Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Greb & Papke 707, Apr 4, 2021.
Could Les have beaten Stanley Ketchal ? Billy Papke? Harry Greb? Mickey Walker? Was he good enough?
Ketchel was murdered the year Darcy turned professional as a 15 year old do that was never feasible.
Papke was past his peak in 1915-16 when Darcy was entering his “peak” years (we probably never saw his true prime) and I’d favour Darcy here.
Greb would be favoured but Darcy never reached his peak nor fought the plethora of opposition Greb did. If they met in 1916 when Darcy, who was on a great run, I’d give Les a big chance. Afterwards we simply don’t know.
Walker was a fair bit younger and smaller than Les who was fast outgrowing middleweight by the time he died. If they met in the early 20’s I’d favour Darcy by a bit. Afterwards who knows?
We don’t know if Les was good enough. He put a very good body of work together for a youngster against some solid opposition. I’d say he was good enough to be world class for a lot longer. The very best? We simply don’t know.
Impossible to say really.
He might have been a flash in the pan who burned out early, or he might have gone on to be the GOAT.
It is one of life's little mysteries.
I just want to add, tangentially related, that Papke's original surname was Pappenschmearen. But the family changed it. To hide their ancestry. They were Hare Krishnas, I guess. That whole disagreeable thing that happened in '36, that was actually at an airport. Really makes you think.
So realistically who would Les Darcy's opponents have been?
I suspect that his best work would have been at light heavy, and indeed he might have outgrown the middleweight division.
I think that Georges Carpintier would have ended up at the top of his hit list, and it would have made for a huge gate if Carpintier had wanted it.
Short of that he might have crossed swords with Jack Dillon, Billy Miske, Tommy Gibbons, Jeff Smith, Kid Norfolk, Harry Greb, Gene Tunney, or Tommy Loughran.
An already interesting era just got more interesting.
Tua destroys them all with each bout a week apart.
Let's keep it on topic.
he seemed more a grappler than a boxer. and as a boxer, looks somewhat limited
You've really asked two questions here: 1) What would have happened had Les Darcy lived and continued fighting after he came to the US, or put another way how good would he have become? This is the question which at first I thought you were proposing when I first read your thread title.
The second question as posed by your posting goes more deeply into the realm of speculation, that is, if he had lived what place would he have been ranked among the greats of the best middleweights who fought up until 1930.
Addressing the first question, IMO he would have done well if he would had stayed at the 160-pound middleweight division. Was he full grown at the age of 21? Usually a fighter continues to mature and put on weight beyond that age. Darcy may have been an exception because he was only 5' 6" tall and was pretty well filled out at 160. The problem is that as soon as he arrived in the USA, there was already a lot of speculation about having him move up and fight heavyweights. The pressure he would have received from promoters would have been enormous. I just don't see his career in the USA having a good outcome. He was still a youngster on his own far away from his built-in support system of Australia. He was among strangers who would have thrown him to the wolves.
As to the second question. If we assume that he could have established himself as a top echelon middleweight I think he would have done pretty well, but I don't give him much chance against Harry Greb. Greb was solidly built and his strength would have been a match to that of Darcy or close to it. He had a much more flexible style. He would have been able to bounce around inside and out and make Darcy look like a plodder. Walker came along as a middleweight after 1925, and I think Darcy would have fizzled out by then. As for how he would have done against Ketchel and Papke, such a match could never have occurred, and I'm generally loathe to participate in such speculative threads.