Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Four Old Time Fighters Who Would Do Well Today

Here's the truth - most of those old time great fighters wouldn't hold up well in today's ring world. That's no knock on those guys, by the way. The sport has simply evolved, after all. It's built up on the foundation laid out by those all time legends. In other words, if it weren't for Jim Corbett and John L Sullivan, there'd probably be no Floyd Mayweather and Deontay Wilder today.

With that in mind, though, the vast majority of pugs from the pre-Ali era simply wouldn't cut it in the modern era. There are exceptions to every rule, however. The following is a list of well known fighters of yore who I personally believe would function well today. They might not become champions, but it's possible to see each of these men as top contenders in the here and now. And that's saying something.

Jack Johnson: Here was a guy, friends, who was ahead of his time in more ways than one. For starters, he was a defensive genius who could hit hard. Watch some of the old footage if you don't believe me. Think Mayweather knows how to tie people up? Check out Johnson. At his best, Johnson was a guy who could simply frustrate and wear his foe down before polishing him off. Sound modern enough for you?

Gene Tunney: Another defensive genius. The former heavyweight champ is mainly known as the guy who Jack Dempsey nearly won back the title from. There was a lot more to Tunney than that, however. Here was a fighter who obsessively honed his craft. Sure, he'd let you go nuts trying to catch him, but Tunney could also hit. Don't believe it? The dude had over forty knockouts before facing Dempsey the first time.

Joe Louis: YouTube is an amazing gift for boxing fans. Want to see what all the hype over Louis is about? Get online and watch a few of his fights. Not only could this almost frightening puncher take out tough guys like Max Baer, he could take out ring masters like Max Schmelling and frustrating slicksters like Billy Conn, as well. The man was the real thing - and he'd be a threat in any era.

Ray Robinson: I know, I know, he overlapped into Ali's career, but no matter. We all know Robinson was an "old time" fighter and we all know he'd be terrific today. Out of all the others on this list, Robinson would have the best chance of holding a belt in the here and now (a major belt). Here was a man, after all, who would look as sharp in the fifteenth round as he would in the first (if that's an exaggeration, it's only a slight one) and who won forty straight fights before his first loss (to Jake LaMotta, who was between ten and twenty pounds heavier). Not a fighter to take lightly in any era.

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