Why did Holyfield struggle against lesser fighters

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Toney F*** U, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. Man_Machine

    Man_Machine Boxing Addict Full Member

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    I never really had the impression of Holyfield having a plan in any of his fights (bar Bowe II). At heavyweight, he was essentially an under-powered attrition fighter; an aggressive boxer-puncher type with counter-punching well woven into his style.

    It was his way and, quite often, it was the hard way; certainly to most onlookers. Keener to attack than evade, when the latter would have perhaps been a wiser move, he was either going to genuinely walk into trouble or, at best, make it look harder work than it needed to be.

    Thing is it seemed to get him results - until his work rate dipped, at which point it did become a struggle - but, by then, he'd had a career. Losses to Bowe and Moorer are no shame, in my book and so, during his meaningful career, struggle or no, for the most part, he got there in the end.
     
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  2. BCS8

    BCS8 Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    I think the problem - not for the viewers, but for Holyfield - is that he really enjoyed fighting.

    He had these great technical skills but threw them out the window very often to try and outslug the other guy in a shootout. It made for exciting viewing but I believe it negatively impacted him as a fighter.

    He should have lit Czyz up for example, with fast, fluid combinations, but instead got the idea that he needed to crush Czyz, and tried to put extra mustard on his shots. With the result that Bobby was able to slip a lot of the incoming and counter back effectively. Holy just couldn't help himself. His corner even told him "what are you loading up for? You don't need to load up for this guy" and Holy was "yeah I know, I know" .... and then went out and did the exact same thing.

    Same with the Bowe fight. I believe that if Evander had respected Bowe's strength and had fought a disciplined fight, a technical fight, he could have been 3-0 up on Bowe who did not have his abilities. Instead he chose to shoot it out with the bigger man, and history shows what happened.
     
  3. BELLERS

    BELLERS Member Full Member

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    Lack of motivation ? Tyson Fury possibly has/had similar issues when fighting supposedly weaker opponents. It’s not uncommon in all sports to some degree.
     
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  4. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Styles make fights.

    I believe he took Bert Cooper a bit for granted because Cooper was a small guy and a late substitute who wasn't regarded as a top flight contender. Holyfield had originally been set to face Tyson, then Damiani, then Cooper. And it was in front of his hometown crowd in Atlanta so he wanted to make a statement and went out to take Cooper out too early. You can see from the opening bell Holyfield is fighting with less movement. He almost came unstuck but Cooper took the worse beating by far.

    Stewart and Holmes had their moments but Holyfield's wins against them were convincing enough.

    I think most of the top fighters and ATGs have trouble with 'lesser fighters'.
     
  5. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

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    Vs the best fighter he fought, on fair score cards Holyfield is

    0-2 vs Lewis
    1-2 vs Bowe you could argue 0-2-1 vs Bowe
    1-1 vs Morrer
    1-2 vs John Ruiz.

    Record in fair score cards: 3-7

    Yes, he beat a post prison Tyson.

    Clearly he is not even with Lewis or Bowe, they bettered him. He was even with guys like Moorer and Ruiz. Hmm....

    However you are 100% correct. In a title fight, journeyman Cooper hurt and floored him! He was cut by an 40 something Larry Holmes, looked terrible vs Vaughn bean, etc...

    The cherry is though older he was badly wiped and stooped by former 5'10 middle weight, James Toney.

    Good point of Stewart. He wasn't very good but had some moments, too many of them vs a great fighter in his prime.. The fight was stopped on a cut. Hmmmm

    Also how much did the PED's help him?
     
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  6. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

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    I agree with the first part of the sentence 100%

    Holy didn't much up well vs. the bigger skilled boxers, and seemed to get out jabbed by the jabbers. Holfyield himself was a top amateur.

    When you getting out jabbed, you sort of have to brawl. Holyfield's trouble is many hit harder than he dd.
     
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  7. Mendoza

    Mendoza Hrgovic = Next Heavyweight champion of the world. Full Member

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    While anyone can be knocked out, the best boxers at heavyweight are almost never out pointed in their times. How many times did Lewis or Vitali Klitschko, Wlad Klitschko, or Riddick Bowe lose on points before the age of say 37? That would be zero. Larry Holmes in his prime was very hard to out box. Same with Ali. Fury may qualify, we need to see him fight Joshua first. qualify here as well.

