It’s about respecting eras, not trashing them
By Robert “Big Moe” Elmore: If one to ask the casual boxing fan who the greatest of all times is, naturally they might say Muhammad Ali or Sugar Ray Robinson. You could easily make an argument for both men in that case. But most will give that answer because they heard so much about them without seeing them.
For great trainers like Eddie Futch (RIP), Angelo Dundee (RIP), boxing historians like Bert Sugar (RIP) and Al Bernstein, whose careers have expanded across the decades, will more than likely have more fighters from the era they came up in than another to comprise their “all time great list”. I have maintained this status and will continue to do so. There is no greatest of all time to me. I refuse to take one man and stick him at the top of the sport. It’s virtually and humanly impossible. Plus you have to take into account the rule changes, gloves, and the rounds fought. In the early 1900’s, fighters gloves had little or no padding at all so it was a raw fist touching a man’s face. So of course, fighters back then were more prone to broken jaws, cuts, swollen eyes etc.
Most of these fights took place in outdoor arenas (mostly baseball stadiums) meaning so they were fighting in the elements. But as time progressed, the rules changed, rules were added, the rounds shortened up, and the money increased. Everyone has their OWN pound for pound land PERSONAL greatest of all time list and they have their reasons for their it, but that doesn’t means it speaks for all of boxing. For me, how can I put someone on my list who I never seen fight before? Unless one was around in the 30’s 40’s 50’s and so on, it’s hard to get access to those to fights so I can have a better understanding of WHY this fighter was so great. Fortunately for me, my dad has dozens upon dozens upon dozens of fight tapes and documentaries that I can look at. And today we have YouTube. ESPN Classic Sports does a good job at showing old school fights. They typically will only the big fights like Robinson/Jake Lamotta; Ali/Joe Frazier. Not the ones in between. But again, these things can only take me so far. I remember watching Mike Tyson’s Greatest (On VHS) where it showed that Cus D’amato had a vast variety of fights films that Tyson could watch. So if Tyson says “this fighter is one of the best” I can say he knows what he’s talking about because, he’s seen all the big fights and the not so big fights.
ESPN analysts, Robert Flores got into a heated exchange with Stephen A Smith and made the statement that “Floyd is not in the top ten of all time greats and that Robinson knocks him out”. I took that as a grain of salt. He just sounded plain bitter that Floyd beat Manny Pacquiao. And believe me, I love playing the “what if” game when talking boxing. It adds another wrinkle to the game. I base my OPINIONATED Top Ten (which I won’t list all for the sake of space and time, but will discuss in the comment section) all time great list on footwork, defense, ring generalship, and out thinking opponents. I don’t necessarily look at the number of fights a fighter has/had. I look at the quality of opponents. Back in the day, it was the norm for a fighter to have over 100 fights. But just because a fighter CHOSE to fight three or four times a month doesn’t mean anything to me. It just means they fought three to five times a month. But I won’t trash that either.
For a fighter to fight three or fives a month is a feat in itself. This means the fighter has not really given his body a chance to heal properly, but could still perform at a high level. That’s amazing. But the pay scale was different then too so that could have played a factor into their decision to fight so much. I won’t put down one era to put up another. I gain nothing from doing so and neither does anybody else. But I WONT do is go with the crowd because it’s popular and put a fighter on my list who I never saw before to make people happy. Here are some of my top all time greats in no particular order. Joe Louis, Floyd Mayweather, Mike Tyson, Marvin Hagler, Robinson, Alexis Arguello (RIP) Bernard Hopkins, and Thomas Hearns. But I won’t put down one area to bring up another.
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