Was Greb really that good?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by L.Everett, Aug 18, 2019.


Is Greb getting overrated

  1. Yes

    14 vote(s)
    34.1%
  2. No

    22 vote(s)
    53.7%
  3. Don't know

    5 vote(s)
    12.2%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. 70sFan865

    70sFan865 Active Member Full Member

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    You just compared him to 5 other GOAT candidates. Isn't that enough proof that Greb is definitely in conversation?
     
  2. L.Everett

    L.Everett Member Full Member

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    Definately, but does he really rank higher than them on the p4p list? Toledo seems to think he was the GOAT and many have him as the greatest middleweight ever. But I don't see anything that sets him apart from the other top candidates. The icing on the cake in the case of guys like SRR is that I can actually watch them fight and see how phenomenal they were, with Greb all I have is hearsay, hearsay about his opponents and some pretty unimpressive sparring footage.
     
  3. 70sFan865

    70sFan865 Active Member Full Member

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    If you downgrade fighters for lack of film, it's up to you. It's not their fault though. Greb accomplished everything he could in his era and was definitely a candidate for GOAT P4P fighter. He's not clear GOAT, there are no the GOATs in any sport. Greb did amazing things though and his record is just as good as SRR.

    I don't see how can you have Greb outside of top 10 ever, unless you really don't want to rank fighters without the tape.
     
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  4. L.Everett

    L.Everett Member Full Member

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    I'm not faulting Greb for anything, I'm questioning whether boxing fans, including myself in the past, have made Greb into a modern day myth. Has the lack of footage and aura of mystique around him led us to monsterously overrate him, project all our fantasies on him and turn him into this mythical figure? If people couldn't see Fitzsimmons fight I'm sure there'd be people out there calling him the GOAT, and back in the day before footage was available there were writers out there (like Fleischer) that'd have you believe he was really up there. But since then we've seen Fitz fight and sobered up to reality, maybe we're doing the same with Greb today? I don't mean to attack Greb or fault him, he had a phenomenal career and was definitely an ATG, but what I don't understand is why Greb is often in the GOAT conversation and guys like Ezzard Charles, Archie Moore or Joe Gans usually aren't.
     
  5. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    That's easy.

    Sheer volume of wins over world class opponents.

    His only peer in the history of boxing, in this regard, is Sam Langford!
     
  6. L.Everett

    L.Everett Member Full Member

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    That doesn't mean all that much if your definition of world class is relative to era. Greb might have beaten world class opposition in his day, but would they really have been considered world class in the era of Ray Robinson? Ezzard Charles pulled off two victories over Burley, who Futch and Moore both called the best fighter they'd ever seen, that description has never been applied to any of Greb's opponents and often all we have of his opponents is also hearsay (Slattery, Rosenbloom with very little footage of Mike and Tommy Gibbons, Walker etc.) Beating a lot of highly ranked opponents doesn't mean much if they aren't genuinely all time, elite fighters, if that were the case Floyd would have a better resume than Greb. And yeah your right, why put Greb above Langford who arguably has an even crazier record? Greb was a great fighter, but there are a handful of fighters out there with insane records as well (Langford, Gans, Charles, Moore, Burley, SRR etc.), if most of those guys names don't come up in GOAT conversations why are so many quick to put Greb at the top p4p or on their top ten middleweight list?
     
  7. George Crowcroft

    George Crowcroft Youngest Ezzard Charles Fan Ever Full Member

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    Oh you'd be wrong plenty do
     
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  8. ChrisJS

    ChrisJS Active Member Full Member

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    Indeed. It’s ****ing brilliant. As is Klomptons masterpiece.
     
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  9. Stonehands89

    Stonehands89 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    I'm on record on this forum criticizing what I called "the cobweb era" of boxing -the era of Corbett, Fitz, and co. I didn't and frankly still don't see much in Jack Johnson's style. My P4P list cuts off at 1920, when NY's Walker Law went into effect. If a fighter reached his peak in 1920 or later, he was included, if not, he isn't. The reason for that is simple -when boxing was an outlaw sport it was a different sport. And a 45-round fighter is a different beast from a 15-round fighter.

    Greb didn't share that waiting, one-punch-at-time, cross-legged, lean-back stance that the pioneers did. He was, by all reports, a hyper-aggressive, swarming, roughhousing beserker in his prime. He threw punches in combinations, which was relatively rare then, and did it from every angle. Even off-balance he could swipe you with ease, and though he rarely set because he preferred to overwhelm you, when he did set, he could and did knock guys flat and out. As it was, he would beat guys up routinely -whether in the ring or in training. A violent guy he was. And he loved -LOVED- to fight.

    He was very strong -I find that guys who step up and find success against bigger guys have that almost invariably in common -real physical strength. Greb, Walker, Moore, Duran, et al. He was also blindingly fast -again, all reports agree. He was what they used to call "an iron man" -in that he could take a good shot and could go all night and every night. Something else comes through via the research -a very high threshold for pain.

