Willie Pep

Discussion in 'Classic Boxing Forum' started by SuzieQ49, May 13, 2019.



  1. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Saddler was nearly undefeated at featherweight, most of his losses were fighting bigger men. And he dominated the series with Pep.

    Pep won 56 of his next 59 losses after the plane crash. It was a remarkable comeback but he did recover. He passed every physical and fought at a championship level. You will find zero articles from the time around when he fought Saddler the first time where that reference him being a shell of his former self ... because he wasn’t. He boxed brilliantly in the years after the crash.

    Oh, guess who those three losses in his next 59 fights came against. Saddler, of course.

    Had he come back from the crash and not been a championship-caliber fighter after, sure, you could chalk up the losses to the injuries. But he beat great fighters after that and no one made a peep of excuse except in retrospect to explain that one guy in history completely had his number.

    Go read about Ric Flair, the wrestler, who also broke his back in a plane crash. He went on to great achievement. As did Pep. He’s the second-best featherweight of all time and maybe a top 10 P4P. But Saddler was better at 127.
     
  2. Senya13

    Senya13 Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    1947-01-16 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) (page 13)
    Featherweight champion Willie Pep has two split and chipped vertebrae in addition to a fractured leg but the back injury, doctors said yesterday, is not particularly serious or uncommon.

    The full extent of Pep's injuries in the crash of an airliner near Millville, N. J. January 5 was revealed after a study of extensive x-rays made possible after the champion had been brought by ambulance to Hartford Hospital from Millville Monday night.

    Although the newly discovered injury will necessitate putting the champion's back in a cast, it will not jeopardize his ring career in the opinion of the doctors called into consultation for an examination of the x-rays taken yesterday.

    A spokesman for the doctor said this:

    "The injury to Pep's vertebrae is not particularly serious or uncommon. Willie should be back in training before very much longer and there is no reason why he should not soon be as well as ever and resume his boxing. The injury is not any more serious than his leg fracture and we don't consider that to be serious."

    Pep had been in Miami and was returning to Hartford briefly before embarking on a training program for a bout with Miguel Acavedo in Havana when the plane in which he was a passenger crashed in a snowstorm. Three were killed and 18 injured.


    1947-01-17 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) (page 17)
    They put Willie Pep's back in a cast from his waist to his arm pits yesterday at Hartford Hospital, and the volatile little featherweight champion was as immobile as he has been at any time in his 24 years.

    How long Pep must wear the cast before his two split and chipped vertebrae heal hospital spokesmen would not say. Yesterday it was necessary for Willie to lie in one position eight hours before being shifted. He was extremely uncomfortable and in considerable pain.

    Nurses at the hospital said they thought it would be better if the injured boxer had no visitors for a day or so. Pep's left leg is also in a cast from ankle to thigh. His injuries were sustained in the crash January 5 near Millville, N. J. of an airplane in which he was a passenger.


    1947-01-30 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) (page 13)
    Willie Pep was discharged from Hartford Hospital yesterday after having been a patient there for a little more than two weeks. The featherweight champion has a broken leg and two chipped vertebrae as the result of a crash landing January 5 near Millville, N. J., of an airplane in which he was a passenger.

    Pep spent some time at the hospital in Millville before being brought to Hartford. It is expected that his back will remain in a cast another six weeks.


    1947-04-01 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) (page 15)
    Willie Pep, the world's featherweight champion, is getting along without a cast on either his back or leg for the first time since his airplane crash last winter, but his return to the boxing ring is still a long time off.

    The leg cast was removed several weeks ago and the back cast on March 14, but Willie has to avoid twisting and turning his back and must walk slowly. It will be three or four months according to conservative estimates before his injuries are completely healed and he is able to contemplate a possible return to his ring career.
     
  3. Golden_Feather99

    Golden_Feather99 Member Full Member

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    Ok, let's say Pep was at his best when he fought Saddler. Saddler was the better man. But that doesn't mean Saddler is a greater fighter than Pep. Saddler was a stylistic nightmare for a pure-boxer like Pep.

    Isn't Eder Jofre a greater bantamweight than Fighting Harada? 2-0 Harada. Isn't Pancho Villa a greater flyweight than Frankie Genaro? 3-0 Genaro. Isn't Henry Armstrong a greater welterweight than Fritzie Zivic? 2-1 Zivic. Isn't **** Tiger a greater middleweight than Emile Griffith? 2-0 Griffith. Holmann Williams went 3-8-2 against Cocoa Kid. Isn't Williams a greater fighter than Kid? Ike Williams went 1-3 against Willie Joyce at 135. Are the two even close in terms of greatness? Bernard Hopkins went 0-2 against Jermain Taylor. Hopkins wasn't past his prime.

