Isn't it a bit naive to expect past era fighters to be competitive against modern fighters...?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Oakland Billy Smith, Sep 12, 2019 at 6:12 AM.


  1. Oakland Billy Smith

    Oakland Billy Smith Active Member booted Full Member

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    I've heard a lot of arguments thrown around for both sides, but one thing no one ever brings up:

    Pre 1950s the majority of fighters were part time fighters ....sure they had lots of fights, but much of their opponents had full time jobs in steel mills, ship yards, bakery shops , and what have you...
    Im not saying those guys werent tough, may be even tougher than modern athletes.....but you cant expect guys like that to hang against someone who lives in a gym 8 months out of the year and dedicates their whole profession to training and sparring.
    Same thing in the NFL...back in the glory days those boys only made 30k a year and all had regular jobs doing other stuff the rest of the year. No way would anyone ever say that an NFL team from 1970 would belong on the same field as a team.today, even a team like Cleavland or the Dolfins...
    Same reason why a guy like Antwun Echols or William Joppy would make mince meat of Harry Grebb.
    It's no disrespect to past eras, just to delusional fans who refuse to give credit to modern athletes
     
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  2. The Undefeated Lachbuster

    The Undefeated Lachbuster Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Somebody call Stipe Miocic and tell him he isn't allowed to be a modern athlete cause he works a job on the side
     
  3. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Ridin' the rails Full Member

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    Boxing ain't the NFL. As early as the twenties the top boxers were 'full time' and had training camps. Nice bait though.

    And guess what, most pros nowadays aren't 'full time' anyway. Guy my dad knows managed to get to commonwealth level whilst working as a teacher. Even Euro champs will have jobs to pay bills, unless they are exceedingly popular.
     
  4. greynotsoold

    greynotsoold Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I think that you have it backwards. Years ago, with the abundance of fight venues, there were more guys making a living by boxing. You referenced the large number of fights they had. If you fought twice in a month, even at $100 a fight, you were making more than double what a steel mill worker was making. My grandfather worked in coal mines and steel Mills during the 20s and 30s and made about $60 a month. That was why guys fought.

    The percentage of guys making a living from boxing now is pretty small. Especially among the guys fighting 4,6,8 round fights, everybody has a job. If you have sponsorship or a signing bonus it is possible to do nothing but box but that is rare.
     
  5. PernellSweetPea

    PernellSweetPea Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I think there would be some surprises if you match the past with the present day. But the guys today are not as good as say the 1970s or 1980s. They don't have the fights or competition and it shows. Boxing is not as much fun as it used to be.
     
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  6. Smokin Bert

    Smokin Bert Boxing Addict Full Member

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    My thoughts, exactly. Because I have been addicted to boxing for decades now, I still watch most everything that gets broadcast. But, rarely is the level of competition high. And, as you say, it often just isn't fun or exciting to watch anymore. When I watch the skill level and work rate of fighters in the 70s and 80s versus today, the decline these days is dramatic.
     
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  7. Oakland Billy Smith

    Oakland Billy Smith Active Member booted Full Member

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    Oh I agree with this....the 70s 80s era you mention, boxing was at its height of TV popularity... Plus those guys were 15 round fighters...

    I guess I consider those in the modern category compared to past eras i was talking about
     
  8. AwardedSteak863

    AwardedSteak863 Active Member Full Member

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    I would agree with this. A lot of the top athletes today are gravitating towards MMA over boxing. The gym I belong to now is mostly made up of young fighters that want to learn boxing to enhance their striking game for MMA.

    With that said, I do think a lot of the pre 1960's fighters are badly overrated on this forum by folks that know a lot about boxing history but very little about the sport from a competitive standpoint because they never actually competed or had any boxing training. I respect all fighters and recognize the accomplishments of the old time fighters from the early 1900's and respect them for what they did in their era but I stop short of believing most of them would be competitive against the athletes of the last 30 years or so.
     
  9. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Ridin' the rails Full Member

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    This is definitely accurate. There are still 20s and 30s fighters that are very impressive, though.
     
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  10. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    The old-time fighters were probably in the gym more than the new, on average.
    As greynotsoold said above, the OP has it backwards.
     
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  11. AwardedSteak863

    AwardedSteak863 Active Member Full Member

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    I agree. I can watch film of a guy like Benny Leonard and recognize how truly great he was in his era and how innovative he was. I just stop short of believing he would be able to beat a prime Roberto Duran, Manny Pacquiao or a Lomo.
     
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  12. Jackomano

    Jackomano Boxing Addict Full Member

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    This. Guys didn’t take up boxing to keep working in the steel mill or other tough labor jobs. Even in the 50’s my Grandfather tookup boxing, so he never had to work in a steel mill again.

    Carlos Ortiz and even Freddie Roach have commented that fighters don’t have a chance to get much ring activity these days, since there aren’t as many shows.

    Jimmy Carter, who was a good friend of my Grandfather stressed that a young and active fighter really needs at least 4-5 fights a year to stay sharp and anything less than 3 fights is asking for trouble, since gym work and sparring can’t substitute for actual ring activity.

    It also becomes easier to become less disciplined with huge gaps of inactivity, which is why so many fighters nowdays come to camp to get in shape to make weight instead of preparing for their opponent. Ronny Shields would often tell my trainer that these kids eat like they’re going to the electric chair instead of keeping a strict diet like they should and then wonder why they underperform.
     
  13. AwardedSteak863

    AwardedSteak863 Active Member Full Member

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    I disagree. Fighters of the last 30 years or so train like crazy and are way more aware of how to get the most out of their athletic performance. Boxing is the same as any other major sport. Trainers and fighters have learned from the past.
     
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  14. reznick

    reznick Boxing Junkie Full Member

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  15. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond Ridin' the rails Full Member

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    And a politician. An upstanding man of the people.
     


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