[1949] Article describing the top heavyweights of the day

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by mrkoolkevin, Apr 8, 2021.

  1. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    Interesting writeup on the 1949 heavyweight scene. Article also discusses the other weight classes, and I might write those up later.

    Jimmy Powers, "The Powerhouse," New York Daily News (Nov. 1, 1949)

    This is how the fight picture looks at present:

    HEAVYWEIGHTS: 1. Ezzard Charles. 2. Lee Savold. 3. Joe Walcott. 4. Joey Maxim. 5. Bruce Woodcock.

    HONORABLE MENTION—Roland LaStarza, Cesar Brion, Bernie Reynolds, Rocky Marchiano [sic], Pat Valentino.

    The heavyweights look sad. Charles, best of them all, is really a light-heavy. He is a good fighter, nothing else, and far surpasses Savold who hasn’t licked anyone recently but Buonvino, a second-rater.

    Walcott has seen his best days, but must rate third best. Maxim is a fattened light-heavy who is a clever boxer but can’t hit. Woodcock is a tough battler with no class. LaStarza lacks experience, but may improve. He does everything well but seems mechanical. Brion needs polish but does hit hard. Reynolds is not bad but can’t take it too well. Marchiano [sic] is a terrific hitter, but needs plenty of experience and ring savvy. Valentino needs a haircut.
     
  2. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    Charles got it absolutely tight in his own time.
     
  3. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    It was a weak period for sure.
    I'm not sure why Lee Savold was rated above those others though. He didn't fight at all in 1949 and was disqualified against Woodcock in his previous fight (December 1948). He was about as old as Walcott too.
     
  4. Colonel Sanders

    Colonel Sanders Classic discussion : small vs big, old vs modern Full Member

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    Wow. A grown ass man wrote that? Embarrassing.
     
  5. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    Yeah, I'm starting to get curious about exactly when, why, and how Charles' reputation improved so dramatically. Might try to look into that sometime.
     
  6. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Possibly some time after people started looking back on Archie Moore's record.
     
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  7. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    The Ring had Savold a bit lower in its end-of-year rankings. Not sure why they had Lee Oma or (especially) Turkey Thompson so high though.

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  8. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    Must have been after 1975:

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    Maybe his tragic health decline and early death in 1975 played a role in leading boxing people toward a more sympathetic reappraisal of his career accomplishments?
     
  9. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Those lists might have been for world champions only, which would have disqualified Charles at light-heavy anyway.
     
  10. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    The answer should be obvious.

    It quickly becomes apparent that his record is the best in LHW history give or take, and arguably one of the best in any weight class.

    Of course he was coming after Joe Louis, and then as now, some people were fixated on size!
     
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  11. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    The thing is, it didn't become apparent "quickly." It apparently took quite some time after his career had ended.
     
  12. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    A few relevant data points (I might add more later):

    May 29, 1975 article: Chris Dundee quoted as describing Charles as "the greatest light heavyweight he ever saw."

    February 9, 1981 article: Quotes a March 1981 Boxing Today article in which Bill Libby states that Charles "may have been the greatest light heavyweight ever."

    September 18, 1985 article: Quotes Eddie Futch as saying "Ezzard Charles was a heavyweight champion, and he was a light heavyweight, I think the greatest of all time.'

    January 27, 1993 article: Quotes Russell Pelz as saying that "Some people will tell you that Ezzard Charles is the greatest light-heavyweight ever, but the general consensus probably is that Archie was."

    December 9, 1999 article: Poll of 5 "experts" assembled by AP ranked Charles as third greatest light-heavy of all time, behind Moore and Billy Conn (and above Roy Jones, Bivins, Foster, Harold Johnson, Philadelphia Jack O'Brien, Tiger Jack Fox, and Max Rosenbloom (in order)).
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  13. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    “Valentino ... needs a haircut.”

    I’m sure he heard about that review in the gym, haha.
     
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  14. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Do you disagree with the assertion that Charles had an exceptional record at LHW?
     
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  15. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Fighters’ reputations sometimes age like fine wine.

    Larry Holmes was underappreciated in his time, to name one. It took a while before the masses (and many of the critics) appreciated Ali’s greatness.

    Charles as a heavyweight, even though he won the crown, was considered a blown-up light heavy at the time. That’s understandable, and there weren’t (until Rocky came along) any highly-regarded opposition for him to make his heavyweight bones on, really.

    There was an interesting thread on here some years ago about Greb’s rise in greatness long after his day. I mean you can find plenty of experts who didn’t have him very high on the all-time lists (and some who didn’t have him at all) decades after his career ended ... then suddenly, for reasons obscure, there was a renaissance and he jumped up the charts, so to speak.
     
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