Billy Conn as a Heavyweight

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by ETM, May 6, 2019.

  1. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Asking the group here about Conn as a heavyweight contender. Some fans tend to hold it against Joe Louis that he had difficulty with Conn. Yes Billy Conn was smaller but he was a hell of a fighter. Tremendous quickness, tremendous heart, great boxing skill and he had pretty good left hook.
    For those guys that know this era... How good was Billy Conn as a heavyweight going into this fight? He had beaten some other heavyweights stopped a few. Do we as fans dismiss Billy the Kid a little too much as a heavyweight? He brought something to the table that night that's all I'm saying.
    I don't believe Billy just lost because he chose to slug It Out. I believe the Brown Bomber wore down Conn with steady pressure over the course of 13 rounds. It was one of the greatest heavyweight fights of all time.
  2. Jackomano

    Jackomano Boxing Addict Full Member

    Nov 22, 2014
    A skilled and experienced light heavyweight can be even the best heavyweight's worst nightmare because of their superior speed and timing. A lot of light heavyweights make the mistake of packing on size when moving up to heavyweight and willingly give up their speed advantage. Conn was easily among the best heavyweights at the time despite being a light heavyweight just like Moore was ranked #1 when he fought Marciano despite being a light heavyweight.

    People seem to forget that back in Conn's day there was only 1 world title. If Conn had the luxury of having the Alphabet titles (WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO) like Modern fighters do I have no doubt that he would've been a heavyweight champion, but he didn't and had to go through a prime Joe Louis.

    Also, I agree that Louis did eventually wear Conn down, since he kept going to Conn's body even early in the fight, but Conn was in such great shape that it took a while before Conn started to slow down, but once he did Louis finished him. I think its complete hogwash that Conn lost because he chose to slug it out. Conn tired and slowed down enough to where Louis could land clean on him.
  3. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Thanks for the reply. Boxing isn't like other sports where a standout is likely to get 5-10 years at the top barring injury. 1 tough fight can end a boxers prime. One thing Conn didnt have was longevity. At his peak though he was a handful.
    Billy didn't just go in and fight Louis. He did I believe go 7-0 against heavyweights. Stopping Bob Pastor and Lee Savold. Pastor had just challenged Joe for the title one year earlier.
  4. robert ungurean

    robert ungurean Богдан Full Member

    Jun 9, 2007
    He only weighed 169 to Joe's 199 that night. Prime Billy is no HW. He like some contemporaries befor him ( Greb..Walker ) ventured into those waters a few times but he was no HW.
  5. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    True he was small. Though Billy was beating other heavyweights so he had something to offer the big boys. He made it work
  6. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Perhaps there was a misconception as well that Billy Conn was boxing Joe's ears off. He wasn't, he was winning, he was ahead but not by that much. It was actually an underrated fight over all. Shifts of momentum back and forth, that fight had it all.
    robert ungurean likes this.
  7. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    He was legitimately one of the best heavyweight contenders of his era.

    In my opinion one of the more likely candidates to have held the title, if Joe Louis had not been around.

    What really hurt his legacy, was the war cutting his prime short.

    Whatever he would have done in those lost years, it would have been some of his best work, and it would have enhanced his resume considerably.
    robert ungurean, ETM and Jackomano like this.
  8. JackSilver

    JackSilver Boxing Addict Full Member

    Jun 24, 2017
    I find it hard to think a 169Ib Conn would have any chance against even today’s mediocre bunch of heavyweights even if you are looking outside of Joshua, Wilder and Fury.
  9. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

    Jan 30, 2014
    Not sure if this gets at what you're asking but I'd pick any of the top heavyweights of the past 50 years to dominate Conn with little real difficulty. Conn was probably as legit a contender as there was to be found at heavyweight in his own era though.
  10. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    The very elite guys? The modern Giants? Yea I can agree at the same time he would go the distance with Ali and probably Holyfield, Patterson, Charles and Walcott, Ellis etc.. I could see him giving Marciano trouble in that same form. He might beat some of the names I just mentioned.
  11. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    I wasn't really considering the current guys. Those guys don't box too good but they are way too big.
    The point I wanted to get across was though people point to the 169 whenever this fight is brought up it was far from a farce. He was a viable contender, at least as much of a threat as other light heavyweights that had challenged later years, Archie Moore, Bob Foster, in my opinion in that form he was better than both of those guys who later challenge for the title. I don't know that Patterson beats him. Other legit heavyweight champions belt holders etc would have had trouble with Conn.
    Last edited: May 8, 2019
  12. greynotsoold

    greynotsoold Boxing Addict Full Member

    Aug 17, 2011
    I believe that Conn had the majority of his career knockouts at heavyweight. Keeping in mind that he started young and with no amateur experience, that indicates to me that he was growing into his game at that point in his career.

    As far as him being dominated by every good heavyweight of the last 50 years, maybe, maybe not. I don't think that there are too many, if any, that I would rate to be as boxing smart or as skillful as Billy Conn. He certainly wouldn't sacrifice his advantages in speed and mobility like Toney did. Maybe the size differential would be overwhelming.
  13. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    He definitely gets underrated as a puncher at heavyweight. His knockout ratio is better at the bigger weight than through his career. He stopped a couple of durable fighters. He was definitely no Shavers but he could swat a bit, which is weird.

    Based on the scant footage of him at LHW, he was also a better fighter at HW i think, which may explain it.

    His plan against Louis was sensational.
    George Crowcroft likes this.
  14. SuzieQ49

    SuzieQ49 Officer Full Member

    Sep 14, 2005
    Agreed here
  15. SuzieQ49

    SuzieQ49 Officer Full Member

    Sep 14, 2005
    Mcgrain beat me too it.

    Just want to add on

    Conn impressively dispatched some top 10 heavyweights of the era..easily. Pastor, Savold, Barland...these guys were good. Conn made them look very bad.

    Conns gameplay effort against joe Louis may be one of the all time performances ever captured on television
    robert ungurean and KasimirKid like this.