Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Mendoza, Jan 4, 2019.
Well Morbius - I can only recommend that you read the book.
I think the weakness of your whole argument is that the ratings are totally American centered. I would say for two reasons. One might be bias or corruption, the raters reflect what the American promoters and other boxing powers wanted the ratings to be.
The second reason I think might be the critical one. These ratings are simply provincial, whether by state boxing officials or by reporters. There was no TV. Even if a fight in Europe was filmed, how likely was it for the film to reach America? I think even radio hook-ups between Europe and the US were rare, if there were any, in the early 1930's. Certainly I doubt it if there were fight broadcasts. And how many Americans read Spanish or French or Italian or German papers? They simply weren't abreast of what was happening in European boxing.
The double standard is that Americans can lose and lose and still retain top ratings. From the beginning of 1931 to Sept of 1933 Levinsky was 14-14-1 but always highly rated. Sure he lost to some good men, but he also lost to some second tier guys and not all of his wins were against the best. Here is his 1931 record:
That comes out to 8-6-1. He ends this year ranked #4 by The Ring. He loses 6 of 8 in 1932, but ends that year ranked #7.
I want to compare him to Larry Gains, Pierre Charles, and Walter Neusel.
to be continued
Larry Gains-----starting at the beginning of 1925 to the end of 1932, Gains goes 64-5-2,
including wins over Max Schmeling, Bud Gorman, Romero Rojas, Marty Burke, George Godfrey, George Cook, Phil Scott, Jack Renault, Don McCorkindale and Primo Carnera. He also had a draw with Mike McTigue. There were also of course wins over top Brit and Euro heavies with good local records.
I notice he does makes the ratings when he defeats Carnera (note that Carnera seems to have been dropped from the top ten for this "terrible" defeat.) Gains loses in Paris to Neusel and finishes the year with three more wins.
In The Ring ratings, Gains ends the year #9 behind Neusel, at #8, and also behind Levinsky at #7, who has lost 6 of 8 that year but so impressed the raters in his losing performance to Carnera that he gets rated ahead of Gains despite Levinsky losing more fights that year (and also the year before) than Gains had lost since 1924.
Walter Neusel--where did he stand at the end of 1932? Well, he was undefeated with a record of 31-0-2 and coming off wins over Gains, (who had just beaten Carnera), and Gipsy Daniels, who owned a one round KO of Schmeling back in 1928. This wasn't enough to get him ahead of Levinsky, of course.
Neusel, though, would come to the US in late 1933 for six fights. He was undefeated in the six fights in the US, including victories over Poreda, Levinsky, and Loughran. However, he went back to Europe, was stopped by Schmeling, and drew with Len Harvey in London. He was, of course, dropped permanently from The Ring annual ratings, but don't fear, Levinsky kept his rating.
Neusel would never return to The Ring annual ratings, despite quite a few impressive wins, but they found room for Eddie Mader, Ford Smith, and also twice for Ray Impellitiere, who never seems to have done much of anything but was rated in 1935 and 1936, as high as #6, and who had lost to Neusel back on Walter's American tour.
to be continued
Good, informative stuff. Looking forward to the rest
Pierre Charles-----was a three times European heavyweight champion and defended that title nine times. From 1929 to 1935 he went 31-4, losing in the US to Loughran in 1930 (Levinsky lost that year to Loughran also) and then to Hein Muller (which he reversed), Primo Carnera, and Uzcudun. In 1933 he handed the still undefeated Neusel (33-0-2) his first defeat, and also beat Young Stribling. He later lost that year to Uzcudun. I think this was a very worthy world-class win for Uzcudun, but the American raters always ignored Charles. Yes he lost to Loughran and Uzcudun, and Levinsky did have one win in three tries with Loughran, and won against Uzcudun, while both lost to Carnera. But Charles also won against Neusel and Paul Pantaleo, both of whom beat Levinsky.
Personally, I think Charles was about on Levinsky's level, but no way was the Euro champion going to be the darling of the American raters and be rated like the Kingfish.
Don McCorkindale was not rated after KO'ing Gains and beating Neusel. He only made the ratings when he came to the US and beat Perroni, which moved him up to #5 in The Ring ratings and #6 for the NBA. The wins over Gains and Neusel are far more impressive to me, and Uzcudun deserves full world credit for his victory over McCorkindale.
