Heavyweight contender who would have benefited the sport most if he'd become champion?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by cross_trainer, Aug 26, 2021.

  1. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Leaving aside the fact that a lot of top 5/10 contenders never would have plausibly become champion without a LOT of luck...let's assume somebody gets lucky.

    Which heavyweight contenders would have been most beneficial to the sport if they'd somehow hit the lottery on a lucky punch, or an extreme off night for the champion? Guys who would have represented boxing well for the general public, grown and improved the sport, and so on.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
  2. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    This is an interesting question. Why would you limit it to heavies though?

    Harry Wills. A well-spoken, intelligent gentleman as relaxed in the ring as the world of business. A sort of black Gene Tunney...you'd like to say the same for Peter Jackson but he ended up hitting the booze pretty hard, sadly. Maybe he wouldn't have if he had become the champion, or maybe it would only have made things worse, no way to know really.

    Buddy Baer was a jolly nice chap, off to war after Louis poleaxed him.
  3. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Thank you. My reasoning was:

    1) Most people on the forum are more familiar with heavies.

    2) Most people on the forum prefer talking about heavies.

    3) It focuses the question.

    4) The heavyweight champion is usually the most visible ambassador for the sport.
    swagdelfadeel likes this.
  4. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    This ceratinly is the case historically, but it's interesting the way it's gone away from the HW champ. I'm not sure that a HW champ has been number one this century. The last time it was the case would have been around the time of Tyson-Holyfield.
    swagdelfadeel and cross_trainer like this.
  5. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Well-Known Member Full Member

    Oct 18, 2009
  6. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Jackson would also be an interesting choice to break the Color Line in a way that ensures it stays broken, since the precedent would have been set long before Johnson. (Same if Tom Molyneux won way back.)

    Come to think of it, if you wanted to break the color barrier in a way that avoided the Johnson backlash, you could always have Langford win it. Or (later still...) have Langford win it *against Johnson*, and then quietly defend it a la Louis.
  7. CharlieFirpo85

    CharlieFirpo85 Member Full Member

    Feb 26, 2020
    Ken Norton (inside the ring)

    Such a good rolemodel to me. A picture perfect athlete. Very hard working...respectable guy. He was kinda balanced: No loudmouth but also no square...neither an Uncle T*m nor racial extremist...
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
  8. Gazelle Punch

    Gazelle Punch Boxing Addict Full Member

    Aug 15, 2018
    Good one.
    CharlieFirpo85 and cross_trainer like this.
  9. Pepsi Dioxide

    Pepsi Dioxide Active Member Full Member

    Oct 22, 2020
    Mickey Walker? Would of been insane for a welterweight in the 30s to win the heavy title. Though it could of also highlighted a poor era in the 30s if a small guy like Walker could win the title.

    Jorge Luis Gonzalez.....wait here me out! He could of been the ultimate "guy you want to see get beat" fighter. Would of brought a lot of eyes and satisfaction when he got his commupance.
  10. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Yes, the idea of a primed Sam Langford coming to the title against a sagging Johnson is the most attractive of all, but I'm not sure Sam is necessarily a name that comes to mind given the thread title!
    cross_trainer likes this.
  11. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Bergeron Avatar Club Full Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    Langford beating Johnson late might actually give you Wills as well. It's harder for Dempsey to justify drawing the color line against Wills when "nice guy" Langford gave Dempsey a title shot in the first place. (And obligingly beat Johnson as well.)
    McGrain likes this.
  12. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Jun 25, 2014
    Some of you guys have Sam Langford on the brain.

    I don' t know how having a smallish contender with close to 70 losses/draws winning the heavyweight title would've benefitted the division at all.

    Langford lost to everyone, which doesn't help anything.

    Gerry Cooney beating Larry Holmes for the Heavyweight Title would've really lifted the sport at that moment in time.

    Cooney was an undefeated star in the sport who was becoming a mainstream sports star leading up to that title shot with Holmes ... he was getting a lot of commercial endorsements as it was, before he'd even won anything.

    The sport was preparing for him to become the next great star. He was on the cover of Time Magazine along with Stallone's Rocky. He'd knocked out Young, Lyle, Norton. He just needed to stop Holmes, and he would've been as well known as Rocky and would've enjoyed all the perks the fictional fighter earned. Probably would've had his own video games. Who knows, boxing may never ever have fallen off network television like it did if he had won.

    He'd have been bigger than life.

    Cooney just didn't win the fight. (LOL)

    Had he won the title, he'd have been a nice bridge to Mike Tyson, who came on four years later.

    That could've been a major Super Fight in the late 80s.
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  13. Stiches Yarn

    Stiches Yarn Active Member Full Member

    Jan 2, 2021
  14. Showstopper97

    Showstopper97 The Icon Full Member

    Oct 7, 2020
    Jerry Quarry. He was a fan-favourite & popular with the crowd in the 60s into the early 70s. Had he beaten 'Smokin' Joe Frazier in 69, the sky have been the limit for Quarry. America hadn't had a white HW champion in 10 years at that point & were desperately looking for a 'Great White Hope'.
    Philly161 and Richard M Murrieta like this.
  15. Charles White

    Charles White Chucker Full Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    With his style, David Tua would have brought a lot more attention/viewers to boxing if he had won the title.