    The evidence is found in one source -legions of independent sources reporting ringside in different states all say the same thing.

    --Think aobut it. What didn't he have? Speed, strength, stamina, skill, great chin, variable styles, a virtual insensibliity to pain. Any time anyone says such-and-such a middleweight can beat him, I giggle. Hagler would not have kept with him. Monzon would have been toyed wth. I used to think Robinson would have taken him -not anymore. I think he would have beaten Archie Moore. His contemporaries believed he would have taken no less than Joe Louis.

    Greb's physical peak was likely 1920, when he went after Dempsey and sparred him in NYC and Benton Harbor. In terms of his best year, you gotta go with 1922. He was no myth. Be certain of that. You don't go after a peaking Dempsey and leave him a panting, bloody mess in what the reports insist were "real, honest-to-goodness fight"/s and you don't beat Gibbons, Tunney, and Loughran in a row and inside of four months unless you are off the hook great.

     
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  10. ChrisJS

    ChrisJS Active Member Full Member

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    Yeah, but they serious arguments? Most the “Floyd is TBE” crowd have never seen Sugar Ray Leonard fight let alone heard of Harry Greb, Ezzard Charles, Henry Armstrong etc; I saw one the other day do his top 10 and he included “Hank Aaron” who is a baseball player. The list also included Aaron Pryor so if Pryor is your attempt at being hardcore and not overlooking the truly special upper echelon all-time greats than you shouldn’t be making or discussing such lists.

    Any Mayweather fan who has him #1 but doesn’t have Marciano as GOAT or Calzaghe ahead of Jones and Hopkins and a top 5 ever is inconsistent and a hypocrite and here’s the thing. NONE of them think Calzaghe or Marciano is good.
     
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  11. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Again, I can't answer that for you.

    I personally think that they would have been.

    I think that without any evidence to the contrary, we can't really rank him on the assumption that they wouldn't have been.
     
  12. 70sFan865

    70sFan865 Active Member Full Member

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    I still consider Fitz one of the GOATs and I don't understand why people say that the footage we have hurts him. He stopped bigger, stronger, faster and more elusive fighter with body punches and his recovery ability are top level on the film we have. He set up his punches very well and you can see even in questionable quality how powerful his punches were. He also used his elbows and arms well on defense.
     
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  13. ChrisJS

    ChrisJS Active Member Full Member

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    I agree quite a lot about that earlier era but there are a few exceptions of some fighters that are quite ahead of their time. I believe the primes of McFarland and Welsh just about miss your cutoff and they come across very well on film and obviously Gans and Langford are revered. Driscoll was another one though not as active nor as nuanced on the infighting that holds up well both on film and by contemporaries who saw latter generations too.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on Jimmy Wilde who’d be one who just misses out on the 1920 cutoff. He seems to have the judge of distance, brain, power and all-around game/adaptability to have reigned and dominated any era even 20-30 years after his own.

    Regarding Greb, I find it as simple as pointing to the record and reading the books. (Loved yours by the way) and it’s logical he’s impossibly great. There’s film of multiple victims which hold up well plus the eye witness accounts at the time and reviews from opponents like Walker. I used to be in the camp that suggested he could be overrated because I don’t think he looks as fluid as a Robinson or an Armstrong or a Pep or a Jofre in that training reel. That’s a mistake obviously because it’s about who you beat and how (not necessarily aesthetically but dominatnly) and with Greb being described as so good in so many areas it’s impossible to discount him and his many, MANY accomplishments. He had years better than some top 20-30 all-time greats had careers.
     
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  14. 70sFan865

    70sFan865 Active Member Full Member

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    Beating Tunney, Walker, Loughran and Gibbons is just as impressive. We have all of them on the tape and they all look outstanding, truly elite fighters in any era.
     
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  15. L.Everett

    L.Everett Member Full Member

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    All due respect, you seem to have spent a lot of time researching this, but for all your confident claims that he'd whip Robinson, Hagler or Moore you yourself haven't seen this man fight. For all you know, Greb might have spent the bulk of his career putting down the last of the "cob web" fighters you brush off as cross legged.

    Trying to sell Greb as the greatest fighter of all time, the greatest middleweight of all time, is like telling me some enternally lost silent film was the greatest movie ever made. No matter what contemporary audiences, critics and filmmakers thought, we will never know. For all you know, those contemporaries may have had different thoughts if they saw a SRR or a Charley Burley in their time.

    Lots of fighters were tough, beat all time greats, cut their way through rough opposition and had phenomenal resumes, what makes Greb special? What yardstick are you measuring these fighters by? It's easy to look at the man's work rate, his battered face, his story that tugs the heart strings of every degenerate boxing addict and get sucked in to putting him on the GOAT pedestal. But I still don't see why Greb is better than a Joe Gans, Sam Langford or an Ezzard Charles, all were phenomenal and I'm skeptical of putting a guy above them. Especially a guy that nobody alive has seen in an actual prizefight.
     


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