So my bottom line is the American raters were too American centered for their ratings to mean much when comparing American to European fighters. American versus American perhaps okay. And they might have had some handle on foreign fighters who campaigned in the US. But for the most part they simply ignored the outside world, and I think there was more than a bit of chauvinism involved.
*this won't mean anything to posters outside the US, but this reminds of the NFL versus the AFL back in the 1960's. The old NFL was completely smug about being the best and having all the best. They had a dominant champion who managed to win the first two of four Super Bowls against the AFL, but were embarrassed in the next two by losses. The Americans considered their boxers in a league above the Europeans in the 1930's, but my take is that the white Americans might well have been inferior to the best Euros. It was Joe Louis, for whom white Americans other than Conn were more or less cannon fodder, who established American dominance. His only loss in his prime was to a European, Schmeling, and the only two times he went 15 in his prime, it was to Farr, and to another foreigner, Godoy. His American competition, other than Conn, didn't prove as dangerous.
The above are broad and assumptive statements, for which you are not providing any evidence in support. Can you give me specific examples of when Schmeling was a victim of bias in the ratings, during the period in question? Can you provide the same for Carnera, who quite probably generated more revenue in the US than any other US boxer during the early 30's?
You have queried Gastanaga's placement in the NBA ratings. He is, as you well know, Spanish. What bias and corruption led to the NBA rating him as a Top-10 Heavyweight in September 1933?
My argument is based on written record. Your claim of weakness in my argument is based on conjecture, which does not stand to reason.
Again, the above is thick with conjecture. You need to provide stronger evidence to illustrate the failure of the American Boxing press to assess Boxers in Europe and to what extent any such failure had an adverse impact on non-US Boxers within the ratings - both the NBA's and The Ring's.
That is not how Primo normally threw a right hand. He doesn’t usually sacrifice his stance.
I’m not comparing the twos entire body of work. You singled out a specific example, and I mentioned that others, like Joshua, can be clipped showing something similar.
Yes Joshua is a better boxer than Carnera was. But the gap isn’t as big as some say. Vitali even less much.
Technical mistakes are far more often forgiven when it’s a modern SHW because we sense the mass, strength, and power behind the punches. With the cameras in the 30’s, not so much. If you show Carnera footage to a large group of people, many, maybe even most, wouldn’t guess he was over 210lb.
"the above are broad and assumptive statements."
Yes. This is not a courtroom. It is just shooting the breeze on the internet. And I used the word might.
It is a form of bias, I think, but not straight out we are not going to be fair to foreigners bias. Clearly a foreigner who got on their radar by coming to the US could get rated, including the unworthy Gastanaga.
What it amounts to is something like the Romans saying "all roads lead to Rome." Well, I don't think all the roads in China led to Rome. Nor those in India. Siam. or Persia. What they meant is that all the roads in the part of the world they cared about led to Rome.
Same with these Amercian raters. It is less bias than an ingrown perspective. They basically rated the fighters who fought in the part of the world they watched, which wasn't the whole world.
"a specific example of when Schmeling was a victim of bias in the ratings"
Okay. In 1927 Schmeling won all 15 of his fights with 12 KO's, won the European light-heavyweight championship, and successfully defended it. Ring Magazine rated 15 light-heavies that year. Schmeling was not one of them. (Now I don't think they failed to rate him because they refused to rate Germans. I think they just had no idea who Schmeling was or what he had done or what type of prospect he was) Schmeling was not rated in 1928 either, but suddenly jumped to near the top of the ratings in 1929 when the Amercians raters got a look at him.
Carnera-----you gave the example of biased ratings against him. He seems to have dropped off the NBA ratings after losing to Gains. Why a loss to a fighter who was the British Empire champion and was on a 27-0-1 roll going back over three years should scrub anyone from the ratings raises flags with me? It is not a question of bias, but of reasonableness and fairness.
On the whole though, Schmeling and Carnera were rated fairly as long as they performed in the US.
"Gastanaga"-----"What bias or corruption led the NBA rating him a top ten heavyweight in September, 1933."
