Boxing  

Forum Home Boxing Forum European British Classic Aussie MMA Training
Go Back   Boxing News 24 Forum > Boxing > Classic Boxing Forum


Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-19-2008, 06:52 PM   #1
ChrisPontius
March 8th, 1971
East Side Guru
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Holland
Posts: 9,642
vCash: 238
Default Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

In the older days of boxing, say from 1900 up to roughly 1960, boxers usually started their pro career at or even before the age of 19 and fought very actively. They were involved in a lot of wars and being thrown to the wolves was no uncommon practice, to gain vital experience. Old Fogey pointed out that the only undefeated boxer to win the championship before the 50's was Willie Pep. They were also on a much more active schedule.

So, most boxers had reached their prime in their mid 20's and were getting old by 30.. most didn't have much left past, say, 33. Joe Louis was 33 when he fought Jersey Joe Walcott, but he clearly was not the same Bomber who stopped Max Schmeling and Buddy Baer in a single round. He fought a myriad of battles, not to mention all the exhibitions.


Of course there are always exceptions. Jack Johnson kept the title until he was 37, as did Walcott. It should be pointed out that Johnson's opposition at that point was pretty weak however.

Jeffries retired at 29, Dempsey at 32, Baer at 32, Schmeling at 34, Carnera at 31, Braddock at 33, Louis at 32 if not for the IRS, etc etc. Carnera and Schmeling had a few fights after retiring, but it's fair to say their careers were over.


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]



However, in the "modern age", boxers often are still respective forces past the age of 30; in fact, some of them reach their primes in their 30's.

Main reasons for this is:
  • Longer amateur career.
  • More protective management, i.e., less hard fights while possibly being overmatched against more experienced opposition.
  • Overall improved nutrition and health care; no need to fight on an empty stomach, either.
  • Less active schedules, i.e. being allowed to recover from a beating.
  • Experience is a big factor in boxing, and with the slower schedule and safer match making, their experience often peaks not until their 30's. For instance, Wladimir Klitschko had no experience in how to act when hurt by a puncher, and it was only after he won a world title that he found out ..... the hard way.
  • 12 round fights have a larger emphasis on strength, power and durability, whereas stamina and conditioning are more important for 15 round fights. Most men reach their peak strength-wise in their 30's or even 40's, whereas a 20 year old typically has better stamina and conditioning. So, the modern rules favor somewhat older guys, although stamina obviously still is an important part of the game
  • It remains a bit of an unknown factor, but there is a good chance that steroids have become a part of boxing since the 70's/80's, and they certainly allow one to do things in their 30's that wasn't possible before. Not something i like to mention consider their illegal nature, but it would be ignorant to overlook this point.
To make a comparison of the age at which modern champions retire:
Liston at age 38, Ali at 38, Holmes at .. 50?, Foreman at 48, Tyson at 37, Lewis at 37, Holyfield at 44.

Now obviously, Holyfield, Foreman and Holmes weren't what they used to be when they were in their 40's, but they were able to be competitive with top10 contenders and retained much of their ability late in their careers.


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

Evander Holyfield was 34 when he faced Tyson and although he was somewhat past his best physically, he fought smarter than he ever had and i think it was one of his best performances. Same for Lewis when he faced Tua at age 35. Hopkins displayed a fantastic performance against Trinidad when he was 36.


Point is, none of these warriors looked like old men.
If you look at today's heavyweight top10, you will see the same thing:
1. Wladimir Klitschko => older than 30
2. Samuel Peter => younger than 30
3. Ruslan Chagaev => younger than 30
4. Nicolai Valuev => older than 30
5. Alexander Povetkin => younger than 30
6. John Ruiz => older than 30
7. Vladimir Virchis => older than 30
8. Tony Thompson => older than 30
9. Sultan Ibragimov => older than 30
10. Juan Carlos Gomez => older than 30

So, only Chagaev (29), Peter (27) and Povetkin (2 are below 30 years in age. And almost all of them are new blood. Only Klitschko and Ruiz are fighters than have fought in the 90's. Chagaev, Ibragimov and Povetkin are relatively new and they all turned pro somewhere past 25. Peter is the only one who started at 22, rather young.

If you do this analysis with the current lightheavyweight division, you'll see an even more older picture. However, that division pretty much is running on fighters from the 90's; Dawson being the exception.



To conclude, fighting a 35 year old opponent may have been legit criticism pre-1960, but afterwards, i don't think it's a bad mark at all. Obviously a case-by-case review should be done, as legends like Archie Moore and Walcott still were extremely capable on the long end of 30.
ChrisPontius is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 08-19-2008, 07:04 PM   #2
Mendoza
Dominating a decade
East Side VIP
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 14,102
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Age is just one part of being old in boxing. Time off, injuries, and hard fights can speed up a boxers aging process in the ring.

