Chang v. Yuh: Clarifying the non-"super fight"

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Confucius, Jul 20, 2013.


  1. Confucius

    Confucius Active Member Full Member

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    I see a lot of Jung-koo Chang v. Myung-woo Yuh threads in American boxing forums, both in the forms of "fantasy" match-ups and historical questions regarding why it never happened. Typically, the threads are rarely informed and engage in a lot of science fiction-like wild speculations. So I thought I would compose a rather lengthy answer, as I actually do know a lot of people who have direct knowledge of the affair, including people on both sides of the camp.

    Here was the actual post that prompted me to write. As you can see, I was initially going to just write a "reply" rather than a separate thread, but it became too long.

    Oh, no, not this silly Chang v. Yuh (non-)"fantasy" fight again.

    To begin with, it would not have been "one for the ages" in any form.

    Let's say two possibilities for this fight happening time-frame-wise. First, if this fight happens during Chang's prime (let's say before middle of '86), it would have been a non-competitive, one-sided beat down. No junior flyweight who ever lived beats that version of Chang (provided Chang shows up trained), and Yuh is not coming close. (I don't want to divulge private conversations overmuch, but let's just say Yuh himself agrees with this; he'd be the first to tell you he couldn't beat the best Chang.)

    Second, if this fight happens after Chang let himself go, say, late '86 or '87 and onward, Yuh could make it a competitive fight, but it would be an ugly fight and not exactly "one for the ages." That version of Chang fought only in spurts, because he was never in condition to fight the full 3 minutes and 12 rounds. So it would have been a lot of clinching and fouling and painfully sporadic action.

    Now, there is much speculation outside Korea about why this fight did not happen, but this fight was never ever even remotely considered in Korea. Let me point out a few basic considerations.

    1. As general matter, unification fights between Korean fighters simply never happen.

    The primary reason is, because domestic boxing powers want titles kept in the country, and unification fights lowers the number of domestic titles by 1, even though technically both titles are still kept in country.

    Relatedly, unification fights mean that a domestic fighter has to lose, and this consideration is exacerbated when both fighters are undefeated for much of their career, as Chang and Yuh were for most of their careers. If a loss were to come, Koreans want the loss to come from foreign opponents, rather than have it come as "self-inflicted" (the "us v. them," ethnocentric mentality is a ubiquitous bane of Korea, and this used to be worse 30 years ago).

    A better illustration of this aversion to domestic unification fights is Chan-hee Park v. Tae-shik Kim. Now, here (unlike Chang v. Yuh) is actually a fight that could have been competitive and the boxing public and cognoscenti both wanted. But neither camp seriously ever considered it, because they both believed that their fighters could go on to have a long, Hall of Fame-type of careers, and they did not want to jeopardize that possibility.

    2. As I hinted above, the time-frame is a bit off; although Chang and Yuh were contemporaries and less than 1 year apart in age, their primes and therefore career trajectories were not in sync. Chang peaked around age 19-20 ('82-'83) and declined thereafter largely due to his lifestyle choices; Yuh didn't win a title until he was almost 22 (end of '85).

    So during Chang's prime, Yuh was a completely unproven fighter. And Chang started declining steeply as Yuh came into his prime; and by the time Yuh started becoming well-known, Chang was spent and looking only to hand-pick weak opponents to at first set and then prolong his record-breaking title run.

    3. I absolutely cannot emphasize this enough: That Yuh was a great fighter is not widely accepted among the Korean boxing cognoscenti. In particular, nobody in Korea considers him Chang's competitive peer, and probably the majority of domestic experts would put him below Chan-hee Park. His career is marked by a series of undistinguished opponents (compared to the other Korean greats and even near-greats), and his won-loss record is deceiving, as he had lots of close calls against mediocre fighters. To put it starkly, he is a great fighter largely only outside Korea, because folks outside Korea generally will only judge Korean fighters by the raw won-loss record.

