Prime Muhammad Ali vs Prime Rocky Marciano

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by johny, Apr 1, 2021.

Who wins

  1. Ali Decision

  2. Ali Knockout

  3. Marciano Decision

  4. Marciano Knockout

  1. Boxed Ears

    Boxed Ears this my daddy's account (RIP daddy) Full Member

    Jul 28, 2009
    Loopy or just true? I was fine, just banned for being too blunt and too honest on this forum. Too right.

    What? Elaborate.

    You know it. This is God's country, brother. Where we can sleep all day and watch the catfish play.
    JohnThomas1 likes this.
  2. RulesMakeItInteresting

    RulesMakeItInteresting Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Mar 23, 2019
    Ali UD, but he'd take some great shots.
    Stiches Yarn likes this.
  3. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    Of course Marciano had indomitable will. But Ali had both the will and the skill. Not to mention speed, height, and reach. Sheer grit and power isn't enough to beat Ali, especially when the boxer in question is under 200 lbs and really only has 1 way of attacking.
  4. BlackCloud

    BlackCloud I detest the daily heavyweight threads Full Member

    Nov 22, 2012
    Just a left jab?
    Watch the second Quarry fight and digest it.
    Jerry was roughly the same as Marciano and he was faster by a considerable amount.
    Ali was catching him with every punch in the book.
    Hooks, Uppercuts, Straight rights and every other punch in between.
    Thanks for mentioning the cut He suffered with Ezzard Charles, you haven't mentioned it before..zzzź.
    Just to finish off......Ali was a damn site more durable than Charles.

    Here's the fight in all its glory.

    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  5. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    Correct. There were many pretenders who had the raw talent such as Biggs and Tillis but they did not have Ali's insane willpower combined with his dedication and stamina (prime Ali has severely underrated work ethic).

    Holmes came close but went a different route and had a few subtle differences in his overall style fighting at a more relaxed pace letting his jab do much of the work for him.

    If there were a heavyweight today with modern training who could use slick lateral movement and fancy head movement with a sharp jab, good counter punching skills, and the toughness to take a shot if necessary, they'd be nearly unstoppable.

    However, a short armed slugger lacking athleticism/speed/defense, even one over 200 lbs, would struggle heavily in most other eras no matter how hard they can hit and no matter how tough. That combination of traits is simply not practical in a division full of behemoths with long arms who can pop out heavy jabs, tie you up, throw vicious uppercuts, etc. Tyson was dozens of times more gifted than Rocky and even he struggled heavily the moment he started to slip in his dedication. It's not just the size, it's the wear and tear on the body needing to train like a spartan and executing a perfect game plan.
    BlackCloud likes this.
  6. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    OK, so neither of their styles worked for anybody else, so they are both equally crap.

    That seems to be what you are getting at.
  7. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    crucially for many years 200lb was about as big as good fighters could get without modern training. Until 1970 Marciano sized men were still as big as you needed to be. These behemoths would struggle going into Marcianos era without their modern training.

    if it was just about being big only Jess Willard sized men would have held the title since about 1915.

    But these behemoths were unable to dominate heavyweight boxing before 1970 because the help they needed had not came along yet. It’s like making the argument for 6’3” Tommy Hurricane Jackson dominating the 1950s if only he could have taken the growth hormones and PEDs that Evander or Povetkin must have? He couldn’t because they were not there yet. For fantasy fights to happen both men have to exist at the same time. It works both ways. So Marciano can be Tyson in the 1980s with the help that was available to Mike sized heavyweights and Nino Valdes can be Riddick Bowe in the 1990s with the help available to Riddick.

    This is a good point. However, over the required number of fights to establish a legacy Marciano did just fine with what was available before the strength and conditioning/PED boom.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
  8. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    I don’t think Quarry is a comparable representation at all. I think George Chuvalo hit Ali a lot more times than Quarry did.

    on the basis of this fight with Chuvalo alone, it really is not unrealistic to imagine Marciano winning one of a three fight series with Ali.
  9. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    Both Jack Johnson and Jim Jefferies were over 200 lbs and they were considered great fighters. Baer was also frequently well over 200 lbs. Big Jeff was even cruder and less skilled than Marciano.

