivan had been born 10 to 15 years later than he was, the story might be different. But he was the last of the old school. Footwork as a part of science of the game was undeveloped. Sullivan had none. He was a rusher and slugger and he could hit crushingly and accurately too. But he had to set for his best punches and it is ring history how defenseless the big fellow was against the dancing, jabbing, ducking, bewilderingly speedy Corbett.

Yet, even with the best of modern training in all branches of footwork and defense as well as aggression. I do not think Sullivan would have even reached the form to beat Dempsey or Johnson. But I do think he could have turned in a winning card against Corbett, for he would have been able to land some of his shattering punches, and Corbett while a courageous fighter, did not have the endurance to draw on of the other heavyweight champions.

CORBETT GETS FOURTH RANK.

In all around consideration Corbett takes fourth place, but in one aspect he was premier. He was the darling in the eye of every one of us trainers---the great artist of the boxing arena. No heavyweight was ever so swift with his hands or more intelligent in the direction of them. Johnson and Dempsey might equal him in footwork, and both could hit harder, but neither has ever in more than flashes shown the speed with hands and feet which Corbett could so frequently maintain throughout an entire round.

Last edited by JOE JENNETTE; 11-06-2014 at 05:49 AM.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

I think Corbett changed the game. Before his time boxing was something like fencing in terms of movements. Mostly back and forth. And in-fighting.

Corrbett had quick feet. Perhaps the quickest feet of any big man until the 60's Ali, and Corbett used them not only to dart back and forth, but also to circle and move laterally This changed boxing in the heavyweight division.

Corbett also had good head movement to avoid punches, and an unusually ability to bend quickly at the waist to deliver a strait body shot. So he was hard to hit and time despite a low guard.

Corbett who likely invented his own style was a man ahead of his time.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:46 AM   #15
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Default Re: How did Corbett change the sport?

Quote:
Originally Posted by janitor View Post
He didn’t.

Jem Mace and John L Sullivan changed the sport, but Corbett rewrote history to say that he did it.

It is a recurring theme in all branches of history, that it tends to favour the man who lives the longest!
I agree, history always seems to be written by the 'winners'
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