Why does boxing fetishize its past so much?

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by Zulawski, Oct 5, 2019.


  1. Zulawski

    Zulawski The Fistic Pariah Full Member

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    Especially at the expense of its present. I like reading up on where the sport has been, appreciating the titans of the past, but I rarely engage in the hypothetical matchmaking pitting past vs present. What's the appeal? I remember the day Andre Ward retired and a "boxing historian"'s response was "he's not a top 100 fighter". That was his response to one of the greatest fighters of the 21st century retiring. I've seen another boxing historian say Floyd Mayweather would've only been a top 1/3rd of the division fighter at WW in the 40s. Now these are extremes, the latter more so than the former, and surely most level headed people would disagree to one extent or another, but they speak to the ideological mission inherent to people who partake in this subforum in particular.

    My criticism also extends to fight forecasting in general which is a fun pastime but vastly less scientific / educational than understanding past fights, which is why I find the historical lens invaluable for boxing. So I'm not pleading we remain ignorant to the past. I'm just questioning the priorities a bit.
     
  2. roughdiamond

    roughdiamond You're not going to do it for free Full Member

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    An actual balanced opinion! I love classic boxing, and I have to agree. For example, Mayweather is absolutely no lower than top 50 of all time minimum IMO.

    What do you classify as modern and classic though? As we get older, wouldn't this change? Duran VS Leonard is almost 40 years old. Getting on a bit.
     
  3. George Crowcroft

    George Crowcroft Youngest Ezzard Charles Fan Ever Full Member

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    Imo the greatest of today would be great in any era. And visa versa.

    Modern and Old school don't play a part in it.
     
  4. mrkoolkevin

    mrkoolkevin Not here for the fairy tales Full Member

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    There’s almost always been an undercurrent of that in boxing culture. I’ve found tons of articles over the years where ex-fighters and trainers criticize more recent crops of fighters as lacking the skills or intangible personal traits that made the greats of the past so great, often with ridiculous exaggerations about how poorly the modern fighters would have fared in the past. This has been going on for more than 100 years.

    Also, you have to remember though that the people who end up in forums like this aren’t normal fans. We’re freaks and outliers. There are guys here who got enthralled with certain old-school boxers before they ever even really got into boxing.

    Also, the guys who’ve been fans of the sport for 40-50-60 years often don’t like the more cautious tactics and fighting styles of modern boxers, and imo they mistake that as a lack of skill or ability.

    But the “greatness” discussion is different. Boxers of the past fought many more fights against top-notch opposition. So if you’re evaluating fighters according to their accomplishments in their own eras, it’s not hard to see why so few modern fighters make the cut.
     
  5. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Active Member Full Member

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    Yes there are extremes for example I agree with those who believe the greats of the 1930's and onwards were generally on a different level to today's fighters but I strongly disagree with those who fetishize fighters pre 1930 many of whom footage barely exists and let's not get into the bareknuckle era.
     
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  6. Zulawski

    Zulawski The Fistic Pariah Full Member

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    So the exact type of person I address. Fascinating you'd read my post and think we agree. Astounding cognitive dissonance on display.
     
  7. red cobra

    red cobra Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Because, if any sport hasn't got a past to "fetishize", as you say, then it will lack a foundation...a heritage..something for the present and the future to build upon, to be inspired by and try to emulate and even surpass, whether successfully or not.
     
  8. Zulawski

    Zulawski The Fistic Pariah Full Member

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    Everything has a past. No other sports having such a radical contingency of wet blankets who only exist to cherish the past at the expense of the present. Of course, the racial tension inherent to boxing does manifest itself well in this "golden age" conception of boxing. People love being aggrieved.
     
  9. red cobra

    red cobra Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Well, if the past is cherished at the expense of the present, and if the shoe fits....then so be it!!
     
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  10. Grapefruit

    Grapefruit Active Member Full Member

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    Alot of us are in the same boat my man, I love watching these classic fights from the past but I really hate how fighters of today just cant seem to get any credit from some of the others when they've sacrificed themselves to this sport just as much.
     
  11. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper Active Member Full Member

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    I was referring to active fighters of today not some of the greats of the last 20 years or so. Floyd, Ward, Pac, Roy and Lennox for example would be champs or close to it in any era but the likes of Loma, Spence, Canelo and GGG I don't believe would beat the greats of the past in their weight divisions.
     
  12. Seamus

    Seamus Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    Welcome to the Classic Forum.

    I love boxing's past, the characters and machinations. But at some point this fetishization seems more about protecting some Holy Canon from any objective analysis or observation. Guarding the plate, I believe it is called.
     
  13. janitor

    janitor Obsessed with Boxing Full Member

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    At the risk of stating the obvious, there are a lot more great fighters in the past, than there are in the present.

    The present is a single snapshot in time, while the past is well over a century of boxing history.

    The greats of the past do objectively surpass their modern counterparts in terms of paper results.

    No modern fighter could build a record like Harry Greb for example, because of the current politics.

    There are also legitimate difficulties with giving a high ranking to an active or recently retired fighter, such as not having the whole information.
     
  14. salsanchezfan

    salsanchezfan Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    So the gist of it is if someone disagrees with you, it's "cognitive dissonance, " got it.

    So why are you so blind to what WE see?
     
  15. reznick

    reznick Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Because the past is sexy
     
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