As you would point out, it is conjecture what their reasons were. But the bottom line is did Gastanaga deserve that high rating over the top European fighters? I think not. And that seems obvious off his record. With a spotty 37-23 record with 10 KO defeats, he earns a higher rating than Gains or Neusel with their sterling records could earn. Why? My guess is because he was performing in the US, and there also might have been mixed in there a hit at Carnera by implying that Uzcudun was not even the best heavy in Spain. They might not have been pleased with Carnera making a defense outside of and beyond their control.
"You need to provide stronger evidence to illustrate the failure of the American boxing press to assess boxers in Europe and to what extent any such failure had an adverse effect on non-US boxers within the ratings"
I gave the records of Gains, 32-1-1 over the last several years to the end of 1932, and coming off a win over Carnera, and Neusel, still undefeated, with a win over Gains, being rated behind Levinsky, who was 10-12-1 in 23 fights during 1931 and 1932.
So if having a great record and beating a guy who beat Levinsky twice, and being undefeated and beating the guy who beat the guy who beat Levinsky twice, before coming to America to beat Levinsky himself, isn't providing evidence, nothing will.
We should just agree to disagree. You have no problem with these ratings. I do, and I have explained why I find them lacking.
Something which just occurred to me. The guy in the street had no way of looking up the records of a fighter in those days. If the raters said X is better than Y, where would anyone go to check the records to draw his own conclusion? You could perhaps plow through a whole lot of newspapers, but the typical busy working guy just had to buy into the ratings as posted.
Just because a boxer might be good, it doesn't mean they're automatically getting rated by The Ring. Even if they're rated by The Ring in one year, it doesn't mean they're a mainstay in the top-flight of Boxing. It's as true today, as it was back then.
Looking at some of the wins you cite for Gains, of which a few could be considered 'good', the first thing I notice is that they are scattered over an 8-year period. Was Gains consistently testing himself against a very high level of opposition, in any given year, so as to force a claim to be rated? I don't think so.
Some of the opponents you mention, include a 14-2-2 Schmeling, in 1925.
I'm not even sure why you mention Rojas, who'd already compiled a losing record by the time Gains met him in 1927; worsened still, during a year in which Rojas lost 11 of 13 matches.
I am unsure of what significance you believe there is in Gains splitting a pair with Burke?
I also wonder how Cook and Scott figure into your argument, given neither of them were ranked when they met Gains.
Renault would be retired, less than a year later, going 0-4, until then.
Gains beating the then Ring #3, Primo Carnera, deserved recognition in the low-end of the Ring Ratings. However, Carnera falling out of the NBA Rankings by September '32 probably had less to do with him losing to Gains, as it did him adding another loss in the shape of Poreda, during August '32.
I'm glad you brought up Neusel, who invariably gets mentioned in any post with a connection to Carnera. He, McCorkindale, Gains and Charles (and Peterson) are intrinsically linked and are much of a muchness, in terms of their level.
As I alluded to earlier, being good doesn't grant automatic entry into the Ring's Ratings, but a moment in the sun might get you there temporarily. In my opinion, Neusel piggy-backed into those Ratings, via his win over Gains (who we already know had beaten Carnera - I think McCorkindale and Peterson would gain similar recognition for the same reason, later on).
He then scored good wins, on paper, against other ranked opponents - notably, Poreda ('33); Levinsky and Loughran ('34). All of these guys were heading towards the exit of top-flight boxing, by this time (and the Levinsky decision is disputed).
Nonetheless, things are looking good for Neusel, until he meets his fellow countryman and a resurgent Schmeling, who embarrasses the pretender in front of their home crowd, in 1934.
So, let's look at what actually happened, within given timeframes, instead of dropping random W/L numbers, across varying periods.
Ray Impelletiere W
Stanley Poreda W (Ranked above him)
Les Kennedy W
Harry Crossley W
Jack Pettifer W
Don McCorkindale L DQ
Maurice Griselle W
Don McCorkindale D
Pierre Charles L
George Cook W
1 win over a ranked contender (who ranked above him); 2 losses and 1 draw against unranked opposition.