    Not sure why you insist on using revisionist history to defend Rocky.

    I don't think any of the above fighters would "Struggle" in Marciano's era, which was kind of a weak transitional era.

    This is an incredibly over simplistic view.

    It's lazy logic to assume the only reason Rocky sized fighters don't have success today is due to PED's or that the 6'3 220+ guys struggled back then solely because they didn't have PEDS.

    Drugs do not make a fighter great, it is just the cherry on top. You still have to put in the work and be good enough.

    Bowe has never been accused of taking PEDS to my knowledge. Do you think men who are 6'5 and 230 lbs do not exist naturally? Bowe was a once in a century talent, and with a legendary trainer like Eddie Futch on his side the sky would be the limit no matter what era he fought in. Same thing with Mike Tyson. Do you honestly think those two would struggle even if for the sake of argument they were on PEDs and had to compete against shopworn light heavyweights? :lol:

    I was not criticizing Rocky's legacy or accomplishments.

    He did great.

    My point was that it was a combination of being in the right place and right time and him putting in the work with his intense training and work ethic. There are very few eras where a man Rocky's size with an aggressive fighting style could have had similar success regardless of PEDs. This is not even up for debate. Dempsey and Tyson had lightning fast hands, were more athletic, and had better defense, and yet both of them struggled heavily the moment they slacked off even a tiny bit. Ditto for Frazier who had just as much work ethic as Rocky and was naturally 20 lbs heavier yet still went 1-4 against the 2 biggest A level opponents in his era.

    The short aggressive slugger will always have the deck stacked against him in the heavyweight division no matter how hard they work, let alone a slugger with T Rex arms who sorely lacked natural athleticism.
    Tonto62 and swagdelfadeel like this.
  10. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    I certainly consider Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries great fighters too.

    Of course Jack Johnson, Jim Jeffries or Max Baer would not struggle in Marcianos era. There was not any steroids or PEDs in Marcianos era so they could have operated as the great fighters they were being completely reliant on what made them great at the times they fought and simply bring it to another era. It’s another level playing field for them.

    It is entirely logical to imagine performance enhancing drugs actually do enhance performance. What are you saying here? You don’t think performance enhancing isn’t enhancing a performance?

    In any sport it is the tiny margins that make the difference between good and great. Modern Boxing waited almost 100 years for heavyweight boxing to become entirely taken over by Primo Carnera sized men. Yet Jess Willard was as big as any of today’s fighters but represented merely an exception rather than the start of a trend.

    I understand and fully accept that 230lb men of 6’5” have always existed and represent the same minority proportion of the human species that it always has.

    I think those two fighters would have to adapt to the environment they fought in. What worked for them in the juice era might have only worked because it was the juice era. They were competing in what was a level playing field for them at that time. We don’t know how they get on in a PED free level playing field. I suspect Tyson would be a great fighter regardless. Chances are Bowe might have to change too much. We don’t know if there would be 15 rounds in him once he became more gangley and thin armed.

    Bingo!!! Right place right time. It works both ways. You put any champion after 1974 in any era before 1960 and he will look like a completely different fighter requiring completely different attributes.

    Marciano would do absolutely fine just as he was in any era before the steroid boom. 1910s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s. Of course he could. After the steroid boom Rocky would need to be just as enhanced as every champion likely was after that point ...and therefore become a completely unrecognisable fighter. Just as all those who came from that time would have had to adapt to the pre sports science era and become just as unrecognisable.

    Tell that to Mike Tyson. I accept a shorter fighter generally has to work twice as hard and therefore can have a shorter career but there are lots of factors like class involved too. Fighters in general have become taller throughout all the divisions, yet back when boxers had more fights there was less really tall fighters dominating in the lower weight classes than there are now. Who knows what it all means? Longer arms compensating for skill?
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2021
  11. Eddie Ezzard

    Eddie Ezzard Well-Known Member Full Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Day before weigh ins probably allow bigger framed fighters ie taller to make weight, rehydrate then fight next day. I don't think it means a seismic shift in body types rather taller guys have an extra 24 hours after virtually starving themselves.