    While they all had off nights, you don't seem then surrendering as many rounds to lesser competition or allowing them to have many big moments. Holyfield was not in their class as a boxer.
     
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  8. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

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    Well Holmes wasn't a lesser fighter. He was an exceptional fighter with a boatload of experience. If nothing else he knew how to make a guy look bad and survive at that age. Look what he did to Mercer.
    The Cooper fight was a late substitute situation. Evander's opponent got switched twice. Most telling though was it was in Atlanta. He wanted to score a quick KO because the home fans got him too hyped. He stood for to toe with a puncher. I don't think he showed Cooper enough respect.

    Stewart I'm not sure.
     
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  9. juppity

    juppity Boxing Addict Full Member

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    Real Deal was like Terry Norris and Boza Edwards . They had sublime boxing skills
    at their best. But once hit they lost focus and turned a fight they could have won
    in a traditional manner by boxing into a all out war.
     
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  10. Charlietf

    Charlietf Well-Known Member banned Full Member

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    Absurd example mentioning Foreman when he was an ancient. In his prime he would not have any problem with these guys
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
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  11. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Firstly, who decided that it's okay for "the best" to be knocked out but not outpointed ?

    Secondly, Riddick Bowe was outpointed in his prime ...... by Holyfield.

    Holmes was outpointed by M.Spinks at age 36, and had razor-close wins over Witherspoon and Williams.

    Ali was outpointed by Frazier at age 29, Norton at age 31, L.Spinks at age 36. .... and many score the fights against Norton and Young in 1976 against him too.

    Show us how Holyfield has a worse record for getting outpointed "before the age of 37" ........
     
  12. Bonecrusher

    Bonecrusher Lineal Champion Full Member

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    I feel like Holyfield got everybody’s A game. If you were around back in the day and I’m not sure if you were or not Holyfield was widely disrespected and an underappreciated Heavyweight champion. Everyone thought of him as a blown up light heavyweight/cruiserweight and basically a guy keeping the throne warm until Mike Tyson got out of prison. So my point is he never entered the ring with the ability to really intimidate his opponents, everybody thought he was beatable. And Believe you me that was the narrative back then, nobody respected him. No I’m not saying intimidation wins fights, but it definitely helped Mike Tyson squash a few uneasy victims earlier then probably would’ve been the case. Holyfield really never gained any legitimate respect at heavyweight until his loss to Bowe, but even then people still thought he wasn’t good enough to beat a legit big prime heavyweight. Which is also why he was so highly criticized for not being able to put away older fighters like Foreman and Holmes it again played into the narrative of, not a big enough guy, not a big enough punch, not a real heavyweight.

    Holyfield while a fantastic combination puncher and a precise counterpuncher was not necessarily a heavy puncher, so people could wade in and exchange with him mainly because of his “go to war” style after being tagged , this made him very vulnerable.

    As others have stated though fighters like Stewart and Cooper had some success but for the most part Holyfield spent the majority of those bouts dominating and pummeling both of those opponents, though they both had their moments. Stewart Was unbeaten at the time of the first Holyfield fight and had scored all his wins by knockout. With the exception of the Tyson blowout Alex Stewart always fought on competitive terms with top level heavyweights like Michael Moorer and George Foreman, he was game as they come.

    So honestly I think the answer lies in the fact that most people thought they would be able to beat Holyfield when they stepped in the ring, and the mental aspect of boxing is huge. That and the fact that Holyfield would dispense with his superior technique and game plan and go to war, again leaving him vulnerable.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  13. sweetsci

    sweetsci Well-Known Member Full Member

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    ^ I certainly think that's why so many were willing to fight Holyfield.
     
  14. Bronze Tiger

    Bronze Tiger Well-Known Member Full Member

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    He was really great at throwing combinations
     
  15. Bronze Tiger

    Bronze Tiger Well-Known Member Full Member

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    This....Larry Holmes was the same way