I think medicine is much better these days. Pre 1960, if you had an injury it was never fixed quite as good as it can be today.
Mendoza is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2008, 08:09 PM   #3
Marciano Frazier
Contender
ESB Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,469
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

This is true. Of course there are exceptions, but if we took down statistics about the mean age at which an average fighter's career started and ended 50-120 years ago as compared to those same figures relative to present-day fighters, the discrepancy would be quickly evident.

To make a quick comparison, the RING's top 10 heavyweights right now have a mean average age of 32 years, as compared to 29 for the annual ranked heavyweights of 1950.
Marciano Frazier is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2008, 08:16 PM   #4
Polymath
Belt holder
ESB Addict
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,328
vCash: 500
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Pontius, you are, as usual, wrong.


Geriatrics fighting hand-picked opponents once a year is not indicative of a miraculously prolonged fighting prime. Sports which require the best to continously match up against the best (tennis, track & field, football) - do not have 42 year old champions, do they?
Polymath is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2008, 08:25 PM   #5
Mendoza
Dominating a decade
East Side VIP
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 14,102
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymath
Pontius, you are, as usual, wrong.


Geriatrics fighting hand-picked opponents once a year is not indicative of a miraculously prolonged fighting prime. Sports which require the best to continously match up against the best (tennis, track & field, football) - do not have 42 year old champions, do they?
No, but in boxing is diffrent. Here one punch can make the fight. Even if a 50 year old lands it.
Mendoza is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2008, 08:28 PM   #6
mr_swagger
Journeyman
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 51
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymath
Pontius, you are, as usual, wrong.


Geriatrics fighting hand-picked opponents once a year is not indicative of a miraculously prolonged fighting prime. Sports which require the best to continously match up against the best (tennis, track & field, football) - do not have 42 year old champions, do they?

You forgot about darts.

Neither age nor alcoholism are a barrier to greatness!

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
mr_swagger is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2008, 10:05 PM   #7
Polymath
Belt holder
ESB Addict
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,328
vCash: 500
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_swagger
You forgot about darts.

Neither age nor alcoholism are a barrier to greatness!

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]



If this isnt a finely tuned athletic specimen, i don't know what is...

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Polymath is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2008, 10:23 PM   #8
Muchmoore
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
vCash:
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_swagger
You forgot about darts.

Neither age nor alcoholism are a barrier to greatness!

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Don't forget Arm Wrestling

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
 Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2008, 05:09 AM   #9
DamonD
Champion
East Side Guru
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tavistock, England
Posts: 7,150
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymath



If this isnt a finely tuned athletic specimen, i don't know what is...

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Ah, you mean this guy?
[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
DamonD is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2008, 06:17 AM   #10
ChrisPontius
March 8th, 1971
East Side Guru
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Holland
Posts: 9,642
vCash: 238
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymath



If this isnt a finely tuned athletic specimen, i don't know what is...

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
ChrisPontius is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2008, 06:18 AM   #11
ChrisPontius
March 8th, 1971
East Side Guru
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Holland
Posts: 9,642
vCash: 238
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polymath
Pontius, you are, as usual, wrong.


Geriatrics fighting hand-picked opponents once a year is not indicative of a miraculously prolonged fighting prime. Sports which require the best to continously match up against the best (tennis, track & field, football) - do not have 42 year old champions, do they?
Tennis, track & field are completely different sports. They have an extremely large emphasis on speed, reflexes and stamina, which naturally produces young champions.



But if you disagree, feel free to provide stats that show fighters do not age any slower than they used to.
ChrisPontius is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2008, 07:05 AM   #12
Ezzard
Contender
ESB Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,035
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

I agree with Chris. Boxers fight to a much older age these days. means you can put Archie Moore in a real context...
Ezzard is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2008, 12:36 PM   #13
mcvey
P4P King
East Side VIP
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: The Garden Of England
Posts: 21,282
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
In the older days of boxing, say from 1900 up to roughly 1960, boxers usually started their pro career at or even before the age of 19 and fought very actively. They were involved in a lot of wars and being thrown to the wolves was no uncommon practice, to gain vital experience. Old Fogey pointed out that the only undefeated boxer to win the championship before the 50's was Willie Pep. They were also on a much more active schedule.

So, most boxers had reached their prime in their mid 20's and were getting old by 30.. most didn't have much left past, say, 33. Joe Louis was 33 when he fought Jersey Joe Walcott, but he clearly was not the same Bomber who stopped Max Schmeling and Buddy Baer in a single round. He fought a myriad of battles, not to mention all the exhibitions.


Of course there are always exceptions. Jack Johnson kept the title until he was 37, as did Walcott. It should be pointed out that Johnson's opposition at that point was pretty weak however.

Jeffries retired at 29, Dempsey at 32, Baer at 32, Schmeling at 34, Carnera at 31, Braddock at 33, Louis at 32 if not for the IRS, etc etc. Carnera and Schmeling had a few fights after retiring, but it's fair to say their careers were over.