    But that doesn't help us explain the rise in average height of heavyweights, does it?
  12. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    That contradicts what you said that men rocky's size were "as big as a good fighter can get without modern training" which is completely false.

    Rocky was considered small even by his own era's standards. Plenty of men larger than him had been champion.

    Your reading comprehension is bizarre. I said it was lazy to assume that modern sized guys are only successful is due to peds.

    You are also basically dismissing any skill modern sized guys have.

    In one sentence you are calling them "tiny" margins then in the next sentence you are claiming it is almost entirely due to "tiny" margins (peds) that willard/carnerw sized men were able to take over.

    So you're basically saying the only reason modern sized guys are successful is due to PEDS and this is both incorrect and naive.

    From the 60's onward we saw the average heavyweight get larger and larger starting with guys like Liston.

    If PEDS are the huge difference maker you make it out to between a good and great fighter then the top 10 rankings and belt holders would rapidly change every other month and that is not the case. As I said, if you don't have it in you to be a great fighter, no matter what drugs you put in you that will not be the major difference maker. You need to put in the work at the gym and you still need to beat great fighters. The way you are typing suggests that you know very little about how peds work.

    You are also saying that it was only due to PEDs that big men took over the division and you would need to prove that every (or at least most) large HW beyond Rocky was on PEDs for this to be true.

    You dodged my questions.

    I asked if you think Bowe and Tyson were on PEDS? And if so do you think the only things that separated them from their competition was PEDs?

    In what universe would Bowe be gangly and thin armed? :lol:

    What PROOF do you have Bowe and Tyson were on the juice?

    No, not really.

    A well rounded fighter would do well in other eras. Otherwise they aren't well rounded fighters.

    I don't see any major lineal champion from the 60's onward going life and death with shopworn light heavies in Rocky's era.

    But I do see Rocky struggling in other eras where the average guy is over 200 lbs and over 6'2 with telephone pole jabs and tremendous physical strength.

    You're not making any sense at all.

    You insinuate Tyson was on the juice. He is undeniably far more talented, quicker, and explosive than Rocky and yet he struggled heavily against the large modern sized guys. Same thing for aggressive come forward guys like Samuel Peter, Chisora, etc. That style struggles heavily at HW with or without PEDs.

    Tyson, like Rocky, fought in a transitional era. The best fighter he faced was a 38 year old man and the 2nd best was a former light heavy, KIND OF LIKE ROCKY. After prison there was an explosion of large 230+ big men and he didn't look so good. Much of his dynamic highlight reel knockouts and success were over tomato cans and men who simply weren't in his league.

    Longer arms doesn't mean anything unless you know how to fight tall. You still need to have skill to begin with. Buddy Baer and Willard are two glaring examples of this.
    Tonto62 likes this.
  13. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    I don’t know that we can say for sure either way. I am only offering suggestions.

    Hows about this?

    If we are living in a time where all the lower weight categories are trying to be bigger for the weight, as in a light heavyweight can make middleweight for the 2 minutes he needs to for a weigh in...then replenish himself to a full blown light heavyweight come first bell...then this amounts to taller fighters through all the weights than there used to be.

    The middleweights today are really the light heavyweights. And the light heavyweights today are really the cruiserweights. and the cruiserweights are really the heavyweights...and the men bigger than this are actually Superheavyweights masquerading as heavyweights.

    All of this becomes possible because of modern sports science. 24 hour weigh ins and Performance enhancing drugs that allow giants to fight more like smaller fighters than they ever could before?
  14. choklab

    choklab cocoon of horror Full Member

    Dec 31, 2009
    no I didn’t say men Rockys size were as big as good fighters to get. I meant the men his size could beat were as big as good fighters could get. You said men over 200lb well men Rockys size beat guys up to that size. The guys of 200lb to 220 were about as big as a good fighter could get before PEDs opened the door for the Carnera sized men took over HW boxing.

    No it is more lazy to say size conquers all.

