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Old 02-17-2008, 08:39 AM   #16
ChrisPontius
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john garfield
I'm lookin' for a consensus.

Who's opinion do you value more: someone who's done exhaustive research about a vintage fighter -- including viewing all the footage available, and expresses himself well, or the gym rat (hopefully articulate) who's seen him train and fight live for years?
I would never trust either of them more than the other merely on the fact that one is a gym rat and the other a lab rat, so to speak.

I'd be happy to read both their opinions, do some research myself, weigh the considerations and base my judgement upon the sum of that.


A guy like Nat Fleischer has an extensive background of following boxing for decades, but his opinions on how some of the fighters of the 50's compare to the 10's/20's fighters are unfair in my opinion. Then, to name a random example, the poster SuzieQ has gone on great lengths to bash current heavyweights, but after he had seen Kevin McBride train, he was impressed by him and spoke highly of him.... needless to say, McBride is a journeyman or fringe contender at best.

The only conclusion is that whatever one's profession or background is - everyone has some bias. Boxing is too subjective. So it's best not to take any opinion for granted.
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Old 02-17-2008, 09:33 AM   #17
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

I think it depends on the individual, background,bias,etc... I know a lot of trainers and boxing people,Boxers and knowlegable fans and fact finders. I see some people with a lean for certain type of fighters. Some guys are smart and have boxing know how but can be real dumb and biased like Max Hellerman...he had Roy Jones as a God until he was caught (hit Solid) vs Tarver , he even had him winning over some Heavy ATG's but I have heard him say dumb things many times, yet he can site facts,records,etc. I have heard things from some old school guys (gym rats and experts)who have seen it all and they can sometimes be prophetic because they have been full circle, as long as they have an open mind to fighters of today and not be biased I think I will lean towards them
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Old 02-17-2008, 03:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

I think there's value and things to be taken in from almost ANY point of view. It's ridiculous to completely discount almost anything from any source, really.

On average I think I'd listen to the "gym rats" opinion, especially if he'd been one consistently for years like John specified.

There are nuances that you can see in person that even intense film watching and research and what not (Especially older film) just isn't going to convey.

Think about it.

Historian/researcher watches a fighter for a half hour at a time in the ring, fighting.

Gym rat watches said fighter for years on a continual basis training and sparring.

There's just so much more to take in there.
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Old 02-17-2008, 04:12 PM   #19
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john garfield
I'm lookin' for a consensus.

Who's opinion do you value more: someone who's done exhaustive research about a vintage fighter -- including viewing all the footage available, and expresses himself well, or the gym rat (hopefully articulate) who's seen him train and fight live for years?
They can both tell you verry diferent things. The gym rat can give you subtle and crucial details of a fighters style that are not aparent through film while the historian can give you the best available opinion on whether a decision was justified in a fight that was not filmed.

I guess the smartest guys value every opinion but also take a critical view of them.
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:40 PM   #20
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

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Originally Posted by sweet_scientist
I think a lot depends on the character of the gym rat. The potentially is always there for the gym rat to be a nuthugger and embellish everything the fighter done, or to be envious or scorned and therefore give an unreasonably harsh assessment of a certain fighter.

There's also the danger that the gym rat will be myopic, not having a broader framework within which to assess things and his opinions might become too narrow in scope.

A gym rat with a broader knowledge of the sport and without any worshipping or hating fueling his thoughts can be a great source for information and can pick up many things that a well researched person will not have access to; i.e. first hand information, and information about matters that affect a fighter that aren't readily accessible to someone not so close to the fighter.

As far as the well researched person goes, they also have a lot to offer on the proviso that they don't selectively pick out their facts to suit their own biases and assuming their sources are reliable, and aren't themselves afflicted by some of the problems that the gym rat encounters as a first hand viewer (e.g. worshipping or hating certain fighters).
Wish this open mind-set was the norm on the board, s-s
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Old 02-17-2008, 06:52 PM   #21
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

The observent gym rat , who hung with the fighter, travelled with the fighter.. knew the fighter before he was anyone , and saw the highs and lows
of a fighters career first hand is invaluable...

A lot of gym rats scan the whole gym essence yet dont often see a magnified picture of any fighter proper.. Hank Kaplan and Johnny Tocco are prime examples of guys who saw Liston in his hardest years from close range, They are gone now and a whole lot of knowledge with them.. I sat with them for endless hours but always wished i had asked more questions but felt pushy at the time.. Time is more precious than we all recognise..

God Bless..
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Old 02-17-2008, 08:26 PM   #22
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john garfield
I'm lookin' for a consensus.

