Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More gnashing of the teeth about the heavyweights

Many of the popular boxing websites bloggers seem to lament the current state of the heavyweight division -- even to the extent of rewriting the history of the division and discussing Muhammad Ali in nearly mythic terms.

Some have suggested that his championship opponents including Floyd Patterson, Ernie Terrell, Jerry Quarry, Jimmy Ellis, Chuck Wepner, and Leon Spinks were part of some special "supporting cast" for Ali. One need only view the tapes of his defenses against such opponents to realize that his era was not especially filled with great fighters. Indeed perhaps no era is packed with tremendous heavyweights.

Ali beat Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman and can claim his fights with them were in their prime years. This is perhaps the extent of the list of "great" or "near-great" heavyweights Ali defeated while they were at their peak. He beat great light-heavyweights Archie Moore and Bob Foster. He also beat a possible near-great inclusion in Ken Norton (and yes, a strong case could be made that Norton won all three of their meetings).

The point is, that even great fighters will meet only a limited number of great opponents -- even if they are not trying to avoid anyone.


Blogger curlygc said...

I try to avoid doing that, because I think a true boxing fan will focus on the divisions that ARE strong (like right now, the Jr. Welterweight division is, as you know, PACKED with talent!). I guess I've never understood some people's obsession with heavyweights.

And you are right on in your article - talented heavyweights are rarely in abundance, so rather than lament the sorry state of that division, maybe more boxing writers (especially the mainstream sports media!) should focus on the divisions that do have more than enough talent.

2005 might just pass without a truly meaningful heavyweight fight, but it'll still go down as one hell of a year for the sport with all the great non-heavyweight fights we've had so far.

6:38 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I left Mesi off due to his suspension. He would surely be rated in the top 10 otherwise.

8:31 PM  

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