    You cannot and have not refuted that PEDs and newer training programs tailored to get more out of the largest sized men, who were largely historically unsuccessful as champions before PEDs, might possibly be the missing link that prevented men the size of Jess Willard taking over heavyweight boxing since the days of Jess Willard.

    no I am not. For all the abuse fighters like Willard and Buddy Baer get those guys could fight and did have talent. They could throw nicely timed punches and combinations but the pace required did not suit them. They were probably hindered by the training and diet of the day than more athletically proportioned men. The lack of PEDs would have prevented a more consistent recovery to regain form, composure and accuracy whilst exerting themselves.

    How do you know it wasn’t the missing ingredient? How do you know many trainers were pulling their hair out in exasperation over the notion that “if only these giants could keep up with smaller men without losing power and draining away”

    No we didn’t see average heavyweights get bigger in the 1960s. They were still overall the same size as fighters from the 1950s, 40s and 1930s. Zora Foley, Henry Cooper, Doug Jones, Eddie Machen, karl mildenburger, Jerry Quarry, Thad Spencer were no bigger than earlier contenders.

    This is my point. Nino Valdes might have had it in him to be a great fighter but without the edge PEDs might of gave him he remained a contender losing to light heavyweights rather than a dominating heavyweight champion. Or Bob Baker. These big guys had enough talent to operate as well in the 1980s just as they were I am pretty sure of that.

    There are physical limitations and limitations to diet and training depending on the era. Emanuel Steward said himself that big guys over 6’4” lose coordination and begin to get stamina issues. But depending on the way boxers train and supplement themselves it really isn’t just coordination and stamina is it? Traditional methods, without modern training, really didn’t get the best out of big men. They had to run more than was good for them to do the rounds and lost weight& strength in the process. But new programs would maintain the strength and keep the bulk. Then the PEDs improved recovery etc etc. You end up with a fighter that could not exist before.

    And I said they fought in a level playing field for their own time. They operated and stood out in a time that we know was littered and awash with cheating.

    The universe where all fighters train the way they did in the 1950s Bowe would be left with the option of being one of these hefty oafish 230lb boxers of that era who retained all of their strength but ultimately remained limited and exposed at world level or to maintain pace and skill would keep his weight lower than would be detrimentally necessary today.

    yes they would be well rounded until the fatigue set in. Until the recovery wasn’t as good. To do the rounds many giants were Weight weakened. PEDs solved this.

    and yet Larry Holmes lost to a light heavyweight. Holyfield lost to a middleweight. Klitschko too.

    All styles have their limitations. Legacies provide evidence.

    But you don’t know that Willard and Baer were not trying to fight tall or that up to a level they could fight tall against a certain level of opposition. We do not have all of the evidence to say this. We know that they did not have at their disposal the kinds of benefits that would now be available to physically enhance them in to more functional athletes. They could fight. We know this. Today they would be better fighters than they ever could be then.
  15. Glass City Cobra

    Glass City Cobra Boxing Junkie Full Member

    Jan 6, 2017
    But Carnera, Willard, Baer, and Jefferies all contradict this idea as they had been champions and all weighed more than 220 at multiple points of their careers.

    I think the simplest explanation is that trainers wanted to keep men below this weight in case they needed to go the distance. Foreman's trainers literally had him cutting weight as if he were in one of the lower divisions and he often ended up dehydrated. Norton and Ali walked around at 230+. Ernie Terrel and Bugner were pretty lean and could have obviously put on more muscle mass.

    The other part of the equation is that trainers shunned weight lifting because they rightly believed it would make boxers too stiff and sap their stamina without the modern understanding of weight training for explosive athletes.

    I did not say size conquers all.

    However, if two guys are of equal ability and experience, usually the larger man wins.

    As for Willard sized men not being successful without PEDs, anyone can make a bold blanket statement without backing it up. The burden of proof is on you.

    The difference between men like Willard and Carnera and men like Lewis and Wladmir is as clear as day. The first two do not have half of their skill, defense, athleticism, timing, accuracy, or ring IQ, regardless of the possibility that Lewis and Wladmir were on PEDs. This is why I am calling your argument lazy. Willard and Carnera were not that good and relied heavily on their size and strength in relatively weak eras. You cannot point to a single fight in Lewis or Wladmir's resume where they solely relied on bullying smaller opponents and skill, timing, defense, etc didn't have much to do with it. It's even more glaring in the case of the old school fighters since they were towering over men who were giving up as much as 80 lbs in some cases.

