Paulino Uzcudun vs. Primo Carnera. ( 1933 world title fight )

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Mendoza, Jan 4, 2019.



  1. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Addict Full Member

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    In responding to your post, of which the above is an excerpt, I only got this^ far before realizing there was very little chance we could even come to a compromise, let alone agree, on this matter.

    There is oftentimes a point in a discussion, at which the broader topic under debate gets lost in a swathe of talking points; splintered into what could become topics in their own right, with individual opinions for each. I'm not sure how many of these are needed, when the central matter of debate is quite simple, but your latest post on this thread throws a lot of talking points into the mix, at once.

    Most of these are aimed at diminishing the claims of a title shot for those Heavyweights in the NBA's rankings. One supposes this in order for you to strengthen the impression of Uzcudun, as a worthy contender. Unfortunately, whether intentional or otherwise, such an approach tends to obscure rather than clarify.


    As it happens, your overview of Levinsky probably overcomes this predicament and so, addressing this part of your post is sufficient to demonstrate just how perspectives can be shaped in writing, in order to hold a seemingly strong position. In this case, that Uzcudun, a boxer who had not been in any real contention for the championship, in years, somehow and quite suddenly became apt for a shot at the title.

    Despite your smudging of Levinsky's merits, I think the reasons for his higher rating - than that of Uzcudun - is really quite clear. Levinsky's challenge is perhaps stronger than anyone’s, other than Baer’s and Loughran's. Setting aside his superior placement in the NBA and Ring ratings, his wins over Retzlaff, Griffith and Sharkey, during ’33, outshine Uzcudun’s over Charles and McCorkindale.

    Charles and McCorkindale are good wins - at least, on paper - but they do not compare to the trials that Levinsky underwent, over the course, and I think your plain use of numbers to define Levinsky is unfortunate, since it conceals the level at which he was competing at, consistently. Your use of numbers to bolster your case is also decidedly conspicuous. Why are the "last 26" fights of these contenders, whom you've decided to provide a perspective on, so important? It is the second time you have used this number to provide a frame of reference for comparison.

    In forming such a comparison, between Levinsky and Uzcudun, you didn't really address, in any substantive way, what those numbers mean. Sure, 18-8 for Uzcudun reads better than 13-12-1 for Levinsky. But, without context, this provides no perspective.

    I provided some context for Uzcudun's 18-8 in my last post, which doesn't find its way to being acknowledged by you. You also fail to mention that 26 fights for Uzcudun covers a period of 5 years, whilst the same for Levinsky covers half that period.

    Over the course of 5 years, Uzcudun lost to every name of note, bar von Porat and a green Baer, in 1930 and '31 respectively.

    Over the course of two and half years, Levinsky lost to every name of note, bar Sharkey, Winston, Uzcudun and Loughran. Of his losses, Levinsky twice went the distance with a Max Baer, who was coming into his own; twice faced Carnera (and better versions of Carnera than Uzcudun had met in 1930); three times faced Risko. Other losses, including his split with Loughran and dropping a decision to Walker bring no shame on him, either.

    Perhaps the most significant difference - and one of the better benchmarks - is the result you more or less dismiss - That is, Levinky’s own win over Uzcudun, which was a comfortable one, just a year before Uzcudun gets his title shot.
    Home crowd or no, Levinsky was superior to Uzcudun.

    And you neglect to mention Uzcudun’s own loss to Carnera; preferring to only mention Levinsky’s losses to the same. Uzcudun had previosuly been owned by an inferior version of Carnera, in contrast to Levinsky’s second go at Primo , which was a close-run contest. Again, Levinsky provided the greater challenge.

    With a proper, objective review, there is much to place Levinsky above Uzcudun and I think the same could be applied to Uzcudun in relation to most of the NBA ranked fighters, save Gastanaga (and perhaps Cavalier).



