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Old 03-03-2008, 03:47 AM   #31
RoccoMarciano
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Default Re: How Futile is it..

Quote:
Originally Posted by sthomas
I do get your point though, and agree without film it is tougher, but it's not some futile witchhunt.
Yes it is indeed close to a "futile witchhunt" regardless of whether some wish to admit it or not. Human nature does not change regarding a favourite, regardless of some minor counter argument to the contrary... we like best who we like best, whether it is a pretty girl, favourite boxer, or whatever. Human nature is a concrete constant regarding favourites!

Boxing is no different today, or yesterday in that regard. Some may just have a greater volume than others over time regarding boxing.
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Old 03-03-2008, 05:24 AM   #32
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Default Re: How Futile is it..

A good historian will provide multiple views of the event (where available) and leave it to the reader to deside, whether he believes it or not. Adam Pollack's books are that way, for example.

Say, I was browsing Kevin Smith's "The Sundowners" yesterday, and I read in chapter about Bobby Dobbs that he beat Joe Gans easily and gained a well deserved victory. You go to the local source, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and read:

Quote:
DOBBS DEFEATS GANS.
---
He Is Now the Colored Lightweight Champion.

Bobby Dobbs of Minneapolis won the decision over Joe Gans of Baltimore, after twenty rounds of fighting and with it the right to the title of colored light weight champion. Dobbs had the better of the fighting all through, Gans being unable to reach him. In the first four rounds not a blow was struck, but in the fifth Dobbs cornered his man and severely punished him on the body with both hands. In the seventh Gans sent his right to the mouth and drew first blood, but did little during the rest of the fight. Dobbs repeatedly cornered his man throughout and had him weak with body blows. The last round was fast, but the referee had no trouble in picking the winner.

What about the other point of view, what did Gans and his manager say on the fight? Alas, Kevin doesn't provide any, leaving the reader certain it was just like provided above.

The Baltimore Sun:

Quote:
Herford and Gans Angry.

Manager Al. Herford, of the Eureka Athletic Club, of Baltimore, and Pugilist Joseph Gans are incensed at treatment they received at the hands of the Greenpoint Sporting Club, of Long Island, on Monday night, when Gans met "Bobby" Dobbs, of Minneapolis.

Dobbs was given the decision over the Baltimorean, when in the eyes of every sporting man present, says Mr. Herford, it seemed unjust. Gans made things so lively for his opponent that Dobbs throughout the match resorted to clinching, and though repeated calls were made to have it suppressed, the club management refused to stop it. Gans is confident that he is a better man than his opponent and is ready to meet him at the earliest opportunity, with the provision that the winner take all and that the bout be held before some other club. He will also wager a side bet on the outcome.

Gans says that the bout was once declared a draw, and that the referee upon being intimidated changed his decision and gave the bout to Dobbs.


The victory doesn't sound as convincing anymore.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:14 AM   #33
Mendoza
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Default Re: How Futile is it..

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Originally Posted by RoccoMarciano
To try and rate an old boxer when film is not available?

Without film, you are left with accounts of the fight... well, just how accurate are these accounts?

Did the writer like the fighter, did he hate him?

Even if we see writings from ten people that state a fighter was "the greatest" in their day and age, does that really mean anything? Maybe those ten people were already partial toward the fighter in question.

Basing anything on a written account doesn't really accomplish much, in my view. Boxing is now, and always has been, way too biased for that.

Anyway, it's just an interesting matter to consider for the fans of boxers before film crept in.
In the case on no film, it is best to rely on newspaper reads, careful study of the ring records, and filmed fights of opponents. Historians input mean a lot too.

For example, there is no flim of John L Sullivan in the ring, but its safe to say he was the best or 2nd best heavy in his day, and was good enough to rate in the top 10 decades after he retired.

Another example would be Greb. He beat many all time greats, and there is plenty of flim of who he defeated.
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:44 PM   #34
sthomas
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Default Re: How Futile is it..

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoccoMarciano
Yes it is indeed close to a "futile witchhunt" regardless of whether some wish to admit it or not. Human nature does not change regarding a favourite, regardless of some minor counter argument to the contrary... we like best who we like best, whether it is a pretty girl, favourite boxer, or whatever. Human nature is a concrete constant regarding favourites!

Boxing is no different today, or yesterday in that regard. Some may just have a greater volume than others over time regarding boxing.
Again, that's why I brought up detractors of great fighters as well as what the competition said about great fighters, as a means to counter blind supporters and human nature. This discussion, as I take it, is to compare fighters from different era's, and most importantly to me anyhow, is how they would fair against one another.

With that in mind, it is impossible to objectively & accurately predict who would win in many of the fantasy matches even with an abundance of film. Just look @ the Dempsey vs. Marciano posts that pop up and you get a serious division among posters as to who would win this one, and not very many who would see it as a pick em' fight. I myself am 100% absolutely sure that Rock would KO Dempsey in the late rounds though!!!

I will bring up the following again and ask you a question based on the available information of the following fighters: "Did Joe Choynski punch harder than Chris Byrd?"
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Old 03-03-2008, 12:58 PM   #35
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Default Re: How Futile is it..

The key point with the ever popular subject that is Harry Greb is that we do have footage of the men he beat, so we can get an idea of his real ability.

Pictures, newspaper reports and personal accounts can go a long way if you sample enough of them, then you can start to observe patterns in his fighting style.

Go read fight reports of fighters you do have film of, a particular fight, and see how accurate they are - alas this is the manual labour of an historian, but it is the only way you can start to get piece of mind on these old timers.
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