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)
    33.3%
  2. No

    23 vote(s)
    54.8%
  3. Don't know

    5 vote(s)
    11.9%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Stonehands89

    Stonehands89 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    No, I know what his wins looked like because I've read a thousand contemporary accounts and the fight reports back then were often full-page treatments that detailed every round by ringside reporters who understood the sport a lot more than most guys in press row today.

    I know those fighters he beat were great, great fighters from the modern era. I think you may want to look at film of the guys he beat and consider their own claims to greatness, then consider that Greb beat them. Some of them he just humiliated as he pleased.

    No, it's more like someone telling that you that Hannibal was the greatest general of all time based on his accomplishments, of which there is an historical record. Do you really need to *see* him transporting an army of elephants over the Alps to believe that it was a serious accomplishment?

    As per his contemporaries, no. I happen to know what his contemporaries said after Robinson came around because they were still alive. One of Burley's contemporaries in Pittsburgh said that Burley would not have beaten Greb; it may have been one of his trainers, I'd have to check. There are dozens of great fighters from McLarnin to Walker to Loughran to Rosenbloom to Dempsey --even Galento- who recognized that Greb was at the back of beyond. Respected ring observers said the same thing, for years -that Greb was the best.

    It was a common position until they began dying out in the 60s.

    Man, I can't be reproducing my research here. Compton shouldn't have to either. You really should get to Amazon. Suffice it to say that what Greb did in 1919 alone is an unprecedented achievement that no one ever came close to duplicating before or since.

    Greb in 1919
    had 45 fights in one year. That doesn't give you pause?
    How about the fact that he went 45-0 in one year?
    How about the fact that he went 45-0 in one year --in three divisions?

    No one touches that kind of feat except Langford. That's it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  2. louis54

    louis54 Active Member Full Member

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    i think he meant armstrong
     
  3. Entaowed

    Entaowed Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Janitor, tell me more bout those bout with Tunney. I heard a second was close, why do you say he desevred the second win, & maybe a third?
    What were the details of the fights?
    So although Greb had the eye injury, & Tunney eventually 'outgrew" him Greb said, the latter deserved 1 or 2 more decisions?
    Do you have sources on this? Thank you.
     
  4. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Steve Compton's research covers the fights in some detail.

    The majority of ringside reporters had the second fight for Greb, and it wasn't just a controversial decision like Louis Walcot I, it was more of a landslide.

    A lot of ringside reporters gave Greb fight four as well.

    Tunney seems to have won three and five pretty clearly.

    Suffice it to say that they fought five times, because it took five fights to resolve the matter, if they ever did!
     
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  5. L.Everett

    L.Everett Member Full Member

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    Harry Greb is a void, a blank space and the lack of footage (including the lack of footage of his opponents) makes him a blank sheet, the perfect object to project our fantasies on. I think the love of Greb has less to do with Greb himself, it tells us more about old school boxing fans. Your description of Harry runs like a laundry list of all the virtues antiquated boxing scholars love, invulnerability to pain, a rough and tough persona, a life on the road fighting from town to town and most importantly it was something that happened a long long time ago. Greb's the perfect patsy, there's no footage of him, barely any of his opponents and his numbers are astonishing, the lack of information means we can in retrospect mould Greb into whatever we want him to be.

    I don't dispute Greb's accomplishments, what I find strange is the way scholars and die hards annoint him with GOAT status. What I find strange is how your so confident that H2H Greb would beat any ATG middleweight all based on some old newspaper clippings and what people said about him, that doesn't count for nothing, but I think all of us know deep down that you can never know how a person fought without actually watching them fight anymore than you can learn how to box by reading self-help books.

    When I read about Hannibal I know what he was up against. We know how Roman armies worked, their strategies, their weapons, their formations, and how they moved. We can recreate them whereas no two boxers are truly alike, we can only imagine Greb, Rosenbloom, Flowers, etc. Boxing at the end of the day is a visual bloodsport, we became fans by watching it not reading about formations in some musty old book.

    Before footage was available, guys like Fitzsimmons were hailed as masters that'd out easily outbox today's fighters, if you asked one of those old diehards the same questions I ask about Greb now they'd also throw out some astonishing numbers and amazing archivements. But since then we've sobered up to the fact that they weren't the supermen they were made out to be. That doesn't diminish Fitz' accomplishments in any way, people just accepted that he wouldn't have been as great in another era. Greb was one of the greatest middleweights ever, but I don't see anything conclusive that tells me he was better than other p4p greats with monsterous records. I don't see any proof that he'd make mince meat of Hagler, whip Robinson or toy with Monzon. I don't see the mystical superhuman some writers make him out to be, I just see an incredible prizefighter whose greatness we might never get to truly appreciate.

    I don't think there's anything I can say that will change your opinion, so let's leave it be and agree to disagree.
     
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  6. 70sFan865

    70sFan865 Active Member Full Member

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    You does it again, but it's only your opinion. I stll believe that Fitz would be ATG in any era.
     
  7. outtieDrake

    outtieDrake Active Member Full Member

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    These are 25+ round fighters , they would have a breeze fighting 15-12 round fights.
     
