Poll: How good was Primo Carnera?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by reznick, May 24, 2017.

How good was he?

  1. He was a fraud bum.

    8.0%
  2. He was a fraud journeyman

    15.9%
  3. He was a good fighter

    65.9%
  4. He was an ATG

    3.4%
  5. He was an elite great

    6.8%
  1. Humean

    Humean New Member Full Member

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    Nov 5, 2018
    I must have missed it in the thread but what exactly did Benny Leonard say about Carnera?

    It is a long time since i've read up about Carnera but that seems a dubious claim that he was rated very highly at the time. My general view of him was that he was plucked from the circus as his size might make him a success in boxing and also help draw a crowd. He was then taught basic skills and showed little talent so his manager had to bribe opponents to take a dive. Then he comes to the US, starts to be handled by gangsters there and is matched very softly and in time develops a bit as a fighter, he learns to use his size and reach more effectively and then with a dose of luck, clever matchmaking, and a terrible era for heavyweights finds himself the heavyweight champ before getting smashed to bits by Baer and Louis.
     
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  2. reznick

    reznick In the 7.2% Full Member

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    This content is protected
     
  3. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    Benny Leonard was a big Carnera booster but his opinions clearly fell far outside the mainstream. He even picked Carnera to beat Baer and then blamed the loss on Carnera not being comfortable with a new cornerman. Some of the revisionists among us would have you believe that all the credible boxing people loved Primo like Leonard did, and that only the charlatans, rubes, and yellow journalists questioned his skills and abilities.
     
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  4. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

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    Was Carnera "extremely difficult to hit" ?
    Yes or No will suffice.
     
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  5. Humean

    Humean New Member Full Member

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    Nov 5, 2018
    Thanks.

    As I understand it there were ex fighters who basically got paid to say nice things about the inevitable loser during a promotion, i'm not sure if Leonard was still struggling financially in 1934 but that might explain his positive comments. I mean if Owney Madden gives you some money and tells you to say nice things about his money-spinner then i'm guessing most people are going to do just that.

    Everything i've read about Carnera suggested that the majority of sportswriters thought he was a fraud, and the key reason that they thought that way was because they all had eyes. I guess Carnera's various nicknames are also a clue to how he was perceived at the time.
     
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  6. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

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    Well Joe Louis said he found it difficult to get under his guard and he was a good fighter.
     
  7. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

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    I think you need to read some more. Carnera had an affair with Damon Runyons wife. That, and the unpopularity of Mussolini during that spell made Primo especially unpopular with the press. Max Schmeling is the guy worth listening to. He had nothing to gain boosting Primo. At the end of the day Joe Louis made a clown of him. But he did that to Sharkey and Baer too. Max Baer hit primo for fun after he broke his ankle.
     
  8. Humean

    Humean New Member Full Member

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    I think it is a tad more likely that when they saw this giant of a man in the ring that the various sportswriters saw the obvious, that Carnera was not very good. The idea that the negative opinions were based upon prejudice does not remotely stand up to all the evidence about the fraudulant nature of his career. The man had so many fixed fights it's ridiculous, if it was just one or two claims then it would be one thing but there were so many. The idea that anyone should take the opinion of one or two fighters as gospel is simple-minded nonsense. Perhaps Schmeling was just being charitable? He also did have something to gain: the credibility of his era of boxing.

    One last thing on a more general historical point, Mussolini was not especially unpopular in the United States in the early 1930s.
     
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  9. thanosone

    thanosone Love Your Brother Man Full Member

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  10. The Long Count

    The Long Count Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    While Primo will never rank too highly for me, I am something of a Carnera convert. He is not the clumsy oaf I was led to believe he was when I first heard of him. There is enough footage of the man to formulate my own opinion and from what I see, is someone who came to the sport late but showed improvement and was quicker than I realized.
    I find it funny how one fighter gets nothing but ridicule in Carnera and another crude fighter in Baer seems to constantly receive praise. Everyone that rips Carnera never even acknowledges that he broke his ankle on the first knockdown with Baer and that destroyed his balance for the remainder of the fight. If anything Carnera showed heart gameley trying to compete with no back leg support.
    Meanwhile I always hear that Baer had a busted hand going in to fight Louis (who ko’d him quicker than he did Carnera) and that he had a pain shot that made him numb. The same excuses are given for his loss to journeyman Braddock.
    Not saying Baer and Carnera are equals but it is funny how certain fighters bad performances get spun as opposed to others.
     
  11. KuRuPT

    KuRuPT Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I'm not sure who all these people are, but I rip Baer's crudeness and clowning just as much as Primo, it just happens that more Primo threads are made than Baer.
     
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  12. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

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    Please provide the quote where Louis says Carnera was ,"a good fighter."
     
  13. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

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    Sharkey was a washed up ex champ who, in his own words, just went to the gym to keep his weight down.
    Many Italian /American boxers were popular during Carnera's time .One of the leading sceptics of Carnera's abilities was Paul Gallico himself the son of an Italian
    Carnera crashed the rankings in 1929 ,he was number 9, another Italian, Campolo was number 10 ,a German number2 and a Swede number 6.
    Carnera was ranked until 1935 which was the year Mussolini invaded Ethiopia and Primo hadn't been champ for 2 years!. Stop with the excuses ,they don't work ,either logically,or chronologically!
    ps Why would Carnera having an affair with Runyon's Wife make him unpopular with the rest of the press?
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  14. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Never wrestle with pigs or argue with fools Full Member

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    Good point. I criticize Baer’s crudeness all the time but I agree that a lot of people seem to turn a blind eye to his obvious limitations. His lack of skills were well known at the time and I’ve seen articles from the 30s describing Carnera as more skilled than him.
     
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  15. Sting like a bean

    Sting like a bean Well-Known Member banned Full Member

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    "The man had so many fixed fights it's ridiculous, if it was just one or two claims then it would be one thing but there were so many. '

    What do you suppose you namesake would make of this locution?