Sullivan vs. Louis - Does John L. stand a chance?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Melankomas, Jun 7, 2023.



  1. Melankomas

    Melankomas Prime Jeffries would demolish a grizzly in 2 Full Member

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    Prime Sullivan against prime Louis. Most people, like myself, would favour Louis. But does anyone have a case for Sullivan? Louis did say he never enjoyed being crowded, and John L. was a very aggressive and physical fighter with power on both hands. He was also described as being very fast for a man of his size. How do you see this one going?
     
  2. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

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    Modern rules?

    We don't have enough Sullivan footage to intelligently reconstruct how he fought. We have hints. Those hints suggest he was just too divergent from modern boxing to win.
     
  3. Melankomas

    Melankomas Prime Jeffries would demolish a grizzly in 2 Full Member

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    It's pretty hard to gauge how different he was. Sullivan, despite being out of shape, did still manage to have a competitive fight with Corbett for the first 10 rounds according to newspaper reports. I believe he even scored a knockdown at some point. He also managed to perform well in an exhibition against Tom Sharkey. Now obviously, this isn't a real fight, but reports did say John L., in spite of his horrible physique at the time, managed to outbox Sharkey technically. Now, Sharkey wasn't the most technical fighter ever, but I don't think he looks that bad on film.

    I also heard that Jack McAuliffe looked impressive in his spar with Dempsey in 1920, and he was from John L.'s era. We have that Professor Mike Donovan footage as well, so I don't think the difference between gloved combat then was as radically different as we think.
     
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  4. cross_trainer

    cross_trainer Liston was good, but no "Tire Iron" Jones Full Member

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    Maybe not; it's a fair point. Though if we look at footage of Corbett, he ain't quite modern, either.
     
  5. Melankomas

    Melankomas Prime Jeffries would demolish a grizzly in 2 Full Member

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    Corbett looks pretty modern, he just doesn't look like a particularly good modern fighter. He's doing things modern fighters do, just not in a very efficient way. His footwork, uppercut and jab are alright, and he does seem to show awareness defensively. I think Corbett looks much better in the Tunney footage
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2023
  6. Melankomas

    Melankomas Prime Jeffries would demolish a grizzly in 2 Full Member

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    He and Kid McCoy look decent here as well
     
  7. he grant

    he grant Historian/Film Maker Full Member

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    I've always felt Sullivan had true talent ... speed, power, a chin, killer instinct, strength and stamina but to me he practiced a different version of the sport and Louis would have diced him up and stopped him in a few rounds ... under London rules he would have destroyed Louis ... again no knock on Sullivan who if he was properly trained and developed in the sport forty years later may have been a terror ..
     
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  8. Saintpat

    Saintpat Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    The answer is no.

    John L would famously saunter into a bar and announce that he could lick any sonuva ***** in the house.

    Well Joe Louis was no sonuva *****, so Sullivan wouldn’t stand a chance.
     
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  9. janitor

    janitor VIP Member Full Member

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    My first observation must be that we have a very clear idea what Louis was, but we don't have a very clear idea what Sullivan was.

    There are many plausible interpretations of what Sullivan was, and some of them might have stood a chance against Louis
     
  10. kingfisher3

    kingfisher3 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    it's a fight and he looks to have good hand speed so he stands a chance but i can't see him dealing with that caliber of opposition with the modern rules (modern meaning the last 120 years)
     
  11. Shay Sonya

    Shay Sonya The REAL Wonder Woman! Full Member

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    I think, based on what people who saw him fight had to say, that Prime John L. Sullivan was likely better than many today give him credit for. With that said, I would pick Prime Joe Louis to win most times, in a series, against any other boxer who ever lived.
     
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  12. CroBox29

    CroBox29 Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Louis would knock out Sullivan with ease in the early rounds...
     
  13. janitor

    janitor VIP Member Full Member

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    Based on what?
     
  14. Melankomas

    Melankomas Prime Jeffries would demolish a grizzly in 2 Full Member

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    Do you think Sullivan had the defensive capabilities to compete with Louis?
     
  15. Reinhardt

    Reinhardt Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I'd pick John L. Sullivan to mop the floor with Louis,,,,in a Bar.