    So by extension, simply no one clamored for Chang v. Yuh fight, because the boxing cognoscenti in Korea and both camps considered Chang a far superior fighter, and the outcome a foregone affair if the two ever met before Chang declined. I have yet come across a single respectable domestic boxing expert who thinks Yuh could've beaten a prime, committed Chang.

    To use an American analogue for you to understand, the idea that Chang and Yuh should've fought, and that Yuh could've won is about as outlandish and anachronistic as the idea that Leonard and Pryor should've fought, and that Pryor could've won.
     
  2. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond You're not going to do it for free Full Member

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    What a great post. How did this get 0 replies? Thoughts?
     
  3. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict Full Member

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    People dont care about make believe weights so small . plus they are sick and tired of them springing up 7 times a day. Normal folks dont watch 112pounders muchh less strawweight. Jrflyweight. Etc. You guys keep shoving this **** down our throats like the Marciano and Primo guys. But at least they and their opponents are known. Knowbody knows these guys opponents or care. Lots of posters dont post anymore because you guys hyjacked the forum. That and yr and Georges allknowing attitude at 15.
    Cmon man. Come on here and tell real life experiences youve had in boxing. The atmosphere etc and stop beating a dead ****in horse.
     
  4. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I used to be a big fan of yrs but yr knowitall bull**** is a real turnoff when I look back at my and other older posters yrs and expeiences compared with yr or ANY kid.
     
  5. PhillyPhan69

    PhillyPhan69 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    so my friend, do you have a insight into the topic at hand or did you post just to be a curmudgeon?

    I assume at one time like most of us that you fell in love with this sport at a young age. And in doing so you held ideas and opinions that 1 you espoused freely in whatever the context of your environment was, and 2 that have evolved and that you no longer hold today....

    not sure why you seem to abhor rather than appreciate the youthful exuberance of certain posters, who are seeking to grow in their own love, knowledge and appreciation of the pugilistic science. For myself I enjoy the excitement they bring to the forum and I have learned some from them and generally enjoy interacting with them...

    oh well just my $0.02 and I am glad to see that you did not leave the forum for good. I generally enjoy “most” of your takes and your writing and humor can be top notch. Hope all is well old friend
     
  6. Boxing Prospect

    Boxing Prospect Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    In an interview with a Korean website Yuh was quite frank

    “My game was on MBC and Chang Jung-Koo was on KBS. There was also a question of who would take the right to relay [broadcast]. The association said that if two champions are attached, they will lose one champion. I would have lost if I had attached. (Laughs) ”
     
  7. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond You're not going to do it for free Full Member

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    If you're gonna make weird rants at me, atleast use the reply function.
     
    PhillyPhan69 likes this.
  8. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict Full Member

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    What is it with you kids and the reply button?
     
  9. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I am more a malcontent. I never disrespected my elders when discussing the sport or had a knowitall attitude when young. I would whup my childrens asses is they behaved so condescendingly. It's only a forum. These little brats wouldnt be so aggressive in a gym full of oldtimers. Distance makes Urkle into Isaac Hayes. I only started against them when they started the fleaman snob putdowns in the Walker thread. Uncalled for so give as you get. And this pretentious "I box amat. In a gym as a teen so I know mote than anyone who didn't) you know as well as I do Philly is bull****. You wont admit it so not to offend, but you know it's horse**** none the less.
     
    PhillyPhan69 likes this.
  10. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond You're not going to do it for free Full Member

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    You're obsessed. Calm down. I thought this was finished. Why do you keep posting about me and George?

    And thanks for bumping this thread that apparently no one likes.
     
    PhillyPhan69 likes this.
  11. Rope-a-Dope

    Rope-a-Dope Well-Known Member Full Member

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    The original post is interesting. Viewing Korean boxing from such a distance and with the language barrier, it's hard to know what it's really like besides what we see in the ring.
     


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