Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Brixton Bomber, Apr 7, 2021.
but...but...but....treadmills and rowing machines
How great would it be if you could put that ignorant guy in the ring with Marvin for 3 mins.
He'd soon have a very different opinion.
My dad showed me the pair of old boots he had from when he was young. The soles looked like a street gang had slashed them up lol.
There is always going to be disagreement about this subject. Some will believe that the older generation fighters who had a lot of fights are the best. Others, like me, believe that having a lot of fights is not a good thing and that developing speed, strength, and good fundamentals in the gym is more important.
If given an opportunity to take a fighter on a "tour" like in some past era, fighting 2-4 times per month in every town with a boxing event, I wouldn't take it. I'd rather a fighter fight 3-4 times a year as he starts his career, get plenty of rest, see what he needs to work on, and try to improve physically while improving his skills in the gym. I'll take gym time over 20-30 fights a year.
As for trainers, some are better than others, but overall the ones who teach boxing mechanics are in my experience the best. The ones who think they can teach a fighter to "fight" are IMO mostly useless. I believe in getting a fighter as mechanically sound as possible, but the fighter is going to have to find his own "style" and learn what works for him in sparring and fights. I've seen and heard trainers with "codes" for telling a fighter in the ring what to do, to me, if the trainer is so good that he can see things that far ahead and tell the fighter what to do, the trainer should be the one fighting. I believe that fighters (unless he is throwing a fight) go in the ring to win and to take the least amount of punishment necessary. Sometimes he might not do what some of us think he should, but maybe it's because when he does he's getting the s^%t knocked out of him and he knows he can't do it.
I do agree with some of the others that rule changes and equipment changes change a sport. I've heard older fighters talk about fighting in leather soled shoes on canvas and some felt like they could move better than they could when they wore rubber soled shoes on vinyl surfaces. They believed that the leather would slide over the canvas but when they wore rubber they had to lift their foot more to move over the vinyl. Just an adjustment, but something. I don't think I would like to wear leather soled shoes, but who knows, maybe if I got used to it?
And PEDs? They work! No question about it, I suspect that they were introduced into boxing in the 60s and that is why some of us see the 60s as the time when boxing changed. I don't think there is a difference in people, but fewer fights, PEDs (#1), strength training, have IMO made boxers better. If you give a good fighter from the 1920s everything a fighter from the 2020s has as far as training, PEDs, etc., the 1920s fighter would do well, but if you take a 1920s fighter in a time machine and match him immediately with a 2020s fighter, the 1920s fighter will get destroyed.
For as long as there has been boxing, people have been talking about how the old trainers are dying out, with no one to take over from them - resulting in invaluable wisdom being lost forever.
"the school of boxing is rapidly dying out, and when the professors of the present day have passed away it will be hard to say where the new ones are to come from".
The above is a qoute from the 1883 book "The Art of Boxing, swimming and gymnastics" (bottom of page 9).
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And I can only imagine the garbage they would be saying about Lewis if he were coming up today... He'd be a cross between Joe Bugner and a poor man's Tim Witherspoon (at best).
That's about how I view Lennox Lewis anyway.
That's a great description actually. Well done.
Although crossing Bugner and any type of Witherspoon would probably result in a better chin than Lewis's, to be honest.
I think it's even worse for the western domestic scene. Being the British Champion etc would give you high prestige, and may even give you shots at the higher world rankings, which as you say were a crowning achievement in themselves. The purses weren't too shabby either. A lack of weird interim titles etc meant competition was more stiff, wanting that British shot, and, iron sharpening iron, the skills were refined for potential top level combatants. The reason Japan has such a high turn out rate in recent years for top fighters is because, IMO, they very much respect their domestic scene - the national title is respected highly amongst their fans and there really isn't an alternative. In fact, their competition is streamlined even from the amateur system they employ. That's not to say British domestic fights themselves are in decline (they're as good as ever, see Cheeseman - Metcalf), but the overall system of progression and levels is skewed. In Japan, the main goal goes: Japanese title - OPBF title - World title. They more quickly find their ceiling levels and adapt. In Britain, it's: English title (or equivalent) - British title OR weird WBO , WBA spaghetti titles mixed between English to World level etc - Euro Title - Commonwealth title - Interim world champion or blah blah blah etc. It's so confusing for a casual watcher to make out the stupid distinctions even at world level, so no one wants to do it for the local lads. It's ridiculous and has ruined lots of home warriors being recognised when they should be appreciated. And this is just for tiny Britain, which still has strong domestic level fighters with a 'sort of' system in place. I can't imagine America.
It's ironic because these odd 'mid world' titles by the WBO etc. were made to try and promote domestic fighters as 'higher up' to the domestic casuals, when it has become so prolific that it feels cheap to see another domestic fighter with another weird, ugly green or black belt, so no one cares! This has now affected the perception of legit titles like the British title, and it is the promoters and orgs fault. People don't respect the domestic scene and it is understandable why, and this also affects how the world scene develops.
Also, there are some problems in Boxing, and in all sports imo, that are due to much wider level social changes, like the development of increasingly sophisticated technology, decreasing social involvement and interaction, online competitions (games etc), declining communities, loss of appetite for physical sports in general etc etc etc. I personally think Boxing will become a sport with no live fans or crowds whatsoever (slowly, mind you). Boxers will fight in smaller areas, with only the necessary people in attendance, whilst fans livestream the event. This would probably save costs for promoters so I can see it being picked up on. I mean its already happening somewhat due to Covid, and it just seems the natural progression from the Live gate - TV - PPV - Internet evolution that has been continuing. Outdated PPV is already being replaced by streaming services, and we live in a society of instant connection, so physical publications for info are not needed anymore.
The amount of sparring done today has replaced the massive records of old timers IMO - and that sparring doesn't have to be harsh to learn. I wouldn't be surprised if the advantage old timers had from that experience was mostly mental, relating to handling 'The Event', rather than pure physical skill.
Exactly, if a fighter has nerve problems before a fight, getting him in front of a crowd as often as possible would probably be beneficial. I've seen fighters almost fight a full fight while waiting for their fight. They can't get enough jump rope, mitts, etc., by the time they enter the ring they're tired. Then they fight "tense" and get more tired...to me that is a big flaw in a fighter.
On the other hand, I have two that could sleep through the fight if I didn't wake them up. They don't care about hitting mitts, jumping rope, etc., and they might shadow box for 30 seconds before they walk out. People will say to them, "how are you so relaxed before a fight?" They'll smile and say, "it's just boxing." Fighters like that are lucky!
It was both.
They also sparred a lot and trained a lot.
I agree, the loss of prestige surrounding the national title here in Britain has been tragic.
Fighters who do win it often tend to vacate it almost immediately anyway.
Considering what was going on then, it's pretty easy to see why he thought that.
Boxing had been in an absoluteky dire state in the 1870s and early 1880s. Much worse than in many earlier decades.
It's pretty misleading to take a quote like that completely out of the context of when it was written, and just make out like it was being said with no basis.
All I'm saying, is that this silly idea of all the great trainers dying out, is nothing new.