    Look past their head to head matchup. Who accomplished more? How many other great featherweights or featherweight champions did Saddler beat?

    Saddler lost to Sierra and Rosa. Both were featherweights. Pep beat Sierra twice. Saddler lost to Flash Elorde when Elorde was a nobody and Saddler was the champion. Both were the same size. And Saddler wasn't too old, he was 29. Pep was 28 for his 3rd fight with Saddler and 29 for the fourth one. Saddler lost to Demarco, Pep beat Demarco. Saddler lost to Armond Savoie, Pep beat Savoie. Saddler lost to Terranova, Pep beat Terranova. How can you say these guys were too big for Saddler when Pep beat them. Pep was smaller than Saddler. Saddler is still #2. I'm not trying to **** on him. Just saying Pep was the greater fighter between the two.
     
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  4. Golden_Feather99

    Golden_Feather99 Member Full Member

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    Great stuff. Thanks.
     
  5. ETM

    ETM I thought I did enough to win. Full Member

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    The Pep/Saddler fights have a stink on them. Just my opinion but I think there was buisness going on in that series.
     
  6. Jel

    Jel Well-Known Member Full Member

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    No need for me to reply to @Saintpat. You've summed it all up perfectly so I don't have to!
     
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  7. Greb & Papke 707

    Greb & Papke 707 Train by day Joe Rogan podcast by night, all day Full Member

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  8. Balder

    Balder Well-Known Member Full Member

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    He is a top 5 ATG on my list. Greb, Robinson, Armstrong or Pep, then number 5 is Duran.
     
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  9. Saintpat

    Saintpat Boxing Junkie Full Member

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    Look up the weights in those fights.

    I didn’t say the men were too big for him. I said Saddler was nearly unbeatable in the featherweight division — when both he AND his opponent were 127 or below.

    One by one you can see almost every one of those fights you cite are above that limit:

    Demarco 136 (technically a welter), Saddler 128 1/2 (above feather)

    Savoie 134 to Saddler’s 130 1/2.

    Sierra 130-125 weight advantage.

    Etc., etc.

    Elorde they were both a shade under 130 — not saying it wasn’t an even fight, I’m saying the record indicates Saddler was exceptional at feather but not above it, much like Wilfredo Gomez was probably the best 122-pounder ever but not close to that level even one division above.
     
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  10. Golden_Feather99

    Golden_Feather99 Member Full Member

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    You do know that two featherweights can fight each other without weighing 126 lbs. That's how non-title bouts took place. There was no title on the line so neither fighter had to make weight. It doesn't mean they aren't featherweights anymore. The ring magazine listed Terranova as the #1 featherweight contender when he beat Saddler. Humberto Sierra was #1 featherweight contender when he beat Saddler. A win over Saddler actually got Sierra a shot at Pep. He had no problem making 126 four months later. Chico Rosa was #9 featherweight contender when he beat Saddler. Rosa weighed 121. Flash Elorde was ranked #5 in the featherweight rankings after he beat Saddler. Not super featherweight or lightweight rankings. Elorde made 126 when he fought Saddler in a title fight 6 months later. Saddler fought featherweights and lost. It was two featherweights fighting without cutting water weight. Pep did the same but he didn't lose.

    You can ignore all of Saddler's losses if you want. Can you bring up some impressive names on Saddler's resume other than Pep? Any other notable featherweight he may have beaten.
     
  11. escudo

    escudo Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Saddler beats him head up 8 out of 10 fights but Pep had the better resume. Styles make fights.
     
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  12. escudo

    escudo Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Senya enters the thread like
    This content is protected
     
  13. escudo

    escudo Well-Known Member Full Member

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    If you're calling them fixed or thrown fights, those were some violent fixes.
     
  14. surfinghb

    surfinghb Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Ya no way fixes imo .. violent fights.. I mean Saddler was dirty …. I think it was there 2nd fight which is said te be one of the dirtiest title fights of the times … and Pep separated his shoulder in the 3rd fight and retired on the stool end of 6th .. Agreed trying to downplay the seriousness of the plane crash and Pep's injuries is disingenuous. 3 people died in that crash I believe, And to say he can box again is very different to say he can come back and box at the highest level and accomplish what he did ….. Again, he is a friggin legend
     
  15. DJN16

    DJN16 Well-Known Member Full Member

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    Well written sir.

    I very much believe there will always be a boxer out there who just has the better of you, even if you are the greater fighter.
     
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