    The pace of the fight is not the only reason they didn't do as well as the smaller men. They lacked defense, head movement, and ring IQ, often swinging for the fences. PEDs is not going to make you more accurate or have better timing or give you a smarter boxing brain.

    The only thing you wrote that is accurate is that 15-20+ rounds favors smaller men since they do not carry as much mass and do not get tired as quickly. That is one of the more obvious reasons why modern giants can carry their extra bulk and remain successful due to shorter rounds, less inside fighting, etc.

    I am still waiting for this evidence that everyone and their grandpa was on the juice. Yes, there have been egregious and obvious abusers such as Shannon Briggs or repeat offenders such as Jarrel Miller but to suggest everyone was on it is also a lazy argument. It is also not enough to account for why men Rocky's size do not bother attempting to compete at HW. Hell, even cruiserweight lacks men under 6 ft with very short arms.

    If they are all juicing, and this is the "missing ingredient" you claim it is, why has there not been a SINGLE Rocky sized fighter to win a belt, let alone been undisputed, since Frazier--who himself is actually larger than Rocky by 30 lbs without lifting any weights?

    I meant men in at the top of the division. Liston and Terrel were the beginning of the end as they were 2 of the most dominant and recognizable faces in the division in the 60's and then Ali showed up and that was that.

    By the 70's you had Mathis, Foreman, Lyle, Norton, Bugner, etc. It was actually rare to see men in the top 10 or holding the championship in the 70's if they were under 200 lbs and under 6 ft. Even smaller guys like Quarry, Patterson, and Ellis often weighed pretty close to 194ish or more. It's almost like they all collectively understood barely weighing more than a light heavyweight probably wasn't a good idea. :lol:

    Or maybe Valdez has simply reached his ceiling regardless?

    Everything you write is simply "big men in the past struggled because they didn't have PEDs" which implies they were as good as modern day men and that was the only thing they were missing. You are also implying that modern day giants would not be able to beat light heavyweight size fighters without PEDs and if that is what you believe you are delusional. Lennox Lewis would decapitate Billy Conn whether he weighed 240 or 204 because he was a MUCH better fighter. You are taking an overly simplistic approach that is not based on reality.

    Then how the hell was the 6'5 240+ behemoth Jesse Willard fighting for 20+ round with Jack Johnson in a hot outdoor arena? He didn't have gangly arms and a thin neck nor was he a sloppy sumo wrestler looking slob like Butterbean.

    Why do you assume someone like Lennox could not be the size of Willard when Willard existed and had tremendous physical strength and stamina without doing modern intense weight training?

    Need I remind you that giant athletic men in Eastern European and African nations have always existed, including back then? Many of them simply did not participate in boxing. If I recall correctly Foreman fought a huge Polish or Russian guy who was taller than him and like 230+ in the amateurs. Many countries such as Cuba had banned professional boxing, that's another factor you're not considering. There WERE large amateur boxers who could not compete without defecting. In America, large athletes often got stolen and recruited for the NBA and NFL, weight lifting, etc.

    Plus, the number of countries competing for the championship and the overall talent pool was MUCH smaller pre 1970's. Boxers were not truly "world" champions as they often mostly fought other Americans or the occasional Mexican, Canadian, British fighter, etc.

    So why did the same handful of names dominate the 80's and 90's? Why did the Klitschkos rule with an iron fist for like a decade? Why in modern times are the titles being swapped mostly between the same 3 big names (Joshua, Wilder, Fury)...?

    Rhetorical question. It's because only the truly special boxers who want it more than anyone else can come out on top. If the "missing ingredient" is PEDs that's the big difference maker, either every champ since the 70's is on some sort of Captain America super soldier serum or they're GOOD FIGHTERS. There's no getting around it. The way you've been writing you'd think any random Joe at a boxing gym could train hard, take the right supplements, and be world champion but that's not happening.
    Tonto62 likes this.