Has the Classic forum learned anything in the old vs modern debate?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by cross_trainer, Aug 21, 2021.

  1. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    The highlighted section interests me. Let's say you compare a guy from the 1920s top 10, and a guy from the 2020s top 10. What would you say to a critic who denies that they're "comparably good opponents" in the first place? There are certainly people who believe that the 1920s heavyweights were just plain bad fighters. So it would seem to be difficult to establish the initial assumption that the two eras are comparable. Thoughts?
  2. Pat M

    Pat M Active Member Full Member

    Jun 20, 2017
    I didn't comment about them being flat footed or about their range. Those are not the reasons I wouldn't watch them fight. As @dangerousity mentioned, they look like inexperienced fighters. They generally over react to feints, they use few jabs, they lunge with wide punches while leaving their chin unprotected, etc. IMO, they have more in common with Rough N Rowdy fighters than they do with more modern boxers. I'm not going to watch 50 rounds of Tunney fighting to see him use one technique/fundamental that Evander Holyfield used every round.

    They might have had a lot of fights, but they were fighting other people who didn't use good fundamentals, good body mechanics, or good technique. Another thing I notice is that there is seldom any rhythm to their fighting, they fight stiff and look like robots. I'm not interested in convincing anybody else, if someone thinks Tunney fights like Ali or Holmes, and that person enjoys watching him, I don't care, but I'm not interested in watching him fight. To me, watching Tunney fight is like watching the 1920 Harvard football team to get a contemporary football team ready to play for the national championship. There is no benefit to watching him fight.
  3. GOAT Primo Carnera

    GOAT Primo Carnera Member of the PC Fan Club Full Member

    Jan 28, 2018
    Anyone saw this thread?
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    7 posts, obv. poll result.

    And folks asking if the board learned anything from the debate?

    Pre debate, 48 pages of nonsense....
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    Post debate, trollnitor still on the run, but hopefully, this time one page might be enough.
    MarkusFlorez99 likes this.
  4. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra H2H Burger King Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    I always say that criticizing a champion for defending their belt against someone ranked in the top 10 is silly. If they clear out their division, like how Joe Louis did, what else are they supposed to do exactly?

    Joe, the boxer puncher, fought counter punchers like Walcott and schmeling, movers like Conn, sluggers like the Baer brothers, swarmers like galento and Rocky, other boxer punchers like Simon,, etc.

    Sonny Liston, the boxer puncher, fought slick counter punchers like Folley, movers like Machen, sluggers like Dejohn and Williams, swarmers like Patterson and Johnson, other boxer punchers like Valdes and Martin, etc.

    Even if you disagree on how good the boxer in question is that each champion faced, you'd be arguing from an area of pure speculation and assumption thinking that swarmer from era A would be trash in era B. The only thing we can be certain of is that in the case of both Louis and Liston, they faced some of the best examples of each style in their eras and the majority were also ranked and in their prime (especially guys like Walcott, Patterson, etc). That's all you can ask a boxer to do.

    So if you get the stats and compare them you can get a rough idea of:

    -how well boxer punchers in each era retained information taught to them.

    -how well the trainers prepared them for each boxing style.

    -how good the opposition was. You can do the same star analysis with them and see how effective their style was in their last couple of wins before getting a shot at the champion. A counter puncher who gets their face market up and is beaten to the punch frequently obviously wasn't much of a counter puncher regardless of how they looked when they did eventually fight the champion.

    -comparing stats for the style vs style should surely be a fair analysis. By definition, a swarmer/inside fighter needs to be able to smother their opponents, cut the ring off, and fire lots of punches to win rounds and pressure opponents. It doesn't matter if the swarmer is from 1920, 1940, or 2040, if their output is low, that's not good. However, if they had a high volume in bouts before facing the champion and then we see the stats show they had a very low output, the context should probably make it clear that the champion did a good job shutting down their game plan and offense (as long as the swarmer wasn't sick/injured/etc). Thus two fighters decades apart can still compare opponents no matter what kind of era they had as long as the opponents were good by those standards.

    If a boxer is blatantly cherry picking or facing weakened versions of otherwise good boxers, their stats should be taken with a grain of salt.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
  5. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Certainly, you're under no obligation to watch them fight at all. I'm not even trying to convince you that they were any good. And I'm not offended by your comparing them to Rough N Rowdy fighters. (If anything, your comparison foregrounds the issue I'm most curious about, so I'm probably indebted to you.)