Who's opinion do you value more: someone who's done exhaustive research about a vintage fighter -- including viewing all the footage available, and expresses himself well, or the gym rat (hopefully articulate) who's seen him train and fight live for years?
Gym rats are too biased to their own. While they can give rare insight, they also offers favoritism and tunnel vision. I prefer the 3rd party research, with gym rat testimonials sprinkled in to fill in the blanks.

Another problem is there are some knock em' dead types in the gym that freeze or can't seem to bring it on fight night. Or there are some guys who look awful in the gym, but when its go time for real, they do much better.
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Old 02-18-2008, 05:02 PM   #23
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john garfield
I'm lookin' for a consensus.

Who's opinion do you value more: someone who's done exhaustive research about a vintage fighter -- including viewing all the footage available, and expresses himself well, or the gym rat (hopefully articulate) who's seen him train and fight live for years?
I think I would have to give the edge to the gym rat as seeing a fight on a screen is no substitute for seeing it live,I used to go to most of the fights at the Royal Albert Hall ,The Wembley Centre and the old Empire Pool,most of these fights were televised,as I was usually front or second row my wife would video the bouts ,trying to spot me,I would watch the fights the next night,and the perspective you got from the tv was often in marked contrast to the fight you had seen live,Of course talking about the old timers like Jeffries etc ,people like Mendoza can add to our knowledge,if they remain objective,but I dont think there is any substitute for first hand experience,plus if you have the chance to shoot the breeze as you Yanks say,with the fighters themselves ,you can pick up the reason for the little nuances and moves they applied in action.No fighter thinks he lost a fight unless he is sparked out ,but you can sift the wheat from chaff and pick out the gems of info,so for me its the guy who has been at the cutting edge so to speak.
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Old 02-18-2008, 05:35 PM   #24
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

This may be akin to asking someone interested in the Augustan era of ancient Rome if they would prefer to sit down with a Edward Gibbon who remains the pre-eminent Roman historian of the modern era, or say, Agrippa who was Augustine's friend and a great general on the field.

Give me Agrippa. I like the details and the inside eyewitness information. However, if you want historical context and a macro-level view of how everything worked together, you want Gibbon.

I've read many books on the subject of pugilism and there are some stand-outs -like "Tunney" by Jack Cavanaugh and "The Devil and Sonny Liston" by Nick Tosches. But the best by far is Fried's "Corner Men" -and for one reason: it has extensive interviews with the trainers themselves and you just gotta love that. Danny Kapilow was no longer trained by Arcel when he caught Burton with a left hook in Pittsburgh, in 1945. Kapilow didn't know that he hurt him when out of the corner of his eye he saw Arcel running up the aisle yelling "Linka! Linka! Linka!" (yiddish for left hand). He didn't even know Arcel was in Pittsburgh. No historian would ever know that little gem on his own.

Both sources are tainted by human error. Both are not altogether reliable. Whitey Bimstein surely romanticized the past a bit. Historians get lost in data and overlook the drama in the details. To me, though, the beauty of history is the same as the beauty in boxing -it's in the stories. And the guys who were there have the pure stuff.

I also may be in the minority when I say that boxing is the most intimate of sports and a full understanding of it requires that you be there -if not in the ring, then at least in a gym (the shitty ones, the real ones -not the ones run by birds for white collar pretenders) for a long time. Someone, I think it was Klompton, accused me of being a lounge chair analyst. He was wrong on that one, but if I were, his slight would carry a bit of weight.

....Anyway, if you apply a rule of ceteris parabus, give me the articulate gym rat over the post-facto historian.
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Old 02-18-2008, 05:36 PM   #25
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by META5


To answer the question as bluntly as possible, the opinion I value most is mine!

With sufficient fight footage for myself to study, there is no better source of information that my own mind in forming an opinion about what a fighter's qualities, skills, technique and intangiables are ... i.e. how great a fighter they were/are and forming conclusions on how great they could have become given the right opportunities e.g. had Jersey Joe been given the right training and not fought under journeyman circumstances from the start of his career ... had SRR received his title shot when he should've .... had Napoles received a lightweight title shot ... had Louis not had his reign coincide with war ... had Ali not had the layoff etc.

However, this is not to say that I am arrogant or ignorant in my outlook on boxing ... just that I believe myself capable enough to form valid and honest assessment of fighters and the fight game in general. However, inevitably I'm biased, but at least I know where my biases lie e.g. I'm an Ali fan, I'm a Sweet Pea fan, I'm a SRR fan, I'm a PBF fan ... there's certain stylistic qualities that they have that I'm partial to ... usually I can admit that and divorce my sentiments when appraising them honestly.

