James Jeffries as an athlete.

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Mendoza, Nov 17, 2022.



  1. Pugguy

    Pugguy Ingo, The Thinking Man’s GOAT Full Member

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    Yes, I’ve read of that measurement. I think boxrec deferred to that measurement for a time (an exact 6’ 1/2”?).

    Anyway, boxrec has reverted back to the height listing of 6’ 1 1/2” - the height at which Jeffries was more commonly listed as at least in contemporary newspapers which might or might not have included the wearing of shoes.
     
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  2. Jason Thomas

    Jason Thomas Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Even is we accept Jeff as a great athlete, what does that prove?

    Was he a better athlete than Charlie Powell? Than Two-Tall Jones? Was he as strong as Paul Anderson or Bill Neider?

    There is no evidence that being a "great athlete" in other sports means anything in boxing. For example, what value is jumping high to boxers?
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2022
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  3. Pugguy

    Pugguy Ingo, The Thinking Man’s GOAT Full Member

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    A good observation was made re very early shots (like the one below) in which Jeffries sported a closely shaved head (ala early John L) - indicative of possible participation in bare knuckle matches - the close cut being to prevent hair pulling:-

    https://calisphere.org/item/ark:/13030/kt7r29q23j/
     
  4. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    Prime Jeffries v prime Johnson



    Prime Johnson kicks his ass still.
     
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  5. Stevie G

    Stevie G Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I reckon so Fergy. As tough and strong as Jeffries was,he was pretty one dimensional compared to the multi skilled Johnson.
     
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  6. Fergy

    Fergy Walking Dead Full Member

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    Agreed pal.
    Tough as he was, I still think Jeffries gets battered.
     
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  7. Entaowed

    Entaowed Boxing Addict banned Full Member

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    Nope, you are demonstrably wrong Seamus.
    While often a bracing antidote to exaggeration, mythology, & wishful thinking, you are overcompesating here.
    Jeffries 2nd run would not be "competitive" with H.S. girls: it was faster than any of them ever run.
    And his average for 10 closely spaced runs was just over (1/10th of a second) their world record.
    Compare/evidence, check for the girl's records here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_high_school_national_records_in_track_and_field

    Then factor in that anyone-like all track athletes have-can run significantly faster with modern spike shoes & on an actual TRACK-let alone a modern one.
    Plus with starting blocks.
    Then consider that Jeffries was totally untrained in the techniques of sprinting.

    Add that all together & Jeffries *might well* have been able to be a World Class sprinter today-assuming he had the training as well as the equipment & track conditions, like everyone who is elite does.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
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  8. Entaowed

    Entaowed Boxing Addict banned Full Member

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    Yes but that means that Jeffries was at least quite close to the fastest sprinters of the time.
    At just over 109 yards, you can add 10% to the times to check the equivalency.
    Also though not even the world record holders (10.8 in 1900) would run as fast absent...
    A track.
    Running blocks.
    Some competition.

    Given all of that, & considering that ANYONE gets better with some training-& Jeffries had none...
    If the times quoted are correct, under fair & equal conditions, Jeffries would be competitive with, & possibly better than, the best in the world.
     
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  9. Mendoza

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

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    You do have a point . A normal celling is 10'. He got way up there to kick it and down very quickly to land on his feet. Back in the day one's feet cleared the bar in the high jump, the back flop technique wasn't invented.

    The first Olympics was in 1896 and Jeffries time of 10 2/5 might be 1st back than. Guys ran it without starting blocks and modern track shoes and skin tight clothes back then.

    Whatever his athletic running, jumping, or strength feats were, remember we are talking about the heavyweight boxer here, not a track star who trained in his era.
     
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  10. Pugguy

    Pugguy Ingo, The Thinking Man’s GOAT Full Member

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    Yes, and the variance on that story was that it was a bear hug that Jeffries gave Fitz to show him how strong he was. Same difference and I agree, it wasn’t necessarily a super human effort given Fitz own size and the surprise factor involved.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
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  11. Pugguy

    Pugguy Ingo, The Thinking Man’s GOAT Full Member

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    It is extremely unlikely that Jeffries ran the times quoted - and even more so without any formal training.

    We can quote advantageous features that exist today that were absent in Jeffries day - but we can’t ignore the one crucial feature absent in Jeffries’ sprints and alleged times - an officially measured track and time keeper (impartial).

    Remember, Jeffries is the same guy who was alleged (by a Dr. of the day) to have blood unlike any other human and apparently drank a case of whiskey to cure himself of pneumonia.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
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  12. mcvey

    mcvey VIP Member Full Member

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    Jack Dempsey clocked 11.2 seconds for the 100 yds on grass and it was considered a very admirable achievement for a "non sprinter".Personally I dont believe a 210lbs man was repeatedly beating that time by that margin 30 years earlier.
    .
     
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  13. mattdonnellon

    mattdonnellon Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Jeff was a bit of a spoofer, he claimed that he never even seen boxing gloves before Hank Griffin came to town, but we now know that he had several fights prior to this. As to the athletic feats, a pinch of salt, anybody that knows sprinting knows that you dont run a 100 PB after a set of 10 with minimal recovery. This is not to say that he was not an exceptional athlete, he quite probably was pretty good.
     
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  14. Mendoza

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

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    Did you uncover any new ones? Research the UK papers, it is written that Jeffries KO'd 10 men there but the names are not presently recorded. Likely some short fights. Jeffries traveled to Scotland and England.
     
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  15. mcvey

    mcvey VIP Member Full Member

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    This puts it in perspective imo.Good post.
     
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