Primo Carnera: In Summary

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by William Walker, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Addict Full Member

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    The first Primo Carnera fight on film is his 1930 win over KO Christner. His last fight on film is his 1935 loss against Joe Louis. A total of 15 videos (I think?) we have to watch Carnera, most of them incomplete-that's a pretty limited view of any man. Actually though, Carnera had a short career, only 11 years in the ring, and the last 4 I'm sure were fought in obscurity. I am done watching Carnera now (it's about time!), and thought I would give a brief opinion on the man:
    I was not fond of him. I heard much about his jab. When I saw it, it was not that good. His movement for such a big man, was the most incredible/ surprising, and the most overlooked. I thought it was a waste. Ernie Terrell was the same height, 50 pounds lighter, but more dangerous imo. Primo was built like a brawler, he should have fought like one. Part of the reason I say this is just cuz his fights were dull to watch, but I really think he would have been a much more successful fighter if he'd done more winging and less jab-and-grab. My favorite thing about watching Carnera is that his clumsiness was good for a laugh. I may seem brutal in my opinion towards Carnera, but of 15 fights of him that exist in any form, only three were decent performances imo. I will quickly add though, that a few members of the forum mentioned that Carnera was easy to knock down, thus leading people to accuse him of having a China-chin. They pointed out that he always got up, and never took a 10-count. This is so. Sharkey, Baer, and Louis all floored him, but not for a KO. Even with a few good words thrown in for Carnera, I don't think this man has left himself much of a legacy.
     
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  2. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxing Hagiographer Full Member

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    I don't think being a brawler would've worked for him. He didn't have the power, toughness or instinctiveness to make that work.
     
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  3. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Addict Full Member

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    So you think jab-and-grab was his best option?
     
  4. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxing Hagiographer Full Member

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    Yeah, I think he mostly made the best of what he had really.
     
  5. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    You have to ask what were Carnera's strengths?

    He was big, and good from a technical standpoint.

    Yes jab and grab, or jab and move, were his best options.

    A bigger superheavyweight, who brawls with his smaller opponents, is usually a fool!
     
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  6. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Why do you say that?
     
  7. Jason Thomas

    Jason Thomas Active Member Full Member

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    Carnera in my judgment really doesn't deserve the knocks he gets for a weak jaw. Sharkey put him down with a good left hook but he got up and fought on. Baer and Louis were the biggest punchers of the era, and he lasted longer against Louis than most and was still on his feet at the end. The early knockdowns against Baer are too aberrant to evaluate easily. Was this wrestling? Again Carnera finished on his feet. On film I have seen no one but a world champion put him down.

    His boxing skills were decent and his mobility surprising. At times he shows power and at times not. I get the impression that against tougher opponents he tended to fight conservatively rather than opening up and going for a KO.

    You did not comment on the big question concerning Carnera. He was obviously limited, and in the bottom tier of champions, but

    Was he a legit champion in a weak era or did he only get to the top because of fixes? Which is your take?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
  8. Dubblechin

    Dubblechin Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I find your last sentence odd.

    The guy hasn't been a contender for 85 years. You watched like 15 of his fights. Probably 11 or 12 were wins. You've spent time reading about him and analyzing his performances.

    There are guys who fought 10 years ago who are largely forgotten and who you can't find 10 wins to judge them on.

    People don't care about them now. They certainly won't in another 75 years.

    How many athletes in any other sport who were relevent 85 years ago have you bothered to research?

    Hell, will total strangers even remember you 85 years from now?

    Carnera left a fine legacy. He came from nothing, yet people still take the time to watch him, write about him, and read stories about his colorful life.

    Nothing wrong with that.
     
  9. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I really would have to investigate the fixes further. The only one of his filmed fights I know to be accused of being a fix was Sharkey II. I am not among those who believe that one to be a fix. There were too many details about the fight that do not back that idea.
     
  10. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Odd? lol

    15 fights, but including most of his major fights, the two with Sharkey, the one with Baer, the one with Louis, and the fight with Schaaf.

    I have never researched athletes in any other sport. Just boxing.

    No, I doubt no one 85 years from now, or even 60, will remember me.

    I don't think it can be said that Carnera left a fine legacy. I do consider him among the heavyweight elite of the 30s, but is a "fine legacy" for Carnera what a fine legacy was for Louis? or even Schmeling? or Baer, or Sharkey? I would say no.
     
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  11. Jason Thomas

    Jason Thomas Active Member Full Member

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    My interpretation of this answer is that you think he won the title legit as you judge the Sharkey KO legit.
     
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  12. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti Boxing Hagiographer Full Member

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    I really envy such enlightenment.
     
  13. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Addict Full Member

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    You got it.
     
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  14. Jackomano

    Jackomano Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I just wanted to add that way more than 15 of Carnera’s fights were filmed. I’d estimate that closer to half of his fights were filmed. Dempsey owned a lot of footage on Carnera and Max himself, which he later sold to Baer, who later left it to Max Jr., who donated much of it to the Skirball Musuem in Los Angeles.

    The Getty Museum also has a lot of Carnera’s fights as well., but this just isn’t Carnera, since the Skirball has a lot of footage on Jewish fighters and If and when the Pandemic ends I think you’d enjoy watching the footage if you ever happen to be in Los Angeles.

    As for his Legacy Carnera was very successful in both Boxing and professional wrestling and a great self-promoter in his own way, which is why he made as much money as he did in both and contrary to popular belief Carnera didn’t start having financial problems until the Harder they Fall was released, which tarnished his reputation and destroyed his cafe business.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2021
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  15. William Walker

    William Walker Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I don't think enlightenment's the right word.