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Old 06-21-2007, 12:12 PM   #1
PowerPuncher
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Default Pre 1920s Fighters with Incomplete Records

Are most these 0-0-0 fighters, actually fighters who have fought on smaller cards that records have been lost.

What about Jeffries - did he really fight for the world title in his 12th fight? Or did he have unrecord contests prior to this that we don't know about? Maybe he fought under a different name with plenty of losses.

What about Johnson - did he really fight for the Texan title after 7 fights or are there many fights not included in his record? Do we really believe Dunning, a fighter with 2 pro fights won a draw against Johnson? Would Jack Murray really get a shot at the title with only 2 fights?

What about opposition with no fights - have they had fights and we just don't know about them?

Last edited by PowerPuncher; 06-21-2007 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 06-21-2007, 12:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pre 1920s Fighters with Incomplete Records

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homicidal Hank
I think the argument that a lot of these records are woefully incomplete is largely false. Promoters would match a boxer against some tough man in some city to draw a crowd. The tough man often only had one or a couple of fights. Of course there are missing bouts here and there in these records, but the idea that we know nothing about several of these opponents such that they appear as 0-0-0 is incredible.

Remember, the gloved sport is getting underway. Like the UFC, were there aren't very many fighters yet, so the same was for gloved boxing in the beginning. This is why we see with fighters with any sort of record involved in constant rematches. When a division only had a handful of decent fighters, then they are constantly matched. And with the sport racially segregated, the talent pools were even more thin. Draws were common because fighters weren't very skilled and superiority in the ring was not as commonly displayed as it will become. The field is so underpopulated that a fighter like George Dixon can rise to the top of the sport and dominate. Think about it: if James J. Corbett is the science of the sport, then the heavyweight field is threadbare.

Even in Dempsey's time matches had to be made with opponents such as Carpentier - a middleweight who wins titles all these way to heavyweight because of how barren the field is in Europe. They brought in a South American fighter - Firpo - who couldn't even throw a punch properly. To beat Johnson they found Willard. Etc. This was the state of the sport. It's not until half way through Dempsey's reign that the sport finally blossoms with talent, and here it is mostly in the lower weight divisions (Greb, Tunney, and so on). This is when we see lengthy records become the norm.

To bring in the discussion from another thread, this is why Dempsey was so exposed when he stepped into the ring with Tunney and a young talent like Sharkey (whom he had to foul to beat).

Still, though, we must admit, the heavyweight division continued to lag behind the other divisions, as horrible boxers such as Carnera and Baer, and even a light heavyweight journeyman - Braddock - continued to find their way to the top of the division. Louis ruled over a woefully undeveloped division in terms of future abilities. The other divisions, of course, were kicking - Canzoneri, Ross, Armstrong, and so on - until the war.
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pre 1920s Fighters with Incomplete Records

Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerPuncher
Are most these 0-0-0 fighters, actually fighters who have fought on smaller cards that records have been lost.

What about Jeffries - did he really fight for the world title in his 12th fight? Or did he have unrecord contests prior to this that we don't know about? Maybe he fought under a different name with plenty of losses.

What about Johnson - did he really fight for the Texan title after 7 fights or are there many fights not included in his record? Do we really believe Dunning, a fighter with 2 pro fights won a draw against Johnson? Would Jack Murray really get a shot at the title with only 2 fights?

What about opposition with no fights - have they had fights and we just don't know about them?
I remember coming across an article in the 1890's in which a national
women's group was planning a boycott of any newspaper which
covered boxing and their advertisers. No wonder there is scant
coverage in many papers. I also don't know how many papers have
survived on microfilm from the 1890's. The big city ones, or course,
but papers in cow towns and mining camps--who knows.
Jeffries is interesting. There was a report in the SF Chronicle in 1896
that he had several fights and had won them all, including a knockout
of Frank Childs. These fights are never again referred to in the
Chronicle or any other paper, as far as I know. Did he have fights?
I think so myself. Jeffries did mention in later years that he had more
experience than people thought and had been fighting since 1891.
Could he have lost? This is total speculation, but I do find it interesting
that Jeffries was so reticent about these early fights. Was there
something to hide?
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Old 06-21-2007, 01:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pre 1920s Fighters with Incomplete Records

Yes, there are plenty of incomplete records nobody has time to research and fill in. Look at how many of famous/great fighters from that period have few comments on their bouts, no weight, no referee, no time, no knockdowns. It's because they were just copied from known records and not researched any further.
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Old 06-21-2007, 04:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pre 1920s Fighters with Incomplete Records

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homicidal Hank
I think the argument that a lot of these records are woefully incomplete is largely false. Promoters would match a boxer against some tough man in some city to draw a crowd. The tough man often only had one or a couple of fights. Of course there are missing bouts here and there in these records, but the idea that we know nothing about several of these opponents such that they appear as 0-0-0 is incredible.

Remember, the gloved sport is getting underway. Like the UFC, were there aren't very many fighters yet, so the same was for gloved boxing in the beginning. This is why we see with fighters with any sort of record involved in constant rematches. When a division only had a handful of decent fighters, then they are constantly matched. And with the sport racially segregated, the talent pools were even more thin. Draws were common because fighters weren't very skilled and superiority in the ring was not as commonly displayed as it will become. The field is so underpopulated that a fighter like George Dixon can rise to the top of the sport and dominate. Think about it: if James J. Corbett is the science of the sport, then the heavyweight field is threadbare.