    As I suggest, your take on Levinsky is enough for me to see there is no middle ground here. A cursory look through some of your other points, tends to confirm this…

    - Baer not that green? How old was Baer when he faced Uzcudun? How many ranked opponents had Baer beaten before meeting Uzcudun? How many times had Baer competed in a bout scheduled for more than 10 rounds? These might be initial, pertinent clues, as to how green Baer was. 1931 was a pivotal year for Baer. If I recall correctly, the book: ‘The Magnificent Max Baer: The Life of the Heavyweight Champion and Film Star’, two chapters deal with this period in his career.


    - Harking back to Uzcudun's more successful period, which was, in reality, the mid-20s and had ended 5 years earlier, does not support a case for his contention, 5 years later.


    - In addition, the fact Loughran and Baer received their respective shots, later on, does not in itself support a case for Uzcudun having been granted a crack at the title.


    -Gastanaga’s placement in the NBA ratings is not enough to write off the entire system and it is more than just a bit of a leap, to go from Gastanaga’s peculiar rating to that circumstance alone being “strong evidence for the probable corruption, and certainly for the uselessness, of the NBA ratings for that time.


    The bottom line is that Uzcudun was a tough, aging, but durable veteran, who had had his heyday and been given a whole lot of chances to prove himself, even after that. He was not “a very worthy contender” in 1933, just because he had exploits to his name from several years before. His win over Wills was in 1927 - so, just how far was he supposed to have dined out on that one?

    Ultimately, his performance against Carnera, in '33, confirms just how far he'd fallen from the level, at which a legitimate contender needed to be. The appropriate level had been exhibited by previous Carnera opponents and would be so again, immediately after that farce in Rome.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
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  2. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Terrific analysis!
     
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  3. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Addict Full Member

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    In that case then, it seems much more likely, with the Heavyweight Boxing Championship in European hands, that this presented an opportunity for Mussolini to gain political capital worldwide, rather than it being a European power play in the sport.
     
  4. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    I agree that we won't agree.

    Certainly it a good point that Uzcudun peaked earlier. Here are the position in The Ring's yearly ratings for Uzcudun, Levinsky, and also for Max Baer:

    Uzcudun
    1925--9
    1926--5
    1927--6
    1928--3

    Levinsky
    1931--4
    1932--7
    1933--3
    1934--5

    Baer
    1930--10
    1931--10
    1932--2
    1933--1

    So yes, Uzcudun peaked in the 1920's. I put Baer in as the "green" Baer with 32 fights under his belt going into the Uzcudun fight had actually been rated in the top ten the year before.

    "How old was Baer when he faced Uzcudun?"

    22. The same age he was when he beat Levinsky six months later.

    "How many ranked contenders had Baer beaten before meeting Uzcudun?"

    Probably none, but how many had Max beaten before he defeated Levinsky? Perhaps Risko whom he defeated in the fall of 1931. Baer had KO'd Tom Heeney before fighting Uzcudun, & Heeney had once been a contender but was on the slide.

    "How many times had Baer competed in a bout scheduled for more than 10 rounds?"

    Probably none, and in experience in long fights Uzcudun had the advantage, but he was also 32 while Baer was 22. It seems that it is necessary to stretch a bit to dismiss the Baer fight and I can see why as in the summer of 1933 it was the most impressive win either man had to that point (with the possible exception of Uzcudun's KO of Wills). As you said, we should disagree as I would consider the Baer victory a big one for Uzcudun. Baer had been beaten by Schaaf, Loughran, and Risko, but all those men also beat Levinsky, (and also Uzcudun).