This is where I find it dangerous to 100% trust in the opinion of a researcher or gym rat, if you are unable to gain access to eye-opening footage yourself, where you can form your own judgments. The gym rat and the researcher are both laden with biases and unless they state them or their biases are easy to pick up in their work, you may be led down a path of inaccuracy when trusting their word 100%. That said, when it comes down to using the sources of info to re-evaluate my own position, I'll trust the gym rat, time and time again.

Anyone can read and research, put a fighter's career into statistics and numbers ... not everyone can live, breathe and sweat the sport from the locker room to the squared circle, to see the fear inside a fighter's eyes or to see the lion fighting inside the fighter's heart that brings him off the canvas to knock out his opponent and win a world title. Boxing is a dramatic fistic ballet, full of rage, aggression and violence and yet, somehow beautifully controlled by the science of technique, clashing styles, intangiables ... no researcher can reproduce these qualities through reading and merely watching tape alone ... this is where I value the gym rat. Okay, so I've watched hours of tape of a fighter, I can see their stylistic tendencies, their defensive deficiencies ... what did they do in the gym? How seriously did they take their gym work, what kind of man were they ... these things all add up to help me appreciate what I see on film and unless the researcher was both a researcher and a gym rat, the researcher's not likely to make me see anything new that I cannot detect on film ... but the gym rat is going to offer me a side to that fighter's personality, their character that taints the way they operate in the ring.

When assessing the honesty/integrity of a gym rat, usually, I'd form an opinion as to the degree that they respect great fighters or the degree to which they hero worship. Say for example, someone like john garfield ... I've ALWAYS found him to be highly respectful of greatly skilled fighters REGARDLESS of their eras. Of course, john, himself has his own opinion as to who was the greatest to step through the ropes, but I don't sense hero worship in his work ... more a great sense of respect and gratitude to have been in the presence of some of the sport's greatest representatives. That's the kind of opinion and insight that is of great help to me when matching up the greats of yesteryear versus some more modern greats ... if he rubbished modern fighters all the time, it would be a different story. I'd be more inclined to take his opinion with a grain of salt ... but that's not the case ... now take someone like senya ... very well researched, but very biased in his analysis. I've hardly seen him offer both sides of the coin or give an older fighter a semblance of respect in hypothetical match ups ... that obvious bias is more likely to make you prejudiced against his work, which is unfortunate because you can miss gems ... whilst, I'm much more likely to seek confirmation of my position from the gym rat, the researcher has many important pieces of the puzzle to offer if they can divorce their biases and sentiment from their work and allow themselves to present their findings in an honest, respectful manner, yet, the gym rat, especially the one with a true love for the sport and not just a love of their childhood memories and/or certain fighters is whom I'll ask to support, evaluate and confirm my boxing conclusions on any given Sunday.
Magnificent. There's really no need to post my opinion, because this sums up everything I wanted to say, and then some.
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Old 02-18-2008, 07:53 PM   #26
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

I'd probably value the gym rats opinion more especially in the case of someone like John, but the thing that makes a little hesistant is someone like Nat Fleischer. He was around the fight game for what 70 years? Yet he was extremely biased and pretty much refused to acknowledge that some of the fighters from the 40's and 50's were better then some at the turn of the century.

Basically Meta5 summed it up perfectly though. The gym rat has a different perspective that allows us to learn about the personality of a fighter, his character strengths and flaws, how he trained etc etc. The fact that John has seen fights that weren't filmed (eg Sugar Ray Robinson in his welterweight days) makes him irreplacable and he offers something that a historian could not.

Last edited by Pat_Lowe; 02-18-2008 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 02-19-2008, 02:56 AM   #27
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john garfield
Wish this open mind-set was the norm on the board, s-s
This post was pretty good... maybe I should give the guy more credit
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Old 02-19-2008, 03:31 AM   #28
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by john garfield
I'm lookin' for a consensus.

Who's opinion do you value more: someone who's done exhaustive research about a vintage fighter -- including viewing all the footage available, and expresses himself well, or the gym rat (hopefully articulate) who's seen him train and fight live for years?
I'll go with ( in no order):

Garfield

JohnThomas

McGrain (although I hate the guy)

My Dinner with (whomever he is eating with these days)

Senya (I don't like him anymore than McGrain lol)

Bummy Davis (I left them out of my own poll in something similar, a GREAT poster never the less)

Kurgan (a dick on some stuff, but I think he is OK )

Sweet Scientist (a lot like Kurgen)

Magoo (has great avatars... and really does look into what he says)

Booze (well he just makes sense a lot of the time)

There are others I've forgotten, to be certain!