Even in Dempsey's time matches had to be made with opponents such as Carpentier - a middleweight who wins titles all these way to heavyweight because of how barren the field is in Europe. They brought in a South American fighter - Firpo - who couldn't even throw a punch properly. To beat Johnson they found Willard. Etc. This was the state of the sport. It's not until half way through Dempsey's reign that the sport finally blossoms with talent, and here it is mostly in the lower weight divisions (Greb, Tunney, and so on). This is when we see lengthy records become the norm.

To bring in the discussion from another thread, this is why Dempsey was so exposed when he stepped into the ring with Tunney and a young talent like Sharkey (whom he had to foul to beat).

Still, though, we must admit, the heavyweight division continued to lag behind the other divisions, as horrible boxers such as Carnera and Baer, and even a light heavyweight journeyman - Braddock - continued to find their way to the top of the division. Louis ruled over a woefully undeveloped division in terms of future abilities. The other divisions, of course, were kicking - Canzoneri, Ross, Armstrong, and so on - until the war.
your post is laudable, as in you try to be informative, but it smells to me like you don't have any respect for the fighters. to compare early boxing with gloves to mma is ridiculous in every respect. mma has sprung up because it never existed, and we see continual rematches because of the POPULARITY of these guys, along with them just being better than the other fighters. that's why carpentier was matched with dempsey, they could SELL the fight and make money, which they did. boxing transitioned from bareknuckle to gloves and there were more fighters around than you give credit for, obviously the record keeping is spotty, and that's because a) the newspapers didn't cover the sport by and large and b) the copies of those who did cover it are lost. to give an example there are a couple of bareknucklers, bill davis and charley gallagher who fought in the 1860's and 1870's and contended for the title which almost nothing is known about them, except their bout results. I've never even seen pictures of them and both fought out west beyond the reach of the eastern papers. to say also that these guys were clueless is equally inaccurate. read some contemporary fight reports and the reporters knew what good boxing looked like, and just as we have unskilled guys today there were the same back then. dempsey 'exposed' by tunney and sharkey? um jack KNOCKED out sharkey and was way past his best when he lost to tunney. when a fighter is 'exposed' he gets obliterated or is so outclassed he doesn't win hardly a round, and being exposed you never knock out the other man, even if you 'had to foul'. you think the sport was filled with bums until magically the sport gained 'skill' in the 20's and 30's. and there were a lot of draws because, um, there were no DECISIONS POSSIBLE UNLESS YOU KO'D THE OTHER GUY, so fighters without a big punch knew if they couldn't ko the other guy, they fought defensively to avoid being ko'd, which actually can take a lot of skill just to do that, oops I forgot, no one back then had any skill.
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Old 06-22-2007, 07:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Pre 1920s Fighters with Incomplete Records

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerPuncher
Are most these 0-0-0 fighters, actually fighters who have fought on smaller cards that records have been lost.
A lot of them are. It was quite possible to get to the level of say British Champion in this period and have a record of 0-0-0 listed on boxrec.

Quote:
What about Jeffries - did he really fight for the world title in his 12th fight? Or did he have unrecord contests prior to this that we don't know about? Maybe he fought under a different name with plenty of losses.
There is circumstantial evidence that Jeffries has unrecorded fights both before and after he won the title.

Quote:
What about Johnson - did he really fight for the Texan title after 7 fights or are there many fights not included in his record?
Johnson's biography suggests that he had been operating beneath the radar before he came to the atention of boxrec.

Quote:
What about opposition with no fights - have they had fights and we just don't know about them?
I would say that about 90% of the fights that took place in this period are not listed on boxrec.
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Old 06-22-2007, 08:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: Pre 1920s Fighters with Incomplete Records

Boxing for money was kind of illegal in many instances. After Choynski kayoed Jack Johnson, they were both arrested and locked up for the better part of a month. In their cell, Joe schooled Jack in the finer points of pugilism. (Ain't integration a beautiful thing?)

Matches weren't fought to pad records, but to line pockets. A competitor's history was often something to be hidden, not advertised. The true extent of a combatant's experience was therefore often cloaked. The record book shows that Saensak Muangsurin won the WBC Light Welterweight Title in 1975, after only his third boxing contest, but that doesn't reflect the hundreds of kickboxing competitions he reportedly experienced previously in Thailand. Demspey fought a multitude of barroom brawls for cash and food. Jack also boxed under the moniker Kid Blackie for years. Both Johnson and Gans performed in battle royals preceding their recorded careers.

Sparring in Philadelphia gymnasiums without ever entering a sanctioned bout could well be more rigorous than Sean O'Grady's entire official ring resume. An incomplete record could be as misleading as a fabricated extensive one.

An old friend of my father's joined the Navy as a teenager during WW II. When candidates for a fight card were being recruited, he spoke up. Q: "How many fights have you had?" A: "Twenty." How many did you win?" A: "Twenty." So they put him in the main event, and he got clobbered. After getting belted around the ring a second time, they said, "Okay, now we'd better teach you how to box!" In 1945, he won the 12th Naval District MW crown in San Francisco.

When we see a record of 0-0-0, that could just as easily belong to a ringer as it could a neophyte. Sometimes, there's just no way to know.
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