Originally Posted by OLD FOGEY
I do think your arguement here is similar to the "Cooper dropped Ali and so Liston will kill him" line of reasoning. I don't dispute that Dempsey had gone back, but he still might well have caught Tunney with the best punch he ever had in his arsenal and who knows if a younger Dempsey could automatically have done better. The fact is, Dempsey
hit Tunney with his best shot and Tunney got up and danced away. The Long Count clouds the whole issue, I know. I think Tunney would have beaten a regular count. I understand that many disagree.
I believe Tunney could have gotten to his feet about as fast as Ali did against Frazier, or Holmes did against Shavers. Dempsey knew it too. He had a genuine killer instinct, and knew when his victim could beat the count. He walked away from the final knockdown of Firpo, and the knockdown of Sharkey, because he knew they couldn't get up before ten. I think he was really trying to pull a fast one on Dave Barry. It's my supposition that the Long Count was much ado about nothing, and whether Dempsey had immediately gone to a neutral corner, or there had been no neutral corner rule in place, events would have otherwise unfolded as they actually did.
My contention is that peak Demspey would have stunned Tunney like that repeatedly, and eventually forced a stoppage, a position you've reasonably raised questions about.
Having stated what I have on the issue, it also needs to be expressed that Tunney was a late bloomer who was actually still an improving boxer at the time of his retirement, so while we saw a glimpse of how good Dempsey could be at his peak, we don't know how much better Tunney would have gotten before any noticable decline. (I've speculated that Louis would have been the challenger to ultimately dethrone Gene.)