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. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

    92,413
    19,808
    Jun 2, 2006
    Yes or No?
     
  2. Sting like a bean

    Sting like a bean Well-Known Member banned Full Member

    2,047
    1,525
    Apr 9, 2017
    I agree with just about every word of this.
     
    The Long Count and choklab like this.
  3. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

    92,413
    19,808
    Jun 2, 2006
    "
    Time Magazine, in a 5 October 1931 cover story on Carnera before he won the heavyweight title, commented on his odd career:

    "Since his arrival in the US, backed by a group of prosperous but shady entrepreneurs, Carnera's career has been less glorious than fantastic. His first opponents—Big Boy Peterson, Elzear Rioux, Cowboy Owens—were known to be incompetent but their feeble opposition to Carnera suggested that they had been bribed to lose. Suspicion concerning the Monster's abilities became almost universal when another adversary, Bombo Chevalier, stated that one of his own seconds had threatened to kill him unless he lost to Carnera. Against the huge, lazy, amiable Negro George Godfrey (249 lb), he won on a foul. But only one of 33 US opponents has defeated Monster Carnera—fat, slovenly Jimmy Maloney, whom Sharkey beat five years ago. In a return fight, at Miami last March, Carnera managed to outpoint Maloney. "


    "The release of The Harder They Fall acquainted Carnera with the demoralising possibility that many of the victories that led up to the challenge for Sharkey's world title were rather more the results of astute matchmaking. "Daddy told us that he never knew that," writes Carnera's daughter, Giovanna Maria. "He told us that he never knew and that the decision only depended on the boxing ability of the opponents. He was too naïve. We are sorry to say so, but it is like that. His relation to arranged bouts [a book, Le Mystère Carnera by Carnera's first manager, Leon See, lists numerous fixed fights between 1928 and 1931] is to be found in his naïvety, which came from the goodness of his heart. We do not want to sanctify him, however the importance of what he did and and his honesty helped him to survive everything and everybody. Moreover, he was sure of one thing: "The world title match was not fixed." According to him: "It was too important and could not be fixed."


    This content is protected



    Originally a circus strongman, Carnera began his professional boxing career in Paris in 1928 and went to the
    This content is protected
    in 1930. There he began compiling an impressive total of knockout victories, many of which, however, were “fixed” fights with outcomes prearranged, first by his Parisian manager and later by organized crime figures in the United States. (Carnera was likely unaware of these arrangements.) Weighing an average of 260 pounds (118 kg), he was the heaviest world champion at the time and, at a height of 6 feet 5.75 inches (197 cm), one of the tallest. After two successive knockouts by Leroy Haynes in 1936, Carnera returned to Europe practically penniless, having seen little of the purses he won in the United States. From 1928 through 1946 he had 103 bouts, winning 88, 69 by knockout.

    "Bombo Chevalier was a black clubfighter from Northern
    California who fought Primo Carnera in Emeryville in
    1930. At the time, Carnera was making a tour of
    the United States, fighting very "soft" opposition in
    front of big crowds.

    In the fight with Chevalier, Carnera had trouble with
    his determined opponent. Later in the fight, Frank
    Churchill, Carnera's representative in the West,
    was seen visiting Chevalier's corner. Although
    Chevalier appeared to be unhurt and continued
    to fight, one of his cornermen threw in the towel
    during the sixth round. As a result, the referee
    stopped the bout and ruled that Carnera was the
    winner.

    The bout left such a bad oder that Carnera wasn't
    permitted to fight in California again. Moreover,
    a number of people connected with Carnera and
    the towel throwing cornerman, Bob Perry, were
    banned in the state. As boxing historians know,
    Frank Churchill was noted for managing a large
    stable that included a number of top Filipino fighters
    and being a pioneer boxing promoter in the Philippines."

    "As for Carnera's fixes, well, his original manager published a list of the fixed fights that he Carnera took part in which can be found in the back of both his book and "Man Mountain" the bio of Carnera published in the late 90's. Keep in mind that this list is only current to the end of the managers tenure with Carnera which was just short of his title winning victory over Sharkey".