    What I'm more interested in is learning the explanation, from your perspective, of why boxers remained terrible for such a long time.

    Let's take your list of problems they have -- overreacting to feints, rarely using jabs, lunging with wide punches that leave their chins unprotected, only occasionally using fundamental techniques that Evander does easily, and in general looking like toughman competitors.

    I guess I'm wondering why competitors in a professional sport that was 42 years old (and which had evolved out of gloved boxing from the early 19th century) were still so inexperienced after so much time. The way you describe them, they sound like they'd be a couple levels below most golden gloves competitors today. Why do you believe that these men never learned to avoid these mistakes after dozens of fights and lots of sparring? Why hadn't their coaches learned? It seems peculiar that an entire combat sport (technique and athletes alike) would remain frozen in novice-level stasis for such a long period of time.

    You don't have to provide an explanation, of course. As you pointed out, you're not trying to convert anyone. But it would be helpful to hear your thoughts on the matter.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
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  6. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxing Drunkie Full Member

    Oct 28, 2017
    This thread was an interesting sort of statement of intent, and it's been fun watching @cross_trainer wreak havoc through classic. (certainly a refreshing break form the dime store troll's spam)

    I'm curious if you're perspective has changed much during your latest flurry of activity?

    Also, I might as well promote my greatest discovery
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  7. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Nothing but the finest trolling for our beloved forum.

    Me, personally?

    As a general matter, I've become less confident in the "old timer" fighters' abilities than when I started posting here a long time ago. I began with a fairly orthodox view of the arc of boxing history that you might have seen in Monte Cox's work, along with a romantic attachment to very early pre-Fleischer boxing. The attachment has remained, but many of the beliefs about the old timers' head to head abilities have eroded.

    You can brute-force an argument in favor of the older boxers by throwing out minutiae. It's something I've done myself from time to time, since I'm an argumentative jerk who likes putting both sides out there. But I think modern boxers are, on average, probably better than their predecessors.

    EDIT: It's also one of those things where it's hard to see where the evidence points until you try to make the arguments both ways, and see where the weaknesses are. How much support you can dredge up for each. The pro-modern arguments hold up better overall, IMO.

    Two quick examples.

    Consider first the old observation that the old timers had more fights. This is true...to some degree...for some periods in boxing history. But the people making the argument often telescope long periods of boxing history together, and take the outliers as normal -- for example, assuming that Greb and Robinson were typical. There's also the issue that many modern pros had long amateur careers. I haven't encountered many old timers with zillions of amateur fights. (Last time I checked, way back, Robinson had quite a few, but not as many as lots of amateurs today. I think Louis had something like 60, and he was considered a promising amateur.)

    Another example on the athletics side. It's true that one of the reasons that athletic performances (hammer throw, lifting, etc.) have improved is better technique rather than greater athleticism. So some of the progress is illusory in terms of the athletes' physical improvements. But. Consider the case of Hermann Goerner, whom I brought up specifically to make this point years ago. Goerner claimed a 793 pound raw (no special suits, etc.) deadlift, which compares surprisingly well with raw total deadlifts done today. Unfortunately, subsequent research by people involved in weight training history has revealed a problem: Goerner's professional totals may have been considerably exaggerated, and their attestation is poor. The lesson is that when you see an extreme anomaly in the past, it's possible you're just making a historical mistake. The lesson carries forward into some of the more Bunyanesque things they credit Jeffries with, for example.

    EDIT 2: This doesn't mean, however, that you're never going to have anomalies. Nor does it authorize extreme conclusions that assume, e.g., that all boxers were nitwits before Floyd Patterson. Different eras of old timers sometimes had advantages we don't. They may have been worse overall, but they weren't necessarily inferior at everything in a uniform way. Sometimes they may have been better at specific aspects of the game than we are, even though they weren't better in a global sense.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  8. Bumnard_Hopkins

    Bumnard_Hopkins Burger King banned Full Member

    Jul 13, 2021
    Kovalev beats Marciano. He also beats geriatric Moore, Charles and Walcott.
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  9. BCS8

    BCS8 VIP Member Full Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    I'll just go ahead and disagree with that.
  10. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze Bye for now! banned Full Member

    Oct 12, 2020
    ****ing LOL
  11. mirkofilipovic

    mirkofilipovic ESB Management Full Member

    Jan 7, 2014

    Now back to the Lounge for me :bananaride
  12. Richard M Murrieta

    Richard M Murrieta Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jul 16, 2019
    No stay here, Ha Ha, Lol.
    mirkofilipovic likes this.