Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Keihule, Jan 21, 2008.
I dont see an area in which Fullmer is superior, so Jake gets my vote.
Fullmer was too physically strong for Basilio ,who was on the way down,Lamotta would be an entirely different kettle of fish, and one with a better chin.
A couple pf points: Joey LaMotta himself told me Jakes prime ended as soon as he met Vikki. He said he stopped training as hard and spent more time in bed with her than in the gym or doing roadwork (and who can blame him). Furthermore, some of his erratic performances, particularly against Cecil Hudson can be attributed to the fact that LaMotta often played possum in an attempt to do just enough to win to entice one of the champions to give him a shot thinking he was slipping. He did this against Hudson and the fight just slipped away from him. He testified in court that he he could have fought harder and won outright but wanted to lure a champion. He thought he had won but was surprised when the judges voted against him and blamed himself for making it that close. Im not sure the criticism about losing to Villemain. Villemain was a better, more proven middleweight than Cerdan (who avoided him). As I said, primarily, the guys who gave LaMotta problems were cuties. Fullmer was no cutie and regardless of his completely overblown reputation for strength he never once proved himself able to compete with larger fighters, in fact he made his career beating smaller fighters: Basilio, Robinson, Paret, Fernandez, Turner, etc. The two strongest middleweights he faced, Tiger and Lausse, kicked his ass. LaMotta fought his entire amateur career as a light heavy, the first year of his pro career as a light heavy and the final three years of his career as a light heavy. Fullmer turned pro at 160 and ended his career at 160. In the meantime the biggest guy he fought was 0-1 Eddie Duffy in Fullmers 5th fight. That other loss on Duffy’s record? Fullmer, five days earlier. LaMotta fought several men who weighed in the 180s, 170s, and high 160s through his career. Yes he fought some smaller guys too but fighting a prime SRR six times, HOF Zivic 4 times, and underrated black contender California Jackie Wilson who was 47-3-2 or Tommy Bell who was a top rated welterweight that decked SRR in losing a close decision is nothing to sneeze at compared to Gil Turner who was beginning a run that would see him go 4-8-1. Or 36 year old version of Robinson that you had to use every dirty trick in the book to overcome and still managed to get one punch KOd by, or a 32 year old ringworn Basilio who had just three more fights and had literally ONE win over a middleweight in the previous four years and that was a split decision over 36 year old Robinson, or Benny Paret who had lost three of his last five and frankly should have lost four, the second fight with Griffith being controversial. So no, I dont agree at all with this inflated idea of Fullmers prowess compared to LaMotta either in terms of depth of resume, accomplishment, physicality, etc. the difference between the success these men had was that LaMotta seemed to get zero breaks (partially because of his attitude and unwillingness to play ball) and Fullmer seemed to get every break imagineable everytime one was needed to further his career.
So why couldn't he beat someone like Villemain if he is as good as you say he is?
If LaMotta is some sort of monster what does that say about the guys from his own era who were better than him? Are Dauthille and Villemain ATGs as well? If LaMotta is than logically they would be as well
Box rec lists Marshall at 160 1/4 and LaMotta at 158 1/2 in April of 1944. Seems basically a middle. Marshall had defended the California middleweight title in Nov & Dec of 1943 against Jack Chase, fighting 15 rounds at 159 in December, and losing.
One could argue Marshall might have been weakened getting down so low, but what does that say about LaMotta who lost to him badly.
And if LaMotta couldn't handle Marshall, what about guys like Chase and Booker and Burley?
I think reasonable questions.
"one with a better chin"
Possibly, but Basilio was never even off his feet until he was 34. LaMotta didn't fight to that age. It is interesting that no one but Fullmer ever stopped Basilio, so criticizing Basilio's chin is somewhat of a circular argument with regards to Fullmer.
Also, I don't think chin will matter much in a h2h between Fullmer and LaMotta, as neither is really that big of a puncher. Basilio credited Fullmer with just wearing him out. If there is any stoppage, it would probably be on cuts or someone wearing out and being stopped via exhaustion. I judge LaMotta much more likely to wear out than Fullmer, although such a stoppage is, I think, unlikely.
I would rate Fullmer superior in
Many credit LaMotta with a strength edge, but I have my doubts. He mainly lost at light-heavy, other than beating a relatively green Satterfield (165 lbs.) and Murphy who was on the cusp of a career collapse. The other fairly good light-heavies, or super-middles, Jake fought got the best of him.
There also is that huge number of fights with outright welters or puffed up welters. 30 fights with guys 155 or less. Strange for a guy noted for being big and super strong.
"He stopped training as hard"
What kind of excuse is this supposed to be? It also raises the question of if you do decide to train hard can you quite get into the type of condition the guy who is always in condition maintains?
"LaMotta played possum"
His whole career is speckled with bad performances. The LaMottas were experts on spin, and this sure impresses me as spin.
Fullmer "made his career beating smaller fighters"
And LaMotta didn't?
Jake (161) Jackie Wilson (145) W
Jake (161) Sugar Ray Robinson (145) W
Jake (161) Sugar Ray Robinson (145) L
Jake (158) Fritzie Zivic (151) L
Jake (161) Fritzie Zivic (150) W
Jake (159) Fritzie Zivic (152) W
Jake (161) Tommy Bell (148) W
Jake (161) Tommy Bell (151) W
Jake (160) Jimmy Edgar (154) D
Jake (155) Tony Janiro (149) W
Yes, LaMotta fought light-heavies, but also a lot of welters.
In comparison, Fullmer didn't have these kind of weight pulls. You brought up Gil Turner:
Gene (154) Gil Turner (151) L
Gene (155) Gil Turner (153) W
Gene (158) Gil Turner (152) W
and other "small" men
Gene (157) Robinson (160) W -- 1957
Gene (160) F. Fernandez (157) W
No one claims Fullmer beat good light-heavies. LaMotta did beat a couple, but he was far less impressive at light-heavy than Teddy Yarosz or D-ck Tiger to name two.
"Villamain was a better, more proven middleweight than Cerdan"
Which apparently means LaMotta backed into the championship against a second-rate champion. Odd argument to make for a LaMotta supporter. Whatever, Cerdan was 33 and suffered a bad injury early in the fight.
"LaMotta seemed to get zero breaks"
Was he really the top contender when he got the shot at the aging Cerdan. I think Steve Belloise probably was, but LaMotta got the title shot and Belloise had to fight Robinson, who derailed him as he later did Villemain before also finishing Jake's title pretensions. I would think jumping a higher ranked contender is a break.
"unwillingness to play ball"
But he did, going into the tank against Fox, which apparently got him his undeserved title shot. In fairness to Jake, he deserved a title shot ahead of Graziano, but I don't know if he necessarily deserved a title shot ahead of Burley or Cerdan.
I'm not criticizing Basilio's chin,I'm comparing Fullmer's to Lamotta's.Fullmer was dropped by Gil Turner a welter weight,and knocked out by an old Robinson,who never floored Jake.
Okay, I misunderstood you. Sorry. I rate LaMotta ahead on chin off the evidence, but I doubt that chin would decide this one as neither is really a big puncher.
*It was not you, but the post trashing almost every decision Fullmer was involved with (including implying bias for Fullmer in a decision in which Fullmer lost by a wide UD) just went over-the-top. I saw all of his title defenses except the loss to Tiger (not on home TV) and other than the 3rd Robinson fight, I don't recall the results as all that controversial. I agree with the officials and the press takes on these fights. Also, saying Fullmer "ran like a thief" against Basilio is simply strange.