    Here is Uzcudun's record from 1929 to the Carnera fight:

    Max Schmeling-----L
    Tuffy Griffiths-----L
    Otto Van Poret-----W
    Johnny Risko-----L
    Maurice Griselle-----W
    Primo Carnera-----L (SD)
    Les Kennedy-----W
    Max Baer-----W
    Tommy Loughran-----L (SD)
    King Levinsky-----L (MD)
    Jack Gagnon-----W
    Mickey Walker-----L
    Ernie Schaaf-----L
    Giocomo Berganas-----W
    Salvatore Ruggiello-----W
    Ernest Guehring------W
    Hans Shraenrath-----W
    Pierre Charles------W
    Don McCorkindale-----W (on July 1, 1933)

    What I notice. All the men who beat Uzcudun also beat Levinsky with the exception of Schmeling, who did not fight Levinsky. Levinsky did have one win in three bouts with Loughran, and managed a win over the fading Griffiths in a return in the summer of 1933. Uzcudun had a win over Baer who twice defeated Levinsky.

    Levinsky
    Went 15-5 in 1930, and was not yet rated. He had losses to Al Stillman, Mitz Minikel, Paul Pantaleo, and Emmett Rocco, plus a draw with Con O'Kelly. He defeated Jimmy Slattery near the end of the year.

    1931
    Levinsky goes 8-6-1 with some big wins, including Loughran, which moves him to #4.

    1932
    Paulino Uzcudun-----W (MD)
    Max Baer-----L
    Mickey Walker-----L
    Max Baer-----L
    Johnny Risko-----L
    Angus Snyder-----W
    Joe Sekyra-----L
    Primo Carnera-----L

    So Levinsky loses 6 of 8 and finishes the year ranked #7 in The Ring annual ratings.

    1933
    Tommy Loughran-----L
    K O Cristner-----W
    Unknown Winston-----W
    Johnny Risko-----L
    Charley Retzlaff-----W
    Tuffy Griffiths-----W

    This is the record through the summer going into September.

    I think you have a fair point that Levinsky is meeting tougher opposition, and is certainly handsomely rewarded with it in The Ring ratings. As you pointed out, as I thought I mentioned in an earlier post, Levinsky posted a majority decision win over Uzcudun in a fight in his hometown. I would note though that Levinsky had gone 6-8 over his last 14 fights. Uzcudun was definitely not outstanding either, but he had gone 7-3 and was on a six bout winning streak. Two losses were to men who also beat Levinsky. The other, and the one which I think almost the entire case for Levinsky rests on, is the decision loss in Chicago.

    to be continued
     
  5. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    I want to raise another issue:

    Uzcudun fought a minority of his fights in his home country (19 out of 71). He fought in France, Algeria, Great Britain, Germany, Cuba, Columbia, the USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and Italy. He fought more fights in the United States than he did in Spain (25 to 19). His record is that of a road fighter who is fighting in his opponent's home country and often in his home town. Levinsky, by contrast, fought I think only 2 of his 116 fights out of the US, beating Hans Birkie (a German) in Toronto, and losing to Jack Doyle in London. I think he fought the majority of his fights in his home town, Chicago. His record is heavily built on decisions in his home town against visitors.

    Which brings up a question about the Carnera title defense. Carnera understandably wanted to defend his title in his home country. Would Levinsky have gone to Italy? Uzcudun was used to taking on the lion in his den.

    I also wanted to comment on the Jack Sharkey fight on September 18, 1933. This win certainly made Levinsky a much more attractive possible title challenger. But I think it came too late to impact Carnera's home country defense. My guess is that the Uzcudun fight had been signed and the fight in the works well before this fight.
     
  6. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    Overall, looking at these two fighters for their careers, which is a different question than where they stood in 1933, I take Uzcudun as the better. His overall record was 51-17-3 with 35 KO's and 1 KO loss (Joe Louis in 1935). He might not have beaten as many top name fighters as Levinsky, but he didn't lose to second raters either, and he remained a fighter respected enough to fight the best right to the end. His last four fights were against Carnera, Schmeling, and Louis.

    Levinsky was 74-35-7 with 40 KO's and 5 KO defeats (which doesn't include the exhibition KO by Baer in 1935). He more or less faded away after 1935 and his skittish performance against Louis, and by the end was a journeyman fighting other journeyman, although only 29. He was super busy though in the early 1930's and had quite a few impressive victories, more in number than Uzcudun, although I would take Paulino's top two wins over Wills and Baer over any Levinsky had.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  7. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Some good back and forth here.
     