    This content is protected
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  4. Sting like a bean

    Sting like a bean Well-Known Member banned Full Member

    2,047
    1,525
    Apr 9, 2017
    As usual I'm impressed by your ability to quickly cite context relevant sources, but in this case I'm not quite sure how this is supposed to modify my opinion. When I watch good film of Carnera what I see is a guy of freakish natural size, very well muscled and athletic, quick and agile for his size; but with poor balance, mediocre ability to read his opponent and counter (this especially) and questionable ability to take a punch for a man so large.
    His most conspicuous flaw to me is not that he's slow or clumsy (he's neither) but his tentativeness against top opponents and often jerky reactions at mid-range, like he's never quite sure what to do.

    What I really don't see is a hopeless oaf who has no business in a professional ring. I'd say he's about on par with someone like Briggs or Morrison, below someone like Mercer, Tucker, Haye or Witherspoon, but far above someone like Mark Gastneau, Butterbean, or Mike White.
     
    young griffo likes this.
  5. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    25,985
    5,564
    Dec 31, 2009

    All champions had set ups in many of their early fights in that they were set to win. Carneras opponents, at this point of his career, mostly against part time guys who were not real or serious fighters, giving away 100lb or so, had very little insensitive to put up much effort. And he fought a lot of these guys, perhaps more so than anybody else because he was a draw just as a giant. But these were barn storming events. Creep towns where nothing much went on.

    Primo was on tour as a kind of freak attraction rather than anything serious. And you could not get away with that kind of thing in bigger places.

    But do not confuse this with later on. At different times Primo still legitimately beat real world class rated guys. Laughran, Neusel, Schaf, Sharkey, Uzcudun, Levinsky, Santa, Campolo, maloney and Art Laskey. Fights that are well documented with no hint of fixing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  6. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

    92,413
    19,808
    Jun 2, 2006
    Fights in which you are favoured to win are entirely different from fights in which the result is pre-ordained by either bribery, or intimidation. Loughran was conceding a huge amount of weight.Schaaf was suffering from meningitis and had just got out of a sick bed ,recovering from influenza.Santa never ranked,Campolo? Campolo fought Carnera in 31 & 34 ,2 and 5years after he had been ranked ,Maloney[fat and untrained hadn't been ranked for3 years ,]were not world class, and Lasky wasn't ranked either he fought Carnera in32 and he didnt get ranked[briefly] until34, 2 years later .Neusel quit and he was unranked.
    Jesus Christ stop with this ****!
    You're embarrassing yourself!
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
    mrkoolkevin and The Morlocks like this.
  7. Humean

    Humean New Member Full Member

    79
    79
    Nov 5, 2018
    Constant conjunction?

    I wasn't suggesting that every single fight of his was fixed, just that there were so many. There was plenty of shenanigans with these later bouts against better opposition too. The Neusel one was a bit dodgy and the Schaaf victory can hardly count. As I said earlier I do think he improved, taking advantage of his ludicrous size and weight advantage over his opposition by learning to use his left to keep his opponents off him and wearing them down in the clinch when he couldn't keep the distance but his technical prowess was less than basic. The fact that he does have some apparently decent legitimate wins only shows how poor that era was at heavyweight. He benefited from fixed fights, clever matchmaking and a dose of luck.
     
    mcvey likes this.
  8. The Morlocks

    The Morlocks Boxing Junkie Full Member

    8,717
    8,807
    Nov 21, 2009
    It is actually stunning.
     
    mcvey likes this.
  9. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    25,985
    5,564
    Dec 31, 2009
    no it was not dodgy. Neusel fought hard but was worn down and beaten legitimately. Pummelled in fact. He surrendered in a defenceless state. Neusel had good wins in America and Europe. Only Schmeling had stopped him yet Neusel went on to defeat Schmeling in a rematch years later.

    The Schaaf fight was not fixed. Footage of the fight shows Schaaf fighting well enough but was legitimately behind. Take away the ending and it looks like a good quality match. The boxing is good.

    The ending came out of the blue. Schaaf ducked into an “up type jab” from Carnera that forced schaafs head back too far at an unusual angle. It was not a light punch, nor an explosive punch. He ducked into it which worsened the effect. it was not nice to see. I doubt it could happen that way again in a thousand times. Just a very tragic accident.

    And yet Max Schmeling knocked out a prime Joe Louis in the exact same era!

