Is Jim Jeffries criminally underrated today?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Greb & Papke 707, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. Greb & Papke 707

    Greb & Papke 707 Member Full Member

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    Seems like nobody knows anything about the former heavyweight champion other than he lost to Jack Johnson, how do you rate Jeffries at his peak? Was he an all time great? Was he the best heavyweight of his time? Is he severely underrated today?
     
  2. McGrain

    McGrain Diamond Dog Staff Member

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    No. He always appears in top 15 type lists, often in top ten type lists, was well represented in the latest forum-wide poll and is regarded as one of the great heavyweights who came to define an era (admittedly you have to be careful and not write "dominated an era", because there are always people who want to write "weeeeeeellllll, he didn't fight this guy in this year". But that's no different to every great heavy - they all have their obsessed haters).
     
  3. Arminius1

    Arminius1 Member Full Member

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    I think he was a great heavyweight champion. He retired after he beat everyone of note in the division. It is very hard to come out of retirement, lose 100 pounds and compete against another great champion,
     
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  4. dmt

    dmt Hardest hitting hw ever Full Member

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    Its so hard to judge him due to the poor quality of film on him. I have the same issue with Jefferies as i do with Johnson. How do you judge these guys on film when the film is of such horrendous quality?

    Also, had he fought Johnson in 1905, even had he lost, i don't think it would have hurt his legacy as much. In 1905, Jefferies would have been far more compeititive vs Johnson. The one sided nature of his loss to Johnson hurts his legacy in the eyes of many observers.

    I rank him in my top 20, usually top 15, but i wish we had good film on him. Maybe someday technology will allow us to take the old fight film on Jefferies and improve its quality so we can assess how good he was.
     
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  5. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    He beat the best white fighters of his time,it was not his fault they were either significantly older ,coming out of retirement,markedly smaller, or all three of these.The only big man of class who was near prime when he beat him was Ruhlin and he appears to have had a meltdown during the fight.Jeffries was a very durable tough man who often absorbed a bit of punishment before outlasting his opponents,How he would fare against modern heavyweights of size and boxing skills is open to debate.I think precision punchers such as Louis would have carved him up like a side of beef.Others might well say he would," take a licking and keep on ticking", and get through with his rib benders at some point. It would be grossly unfair to judge him solely off his pathetic performance against Johnson.He was fighting good fighters very early in his career and considered unbeatable in his prime.
     
  6. dmt

    dmt Hardest hitting hw ever Full Member

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    I do find this interview of his to be fascinating

     
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  7. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxingoholican Full Member

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    I think McGrain's point is fair, he's actually rated pretty highly (correctly IMO). He had easilly the best title reign pre-Joe Louis, and in my opinion was the next best overall pre-Louis to Jack Johnson
     
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  8. dmt

    dmt Hardest hitting hw ever Full Member

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    Its the more casual fans who don't know him that well but die hard fans normally have him in their top 15
     
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  9. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. banned Full Member

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    Jeffries viewed are a #1, #2, or #3 until the 1960's. At this point those who saw him and were familiar with his accomplishments died out.

    99% of boxing fans only saw his lame comeback attempt in 1910. Few know he was 35, out of the ring for 6 years, had to lose a lot of weight, and was facing Johnson at his best and with his old trainer Delaney helping Johnson out and judge him on this film alone.

    Suppose the only file on Ali was Larry Holmes? How would 3 generations past Ali view him? That's Jeffries problem in a modern context. The mark of a good historian is one who understands he had a top career, was never floored except for his comeback match and not only beat his best completion, but game them re-matches. In all but one case case the re-match was shorter than the first fight ( Fitz, Ruhlin, Corbett, )

    The best clear film is his 1901 training session, as its up close and near. He we see an agile 220 point man, with good reflexes, capable of ducking punches, countering, and nimble footwork, as we as a sample of his strength as he swings a 200 pound man around and yanks him back and forth like a rag doll.

    The mark of a really good champion is by the fighters themselves before and after him. Corbett, Burns, Fitzsimmons, Langford, Sharkey and Dempsey all view Jeffries as being the best. Johnson called him the greatest. These were the best heavyweights from 1892-1929, a near 30 year period.

    In the 1950's a survey of historians and writers ( 12 different people ) voted Jeffries #1 overall. That's who he was. Those after him in Johnson, Dempsey, Louis, and Marciano are locked into the top 10 for most people because there is film on them to see.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2020
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  10. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    YES yes yes yes yes
    Jeffries is 1 of the 8 or so w/ a real chance to be the greatest ever.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  11. Seamus

    Seamus Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    No. He feasted on a depleted era of old men, small men, unskilled pluggers, coal miners and wharfbrawlers, all while hiding behind the color line as champ. If one rates him outside the top 25 and inside the top 50, they are being level-headed about the situation, perhaps even complimentary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  12. George Crowcroft

    George Crowcroft 'Snarky Little Gobshite' - IntentionalButt Full Member

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    Bit extreme.
     
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  13. Mike Cannon

    Mike Cannon Active Member Full Member

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    Looking deeper, this is an accurate outline of Jims reign, hard to disgree with the thought pattern.
     
  14. Richmondpete

    Richmondpete Boxing Addict Full Member

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    No because the fighters he beat were malnourished l, unskilled, white and white only. I truely believe that the story of him losing 100 pounds to fight johnson is a tall tale created as a preemptive excuse for his certain loss to johnson
     
  15. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxingoholican Full Member

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    I would like to see @reznick have a go with it
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020