  8. BitPlayerVesti

    BitPlayerVesti The Ad Wolgast of Googling Stuff Full Member

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    Fitz knew little of combination punching, yet numerous of his wins by stoppage were from combination punching.
     
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  9. 70sFan865

    70sFan865 Active Member Full Member

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    We can see Fitz throwing combinations against Corbett.
     
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  10. Cecil

    Cecil Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Very eloquently put as all your posts have been.
    You seem though just to have a bit of a bee in your bonnet regarding Greb, and some people having him as their number one, I suspect Sugar Ray Robinson is your man, he's mine actually.
    I don't think the people having Greb there are any different from those having Sugar Ray, Benny Leonard, Henry Armstrong, Ali or whoever in the mix, they're all Greb included, legitimate picks.
    I will say though, film or no film his record takes some beating.
    1919, 45 fights unbeaten, against a lot of good men.
    1922, Tommy Gibbons beaten in March up until then 1 defeat.
    Gene Tunney beaten in May up until then 0 defeats.
    Tommy Loughran beaten in July up until then 3 defeats.
    Three ATG's up until then with a combined total of 170 fights and 4 defeats between them beaten in a space of 5 months.
    And before you mention Boxrec i've read Klompton's and Springs Toledo's books on the man.
    I think he was basically a freak, now and then a sportsman comes along who is basically off the wall, Robinson was probably another.
     
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  11. ChrisJS

    ChrisJS Active Member Full Member

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    I personally don’t like mythical matches even if I have extensive film of both fighters and they both came from similar eras so that’s all moot IMO. I think it’s the absolute worst way to justify or measure “greatness” or “who’s better”.

    The records on paper and the expertly researched books tell the story. Also when you see what people had said who’d lived and seen Greb and then fighters 30-40 years later. Compton definitely is a Greb guy and I did expect to see some bias naturally in the book but I didn’t get that at all. It was very fact based and not the type of story where every excuse had its “reasons” like so many biographies.

    I think his greatness is clear to see with that 1919 and those trio of 1922 wins. It’s funny because you see, for example, Mayweather fans absolutely blown away their man beat (at that time) a very unproven Canelo and they have to fabricate how sensational Canelo is because they desperately need Canelo to be some all-time god to validate their guy. That trio of guys Greb beat in 1922 probably (off the top of my head) had about a dozen or more better victories than a win over Canelo and certainly far better resumes than Canelo who’s best win is a gift draw and gift win vs. an older and never really “great” Golovkin.
     
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  12. L.Everett

    L.Everett Member Full Member

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    I've mislead people with the title, for the record I don't dispute Greb's record, his greatness or his achievements, I'm worried he's becoming ridiculously overrated. After all, there's a whole row of fighters with jaw dropping records, Armstrong, Robinson, Gans, Charles, Burley, Moore etc. And a lot of people who have Greb at the top (p4p or middleweight) can't explain what makes Greb stand out from those guys. There's a strange tendency in boxing circles to dig up the past and find some obscure largely forgotten fighter from the silent era and inflate them into larger than life myths while pouring scorn on the regular everyman fight fan who doesn't know any better. It's love of the "old school" pushed to an extreme. Greb worship, or even Langford worship, has more to do with a cynical and elitist fetish for all things old than the actual ring achievements of those fighters. Greb is easy pickings for this trend because of the lack of footage, all you need is to spew a few numbers and fill in the blanks.
     
  13. HOUDINI

    HOUDINI Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Fitz vs Corbett is very difficult to follow. Terribly grainy footage at distance. After years of watching it however Fitz is very impressive constantly stepping forward and back trying to lure his dancing opponent to move to him. Yes Fitz does throw combinations. You can see him throwing a right hand/left hook combo that misses but then trying it again with the hook this time connecting to Corbett’s head.
     
  14. Stonehands89

    Stonehands89 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    My mistake, I thought you were asking why Greb is making a comeback of sorts in the P4P argument. That was why I responded to your post in the first place. I shared some of my -eh, considerable- research to that end with you, but all you're doing is circling back dismissively because there is no film -which is a very common and very silly argument, and I think I've demonstrated why that is so.

    Your argument above in support of Hannibal only strengthens that point. We know what Greb was up against. We know how they fought and who they fought. We know how he fought. It's there to investigate, if you take the time to do so. You haven't done much in terms of research into the old fight reports. Nor have you read Compton, Paxton, or Toledo. In other words, you're just groping.

    Compton's book is over 700 pages long and heavy on fight reports so your waving off Greb's superlatives -then and now- and saying he's "a blank space" only reveals that you have not done your homework.

    By the way, you know which P4P Lists are easiest to laugh off? The ones based on "the eye test."
     
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  15. Stonehands89

    Stonehands89 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    In order to argue that Greb has become ridiculously overrated, you have to be more than wiki-familiar with Greb. You aren't. Worse still, you pretend that no one has explained why Greb has a strong argument as the P4P best.

    Or, the achievements of record of Greb and Langford , once realized, really do set them apart.
     
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