    All champions benefit from clever match making and a dose of luck. We can all use a lot of examples to prove this. Take Ali himself. He had a gang of millionaires bank rolling his route to the title. He fought old man Archie Moore rather than other contenders to get a ranking. In difficult fights with Billy Daniels and Henry cooper cuts saved the day. A decision over Doug Jones that was not popular... Sonny Liston putting up a non effort during his first defence....Marciano had the might of boxing’s top matchmaker selecting his opponents, at least one gift decision on his way up. A non effort from Walcott in his first defence....Same with Tyson, he faced no ranked fighters and arrived at the title scene just as an elimination series allowed him to unify titles that had proved impossible for years before hand. Several of his challengers had not beat rated fighters in years before challenging him....Joe Louis, great fighter though he was, got a title shot ahead of the man who knocked him out, was able to keep active while Schmeling was messed about and stagnated for two years.. I can go on and on about great fighters receiving luck and clever matchmaking. This is not unique to Carnera is it? Yes there were fixed fights early on in less important fights, but at least one decision went against Primo that he deserved too. One official was struck off after voting for Stanley Poreda in a fight observers felt Carnera won. The film we have are of legit fights. Only the Godfrey fight could be suspect of the ones I have seen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  10. Humean

    Humean New Member Full Member

    79
    79
    Nov 5, 2018
    The Neusel fight was stopped in round 4 on a cut stoppage caused by Carnera's elbow. The Schaaf fight was likely fixed, just in a way that categorised a whole new low in prizefighting.

    Schmeling and Baer were the best of a bad bunch but both were inferior to Tunney and Dempsey and especially Louis. The fact that Schmeling defeated Louis hardly proves much, lots of quality fighters take an early loss or two. The era was known at the time as being bad, who was it that called this era the dark ages of heavyweight boxing?

    Proving that great fighters have also benefited from good luck and good matchmaking doesn't contradict my point that he was pretty rubbish.

    See, Duffy and Madden really did orchestrate a successful con, they are still pulling the wool over the eyes of people in 2019!
     
    mrkoolkevin and mcvey like this.
  11. The Long Count

    The Long Count Boxing Junkie Full Member

    13,744
    5,531
    Oct 8, 2013
    Schaaf was sick in the ring with Carnera. That was not peak Schaaf. Not much should be inferred from that fight.
     
    mcvey likes this.
  12. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

    92,413
    19,808
    Jun 2, 2006
    Though I think both Briggs and Morrison would beat him I'm in sympathy with your general assessment. He wasn't a hopeless oaf, but neither was he a good defensive fighter , he lacked a chin and real power,and he skirted a couple of dangerous contenders ,Schmeling and Hamas to defend against the punchless lhvy Loughran and the unranked Uzcudun,as soon as he met a real contender who could bang he was ruined.
     
  13. mcvey

    mcvey Obsessed with Boxing banned Full Member

    92,413
    19,808
    Jun 2, 2006
    Neusel was unranked.
    Neusel did go on to beat Schmeling,but somehow you forgot to mention that Schmeling was 42 years old and had engaged in just 2 fights against nobodies in the last 8 and a half years!
    I'm happy to jog your memory on that.lol
    Schmeling kod a pre - prime Louis,and Carnera avoided Schmeling. Schaaf had meningitis and was still recovering from a bad case of influenza, to cite this as a legitimate win is shameful. Hype Igoe sitting ringside said when Schaaf fell to the floor ,"the only way I'll believe this is if he dies".That's how convincing that performance was. Johnny Buckley and Sharkey should have been shot for putting Schaaf in the ring that night!
    Carnera didn't just benefit from clever matchmaking he benefited from out and out fixes!
    If he was legitimate ,why did they need to fix so many of his fights?
    How many fixed fights were Louis,Marciano,Tyson in? Any of their managers come out and say ,"I fixed all these fights for him to win"? Pathetic argument!
    "We could have got away with a lot more if you hadn't have been there and put the knock on the big guy about how he can't hit or take a punch" Broadway Billy Duffy Carnera's Front manager in conversation with Paul Gallico.
    ps Found that quote from Joe Louis describing Carnera as," a good fighter ,"yet? If you haven't, can we assume you made it up?
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019