  8. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Levinsky's victory over Uzcudun does appear to be the clincher. However, I think Levinsky has a better '33, leading up to Carnera's first defense, than Uzcudun does.

    You might see it differently, but I see a distinct contrast in their respective opposition, here. Yes, the King drops a couple of decisions, but they are to Loughran (who rightfully ranks above him) and Risko, who for reasons I am yet to adequately explore, seems to be Levinsky's bogeyman.

    I think it also fair to suggest that, in all likelihood, Levinsky fared better with Carnera than did Uzcudun.
     
  9. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Addict Full Member

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    If this contributes to support an argument for Uzcudun being the better of the two, overall, then I wouldn't necessarily disagree - although, so far, I have focussed on the relevant ratings, within the timeframe under discussion. I would need to look at the overall case more closely.

    On Levinsky/Sharkey - the circumstances around timings are quite likely as you suggest. However, I am not sure this detracts from confirmation of Levinsky's place in the ratings. Both Loughran and Baer were more highly rated than Levinksky, at any rate.

    My understanding is that a Baer/Carnera fight was in the works, from early July '33, but things changed the following Month. I think this turn of events stunned the writers of the time, since there was little reported about it (comparatively). The announcement and the fight drew little interest States side.
     
  10. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    "Risko, who for reasons I am yet to adequately explore, seems to be Levinsky's bogeyman."

    Not hard to explain. Risko was simply better. He was better longer, beat better men and more of them, and beat Levinsky three times. There is a strong, perhaps overpowering case, that Risko was better than either Uzcudun (whom he beat twice) or Levinsky (whom he beat three times).

    Risko had a bad run from1929 into 1931, but then made a strong comeback, starting on April 6, 1931:

    Tom Heeney-----W
    King Levinsky-----W
    Max Baer-----W
    Tony Galento-----W
    K O Christner-----W
    Tommy Loughran-----L
    Max Baer-----L
    K O Christner-----W
    Mickey Walker-----W
    Tuffy Griffiths-----W
    King Levinsky-----W
    King Levinsky-----W
    **** Daniels-----L
    Patsy Perroni-----L
    Tommy Loughran-----W

    The Loughran fight is on July 26, 1933, and so this is where Risko's recent record would stand if considered for a Carnera title shot. Somehow this didn't even get him into the NBA ratings. (Why not? My guess is the Cleveland mob, if Risko was in fact mobbed up, had nothing like the pull of the Capone mob in Chicago.) Whatever, it is clear Levinsky was the darling of the raters and Risko was not. I note that during his peak period in the 1920's Risko had beaten Sharkey, Godfrey, Delaney, Uzcudun, Maloney, Schaaf, etc. His wins over Godfrey & Campolo seem to give him on paper a better shot than Levinsky at upsetting the big Carnera.

    "Levinsky (had) fared better than Uzcudun against Carnera"

    Levinsky had lost twice to Carnera in his home town, by UD & SD. Uzcudun had lost once by SD in his home country. I don't see how you can draw this conclusion, really. Certainly Uzcudun had done better against Baer. On paper, neither was much of a threat to Carnera in a fight in Rome.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  11. reznick

    reznick Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    How are the two right hands you mentioned much worse comparatively specifically to modern heavyweights of his size?

    You say he doesn't use his jab enough, and that they are so without form that he cannot use other punches effectively off of them.
    Yet at many moments throughout the short highlight of the fight, he does use his jab effectively, especially for example in moments like 1:57. He pumps his jab out constantly, staggers Uzcudun with a short 1-2, and knocks him off balance with a jab + check hook.

    It wouldn't be right to judge Carneras technique under the standards that you would a flyweight, which is where the bar seems to sometimes be for heavyweights the further they are in the past. Just like you wouldn't judge Vitalis technique using the standards of a flyweight.

