Is James J. Jeffries the most underrated HW champ?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Dorrian_Grey, Apr 24, 2024.



  1. Melankomas

    Melankomas Prime Jeffries would demolish a grizzly in 2 Full Member

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    Jeffries brings out the worst in people on this forum bro :roflmao:
     
  2. FrankinDallas

    FrankinDallas Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I found this video today. Jeffries referreeing a fight in 1907, two years or so after he retired.

    He's fat as a pig. Must weigh 300 pounds at least.

    This content is protected
     
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  3. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    That was a very weird refereeing performance. He split them almost as soon as he touched, rare at the very least.
     
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  4. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    So if we compare Jeffries's first career to Marciano's, Rocky had Louis, Walcott x 2, LaStarza x 2, Charles x 2, Cockell and Moore.

    Who would be the comparable ones for Jeffries. Jackson, Fitz x 2, Sharkey x 2, Corbett x 2 - who else? They seem fairly similar.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2024
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  5. Ney

    Ney Well-Known Member Full Member

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    All speculation & opinion, no fact. & your assessment of me is according to no one but you.
     
  6. HistoryZero26

    HistoryZero26 Member Full Member

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    Peter Jackson, Goddard, Armstrong. Gus Ruhlin is a respected non champ opponent. When looking at his era the resume is immaculate the question is how much we value said era. I do think Jeffries resume on its face is better in his era than Marciano was in his by quite a bit. Marciano fought 20 rounds more than Jeffries but Jeffries took 5 fights to start fighting top guys every fight while Rocky took 35 fights to reach that point.
     
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  7. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Speculation? Do you even know what that word means? It is a fact that he refused to face Johnson due to him being black.

    "In February 1904, when the public pressure for a fight with Johnson grew, Jeffries explained to a reporter his reasons for his firm racism: I don’t think the public wants me to defend my title against any one but a white man. Don’t think I am afraid of a negro. I’m not. They can be licked just as easily as anybody else. I simply have promised myself that I would fight only white men, and I won’t break my word.

    Two months later, in April 1904, Jeffries and his manager announced that he would retire in a year. The announced retirement only increased the criticism against Jeffries’ unwillingness to fight Johnson. Demands from the public and the press, however, did not affect Jeffries’ position. He remained firm on the color line. In March 1905, two months before the promised retirement, Jeffries provided yet another explanation for his reluctance to fight Johnson: No other heavyweight champion every fought a colored man for the title, and I’ll tell you right now that I’m not with an array of arguments that some day the big fellow will have to answer in the ring. As long as there are white men to fight I will defend my title, but otherwise I’ll retire.

    Jeffries kept his promises. He did not fight Johnson and he retired undefeated in May 1905."

    https://www.law.nyu.edu/sites/default/files/ECM_PRO_066938.pdf P. 284-285

    So don't know what you're on about. And it is a clear signifier of a very poor poster to say "nonsense" in the face of facts. I think most here agree with that.

    Anyhow, I have no more time for your particular combination of arrogance and ignorance, as some sort of Dunning-Kruger poster child, so I'm putting you on ignore.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2024
  8. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    The difference being that Marciano faced all the best guys in his, but he was a shorter time at the top, though.
     
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  9. HistoryZero26

    HistoryZero26 Member Full Member

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    This is a law review article from 2010. Its purpose is to commenerate Johnson v Jeffries.

    The no other heavyweight champ fighting a colored man for the title is incorrect. Not only is Jeffries ignoring his own fight against Bob Armstrong(he might not have considered himself the champ yet but that doesn't make it a fact) but hes ignoring the title claim of Peter Jackson which he would have been aware of. The pieces coverage of Peter Jackson being denied a title shot assumes the global recognition of the Sullivan lineage during Jacksons time. In reality Jeffries was the first HW champ to be universially recognized as such. Everyone had their own opinions on who was champ of what at what point and Jeffries was no different. That does not make it gospel.


    "I simply have promised myself that I would fight only white men, and I won’t break my word". Peter Jackson, Bob Armstrong and Hank Griffin would say otherwise. Given that Jeffries broke his arm fighting Armstrong that has something to do with it?