I suppose if I had to pick a couple or so they would be (in no order):

John Thomas... (quite likely my favourite person to talk with on this forum)

John Garfield... (too bad you started the thread ... you don't tell me what to think, you just write posts I always appreciate and respect!)

MDWX... god knows why, but he does know his stuff!


I'm tired, so I'll stop with these three.
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Old 02-19-2008, 03:38 AM   #29
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

Quote:
Originally Posted by META5


To answer the question as bluntly as possible, the opinion I value most is mine!

With sufficient fight footage for myself to study, there is no better source of information that my own mind in forming an opinion about what a fighter's qualities, skills, technique and intangiables are ... i.e. how great a fighter they were/are and forming conclusions on how great they could have become given the right opportunities e.g. had Jersey Joe been given the right training and not fought under journeyman circumstances from the start of his career ... had SRR received his title shot when he should've .... had Napoles received a lightweight title shot ... had Louis not had his reign coincide with war ... had Ali not had the layoff etc.

However, this is not to say that I am arrogant or ignorant in my outlook on boxing ... just that I believe myself capable enough to form valid and honest assessment of fighters and the fight game in general. However, inevitably I'm biased, but at least I know where my biases lie e.g. I'm an Ali fan, I'm a Sweet Pea fan, I'm a SRR fan, I'm a PBF fan ... there's certain stylistic qualities that they have that I'm partial to ... usually I can admit that and divorce my sentiments when appraising them honestly.

This is where I find it dangerous to 100% trust in the opinion of a researcher or gym rat, if you are unable to gain access to eye-opening footage yourself, where you can form your own judgments. The gym rat and the researcher are both laden with biases and unless they state them or their biases are easy to pick up in their work, you may be led down a path of inaccuracy when trusting their word 100%. That said, when it comes down to using the sources of info to re-evaluate my own position, I'll trust the gym rat, time and time again.

Anyone can read and research, put a fighter's career into statistics and numbers ... not everyone can live, breathe and sweat the sport from the locker room to the squared circle, to see the fear inside a fighter's eyes or to see the lion fighting inside the fighter's heart that brings him off the canvas to knock out his opponent and win a world title. Boxing is a dramatic fistic ballet, full of rage, aggression and violence and yet, somehow beautifully controlled by the science of technique, clashing styles, intangiables ... no researcher can reproduce these qualities through reading and merely watching tape alone ... this is where I value the gym rat. Okay, so I've watched hours of tape of a fighter, I can see their stylistic tendencies, their defensive deficiencies ... what did they do in the gym? How seriously did they take their gym work, what kind of man were they ... these things all add up to help me appreciate what I see on film and unless the researcher was both a researcher and a gym rat, the researcher's not likely to make me see anything new that I cannot detect on film ... but the gym rat is going to offer me a side to that fighter's personality, their character that taints the way they operate in the ring.

When assessing the honesty/integrity of a gym rat, usually, I'd form an opinion as to the degree that they respect great fighters or the degree to which they hero worship. Say for example, someone like john garfield ... I've ALWAYS found him to be highly respectful of greatly skilled fighters REGARDLESS of their eras. Of course, john, himself has his own opinion as to who was the greatest to step through the ropes, but I don't sense hero worship in his work ... more a great sense of respect and gratitude to have been in the presence of some of the sport's greatest representatives. That's the kind of opinion and insight that is of great help to me when matching up the greats of yesteryear versus some more modern greats ... if he rubbished modern fighters all the time, it would be a different story. I'd be more inclined to take his opinion with a grain of salt ... but that's not the case ... now take someone like senya ... very well researched, but very biased in his analysis. I've hardly seen him offer both sides of the coin or give an older fighter a semblance of respect in hypothetical match ups ... that obvious bias is more likely to make you prejudiced against his work, which is unfortunate because you can miss gems ... whilst, I'm much more likely to seek confirmation of my position from the gym rat, the researcher has many important pieces of the puzzle to offer if they can divorce their biases and sentiment from their work and allow themselves to present their findings in an honest, respectful manner, yet, the gym rat, especially the one with a true love for the sport and not just a love of their childhood memories and/or certain fighters is whom I'll ask to support, evaluate and confirm my boxing conclusions on any given Sunday.
It's a crying shame you don't post more here META....
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Old 02-19-2008, 03:39 AM   #30
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Default Re: who's opinion do you value more?

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Originally Posted by RoccoMarciano
This post was pretty good... maybe I should give the guy more credit
Nah, it was a one-off
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