    For a SHW of his size, Carnera had pretty good technique and skills.
    Which probably explains his success in a sport, like all others, where you don't reach the world class, let alone the championship, without possessing some level of mastery over technical basics.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  12. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I don't think I'd take an immediate guess at mob conspiracy or some other corruption being behind the ratings.

    Again, this might be another case of needing to examine a snapshot of time and not being influenced by what could be considered a better overall rating for a fighter.

    Despite a very slow 1932, Risko finds himself in the ratings, by the end of that year. He then, however, suffers the Daniels and Perroni defeats, neither of whom are rated at the time.

    In addition to this, it would seem that neither Levinsky nor Loughran make the NBA ratings, by the end of 1932. I am unable to find any other listing between December 1932 and September 1933. This does not mean that there wasn't one, but it also lends itself to the possibility that both Levinsky and Loughran were not ranked again until September '33.

    This would also mean that Risko's victories over them both, might not have been counted as wins over ranked opposition. Therefore, the circumstances combined, might have meant Risko failed to carry his NBA ranking into the September '33 listing.

    Moroever - although this does not change Uzcudun's acknowledged standing at the time of the Carnera bout being made, this turn of events might explain why neither Levinsky nor Loughran were in the mix, after the initial idea of a Baer/Carnera bout, in the Fall of '33, came to nothing.



    On the Uzcudun/Carnera (I) and Levinsky/Carnera (II) bouts... ...the reports I have read indicate to me that Levinsky did better.

    Uzcudun earned an SD, solely on the strength of it being in his home country and the Spanish judge probably wanting to avoid being lynched, after the bout.

    As it happened, it was the referee that tipped the verdict to Carnera who was, by all accounts I have read, never in danger of losing.
     
  13. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Doesn't believe the hype booted Full Member

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    Let's make sure we're on the same page first. Do you see the ways in which this right is an especially poorly thrown punch?

    This content is protected
     
  14. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    "Despite a very slow 1932, Risko finds himself in the ratings by the end of that year."

    I don't know what is meant by slow. Risko fought three times in 1932, beating Mickey Walker, Tuffy Griffiths, and Levinsky. It certainly makes sense to me he would rate above Levinsky who was 2-6 that year. How you can lose 6 of 8 and stay as high as #7 as Levinsky did in The Ring rankings is a head-scratcher for me.

    There is some film of the 1930 Carnera-Uzcudun fight, and Paulino seems more competitive than he would be two years later. Not surprising as he was then older and Carnera was better. The film shows him really carrying the fight to Primo and landing pretty well, but the excerpts I have seen are way too short to draw any conclusion about a decision.

    The bottom line for me is that this was more or less a gratis defense for Carnera in his homeland. I see nothing wrong with that. An issue is whether any of the Americans would have been willing to come to Rome for a title shot. Uzcudun was the European champion and was coming off a win over McCorkindale, who in turn had KO'd the British Empire champion, Gains, and Gains had wins over Carnera and Schmeling.

    I stand by my view that Uzcudun probably should have been rated somewhere between 6-10 when he stepped into the ring and was a decent challenger considering both recent victories and his overall career.

    Carnera would defend in 1934 against the top two contenders, Loughran and Baer, so I don't think he deserves criticism on this score.

    As for The Ring, it was an American magazine but at least tried to give a world perspective on ratings. The NBA was at this point a collection of state boxing politicians, and quite possibly from a minority of US states, whose ratings seem so bizarre that I wouldn't pay that much attention to them. Certainly the IBU which sanctioned the Carnera-Uzcudun fight, has a much better claim for weighing in concerning world title fights.

    This discussion and my research did enlighten me about Risko's superior claim for a title shot, but for one reason or another he wasn't rated by the NBA.
     
  15. edward morbius

    edward morbius Boxing Addict booted Full Member

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    "Neither Levinsky nor Loughran make the NBA ratings, by the end of 1932"

    I would really like to see those ratings. These discussions are a learning experience for me, and this info would be most interesting for me. Could you post them?
     

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