Don McCorkindale W
Jack Sharkey W (Ranked above him)
Tuffy Griffiths W
Charley Retzlaff W
Johnny Risko L (Ranked above him)
Unknown Winston W (Ranked below him)
KO Christner W
Tommy Loughran L
2 wins over ranked contenders (1 of whom ranked above him and 1 below him); 2 losses; 1 to a ranked contender (who ranked above him) and another to an unranked opponent.
It's clear that Levinsky outdoes Neusel in 1933 and deserves to hold his ranking above him.
Now, for 1934...
Len Harvey D
Max Schmeling L (Ranked above him)
Tommy Loughran W (Ranked above him)
King Levinsky W (Ranked above him)
Natie Brown D
2 wins over ranked contenders (who ranked above him); 1 loss against a ranked contender (who ranked above him) and 2 draws against unranked opposition.
Art Lasky D
Salvatore Ruggirello W
Art Sykes W
Art Lasky L
Lee Ramage W (Ranked below him)
Walter Neusel L (Ranked below him)
Charley Massera W (Ranked below him)
2 wins over ranked contenders (both of whom ranked below him); 2 losses; 1 to a ranked contender (who ranked below him) and another to an unranked opponent; 1 draw.
So, here we see something, which on paper, looks like it should go to Neusel. But, let's look at it like someone who's rating the performances on balance...
...Levinksy actually loses two places in his ranking, to Art Lasky and Steve Hamas. Why is that? The answer to Lasky is obvious, but Hamas shoots up from #9 to #1 contender.
This is because Hamas beat both Schmeling and Lasky that year. Schmeling holds his own miraculous position, at #4.
Neusel bombed out of the ratings, because he'd been soundly beaten by TKO, in what was described as a 'master vs pupil' type scenario. His SD win against Levinsky was unconvincing and Loughran probably had his worst year ever, managing to not win a single bout in 1934 and himself crashing out of the Ring's Ratings.
Neusel's Drawn bouts speak for themselves. Len Harvey, in particular, sits alongside McCorkindale, Gains, Charles, Peterson and Neusel, at around the same/similar level.
Perhaps Neusel did deserve to maintain his ranking - maybe just. But, he really doesn't have that strong an argument, once the opposition and performances are looked at more closely. No one in the mix suffered a defeat as badly as he did, that year.
I liked the above post as it is factually argued,
I will busy for a while. I hope to be able to respond on Saturday.
No one is pretending it's a courtroom. However, declaring "the weakness of [my] whole argument is that the ratings are totally American centered", with little more than a guess to explain it, is in itself, a weak argument.
In terms of the world boxing scene, I do think all roads led to the U.S. (figuratively speaking).
If the best Boxers in the world are deemed to be in the U.S., then it is up to those potential challengers, arising elsewhere and who think otherwise, to go and prove themselves better. It was possible to try and, at times, succeed; as evidenced by the efforts of Renault, Persson, Campolo, Uzcudun, Hansen, Von Porat, Schmeling, Carnera, Gains, Neusel, McCorkindale, Peterson, Farr, Lenglet...
And, it works both ways - a la Johnson chasing Burns down to Sydney, Australia to get his title.
I'm not sure why he would catch anyone's attention, when he was competing solely in his own country (bar one bout) and was fighting, almost exclusively, against Europeans (again, bar one opponent from the US). And, of the more notable opposition he faced in '27, how many times did Fernand Delarge and Hein Domgoergen exhibit their boxing skills outside of Europe? Why is it that they might not have been recognized as world-ranked boxers?
Another way of looking at why Schmeling became rated in '29 is that he moved up a division, traveled to the US and beat two world-ranked heavyweights - one of them in The Fight of the Year.
As explained in a prior post, he lost Poreda, as well as Gains, the month before the September '32 ratings were published. Both Gains and Poreda were unranked by the NBA, at the time Carnera fought them, as far as we know.
I don't see competing in the U.S. as a drawback and I am not convinced that European Boxers had to perform there, in order to maintain their rating.
Following his loss to Baer in '33, Schmeling had only 3 bouts in 1934. One in the US, which he lost to Hamas; another in Spain, where he Drew with Uzcudun. The third was in his home country, where he battered the would-be heir apparent Neusel. Schmeling maintained his #4 ranking in The Ring Magazine's Annual Ratings for that year.