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]



However, in the "modern age", boxers often are still respective forces past the age of 30; in fact, some of them reach their primes in their 30's.

Main reasons for this is:
  • Longer amateur career.
  • More protective management, i.e., less hard fights while possibly being overmatched against more experienced opposition.
  • Overall improved nutrition and health care; no need to fight on an empty stomach, either.
  • Less active schedules, i.e. being allowed to recover from a beating.
  • Experience is a big factor in boxing, and with the slower schedule and safer match making, their experience often peaks not until their 30's. For instance, Wladimir Klitschko had no experience in how to act when hurt by a puncher, and it was only after he won a world title that he found out ..... the hard way.
  • 12 round fights have a larger emphasis on strength, power and durability, whereas stamina and conditioning are more important for 15 round fights. Most men reach their peak strength-wise in their 30's or even 40's, whereas a 20 year old typically has better stamina and conditioning. So, the modern rules favor somewhat older guys, although stamina obviously still is an important part of the game
  • It remains a bit of an unknown factor, but there is a good chance that steroids have become a part of boxing since the 70's/80's, and they certainly allow one to do things in their 30's that wasn't possible before. Not something i like to mention consider their illegal nature, but it would be ignorant to overlook this point.
To make a comparison of the age at which modern champions retire:
Liston at age 38, Ali at 38, Holmes at .. 50?, Foreman at 48, Tyson at 37, Lewis at 37, Holyfield at 44.

Now obviously, Holyfield, Foreman and Holmes weren't what they used to be when they were in their 40's, but they were able to be competitive with top10 contenders and retained much of their ability late in their careers.


[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

Evander Holyfield was 34 when he faced Tyson and although he was somewhat past his best physically, he fought smarter than he ever had and i think it was one of his best performances. Same for Lewis when he faced Tua at age 35. Hopkins displayed a fantastic performance against Trinidad when he was 36.


Point is, none of these warriors looked like old men.
If you look at today's heavyweight top10, you will see the same thing:
1. Wladimir Klitschko => older than 30
2. Samuel Peter => younger than 30
3. Ruslan Chagaev => younger than 30
4. Nicolai Valuev => older than 30
5. Alexander Povetkin => younger than 30
6. John Ruiz => older than 30
7. Vladimir Virchis => older than 30
8. Tony Thompson => older than 30
9. Sultan Ibragimov => older than 30
10. Juan Carlos Gomez => older than 30

So, only Chagaev (29), Peter (27) and Povetkin (2 are below 30 years in age. And almost all of them are new blood. Only Klitschko and Ruiz are fighters than have fought in the 90's. Chagaev, Ibragimov and Povetkin are relatively new and they all turned pro somewhere past 25. Peter is the only one who started at 22, rather young.

If you do this analysis with the current lightheavyweight division, you'll see an even more older picture. However, that division pretty much is running on fighters from the 90's; Dawson being the exception.



To conclude, fighting a 35 year old opponent may have been legit criticism pre-1960, but afterwards, i don't think it's a bad mark at all. Obviously a case-by-case review should be done, as legends like Archie Moore and Walcott still were extremely capable on the long end of 30.
Johnson didn't get the opportunity to fight for the title till he was 30 ,its very possible he could have won it two years earlier.Braddock retired because he had arthritis and had no prospect of ever beating Louis,plus he had a good deal with Jacobs financially .Did Liston retire ? I think he was permanently retired by some one but don't recall him hanging up his gloves,like wise Patterson. Probably because fighters have far less fights nowadays and are usually carefully managed ,the have a longevity they wouldn't have had in the "good old days",throw in advanced training and nutrition,medical after care,long rests between fights ,= longer careers.
mcvey is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2008, 07:11 PM   #14
Pat_Lowe
Contender
ESB Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 593
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

What you say is true, modern fighters do age slower. But this era, is in the eyes of many, the worst of all time. Especially the heavyweights. Maybe there is a link?
Pat_Lowe is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Old 08-21-2008, 03:19 AM   #15
Loewe
internet hero
ESB Addict
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: in exile
Posts: 2,740
vCash: 1000
Default Re: Modern fighters age slower; 35 is not a death sentence anymore

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat_Lowe
What you say is true, modern fighters do age slower. But this era, is in the eyes of many, the worst of all time. Especially the heavyweights. Maybe there is a link?
At their time every era is seen as the worst ever with few exceptions. I don´t think so. Our era is average.

Today´s fighters have longer careers if you go by years but what if you go by the number of fights they have? This looks a bit different. I think there should be a method to take both into account.
Loewe is offline  Top
Reply With Quote
Reply

Boxing News 24 Forum > Boxing > Classic Boxing Forum

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump





All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Boxing News 24 Forum 2013