    On page 285 this article also blatantly ignores that Jeffries arbitrary selection of Hart v Root followed Harts victory(controversial victory) over Johnson. If Johnson had won the Hart fight Hart v Root wouldn't have been as easily accepted as the title fight and Johnson would have gained some title recognition. If Johnson had won there would have been nothing preventing a third party from declaring a fight between Johnson and x as for the world title instead. Jeffries like Corbett could name his successor whoever he liked but people didn't have to listen. For all the theatrics Jeffries does about how unworthy they were Hart v Root was a matchup everyone could accept and was far less arbitrary a choice than Maher v O Donnell in 1895.

    Another thing is Jeffries like Tyson Fury was pretty eractic. He either changed his mind a lot or said things for the sake of saying them a lot. Case and point do you know in future years he swore up and down that he never chose Marvin Hart and Root to fight for his title?
     
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  10. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    So do you mean that his refusal to put his title on the line against any black fighter only was something he made up not to have to face Johnson?

    Anyhow, he was fairly consistent in not fighting black men any more, until Johnson became champion (same source):

    "In December 1906, he published the following announcement: I have decided to enter the ring again. The only provision I make is that a purse of $50,000 be hung up, and some man selected as my opponent by those who are able to judge of the abilities of various fighters. The only other provision I make is that the man who faces me in the ring shall be a white man."

    So he gets credit for beating Jackson, but that he, after winning the title from Fittz, refused to face any black fighter for the title hurts his standing. For me that's a no-brainer.

    So I have a hard time seeing him in my top 10, don't know who I'd bump from there to get him in. I've never made a top 20, but top 15 don't seem far fetched.

    Should be said that it's a harder to rank guys from the era pre any real sort of rankings. But Jeffries have a number of good wins, which includes Jackson and Armstrong. So there could be an argument for top 10 maybe, but bumping Frazier, Tyson or Foreman? Doubtful about that.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2024
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  11. Ney

    Ney Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Well looks like someone beat me to the rebuttal during local sleeping hours. I’ll just fetch Bokaj’s hives medication for him, then.
     
  12. HistoryZero26

    HistoryZero26 Member Full Member

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    I don't know. Its hard to decipher peoples intentions a century after the fact. Maybe he changed his mind maybe he was appealing to racist fans, maybe he just wanted an excuse to not fight a top guy. But after 1901 he was fighting once a year I don't think he was looking for a challenge at this point. He fought Hank Griffin in a 4 round non title bout in 1901. So whenever he changed his mind about fighting black fighters it came late in his reign.

    Him beating Jackson meant as little as Johnson beating him did. Its sort of the same situation reversed. Jackson had a dormat title lineage, hadn't fought in 6 years and the sport had moved on. Jeffries had a dormat title lineage, hadn't fought in 6 years and the sport had moved on. But Jeffries beat Jackson and Johnson beat Jeffries and they are on the resume.


    Hes not in the top 10 not suggesting he was. Was disputing the whole "he didn't fight black fighters" thing. I don't have him top 10 because his eras the first era of the sport and he struggled against guys who'd have gotten destroyed just a generation later. But within the context of his era his resume is immaculate. In 1905 he'd be the GOAT for sure. Its not 1905 anymore.
     
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  13. Melankomas

    Melankomas Prime Jeffries would demolish a grizzly in 2 Full Member

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    It’s a fair comparison, both dominated the remnants of great fighters in a relatively weak era, but you still can’t take anything away from their dominance in that regard.
     
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  14. Bokaj

    Bokaj Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    The main difference is that no ATG fighter, that he didn't want to fight, rose up during Rocky's reign. I can't say how deserving Martin and Mcavey were as well. Hard to say with no ranking and when the black guys mostly fought each other. But, of course, Rocky had some good challengers that he didn't face as well. But during his time we have both the NBA and The Ring rankings which give a fairly clear picture.

    The lack of something similar makes guys like Jeffries harder to rank.
     
  15. Ney

    Ney Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Johnson wasn’t an all-time great fighter when Jeffries retired. I guess we should knock Big Jeff down not only for not being a post-Classical Liberal, but for also failing to take advantage of 100+ years of retrospective analysis of Johnson.