I'm fairly certain Gastanaga was not rated, in any year, by The Ring. His NBA ranking would need a deep dive, in order to try and fathom it. For now, however, I'm happy to say that it seems a strange ranking for him to have been given.
That said, it's funny that you mention the potential of it being a swipe at Carnera (albeit, beginning a year too soon) because I've seen it written that Uzcudun wanted no part of Gastanaga, despite a publicly perceived rivalry between them.
It's evidence of something; just not what you seem to think it is. I have rebutted, with fair reasoning, more or less every argument you have put forward for why you think the ratings were either corrupted and/or useless. The only oddity I cannot explain, at this time, is the NBA Rating for Gastanaga.
In all honesty, I thought we'd done that quite some posts ago. However, I was still interested in reading your reasoning. My take from that and my review of the evidence you cite is that rating is more difficult than isolating a handful of competitors and forming a simple argument of - Boxer 'A' beat Boxer 'B' (at some point in time), who beat Boxer 'C' (at some other point in time); therefore, Boxer 'A' ranks higher than Boxer 'C'.
Man Machine--you are satisfied with you arguments and think them convincing. Okay. I am satisfied with mine and think them convincing. They will never be common ground, but I will mention some areas we disagee on.
*just on general background, being the road competitor seems difficult in and of itself. In the three major American teams sports, a study shows that the home team wins 58% of the time in the NBA, 56% of the time in the NFL, and 54% of the time in major league baseball. So the home team is likely on the average to win 56% of the time. In all these sports the officials are league officials and have nothing to do with the home team. Having the home folks behind you seems a strong advantage.
It is guesswork, but I would suppose the advantage would be even bigger in boxing as the officiating and rule interpretation varied more.
The bottom line here is that the Euro fighters had to come to America and were strangers in a strange land.
"Just because a boxer might be good, doesn't mean they are automatically getting rated by The Ring."
Obviously not. Nor being no good means they won't be rated.
Eddie Mader had 57 wins, 43 losses, 9 draws in his career. He had 27 career KO victories and 31 career KO defeats. A lifetime mediocrity.
This is his record in 1935
Terry Mitchell (17-14-2)-----W
Norman Barnett (5-1-1)-----W
Izzy Singer (13-6-4)-----W
Eddie Houghton (20-13-3)-----W
Terry Mitchell (22-19-2)-----W
Hank Hankinson (39-10-1)-----W
Tony Galento (56-18-2)-----W
Al Ettore (50-7-2)-----L
The only rated fighter here would be Hankinson. Galento had still not broken into the rankings. Mader ends the year ranked #6.
Ray Impellitiere had a lifetime record of 10 wins and 7 losses, with 7 KO victories and 2 KO defeats. Here is his entire record
Frank Zoreta (2-10)-----KO
Sam Sujer (0-8)-----KO
Gus Rodenberg (4-5-1)-----KO
Cane Connors (0-2)-----KO
Jose Santa (57-13-2)-----TKO
Charlie Wagner (14-22-4)-----KO
Marty Gallagher (37-21-5)-----L
George Neron (10-31-6)-----KO
Primo Carnera-----KO by
(Impellitiere ends 1935 ranked #8 by The Ring)
Andre Lenglet (26-8-3)-----W
Bob Pastor-----KO by
(Impellitiere ends 1936 ranked #6 by The Ring) So winning mainly against fighters with losing recards and going 4-4 in 1935 & 1936 gets this guy top ratings over several men who were beating Loughran, who in turn beat the Imp three times. To me this is laughable
Imp's big win in 1935, which got him to #8, was over Ford Smith, 34-27-9 lifetime with 13 KO's, and 13 KO bys. Here is Ford Smith's 1935 record:
so Smith goes 3-7-1 with 1 ND during 1935. He ends the year ranked #10 in The Ring ratings. I guess they were very impressed with beating Lasky and the 20 year old Baer, and so Smith kept a rating despite losing four straight at the end of the year.
For me, these ratings speak for themselves. The Imp in 1935 is especially outrageous.
And yet, foreign fighters were able to win crowds over, based on their performances - because, boxing does not engender the type of loyalty, which team sports do of a local population.
Also - How long did the visiting boxers, who had performed well, had won crowds over and been invited back repeatedly, remain strangers in a strange land?